Top 10 Content Marketing Articles of 2017

Michael Brenner on Dec 18, 2017 in Content Marketing

Content marketing – the art of attracting customers to your brand because your content is that good – has really come into its own in 2017. No longer viewed as ‘just a blog,’ content is being created, curated and delivered in creative, innovative and engaging ways through dozens of platforms, from brilliant videos to inspiring live events.

As we see the glimmer of 2018 poking around the corner, content is no longer king. It’s the galactic emperor.

Take a look at the best content marketing articles of the past year to get a refresh for how far content has traveled and just how strategic it has become. Tech-infused, personalized, provocative, and experiential. One thing is for sure when you look at the best debates, ideas and innovations of 2017. Content is going to be a riveting area of marketing in 2018.

1. What Consumers Want Isn’t What You Think

One of the most engaging content marketing posts of the year, this article elegantly explains the heart of what content is all about. It’s achieving a share of emotion instead of a share of mind, as was the case during the advertising age.

Blog posts, email newsletters and marketing videos aren’t supposed to convey an idea any more. They’re supposed to connect with customers on a human level. That’s the distinction of content and it’s the great leap marketers are trying to make.

Alright then. What should your content be like in 2018 if you want more people to pay attention? Funny, beautiful, useful, thrilling and inspiring. Here’s the catch. You have to know which emotions trigger your audience.

2. The Best Content Marketing Examples

Want some inspiration? Need to prove to others in your organization that content works? Here’s the ultimate list of excellent content marketing examples. There are 167 examples, from Acorn’s Grow to Zuora.

3. 5 Bullshit Metrics You Need to Stop Using to Measure Content Marketing Success

And the debate rages on. How can you measure the revenue-driving worth of your content marketing efforts? Can it be measured accurately? This is a tough area for CMOs who have to use metrics to demonstrate the impact of their content marketing in order to justify big budgets, let alone all the digital marketing agencies marketing for their clients.

Here’s a great write up on the value of the current metrics being used and encourages a deeper discussion into where the meaning lies in our content marketing metrics.

4. 6 Tools to Turbocharge Your Content Marketing in 2017

Just as useful in 2018. Here’s an excellent list of tools to help improve your content marketing workflow.

  • Buffer to streamline your social media posts.
  • Almighty.Press is a useful content planning tool with real-time insights.
  • SumoMe is a platform that can help you optimize your web content for better conversions.
  • Ninja Outreach is great for setting up your influencer marketing campaigns.
  • SendGrid helps with sending out better targeted email messaging.
  • Pushwoosh is probably going to become even more relevant in 2018 with the way mobile usage has increased over the past 12 months. It offers automated push notifications, in-app messages and web push notifications.

5. 5 Ways to Avoid Writing Content That Will Never Be Read By Anyone

With all the different types of content available for marketers to use to craft a holistic content strategy today, the world of content marketing may be as complex as game theory. But, that doesn’t take away from the power of the simple written word. 3D video and stunning infographics aside, you still need written content that people can find. Here’s an essentials post on how to write content that searchers will find.

6. Brands Need to Master Storytelling, or Risk Becoming Irrelevant

Storytelling has been a big theme this year. The brands that have had it figured out for years, like Nike and Burt’s Bees, are known not just for their products, but for their aura. Storytelling in content marketing is having a backstory, a mission, and a vision for the future. But it’s also being able to evoke a sense of something unique – it’s the brand’s signature scent, color scheme, raison d’etre. If your customers had to come up with your brand’s favorite breakfast – what would it be? No idea? You’ve got no story.

This is an excellent post on how to approach storytelling the right way. Jumping onto a cause or attaching with a relatable ideal isn’t the way to go. It’s really company soul-searching.

7. How to Create a Meaningful Brand Online

Another high point of 2017 has been the shift to meaningful brands. The global study that found that 60 percent of content isn’t good enough sent a shock wave through the world of content marketing. And what’s been the problem? Our content needs more purpose – and has to be backed by a brand that has a purpose.

What’s a meaningful brand? One that shares a story. It listens to consumers and responds to their needs. And, it helps solve societal issues. What’s meaningful content? It has to solve problems. Make life better for people. Create solutions. This shift is going to become even more pronounced in 2018, with companies finding ways to become not just more conscious but also more human in our digitally transformed world.

8. Why Artificial Intelligence Is the Future of Content Marketing

Good content requires imagination and human ingenuity. But all the mundane tasks that need to be done to support that brilliant content – what if they could be done by AI? Machine learning is being applied to take over a lot of the workload. Social share scheduling, testing landing pages, personalization, reviewing analytics, planning blog post topics. There are even already AI-equipped content writing platforms.

This article is a must-read on the shift to where we are headed with content marketing in the future, thanks to the help of AI.

9. We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here’s What We Learned (New Research)

2017 or 2071. One thing will never change in content marketing. A killer headline. Those first handful of words, put together in just the right way, have the power to make your audience act. They’re either going to read, watch, listen or view – and, ideally, in some way engage as a result of consuming your content. Or, they’re going to move on.

Want to know what the magic words are to entice people to engage with your content? Hint. It’s not please. Cherries on top won’t work either. At least on Facebook, the three magic words are: “will make you.” “Are freaking out” and “only X in” are potent as well. Check out this fascinating post on what words, phrases and emotions are the most effective based on an analysis of 100 million headlines. Thank you Big Data.

10. The Future of Content Marketing Isn’t Content Marketing

Nope. Content isn’t going to fizzle out in 2018. It’s just evolving. And, with enough agile, innovative, coffee-empowered minds applying new ideas and new technologies, it’s going to look a bit different by the time we move into 2019. Want to know what’s ahead? Here’s the conversation on the future every marketer should read.

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.