Hafiz Muhammad Ali is the Founder and CEO at Omnicore, a healthcare digital marketing agency specializing in helping businesses scale using Digital PR, Content marketing, and SEO. He is the author of Digital Passport and the creator of the industry's first Digital Marketing Psychometric Career Test. He also regularly contributes to Entrepreneur.com, Influencive, and other business publications.
What are the biggest content marketing trends to be aware of in 2021? Here are seven of the best to pay more attention to.
Regardless of the field of marketing that you’re associated with, it is crucial to pay attention to annual trends that determine the direction of the industry. It is no brainer that marketing trends keep on changing every year, and the only way to put yourself ahead of the competition is to stay abreast of all these trends.
Content marketing is a vital component of the success of any brand. Without it, lead generation becomes a major issue, and it also gets a lot more challenging to boost conversions and increase sales.
According to recent statistics, content marketing revenues hit a whopping $42 billion mark in 2019. This number has continued to grow exponentially as content marketing takes centre stage in today’s marketing industry.
Failure to prioritize your brand’s content marketing strategy will get you lagging behind, as your competitors do so, and continue to be a step ahead of you.
When done right, content marketing helps to drive brand awareness while increasing demand and revenue. So how do you do content right? Make this year your best by staying ahead of the trends and beating your competition while at it.
This post discusses seven of the best content marketing trends to watch out for in 2021.
Why does content marketing change so frequently?
Before analyzing the top content marketing trends of the year, it would be prudent first to understand why the paradigm keeps shifting year in year out.
For starters, content is getting better as we are also getting smarter on how to strategize, conduct research, create, and publish it to the public. Content marketing continues to evolve alongside technology and consumer demands. This has completely changed the game as content marketing is no longer just a marketing experiment, but a strategy proven to work for any brand.
Developments in the tech world have played a key role in how marketers ought to tweak their content marketing strategies. For instance, the increased use of mobile devices to access the internet and the rise of social media have also played a key role in dictating the trends in content marketing to follow.
The channels of delivery have also impacted how content marketing works. For example, established social media platforms such as Facebook have positioned themselves to attract the older generation while newer platforms such as TikTok appeal to younger demographics.
Content marketers must adapt to these changes and develop strategies to meet such trends to continue reaching their audiences effectively.
So, what are the top content marketing trends to watch out for in 2021? Let’s check them out:
1. Next-level visuals taking shape
A good content marketing strategist should know precisely what would stimulate online growth and engagement. As the famous digital marketer Neil Patel says, “Text-based content will always be an integral part of marketing, but if you really wish to set yourself apart in this digital era, visual content must be a part of your content marketing strategies.”
According to a Social Science Research Network study, 65% of people are visual learners, and presentations that have visual aides are 43% more persuasive. It would only make sense to move with the flow and create content that people would psychologically relate with.
The saturation of digital content due to increased mobile internet usage has made attention spans shorter than ever before. This means that content with large blocks of text may be off-putting to most users. The easiest way around this is by incorporating images into your content.
The use of images has been, and will continue being the number one best practice for content marketing, and as marketer Jeff Bullas states, articles that have images get 94% more views than those without.
The use of videos is another growing trend, and as seen from video marketing statistics, video will make up 82% of all consumer traffic by 2022.
Videos and images (alongside their variations such as memes, infographics, GIFs, etc.) will take over content marketing in 2021 and beyond. We’ll see more developments in these fields, such as introducing more AR filters on social media platforms and the ability to make your own GIFs, among other possibilities.
However, as everyone else may be rushing towards this trend, it would be prudent to try and stand out by following the best image and video marketing tips, such as creating high-quality content and being original. Moreover, you should set your brand tone from the start of your campaign and stick with it.
2. Upping your E-A-T
Some years back, Google published a blog post on Google Search Central regarding its core updates and what we should do about them. Essentially, these tips are all focused on understanding the Search Quality Rater Guidelines and improving your E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness).
The fact that Google puts more emphasis on E-A-T is a huge hint as to what we should focus most on, in content marketing. As a rule of thumb, you ought to focus on providing expertise on the subject matter, showcase your authority in your field, and prove to be trustworthy in your content ‒ as that is what E-A-T is all about.
So how do you improve your E-A-T in 2021? Here are a few ways you can consider:
- Earn quality links and mentions from authority websites.
- Linking out to authoritative sources.
- Regularly updating your website with up-to-date, accurate, and relevant information.
- Crafting exceptional user-beneficial and purposeful content.
More brands will ultimately shift their focus to content marketing. According to a study conducted by the content marketing institute, 70% of marketers claim that content creation will be their key area of investment in 2021.
It is no brainer that marketers now understand the importance of creating better content to win in the SERPs and appeal to their readers. This means your content must meet all Google E-A-T guidelines as the competitive key terms will only get more complicated once everyone brings their A-game.
So, what do we expect to see in 2021?
- Brands will have a better understanding of their target audience
- Content creators will conduct better research with current stats and data
- Better visuals such as branded imagery
- Content tailored to fit the audience needs, with more focus on consistency of the tone and style.
3. Repurposing content across channels
While this is not an entirely new content marketing trend, repurposing content will continue to be a best practice in content marketing. Such a strategy holds value to brands that wish to boost their conversions, even while using readily available content. Doing so saves one lots of time and resources as they strive to get in front of a different audience while enhancing organic search.
Repurposing content simply refers to repackaging available content into other different formats. For instance:
- You can turn a blog post into an eBook
- Embed YouTube videos on your website
- Turning a podcast into a blog post, and so forth.
4. Adoption of AI & machine-generated content
Have you heard about an AI-powered content tool before? If you’ve been in the content marketing field long enough, you must have heard about the GPT-3. Seeing what these tools can do can be pretty scary, but come to think about it, experts have actually been predicting the rise of content AI for years.
GPT-3 and other tools like Contentyze use AI to take data and create summaries, captions, and at times create full blog posts. This is one of the key trends in content marketing that have been said to take shape in 2021. A study by McKinsey revealed that most businesses attribute over 20% of their total earnings to AI.
These numbers have opened doors to the possibility of widespread use of AI-powered content tools as marketers will use them primarily for content analysis, optimization, and A/B testing.
5. Streaming video content becomes more popular.
At the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, restrictions hindering in-person meetings and conferences necessitated the rise of video conferencing and streaming. As of mid-2021, things don’t seem to be returning to normalcy any time soon; hence, the rise of video streaming content such as webinars.
Many brands have hosted various webinars, discussing various issues as they seek to build topical authority on such matters. As it turns out, recording these virtual events and publishing the videos on multiple platforms is an effective way to engage with niche influencers and audiences, generate leads, and eventually having an additional income method.
As webinars continue to increasingly boost company sales and growth, another live streaming option that’s gradually on the rise is podcasting. While it is still quite difficult to determine the ranking factors of podcasts, it still remains a preferable way for many, as you are able to share your content with the ever-busy audience right in their ears.
Streaming your content is and will continue taking shape in 2021, as content marketers rush to utilize these methods to build topical authority.
6. Multi-channel marketing is more important than ever.
The ultimate goal of content marketers in 2021 is to see their content being accessed by more people, hence, a more extensive audience reach. Enter multi-channel marketing.
Being ‘everywhere’ is becoming more important as you must follow where your audience is. The variety of content distribution channels grow over time and it’s important for you to keep up. As consumers continue to adapt to newer technologies and explore new channels quickly, so should you.
As there are hundreds of platforms that you can use, it would be pointless investing in something that may not bear any fruits. It would be advisable first to conduct market research and identify where most of your clients are and be a part of them. Cross-channel marketing is essential as it comes with numerous benefits, such as giving you access to more data and analyzing diverse buyer journeys.
Fortunately enough, you may not have to spend too much time on multi-channel content marketing as there are numerous tools that you can use on that. Some of them including, Paper.Ii, Cyfe, Agorapulse, etc., can assist you in publishing your content across different platforms while keeping track of all the happenings.
7. Doubling down on SEO
Some things can never go out of style, and for content marketing, SEO is its life-long partner. Without a proper SEO strategy, your content marketing strategy may turn out to be in vain. As newbie brands try to take on the old giants in their respective fields, getting to know the right SEO trends will suffice, forcing all marketers to be on their toes to put new strategies in place. As a rule of thumb, this means digging deeper into keyword research, finding those long-tail opportunities to use.
The old marketing adage “Content is king” is still very much alive. Their thirst for quality content drives consumers, and as a source of information, you have to ensure that your consumers find your content valuable.
Furthermore, as you are competing against many others in your field, you must step up your strategies by staying abreast of all the latest trends in the industry. Keep these seven trends in mind as you prepare your content marketing strategy for the year.
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