Content marketing is an ever-evolving discipline that’s impacted by a number of factors. Anyone who works in content marketing knows the trends can change faster than the seasons.
For content managers, it’s a conundrum: We know that learning about the latest tools, technology and methodologies are crucial to our success, but we’re too busy catching up with our own campaigns to stay on top of all that’s happening in the world of content marketing.
Hey, we’ve got you covered! To prepare you for what’s next, we’re looking at content marketing trends, tips, and insights in 2021 — beyond the pandemic, but definitely changed for ever by it.
1. Content Marketing that Focuses on Results
Does your content strategy encompass the expectations of your audience? While content marketing heavily focuses on delivering topics that are useful for buyers, the demand for results-driven content will be a huge trend in the year to come.
Consider tagging content or creating categories that align with what your audience is trying to achieve. For example, if you’re an IT services company, you may put content into buckets like mitigating risk, adhering to compliance, or reducing costs. These are all results that your buyer desires.
By aligning to expected results, buyers may find content more attractive and thus your solution as well. When content correlates to how the prospect can benefit rather than a feature, it’s more likely to resonate with them.
2. More Live Streaming Content
Being in the moment can attract an audience. It also adds a layer to event promotion. Live streaming is a way to accomplish this and feed your audience content that’s relevant to them. For example, you may live stream from an industry event and offer a roundtable of insights that you see at the event in real-time.
This tactic not only can draw more traffic to your booth but be inclusive to those not attending. It also shows your authenticity. When content planning for 2021, look for opportunities to integrate live streaming for higher engagement.
3. Greater Emphasis on Search Intent
Most purchase decisions today start with a search engine, but how people search is changing. With the rise of digital assistants, voice search has become just as important as text searching. But to understand search queries better and create content that aligns with them, you have to understand their intent.
Most searchers are starting at a point of seeking information. In this phase of awareness, you need to design content that correlates with a desire for knowledge. In both text and voice queries, users may be asking questions versus just typing in a few words. So consider plotting out question and answer formats on your content calendar.
Here’s a quick tip on how to nail this content. Search for a term in “incognito mode” to see what is ranking highest for the query. Take note of content types (blog posts, core website pages, PDFs, etc.), page titles and content depth. You can also add “&filter=0” at the end of the URL to ensure Google isn’t filtering out any results, which can provide more insights on how Google is ranking.
4. Conversational Content Marketing That Promotes Authenticity
If you didn’t know this already, buyers expect and want authenticity from the brands with which they engage. This trend has caused a shift in voice and tone, that includes being conversational in your content. Even if your audience is highly educated, that doesn’t mean you need to use words or syntax that come off as pretentious.
Being conversational allows you to increase engagement. You can gather insights from your content analytics to help execute on this trend. Look at the format and structure of content that has performed well. What does each piece have in common as far as voice and tone? You’re likely to find that content that centers on storytelling has the best results. Try to replicate that in your 2020 strategy.
5. More Personalization
Content personalization will continue to grow bigger as a trend. The modern buyer expects brands to provide highly personalized experiences at every touchpoint. The more you can segment your buyers and learn about their specific needs, the more tailored content can be. The benefits, of course, are numerous:
To realize these benefits, you’ll need to be able to deliver dynamic content. Technology will need to support this effort. With dynamic content tools, you can automate the delivery and curation of relevant content to each audience member.
For example, if you have a monthly newsletter, you can develop different versions for different buyers based on several elements:
- Buying phase
- Specific behaviors or actions
The goal of delivering dynamic content is not just to deliver content that’s interesting but is the right content to get them further down the sales funnel. Be sure that in 2021, you have the tools to personalize.
6. Thought Leadership That Creates Trust
Buyers want to trust brands. They want to know you have the experience and expertise to solve their problems. Thought leadership is an aspect of content marketing that will continue to matter. To facilitate thought leadership in 2020, content must be specific, timely, and have an original point of view.
You’ll need thought leaders within your brand to step up. However, your content marketing team has to create the content and opportunities. For example, if you are in the healthcare sector, having a thought leader who is a medical professional adds credence to your brand. Your buyers will look to this person as an expert, and you can help get your message across through their microphone.
7. Content Creation Based on Data
How do you know the value of your content? What content marketing metrics help answer this question? To execute this trend and create better content, you have to adopt a data-driven approach.
You probably have a lot of data regarding your content initiatives, but you also need to refine this to ensure you’re looking at the right data.
To differentiate between metrics that matter and those that don’t, you’ll need to do a bit of reverse-engineering. Look at past successes and identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that delivered revenue. Then discern what about that content made it generate revenue.
As we transition into 2021, stop creating content you “think” your audience wants. Rather, base your content off of real data!