The world of content marketing is always changing. If your content strategy is stagnant, you’ll soon find your business left behind in a sea of competitors.
“Businesses that don’t invest in content marketing are missing a huge opportunity to connect with their audience by showcasing their expertise and value,” said Nicole Fallon-Peek, co-founder of Lightning Media Partners. “A good content marketing strategy can help you stand out and continue providing relevant, useful information to your target customer base.”
Whether you’re diving into content marketing for the first time or looking for ways to refresh your strategy, keeping track of trends will help your business stay competitive. In this article, we’ll:
- Recap the most influential content marketing trends of 2022.
- Share our predictions about the biggest content trends that will dominate the marketing landscape in 2023.
- Offer tips for adapting your 2022 marketing strategies to deliver high-demand content in the new year and beyond.
Roundup of 2022 content marketing trends
Content marketing trends vary from year to year, and in 2022, it was all about finding new ways to utilize your content. Brands found increasingly creative ways to get more mileage out of their content by repurposing it for multiple platforms.
Businesses have also taken to gathering an online customer base by building content communities. These intentional communities develop authentic connections that can lower customer acquisition costs (CACs) over time, but they also provide a rich source of user-generated content for marketing teams to leverage.
Live webinars and the option to “go live” on popular social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook gave businesses another opportunity to interact with their audience and share content in an innovative way. The total number of live video viewers in the United States is expected to grow to 163.4 million in 2023, suggesting this trend is here to stay.
2023 content marketing trends
Automate tasks using artificial intelligence (AI)
AI technology is a trend that doesn’t show signs of slowing down. It’s been on the rise for the last several years and has only continued to become a larger part of our everyday habits — every time you unlock your iPhone using facial recognition, post an Instagram story using a face filter, or interact with automated customer service chatbots, you’re using AI. This technology will become an integral part of every marketer’s toolkit in 2023. According to a 2022 study conducted by Drift and the Marketing AI Institute, 51% of marketers are already piloting or scaling AI technology, and that number only continues to grow.
One common misconception is that AI technology will replace human workers and “come after our jobs.” While AI has helped to automate certain processes, it cannot replace the human touch. For example, websites may use chatbots as intermediaries to discover customers’ problems and then have a real customer service representative step in to discuss solutions. Here, AI is only a small piece of a much larger puzzle and assists with — rather than independently solves — a problem.
In fact, 57% of marketers said they “believe AI will create more marketing jobs than it eliminates.” AI technology actually has the potential to grow marketing teams rather than reduce them. By delegating smaller, more tedious tasks to AI, such as automated scheduling, data mining, or personalization, your marketing team will have more time to devote to projects that support growth, creating new roles for more human talent. Marketers who get on board with AI early will be at an advantage in the job market as more companies begin implementing this technology.
The bottom line: AI technology should be embraced, not feared. It won’t replace marketing teams, but it will contribute to achieving key outcomes, such as:
- Saving your team time spent on repetitive tasks
- Augmenting personalization at a large scale
- Increasing your bottom line
Related article: Everything You Need to Know About AI Copywriting
Strategies to try
- Optimize paid advertising. AI technology can help ensure that you receive a high ROI by automating common tasks such as bidding, budget control, and demographic targeting.
- Deliver personalized content. Consumers in today’s market demand personalization, so let AI technology help you quickly sort through mass amounts of customer data to gather their preferences. Tools like Persado craft customized messages that will appeal to specific customers, while Qubit offers product recommendations based on tracked consumer habits.
- Manage social media. Social media trends change daily, and even the best social media managers may struggle to keep up. Use AI to take the guesswork out of determining trends that will resonate with your audience — tools like Hootsuite and Loomly use AI to track and analyze trends, giving your team helpful insights into consumer behavior.
Learn to speak Gen Z
When it comes to buying power, Gen Z is an audience that requires serious consideration. Gen Z is comprised of people between the ages of 7 and 22, and while they may be one of the youngest demographics, their influence shouldn’t be underestimated. By 2020, Gen Z already possessed a collective purchasing power of more than $143 billion. In fact, this generation’s total share of spending is set to reach 17% by 2030 as most of its members enter the workforce.
Gen Z audiences aren’t just important for B2C brands, either. While Millennials and Gen X currently dominate the B2B market, 2% of B2B buyers are already Gen Zers, and that number is set to rise quickly over the next decade.
Connecting with Gen Z doesn’t mean you need to adopt the word cheugy in your vocabulary or learn the newest TikTok dance craze — but it does mean learning their behavior and how they stand out from earlier generations. Gen Z chooses ethical brands that value corporate responsibility. They’re more price-conscious than Millennials and will shop around for the best deal. They’re just as likely to shop in-store as they are online, but expect personalized, high-quality experiences and products.
Adapting your marketing strategy to align with Gen Z values may help bring in the powerful following this up-and-coming generation delivers.
Strategies to try
- Personalize interactions. Gen Z craves personalization. In fact, 87% of Gen Z expects and desires personalization from their favorite brands. To meet their needs, connect with Gen Z using live chat support and provide targeted ads for products or services that might interest them.
- Embrace social media. Gen Zers have mastered the art of social media, so your company should speak their language. Be sure to understand what kind of content and voice work on each social media platform. For example, engaging with your audience using a trending meme might be best suited for Twitter, while your educational or aspirational video content might do well on Instagram.
- Establish clear brand values. Socially and environmentally conscious brands attract Gen Z customers, so be sure to promote the values your own brand supports. Gen Z customers are more likely to buy from brands that they align with personally.
Embrace user-first SEO
Online businesses, blogs, and website owners rely on search engine optimization (SEO) to increase their rankings on search engines for target keywords and phrases. To see the results you want, SEO implementation requires an investment of time and money. Study after study has proven that 95%+ of web users don’t go past the first page of a search engine’s results, making it all the more important that your content ranks as high as possible.
While black-hat SEO tactics were once considered effective, SEO today should be catered to real readers rather than Google’s crawlers. Keyword stuffing may offer the occasional quick win, but it is not a viable long-term solution. In fact, Google recently cracked down on these underhanded practices. In August 2022, the search engine giant released its “helpful content update,” making clear that the future of SEO is a people-first approach.
If you’re unsure whether your content is on the right track, ask yourself: Do you have an audience that would find the content useful if they came directly to your site? Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, your people-first approach is headed in the right direction.
Strategies to try
- Avoid keyword stuffing. Stop writing for search engine algorithms and start writing for the customers that will buy your products or services. Keyword stuffing isn’t as effective as crafting engaging content that will attract an audience. You will still be rewarded with a good ranking, because consumers follow good content, and search engines follow consumers.
- Optimize for mobile. Nothing makes a user hop off a website faster than a page that’s clearly not optimized for mobile. Mobile dominates 59% of market share worldwide, as compared to desktop’s 38%, meaning that over half of your traffic likely comes from mobile users. To create a better mobile user experience, incorporate mobile-friendly pop-ups and check your site speed.
- Target featured snippets. Featured snippets on Google are prime real estate for digital marketers for good reason — the snippets answer a user’s question without requiring them to leave the page but also increase organic traffic because they appear before any other results on the page. Improving your SEO and tailoring your content to target readers can help you win the coveted spot.
Related article: What Is White Hat and Black Hat SEO?
Develop interactive content
Millions of content creators, publishing agencies, and other businesses are competing for consumer attention online. After a while, it may be difficult to effectively capture your audience’s attention — after all, it’s estimated that the average person’s attention span fell from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2021. That’s why creating interactive content is key to keeping your audience engaged.
Reel in your audience with interactive formats such as polls, quizzes, giveaways, and webinars. These tactics give your audience a stake in your brand and the content you’re creating, giving you a competitive edge. In fact, 81% of marketers agree that interactive content is more effective at grabbing potential buyers’ attention than static content. Plus, it’s a low-cost, high-impact strategy that offers more benefits than just enhanced engagement. Interactive content can also improve brand loyalty and customer learning.
Strategies to try
- Combine interactive and gated content. Gated content prevents users from accessing the interactive content until they offer something in return, like submitting their email before receiving the results of a quiz or enrolling in a free course. Try turning your interactive content into a lead generation tool by placing it behind a digital gate.
- Don’t start from scratch. You don’t have to create new content just to incorporate interactive elements. Repurposing or expanding upon existing content is a simple way to make it interactive, such as adding a quiz in the middle of an existing article or ebook.
- Collect user feedback. Interactive content doesn’t just engage users — it also works as an important tool for marketers. Without interactive content, it can be difficult to tell whether page visitors actually read and engaged with the article they opened or the PDF they downloaded. Try leveraging interactive content to collect valuable data about your target audience. For example, monitor engagement by tracking how many quiz questions a user answered, or gain demographic insights from asking specific questions.
What’s staying the same?
New marketing trends are constantly emerging, but that doesn’t mean you need to wipe the slate clean every year. Here are our predictions for the current trends that will continue to shape your 2023 strategy.
- SEOs will refine optimization for voice search. Whether you’re asking Alexa a question or telling Siri to add a local event to your calendar, voice search continues to gain popularity. You can take advantage of this trend by utilizing phrases and questions within your content for a smart device to relay.
- B2B brands will embrace account-based marketing (ABM). ABM focuses on highly-personalized forms of marketing. While traditional marketing may call for a blanket blog post in the hopes of attracting consumers, an ABM approach finds more success in hyper-targeting a set of high-value leads based on specific online behavior and engagement.
- Video content will still reign supreme. The future of video remains bright — HubSpot reports the average consumer watched 18 hours of video per week in 2021. Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok have made creating viral video content easier than ever, empowering brands to engage niche audiences, lock in leads, and experiment with new revenue streams.
- Omnichannel marketing will become more important than ever. Marketing your content on multiple channels will continue to widen the scope of your audience and enable you to reach new markets. By defining audiences and meeting them where they congregate online, you’ll be able to build more genuine connections.
Staying on top of ever-evolving trends in marketing separates successful businesses from the rest of the pack. Book a discovery call with Lightning Media Partners today to learn how to optimize your marketing strategy for 2023 and beyond.
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