Guest Column: Topical content is king: Zafar Rais, MindShift Interactive

Digital marketing expert Zafar Rais lists five key content marketing trends for 2017

e4m by Zafar Rais
Updated: Jan 6, 2017 8:06 AM
Guest Column: Topical content is king: Zafar Rais, MindShift Interactive

Digital marketing expert Zafar Rais lists five key content marketing trends for 2017.

Digital content is rapidly evolving, and brands are working towards catching up with the latest trends and making a mark. When MindShift Metrics asked brands about the success of their current content marketing approach compared to a year ago, 47 per cent reported that their brand saw a spike in business when adapting new content strategies, especially if it was based on something topical. Topical content is king, and 2016 sure did prove that. I have highlighted 5 content marketing trends that will be the focus of the coming year and the strategy that must be considered in 2017 to be ahead of the curve.

Invest in personalised visual content: The age of stock photos and videos is gone. Consumers are looking for fresh, personalised content and brands that adapt to this strategy are the ones that will stand out. Investing in personalised photography and engaging videos to drive your digital strategy will be vital, along with ways on how to amplify this content. Ulric de Varens India curated content to tell the tale of what made each of their fragrances unique and characterised them with their audiences. Social media has considerably affected the rising trend of video content. With Facebook putting an emphasis on live videos, 2016 is only the beginning of what video will do for brands. According to Syndacast, 74 per cent of all traffic will be video in 2017. Data further showcases the impact of constant video creation in improving SEO.

Gain insights before showcasing content: You don’t just create content because everybody is, anymore. ‘Less is more’ is a strategy known to few brands, and those are the brands that are doing well. Brands, in the need to be visible on a Facebook or Twitter timeline, seem to be continuing the strategy of posting too often, missing out on insights that showcase the wiser route of posting when the right audiences are ready to engage. The need to ensure targeted communication in a world dominated by me-too brands is now.

Leverage tools to engage: Telling a compelling story around the brand is the secret to marketing success, as nothing is more helpful than an engaging and emotive storyline that audiences can relate to. While the usage of GIFs, stop motion videos, Facebook Live are doing the rounds aplenty, the ones that create a wow factor are the ones that get spoken about the most. JW Marriott, Mumbai Sahar has been consistently creating unique content that brings out the brand’s philosophy and speaks to the target audience in a relevant, topical and engaging manner.

Trending topics pick up pace: In 2015, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge started a unique trend on social media and took trending and topical strategies to the next level. Ever since, many unique challenges have done the rounds in an attempt to raise money or awareness in 2016. Alongside, SMEs that didn’t have pockets as deep as the bigger brands, have managed to capitalise on trending topics consistently and come in the limelight. 2017 will continue to see the growth of a successful content marketing strategy, with the integration of technology to power each trend further.

Wiser influencer outreach: Influencer marketing has changed considerably over the past five years, with brands looking at ways to increase outreach. A few interesting tools to automate Influencer Marketing did the rounds in 2016, but their success seems bleak for an activity that requires high levels of personalisation. Going forward, the numbers that marketers need to look at are the number of engagements per post an Influencer receives versus the number of posts or followers they have. Influencer Marketing will only evolve in India if PR and digital professionals are able to clean it up and work towards genuine, targeted influencer associations, where both sides have something to gain beyond a monetary compensation.

The way you tell your story and amplify it yields successful content marketing outreach. At a time where mobile is exploding in India, marketers must ensure their content is created with a mobile-first strategy, which is easy to share and is sensitive towards Internet connectivity in our country. Technological innovations such as augmented reality, wearables, and search enhancements will give way to a better connected mobile world in 2017. If your brand is already strategizing on a content marketing plan, then 2017 will be the year that you should look into new ways to establish significance.

(The author is CEO, MindShift Interactive)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of


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