The world of content marketing is always changing. If your content strategy is stagnant and you’re not adapting to these changes, 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.”
Here are the content marketing trends you need to know that will impact business in 2021 and beyond, what’s changed in the last year, and how to implement these content marketing trends into your current content strategy.
2021 Content Marketing Trends To Try
1. Save time by repurposing existing content
The first content marketing trend to be aware of is the surprisingly simple, yet effective, approach of reusing existing content. By repurposing your content across multiple platforms, you’re saving yourself time and increasing your chances of being discovered in organic searches.
In one case, a potential customer could find your page on Instagram where a caption will explain a blog post, while another individual may find your blog post through a search engine. Overall, you’re finding yourself in the face of many different audiences, which helps your brand recognition. For example, if you publish an article on your website you can repurpose that blog post in the following ways:
- A social media post that links to the blog
- Creating a podcast referring to the blog
- Adding video content to the blog
- Pulling stats and figures from the blog to create infographics
- Sending an email newsletter to your subscribers referring back to the blog
2. Impact customers through content-driven personalization
At the end of the day, consumers want to know their needs are taken care of by brands they trust. This includes providing them with customized solutions and content that’s written with your target audience in mind. In other words, by providing customers with content-driven personalization, you’re able to keep their attention for longer periods of time and retain them in the future. As the sales process becomes even more complex, it’s more important than ever to utilize content-driven personalization to keep your customers’ eyes on you.
For example, users could be directed to your page for your unique approach to writing blogs and receive a freebie such as blog templates that enhance your original approach. You can then ask them to provide their email address where you’ll send a weekly newsletter and special personalized offers based on their interest in your content. These content personalization techniques will keep consumers engaged and coming back to your content.
3. Remain relevant with video content
The future of video content remains bright as the number of users that prefer to watch videos online increases. The capabilities to create short videos are becoming easier and more popular through Instagram Reels and TikTok, especially among younger viewers. Video content has become a popular way to engage niche audiences, lock in leads, and even create an additional source of revenue.
Additionally, Zoom meetings have become the norm throughout the last couple of years, opening opportunities to host events with popular guests and talk about engaging subject matter. Take advantage of video content by:
- Creating and editing short videos to use for Instagram or Facebook that relate to your audience
- Using TikTok to create a short video on the benefits of working with your business
- Streaming a live webinar with guests and topics relevant to your followers’ interests
- Creating a podcast episode with video
- Going on Instagram Live with business updates or when launching a new service
4. Take advantage of ‘out of home’ advertising
With most people having to stay in their homes throughout 2020 due to lockdowns, consumers are becoming less swayed by digital ads and media. Businesses need to think outside of the box of digital marketing as customers head to stores, restaurants, and other outdoor spaces. Utilizing out-of-home advertising, or outdoor advertising does just that. These advertisements usually have a wide reach meaning it’s a less targeted approach than most digital advertising, which includes:
- Static or mobile billboards
- Transit advertising including buses, freeways, trains, subways, etc.
- Point-of-sale advertising such as counter displays
- Retail advertising including floor graphics, mall displays, and advertisements on elevators
- Construction advertising
5. Create interactive content for an engaged audience
Millions of content creators, publishing agencies, and other businesses are all competing for consumer attention online. After a while, it may be difficult to actively and effectively capture your audience’s attention each time. It’s estimated that the average person’s attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2021. That’s why it’s important to come up with interactive, interesting, and engaging content that keeps them coming back to your content such as:
- Interactive quizzes
- Webinars or “going live” on Facebook or Instagram
- Interactive e-books or workbooks
- Polls or surveys
- Interactive and moving infographics
- Mobile apps or gaming options
- 360-view videos
- Interactive emails or e-newsletters
- Interactive Q&A options on your website
Interactive marketing is seen as the future of content marketing to better capture your followers’ attention and keep them engaged. Interactive content gives your audience a new, fresh way of seeing regular content online. By utilizing interactive content, you’re able to show them something they aren’t used to viewing — giving you a competitive edge.
6. Use the popular disappearing ‘Story’ features on social media
Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and many other social media platforms all have a “story” feature where people can share snippets from their day, repurpose posts, and easily keep up with their followers. TikTok is even testing out its own story feature to better compete with other social media platforms. Story features are a great way to create simple, yet effective social media content as well as track how many people are viewing your story’s content. They even show up on Google and other search engine results, gaining recognition and discovery options for your brand.
Here are a few ways small businesses can use stories:
- Update your audience on a new announcement or launch date
- Create “highlight” features on Instagram that direct to your most relevant updates
- Add the question feature for your audience to answer
- Create polls
- Share your location and why you’re there
- Share new posts on your story feature
Related article: 6 Things to Know When Starting Content Marketing
How Have Content Marketing Trends Shifted Since 2020?
Consumers are reducing their screen time
The majority of consumers were more reliant on their screens than ever in 2020 with the start of the pandemic. As lockdowns and restrictions were more prevalent, people spent the majority of their time indoors and online. With fewer COVID-19 restrictions in the United States than this time last year, for example, many people are deciding to cut their screen time down in favor of going outdoors and spending time socializing. From late 2021 into 2022 we can most likely expect to see consumers continuing to spend less time on their devices. This makes it imperative to utilize other forms of content marketing rather than relying on online marketing campaigns.
Third party cookies are phasing out
For decades, websites have used cookies to track and retain information from web visitors. These data files help website owners create targeted ad campaigns and improve their users’ experiences. Cookies can also be used to view how and what users are searching for on other websites to better understand their individual needs.
As soon as next year, Google will be moving away from third-party cookies in its Chrome browsers. Google announced the plans in February of 2020 by explaining that customers are valuing their privacy more than ever. This includes how data is being collected, stored, and utilized across platforms. While Firefox and Safari have already removed third-party cookies, Google is planning to complete the removal by 2022.
First-party cookies, or cookies that remember a user’s personal information such as password or preferences, will still be available on major internet browsers. However, the third-party cookie that’s responsible for learning a user’s online behavior outside of the original website, will be affected. This usually concerns larger advertising agencies or marketers. If you’re a small business that relies on first-party cookies, this change most likely won’t affect your efforts. However, it will be important to look at alternatives if you’re considering targeted advertising.
Google will introduce Core Web Vitals
Online businesses, blogs, and website owners rely on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools and original content to increase their rankings on search engines. However, there’s a new way to increase these rankings through Google’s new Core Web Vitals. This program requires websites to now meet a certain set of requirements to be ranked higher on Google’s search feature. SEO and Core Web Vitals will work hand-in-hand to provide the best possible content for readers.
The three Core Web Vitals Google will be ranking are:
- Loading: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). A LCP focuses on how long it takes on average for a website’s main content to load including all text and media. For your page to rank well, this content must be fully loaded in 2.5 seconds. Your website should be fully optimized to give your consumers answers to their questions and problems as soon as possible. It also increases the likelihood that they’ll stay on your page.
- Visual Stability: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). The CLS metric gauges how stable your website is as it loads a page. The higher the CLS score, the more unstable your pages are. For example, if someone clicks on a web page, the media and text may shift as it loads or as they read, making for a less than pleasant experience on the reader’s part.
Related article: Is SEO Worth It for Small Businesses?
How can I implement these content marketing trends into my business’s content marketing strategy?
Convert higher-quality leads with targeted messaging
Once a potential customer leaves your website, you’ll want to follow up with targeted ads and messaging that will bring them back. This can be done by sending follow-up emails, SMS messages, and direct messages over social media platforms. These messages should be highly personalized and show you care about them receiving the solution your business can offer to their potential problem. You can offer them a free content guide, one on one call, or even a discount on your services to encourage their return.
Showcase brand values and authenticity
Transparency is essential to developing a trusting relationship with your customers. Your brand’s honesty and integrity can be shown by showcasing its values. Think about what your business brings to your customers and what you refuse to compromise on whether it’s a commitment to a customer’s satisfaction or devotion to high-quality products or services. These values can be exhibited in your brand strategy plan and mission statement.
Vary types of content
When capturing your audience’s attention, the easiest way to deliver high-quality, effective content is to work smarter — not harder. Create one long-form blog post and plan to utilize it in your social media channels, like an infographic, a guide, and even a podcast. This plan reduces the workload for you and provides plenty of content to work with over time.
Ensure you’re marketing on multiple channels
Consumers are widening their lens and exploring new social media channels and places to receive content. Marketing your content on multiple channels widens the scope of your audience and gives you the ability to reach an entirely new market. Different media channels also provide options to audiences with varied preferences, such as blog posts, to those who like to read content or video content for followers who are more auditory. While it may seem daunting, there are plenty of marketing tools out there that can help you keep an eye out on multiple channels at once.
Ready to grow your business with an effective content marketing strategy? Lightning Media Partners can help you reach your target audience and drive sales while leveraging the current content marketing trends. Contact us today to get started.
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