Trends Changing Content Marketing

The Trends Changing Content Marketing and How You Can Adapt to Them

Content Marketing has been the buzzword for quite some time now, and with good reason.

Research from Content Marketing Institute shows that 91% of B2B marketers use one form of content marketing or another to reach their target audience.

But is the strategy effective? According to data by Mailchimp, the average click-through rate for a website is a measly 2.5%. In spite of a lot of money spent by companies on content marketing, the results are far from impressive.

The reason? 

We did some digging around and gathered some signals as to why your content marketing efforts are failing. The one key takeaway from our research was that people, and the companies that they represent, are not adapting to the changes in the way content is consumed by an average internet user. 

So in this blog post, we’re sharing some of those changes and trends that you missed out on in your content marketing strategy. 

Top 10 content marketing trends that you may have ignored (but shouldn’t anymore)

1. Topical authority – More important than ever. 

Google keeps updating its search algorithm, and it is now clearer than ever that building authority on a topic helps you rank for a particular keyword. Google has been emphasizing more and more on E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness- Trustworthiness) to rank pages and present information to search queries.

To incorporate E-A-T into your website, try publishing more long-form content in the form of blogs and whitepapers. If you write as though you are an expert in the field you are blogging about, Google will direct more and more traffic to your website. 

Simple as that. 

PS. Incorporating content from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) will also help you build topical authority.

2. Value-driven content – Get to the top faster! 

As the internet gets crowded with more and more content, consumers are getting picky about whom to share their contact information with. No one wants a poorly written ebook or a series of sub-par emails that waste time and crowd their inbox.

To create value-driven content that has a healthy number of downloads, you need to understand the customer’s pain points first. 

What are their goals and current challenges? How are they trying to overcome them? How can your product solve the customer’s problems? What is the value you bring to them in comparison to what they’re already making use of?

Asking questions like these and then crafting original content will help you not just create something better, but also establish a rapport for being someone who takes the extra step to deliver value. 

If you want more sign-ups from your content, consider offering value for free. This can be in the form of free checklists, templates, ebooks, guides or even a webinar. 

3. Get original – Find your differentiator. 

The internet is today filled with “thought leaders” and “influencers”, and customers are now tired of having their mailboxes flooded with research that is “borrowed” from another source. But if you go by psychology and start noticing patterns around you, you will see that we’re always interested in original thinking. Research that is novel will always find takers.

To craft an original research piece, start by asking questions about a certain hypothesis to know what the market feels about the issue. Distribute questionnaires to your blog subscribers and your audience to gain valuable insight into a particular issue.

Combine these findings with data that you have obtained from the market. For instance, a whitepaper you have purchased from a market research firm. This will now give you an original research piece, something that you can circulate among the audience to gain traction for your website. 

You may also repurpose this research piece as a graph, chart, and sometimes, even a small video or a summary to give the audience clear actionables. 

4. More interactive content – To get more engagement! 

Customers of today don’t just need to be informed, they want to be entertained in the process. Crafting more content that creates these “aha” moments for customers will determine if you succeed in your marketing efforts in 2021.

Funny gifs, short videos, a cartoon or a comic, the sky’s the limit when it comes to new and novel ways to deliver information to your customers. For this process, B2B can take some serious inspiration from B2C, where clever copywriters and content creators compete for the customer’s attention using just words or simple imagery. 

Short, ‘snackable’ content is the wave of the future, and you better jump on board before this train leaves the content station, so to speak.

5. AI coming to the rescue – You better hop on. 

Artificial Intelligence is already altering some of the industries, and content marketing has not been left behind. GPT-3, a third-generation language prediction model created by the San Francisco firm Open AI, has already managed to write short articles that can be scaled at will.

GPT-3 may still be learning to produce decent-length blog posts, but looks very promising when it comes to replacing actual bloggers. To counter this, companies can leverage the strengths of some of the tools available in the market, like Clearscope, which is a keyword research and content optimization tool. 

If you wish to compete with the likes of GPT-3, you better use these tools to craft content that is a mix of both intelligent thought and bot-generated data. Get ahead sooner! 

6. Focus on the UX of your content – Impressions are everything! 

SEO specialists and certain content writers have been known to write content aimed exclusively at Google, to make Google bots “crawl” the web page easier. But according to a Fast Company report, Google will now rank pages with better UX higher up in the search results.

The methodology in which content gets delivered to the end-user will be critical to a page’s Google rankings, and factors such as better UX design and faster load times will work in this site’s favour. 

So what can companies do to make UX better?

Start with the basics, like how images are positioned on the page and if the website is optimized to be viewed on a small screen. Personalization has also been known to provide a better user experience, and empathizing with the customer earns a website brownie points from Google. 

Having one on one conversations with the site visitors, with the help of say, a chatbot, will go a lot further in providing a customer a truly engaging experience. 

Then again, there are always the basics such as the fonts you use, the formatting, the media files and more that you need to pay attention to always. 

7. Content templates – Give them and win hearts. 

To explain how their products work, many companies now use demo and template libraries. These libraries usually consist of snapshots or templates that can help consumers visualise how to put your products to use. 

Keep increasing these examples and once you have a respectable number, use them to create a library.

Trello, for instance, has created a template library for its company overview, so that the users get a high-level view of what is happening throughout the company. Every team has a card and a representative from each team has to update the general happenings in that team since the last update. From content marketing calendars to creating individual to-dos or even planning product sprints, Trello has created a ready-to-use template for it all. 

8. Machine Generated Content (MGC) – It can be handy! 

We already discussed how AI is disrupting the content creation space. The future does not look scary with terminator-like robots that will destroy the human race. But the scenario that some of the content that you will read on webpages will be written by bots is far closer to reality than you think.

If you want to work with the machines rather than against them, invest in tools that will aid your writing teams in spheres where they lack strength. Take Rasa, for example. 

This neat little tool helps create truly personalized newsletters, by pulling content from your blog, along with other places that you dictate. You can thus create content at scale, without having to hire a new writer or putting stress on your existing team to double their efforts. 

Work with the machines, not against them.

9. Content Atomization – Small pieces to make it big. 

Content atomization is a technique where you break down a large piece of content, say a blog piece, into short pieces of content that can be easily digested by the audience. In a post-corona world, content creation has become that much more challenging, and companies can use content atomization to engage their existing audience to posts they have already read – or actually, partly consumed. 

For instance, you can repurpose an ebook by creating a blog post out of each individual chapter, and then break that down into an email for your newsletter subscribers. 

Lets give you an example. Check out this infographic by ReferralCandy, where they have converted an entire blog post around storytelling into a cute infographic that makes it easier for the readers to consume information. 

10. Google’s Core Web Vitals – a new challenge! 

Google has been harping on about the importance of user experience as a ranking factor, and it is not just by the sidelines hoping content creators will suddenly change their content delivery methods to suit Google’s needs. Google’s ultimate objective is to provide a seamless search experience to any user sitting in any corner of the world, irrespective of their geography or their image display size.

According to Google, Core Web Vitals shows how well your page performs based on real-world usage data. These reports are available every time Google rolls out a new algorithm update. Use these reports to continually monitor how your site is faring compared to others so that you can fix an issue before your traffic takes a big hit.

Now that you know what’s trending in the content marketing ecosystem, let’s get to how you can actually implement these trends. 

How to bring in the trends into your content marketing strategy

1. Conduct a content audit

See how your content fares when compared to your competitors. Are there areas missing on your blog that others are writing about? Are you addressing all of your customer’s pain points? Are your landing pages optimized with the most relevant information standing out? 

Answer these questions and then ask some more, so that your content ticks all the boxes in your marketing strategy. 

Be sure to take notes on what you feel should be better, who’s creating content that ranks better than yours and why. 

2. Analyze your performance

Frequently measure how your content is performing on all search engines and social media. Using tools such as the Google Web Console can give you an idea of how your content is performing for different searches and what kind of searches are actually leading people to that content. 

This is an important step to see if you’re driving the right traffic to your content. But more importantly, if that right traffic is finding your content engaging enough. 

3. Identify loopholes and opportunities

Once you analyze how well your content performs, you are bound to identify opportunities to improve your web performance. This could be in the form of areas that you have not blogged about, or social media strategies that you haven’t tried out yet. For that matter, it could be about how you present your content too – are there enough images, videos, GIFs? 

There is always room for improvement, and all one has to do is to constantly be on the lookout for these loopholes.

4. Competitor analysis 

Your biggest teacher should always be your closest competitor, at least when it comes to content marketing strategies. Analysing what your competitor is doing right, and wrong, can be a great resource while you are scaling up your content marketing efforts.

While you should be focusing on creating content that is unique and relevant to your target audience, you should always look for inspiration outside as well! 

5. Identify your resources

Before you go about implementing any of these trends into your content marketing strategy, take a good look at the resources available to you. 

This includes the team that is available to you for executing a new strategy, the tools that will help you do the same and the monetary resources to run it all. Also take note of what you might need additional resources for and by when, to plan things better. 

Also remember that at this stage, you need to take into account your expertise too. If you want to leverage a trend, but are not sure how to go about it, don’t be afraid to seek out help from an expert. 

Should you be paying attention to content marketing trends? 

The needs of the consumer are changing, and so is the way consumers are engaging with content on the internet. 

Long form blog content has given ways to videos, slideshares have become an integral part of our lives, and social media doesn’t look like it is going away any time soon. 

So make sure you also change with changing content needs, or face the wrath of the internet and get relegated to the deep recesses of the internet where content goes to die. Your choice.

But also know this – you don’t have to implement every trend in one go. You can go one step at a time, testing different strategies to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even these trends will not give you overnight results. It takes time for new strategies to take effect and drive traffic to your website. 

Content marketing is not a silver bullet to solve all your marketing hurdles, rather an important aid that will compliment all other marketing efforts.

So make sure you keep improvising as you go!