1 . Video, Period.
If video isn’t a part of your strategy for the year, you’re behind the curve. People want to watch short clips, they want to watch long videos with captions, they want to stream interesting info while they work. Get in the game, asap.
2. Live Video
If you want to be visible to your audience, you’re going to have to get into Live broadcasting, because platforms like Facebook and Instagram are pushing live experiences hard in their algorithms. It can be intimidating, sure, but live doesn’t mean talking-head-direct-to-camera, it can also mean a slideshow or video with your audio commentary off camera.
3. 360 Degree Video
People are creepers. They want to see behind the scenes, unfiltered, “peek behind the curtain” type of content, and letting them have control over the camera is one way to do that without changing your entire video strategy.
4. Expiring Content
Snapchat has proven that people want to catch special content that is only available for a short time. Making great content with a short shelf life feels risky and counterproductive, but if you get more people engaged over time because of the strategy, it could be well worth it. Start testing limited-time content, whether on social media or on your website. These magazine issues, for example, are only available for a limited time upon release.
5. Interactive Content
Think quizzes like buzzfeed’s Where Should You Live? What content can you create that guides the viewer from one thing to the next. Create polls, infographics, brackets and contests to get your audience to engage rather than simply consume.
6. Influencer Marketing
If you’re a maker, it’s time to reach out to that Instagram celebrity who would love your hand sewn bags or custom wall art. If you’ve got a growing following on social media, you could consider reaching out to brands about partnerships to increase your income - and your followers will get it. Influencer marketing will become more and more commonplace this year, from big brands and huge celebrities, to smaller brands and smaller personal profiles.
You know by now, hopefully, that super detailed algorithms dictate your experiences based on your preferences. Your social media feeds, your experience on amazon.com or even walmart.com - those are all customized. Creepy? Sure. Convenient? Yes. How can you personalize the way your brand interacts with customers? An example would be very small, targeted sublists within your email strategy. As this becomes the norm, consumers will get increasingly irritated when they come across content and offerings that are not relevant to them - make sure your goods don’t fall into that category by using targeted ads, correct categorization, tags and keywords, etc!
8. Virtual/Augmented Reality
This one is still limited to giant brands at this point, but over time this technology will become more affordable to all advertisers and content creators. Set aside some time this year to gain an understanding of how the technology works, what the future will look like, and brainstorm how your brand or content could fit into the VR/ AR future.
9. User Generated Content
This is not new, but will continue to be important this year. People want to share their voice, show their artistic talents, etc. How can you incorporate content from your followers, readers, viewers, customers? Can you make them feel like they are joining a movement? This can be as simple as allowing guest posts on your blog to contests for the design of your next product. Again, this goes back to getting the masses to engage with you rather than just observe or consume your content.
10. On-Demand Everything
Beyond Netflix and other on-demand video streaming, life is becoming on-demand. If you need a car you immediately call for an Uber or Lyft. If you need someone to run your errands you log on to Taskrabbit. Not everyone can have immediate content and/or services, but you should realize this shift in culture and make sure your brand is keeping up. Is your site easy to search? Can people easily reach your support staff? If they have to wait or can’t quickly find an answer, they will move on to a different provider.
11. Google Search Results
Google is changing the game again, by ranking based on viewer experience versus just views and clicks. This means things like email sign up pop-up boxes are hurting your page rankings, because Google knows viewers find them annoying. Same with slow-loading images or complex sitemaps. Go to your site and think, what is this experience like for the viewer? Be incredibly harsh with yourself, because Google’s algorithms take no prisoners!
12. Highly Targeted Native Ads
You can run ads for people in specifically in a suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma that are unmarried and like Elton John and enjoy running. This is an incredible time to be a messenger or creator or seller - learn to use the Facebook Advertising or Google Advertising tools available to reach those you serve!
13. New Industries Need Experts
As technologies emerge and become more affordable, new industries are born. Suddenly there is a need for drone experts, drone repairmen, blogs about drones, etc! The same goes for the Cannabis industry, or the Live Video phenomenon. Be on the lookout for places where you can be an early adopter or become an early expert - because as we know from many guests on The Pursuit, the early bird absolutely gets the worm.
14. Offline Quality Experience
I think one of the reasons people love my show is that there are no webcams. I am sitting in real life with a celebrity, getting them off-script, making them laugh, etc. Online connectivity continues to make us feel disconnected in real life, so try to incorporate an amazing IRL experience for your customers. On a live show take real phone calls rather than chat questions. Host actual meetups whenever you can. Send physical thank you notes or gifts in the mail. Get creative and go old-school to stand out from the crown!
15. Mobile First
More and more sites and softwares are going to go mobile-only. Depending on your own analytics, you may decide to do the same thing in 2017. If it’s not yet time to pull the plug on your desktop versions, it’s definitely time to make sure your site is pretty and easy to use on all devices.
This is another trend that is not new, but will continue to grow in 2017. Big brands will start testing new products and designs via crowdfunding efforts. People will become more comfortable with the idea of kickstarting the production of their favorite band’s next album in advance, rather than buying once the album is complete. If you’ve been on the fence about this method of fund raising, 2017 might be the year to jump in.
17. Recurring Revenue
Monthly membership sites and subscription fees are starting to not only become a source of income for creators, but they are also starting to replace year-long contracts. This is great for consumers because it forces the vendor to keep up their quality and consistency month in and month out. If you are a service provider, the added monthly pressure comes with a bonus; a stable alternative to the feast and famine cycle of large, longer-term contracts.
18. Expertise/Curation/Exclusivity Is Expected (Unless You’re Amazon)
I read one article that suggested brick and mortar stores that merely offer merchandise without a guide or a level of curation will continue to die out. It’s not enough to have a cute boutique anymore - what are you offering that Amazon can’t provide?
Beyond physical stores, this is becoming true for online entities as well. There are now mega influencers, authors, experts, etc, with multiple well-reviewed and time-tested courses, e-books, podcasts and blogs. What makes you different from all of those? Why should someone listen to you instead of the biggest players in the space? This is a great question to consider as you make your content, product, and services plans for the year