• 3 trends we expect to see in 2017

    Deadly avalanches in Italy, a horrific, deliberate car crash in Melbourne and the inauguration of Trump in the U.S. all occurred within the first 30 days of the new year. The rest of 2017 is set to hold a plethora of further developments that will affect the world.

    As communication specialists, current affairs impact how we function within the wider business environment. Simultaneously, shifts and developments in terms of technology and consumer behaviour – among other things – further affect the approaches communication experts take to add value to their organisations.

    With this in mind, here are the three communication trends we expect to see in 2017:

    1. The rise of video

    As society becomes more visual and attention spans decrease, video is becoming more effective at engaging people, in comparison to other platforms. With predictions that most traffic on mobiles to be video within the next years, Facebook's heavy investment into live video is a sure sign that the future timelines on social media will be filled with more video content.

    With Instagram adding live streaming to their stories as well as the video-veteran platform YouTube remaining popular, we predict that marketers and communication specialists across the globe will discover the benefits of engaging a wider audience through video.

    You need to know what to measure.You need to know what to measure.

    2. Measuring what's important

    While many practitioners will still struggle to quantify content views into monetary gain, fact is that ROI is no longer a mystery. Google Analytics is fast becoming a non-plus-ultra among the skill sets communication specialists need to have, something that Big Data exacerbates as it grows with increasing velocity.

    While likes and shares are important indicators of acceptance and engagement on an operational level, the total reach of content can indicate the relative success this engagement activity has. The key thing to note here is that decision makers need to clearly identify what return or outcome is determined as success before measuring anything at all.

    Only if a campaign has a clear purpose for example, can you set a benchmark of initial performance compared to post roll-out. Once there is an in-depth understanding of why a certain site, blog or audience is measured, it becomes significantly easier to determine whether a campaign is successful or not.

    Pushing content through contributors can increase authenticity.Pushing content through contributors can increase authenticity.

    3. Pushing continuous content and contributors

    A final trend we predict to gain more traction this year is the idea of continued content and contributors.

    LinkedIn's Global Content Marketing Leader, Jason Miller, introduced the idea of big rock and turkey slice content. By this, he refers to an organisation using a big piece of evergreen content such as a whitepaper (the big rock) to then support this with smaller pieces or slices of content such as video or infographics (turkey slices).

    By splitting a large feature piece into smaller bite-sizes, communication specialists are able to share the same message with different audiences, editing the format according to the distribution channel. With the shift in mindset required to embrace Miller's approach to content, organisations will be able to not only increase the amount of engaging content they create, but improve engagement levels.

    What this approach further enables is the more active integration of contributors to a business' blog and social media posts. We know that authenticity and credibility go hand in hand. It can therefore only be beneficial to collaborate with authentic advocates to connect with your target audience in a more personal way most organisations simply cannot.

    The biggest challenge of all though, will be to stay alert and apply global knowledge and trends in a way that is effective to your particular organisation.

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