Companies that have consistently and solidly invested in content marketing have reported that those investments have paid off in recent years.
However, to sustain their growth, marketers must also stay tuned to the ever-changing content marketing landscape.
What worked last year may not be enough to move forward in 2021.
If you can anticipate trends and changes in audience behavior based on technology trends and updates, then you can adjust your strategy and stay one step ahead of the wave.
Below are some trends to watch out for in 2021. Before we do that, let's take a look at why content marketing is evolving.
Why does content marketing change so often?
Content marketing evolves to keep up with trends, technology and consumer demands. For example, the increasing use of mobile devices, voice search and social media require us to keep track of things.
Then there are the platforms themselves that are changing. Established websites like Facebook are now attracting an older population, while newer platforms like TikTok target a younger audience.
To effectively reach their audiences, content marketers need to adapt their strategies to keep up with these changing trends.
10 Current trends in content marketing
More recently, adaptability and flexibility have been the focus of content marketing. However, many of the preferred marketing methods remain the same.
Although many current content marketing trends are a continuation or evolution of existing trends, some trends are gaining significant ground.
1. Build communities
With up to 24 million ecommerce stores, you need to find a way to get noticed.
You achieve this in such a crowded space by building a community.
Community marketing is not about getting a quick sale, it's about connecting with customers, building trust and loyalty, and reaching a wider audience.
The Dollar Shave Club (DSC) is a great example of this. DSC operates on a subscription basis and considers all of its members to be part of the community.
In addition to its social media presence and customer loyalty blog, DSC caters to members in its monthly newsletter and ensures that its subscribers are at the heart of the business.
Then there is ProBlogger.
You may know ProBlogger from his job board or his blog. However, the community page is also an integral part of the brand. The community provides an opportunity for new and established bloggers to come together, learn, and collaborate.
It also offers:
- Networking opportunities
- discounted books, tools and events
- Community downloads
2. Optimizing content for niche and long-tail keywords
For a long time, the focus of marketers was on long-form content. More recently, however, content marketing has withdrawn from detailed, lengthy article manuals. Instead, the use of niche long-tail keywords is becoming more common as long-tail keywords are more specific and have less competition.
Using long-tail keywords also makes it easier to get your content ranked on Google. That means more organic traffic, which is great news for marketers targeting a competitive niche.
It wasn't difficult to find these long-tail keywords. You will find that there are numerous free and paid tools available such as:
You can also use:
- the "people also searched" function on Google
- Google Suggest
- Google-related search
Once you've narrowed down your keywords, you can focus on a specific segment of your business and create content around the topic.
3. Hiring content teams with different skills
In recent years there has been a consistent move away from content churn.
The brands that are most successful with content marketing aren't just flooding their audiences with content. You have a media publishing approach.
The process is now as important as the content itself. Having a team of writers is no longer enough.
Your company needs to develop a broader strategy with a wider set of talents and skills to meet your audience's demands.
That said, good writing is not enough. The content team needs to grow and adapt for the next year and should include people who have talent in the following areas:
- Video production and editing
- Graphic design, illustration and editing
- Audio editing and production skills
- Content optimization
- Content distribution and promotion
- Strategy development, execution, SEO and campaign management
- Communication and branding
4th Reuse content across channels
Reusing content saves time, puts you in front of a different audience, and improves your organic search.
This simply means repackaging it in a different format. For example:
- Turn blog posts into eBook or newsletter content
- Embed YouTube Videos on Your Blog
- Transcribe your YouTube videos and distribute them as podcast, newsletter or blog content
- Create infographics from research and statistics.
ESPN showed how effective content reuse can be. When ESPN launched We the Fans, it split the content into a number of formats. Articles, podcasts, videos and social media were part of the ESPN strategy.
Chad Millman, VP / Editor-in-Chief for Digital Content in the US said, "The idea was to use all of ESPN's platforms."
You should consider doing the same for your business.
Content Marketing Trends for 2021 and Beyond
Looking ahead, marketers will continue to need to tweak their content plans, and it is likely that existing trends like Google Discover and Stories will pick up more to keep readers motivated and on the page.
Let's take a closer look at these content marketing trends.
5. "Discover" functions
Yoast, Search Engine Land, and HubSpot are just a few examples of Google Discover. It used to be known as Google Feed, but it has seen a significant change since its inception.
If you're not familiar with Google Discover, it combines messages, evergreen content, and graphics like photos. To fill the feed, Google uses AI and machine learning to understand a user's search history. This means that the viewer receives content that is likely to involve them.
You can find Discover on Google's mobile pages. Mobile Chrome users see the feed when they open a tab.
Over time, Discover becomes more and more sophisticated. Just ask the editors of Vogue and Vice.
Your content can be viewed on Discover if it complies with guidelines and has been indexed by Google. However, as Google states, there is no guarantee that your content will appear in its Discover feed.
However, Google has some guidelines to improve the chances of your content being displayed.
- Publication of "outstanding and appealing content"
- Creating content that is unique and current
- Details of the authorship (name, publication, lines, publication)
- high quality imaging
- descriptive titles that avoid clickbait
6th "Story" functions
Stories are becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons. First, they make great social media content. Second, they'll also show up in mobile searches and Google Images, which increases your chances of being found.
There are other factors behind its growing popularity: Platforms like Google Stories make story creation accessible to everyone.
However, it is crucial that Google Web Stories suit the business lifestyles of consumers and provide content on the go: Using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), readers can browse the same way as social media stories.
Another example of story functions are Instagram guides. These offer curated content in the form of videos, photos and text. The idea is to find content more easily and thus to discover brands and influencers more easily.
7th Selected experts
Expert comments that add credibility to your content can help you stand out. Because of this, adding comments on a topic or an expert can improve the performance of your content.
Google does not (yet) use the content of topics as a ranking factor. However, the evaluators take into account expertise, authority, and trustworthiness factor (EAT) in their quality rankings.
However, Google isn't the only one interested in quality content. Consumers are too.
According to a Nielsen study, 85 percent of consumers regularly or occasionally look for expert content before buying.
Additionally, 67 percent of shoppers say they are more likely to make a purchase through unbiased expert comments.
InPowered, who commissioned the survey, says there are three key takeaways from the research. Marketers should:
- Build trust and avoid the noise with expert content
- start sharing their stories once they gain consumer trust
- Keep building trust through expert content and asking customers to leave reviews
8 & 9. Generative media & NLG
Generative media are increasingly used as well as natural language production (NLG). Generative media, like NLG, use AI to create content. The only difference is that computer generated images are created instead of text.
It works similarly to NLP:
- The designer gives the machine instructions in which parameters / algorithms are listed.
- The device uses these parameters to create an image.
However, the designer still has some inputs and can modify algorithms to produce the finished piece.
Lastly Studios' Tyler Lastovich predicted growth in generative media some time ago. As Lastovich points out, the potential has not yet been exhausted, although usage has increased significantly. For example, content marketers could use it in the following areas:
- Context images
- personalized content
- realistic chatbots
According to a senior analyst at Techna, trial versions of generative design, cloud-based generative design solutions, and the increasing integration of 3D printing into generative designs are just some of the reasons behind this content marketing trend.
10. Content-driven personalization
Yieldify defines the personalization of content as the “process of adapting content that is visible to the customer based on his profile or his preferences”.
Every customer who visits your website is in a different phase of the customer journey. Your content should be tailored to their specific needs and encourage them to take the next step.
A good example would be a customer who comes to your website to learn about new kitchen units. When they return to your site, you can offer an e-book of tips on choosing the ideal kitchen units for their home or a checklist to prepare for the makeover.
In case you're wondering, content-driven personalization isn't optional if you want to keep your customers happy. Research from Salesforce shows that 84 percent of consumers say being treated like a person rather than a number is critical to the bottom line of their business.
Additionally, fifty-nine percent say a bespoke engagement based on previous interactions is critical to the bottom line of their business.
While data supports the trends listed here, trends aren't everything. You should research how they can improve your content marketing strategy by 2021.
There is also plenty of historical data to show us how quickly trends can flop or die.
Instead of chasing content marketing trends, always do your research. Keep an eye on the top performers in your environment and use data and experiments to advance your strategy on the way to 2021.
Which of these content marketing trends for 2021 are you working on in your strategy?
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