Successful content writers know that the industry changes rapidly. Anything from a new social media platform to a change in Google’s algorithm can affect the way that you write content. Make sure your work excels by learning these five things copywriters need to know about content marketing in 2017.

Content Needs Will Grow

The content marketing industry has been growing steadily for the last few years. Researchers estimate that the industry grew from about $87.22 billion in 2009 to $144.81 billion in 2014. If the trend continues, the industry’s value could exceed $225 billion in 2017. The upward trend is good news for copywriters who know how to craft engaging content for businesses that are willing to invest more money in their content marketing strategies.

Of course, some of the growth will happen in countries that don’t use English as their primary language. The United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, however, will likely remain some of the industry’s most profitable markets. If you want an easy way to appeal to international clients, learn common words and phrases used in the U.K. and Australia so you can write like a local.

Longer Articles Will Pay Off

For several years, content marketers have agreed that online blog posts and articles need to exceed 300 words. Content that falls below 300 words doesn’t grab the attention of search engine crawlers and doesn’t offer much information for human readers.

Medium spent a lot of time plotting data to determine the optimal length for a post. According to the publishing platform’s data, its readers spend an average of 7 minutes reading posts. In 7 minutes, the typical reader can consume about 1,600 words.

Not all websites have audiences that are as interested in reading as Medium’s audience is, though. You shouldn’t expect your clients to start asking you to write 1,600-word articles every time they want to update their blogs. The research does, however, show that many businesses want to start publishing longer posts. Don’t be surprised if your clients start asking for more 1,000- and 1,500-word articles in 2017. Some will still want 300-word posts, but many will want content that gives readers more information.

The Content Ecosystem Will Change in Good Ways

To learn more about the current content ecosystem, CopyPress surveyed 300 content marketing professionals. Most of the survey’s key findings will thrill copywriters who have marketing experience. For instance, 84 percent of marketing agencies said that they expect content to become more important in 2017. Over 90 percent of survey responders said that they produce blog posts, while about 70 percent said that they produce web copy. Since both types of content require experienced writers, the new year should offer plenty of opportunities for freelancers to grow their businesses.

The CopyPress survey also shows some areas where content developers can grow their careers. Only 60 percent of freelancer writers who responded to the survey said that they have personal blogs or websites. Starting your own site this year could make it easier for you to attract new clients by showing off some of your best work.

In addition, only 40 percent of freelancers reported that they work 21 to 40 hours per week. Given the expected growth in the content marketing industry, now is a good time for writers to become full-time content creators. Put in some extra effort so you can stake your claim in this growing industry.

Video Will Gain Importance

Lengthy articles aren’t the only content type that’s gaining in popularity. Many companies also want to publish more videos that engage viewers and convert them into paying customers. Creating videos costs considerably more than writing blog posts, but the format is perfect for teaching people how to use products. This benefit makes video content particularly valuable to companies.

Learning to write video scripts will give you a chance to jump into this segment of the content marketing industry in 2017. People watching online videos usually want direct, information-rich content, so you should spend some time learning how to break complex instructions into step-by-step directions.

Humor also works well in video format. You don’t need to become a comedian to make videos entertaining, but adding a few witty insights keeps viewers glued to their screens.

You’ll Need to Write Content for Humans, not Web Crawlers

Content marketers have to take a balanced approach that appeals to both human readers and search engine web crawlers. When search engines first appeared in the mid-1990s, website developers could stuff their pages with keywords to get better positions on search engine results pages (SERPs). Many developers didn’t worry much about what people saw on the pages. They just wanted to get better rankings.

The balance has shifted considerably away from writing for web crawlers, though. Thanks largely to Google’s algorithm updates, keyword stuffing doesn’t do the job anymore. Instead, you need to write engaging content that encourages people to share with each other. Social media platforms have changed the content game, so you need to write content that will succeed on Facebook, Twitter, and other popular platforms.

Interestingly, writing content for humans is now one of the best ways to get attention from web crawlers. Google pays a lot of attention to how many backlinks your content gets. If other websites aren’t linking to your content, then it’s nearly impossible for your page to rank well on SERPs.

There are several ways to get more backlinks. For instance, you can write press releases and social media pages that point to your content. Some companies even pay websites to link to their content. That’s not a recommended strategy, however, because it’s artificial and increases costs substantially. Effective content marketing offers the best way to increase backlinks because people want to share insightful, engaging content with others.

Content marketing is changing and evolving. Writers who keep up with those changes will have more opportunities to succeed in 2017. Those who don’t follow short- or long-term trends, however, may fall out of favor with their favorite clients.

Featured photo made via Canva.
This is a non-sponsored guest post by our friends at Copyblogger.