Yup,

It’s Friday.

It’s also bloody December. For your benefit, here’s a quick guide to festive conversational icebreakers to use on friends, family, clients and colleagues:

  • “I can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas”
  • “Do you think we’ll get snow this year?”
  • “What are you up to for Christmas?”
  • “Brrr…chilly isn’t it?”
  • *screaming* “CHRISTMAAAAAAASSSS!” in their face.
  • Doing a dance singing “I’m a little elf, and I like to make friends” in a high pitched voice.
  • Jamming a mince pie in their mouth and yours at the same time.
  • Cracker jokes. Recommended: “What do you call a dyslexic Father Christmas? Satan”.
  • Pretend to go for a high five but pull out last minute and spray them with fake snow.
  • Get a Christmas cracker out your pocket, pull it yourself, get down on one knee, bow your head then hand them the gift.
  • Three firm handshakes accompanied with a ‘Ho’ on every shake. Maintain eye contact.
  • Weeping gently, allowing your tears turn to ice in the cold December air.
  • The classic ‘hello’ but with 37% extra merriment.

Let us know how that goes.

When did December happen anyway? Feels like I blinked once at the beginning of September and now shops are piping saccharine Christmas cheer in my ears.

Anyway, as is traditional for December, I thought I’d offer you my own take on an advent calendar. But instead of doors and the element of surprise, I’ve written some sentences instead.

Basically, here are 25 top pieces of content marketing news, insight and musings – one for every day leading up to Chrimbo Day – just for you. Ready? Good.

1. Christmas ads get a whole dollop of press coverage this time of year, and there has been the usual mix of great ones and turkeys in 2016. But do they work? According to a survey of 11,500 people by MoneySavingExpert.com, 69% of people said they had no impact on where they did their Christmas shopping. Still, if there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the year in politics, polls are bollocks.

2. We all love a good trend piece don’t we? So, what is new for content marketing in 2017? The Content Marketing Institute reckons these things, which essentially amount to EVERYTHING.

3. But it’s not all about the future. The end of the year is a great time to look back and take stock, particularly when it comes to long term marketing strategies. Buzzsumo has done just that with this brilliant review of the top B2B content of the year.

4. One thing everyone seems to agree on is that video is huge for engagement. But what works best? Well, Google’s Unskippable Labs ran tests changing up the length pace, quality, aspect ratio and all sorts to find out exactly what led to higher engagement rates. Check it.

5.  Talking of videos, let’s have one.

 

6. But not all video news has been rosy. Facebook announced earlier this year that they had miscalculated video view times – overestimating the figure by between 60-80% – to the fury of advertisers the world over. And rightly so: if you’re spending $1 billion a year like WPP in 2015, you expect the results to be accurate.

7. As Facebook and Twitter continue to bang the drum for online video, some are not quite as convinced. Professor Mark Ritson for instance, ripped social video a new one in this great piece for Marketing Week, citing issues with “ridiculously self-serving horseshit metrics”.

8. Ritson also asked the question: ‘Is content marketing a load of bollocks?’ although his contention seems to be mainly with the semantics of the industry.

9. 2016 has been a year of change, but perhaps our favourite development has been the unstoppable rise of the gif. Of course, we love long form blog posts. But gifs are life. Here’s Noisy Little Monkey with 25 top gifs for social media managers.

10. Hmmm…15 to go. This seemed like a great idea when I started. Hey, VR, that’s a space that’s going mental at the mo. For those that missed it, here’s our favourite VR project so far.

 

11. AI has been another huge advance over the last year. We charted the rise and rise of automated content in our recent long-form post. So do a read.

12. Hey, that’s a good idea, we should definitely use this space to advertise our own content. Like this piece on auditing your content.

13. And this case study.

14. And this one about websites.

15. Communication has been under scrutiny this year, particularly the inimitable style of Donald Trump. Katy Waldman for Slate described it as a ‘word casserole’ while Nerdwriter analysed one Trump interview answer in brilliant detail.

 

16. As fake news made real news headlines, post-truth became the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year.

17. I went to Cannes this year, although the blazing heat and beautiful beaches seem a lifetime ago now. Take me back, oh take me back. Among the highlights (mainly prosecco and yachts), was this demo of Google’s Tilt by ex-Disney animator Glen Keane.

18. And probably the best campaign of the year was:

 

19. Although this was brilliant too.

 

20. We love a good survey. Bristol-based recruiters AdLib recently gave us a fascinating insight into how the South West was using social media this year. Check that report here.

21. And Orbit Media Studios contacted over 1,000 content creators to find out this year’s content trends. The results? More people are spending longer creating more in-depth content. In fact, the average blog post is now over 1,000 words. But does bigger mean better, or just bigger?

22. Report of the year to our mind, however, is Hubspot’s State of Inbound.

23. Hey, what have been your favourite infographics of the year? While some are content with just sharting out a picture and a couple of stats, I think there’s space for marketers to up their infographic game considerably. I mean, check these out.

24. Honestly, I’m nearly done here, would anyone mind if I just included a gif of a rad ape instead? No? Great, thanks guys.

 

25. And finally (FINALLY), number 25. Time for a celebratory dance.

Bloody hell, remind me never to do that again.

Have a great weekend.

Ta ra

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I’m the Head of Content for Future Content and the man in charge of words. As a former journalist for a number of publications, from Chat to MailOnline to that’s Shanghai, I have a wealth of editorial experience and a way of making words do good.