Creating quality content targeted towards the audience is still valued as the most crucial aspect of business in this digital era. Companies that engage in content marketing have 7.8X higher organic traffic. And as we have entered the new year and already in the midst of February, it is of paramount importance to prepare our strategy ahead and lookout for the content marketing predictions that might shape it.
Not to reiterate the same old (and negative) story, but the last year was hit hard by the sudden pandemic outbreak, that cannot be unseen. Mostly small businesses and start-ups have suffered the greatest loss that made many of them to quit. The world has changed forever with remote work, remote education, remote assessments on the rise.
The Sudden Shift in 2019 Strategies!
In 2019, there were several marketing predictions made by the tech gurus, all of which were wiped out entirely. So, it is tough to predict what the future has in store; but one thing is for certain, content and digital marketing will continue to dominate this year, as well as the upcoming years. As challenging 2020 has been, constant learning and adapting to the sudden shifts are the only way to stay relevant and sustain.
And as we talk about the industry that is worth more than $400 billion, being aware of the projected trends can help to keep your business on track and expect a legitimate outcome.
The Evolution of Content and Content Consumption
Content had evolved a lot since the 2010s when the Social Revolution took place owing to the mushrooming social media networks and eCommerce sites.
Until now, much of the online world has changed, but the content is still on the driver’s seat, driving revenue, brand awareness, and customer relationship. And perhaps the most obvious benefit of content marketing is a greater conversion rate because consumers are driven by their thirst for quality content. Presently, content strategists are more focused on creating and publishing personalized content, based on user behavior, habits, searches, preferences.
And with every passing day, newer researches are conducted in that area bringing in promising stats.
For e.g., User Generated content (UGC) has now been a standard in every digital marketing strategy that puts customers in the front. UGC helps you reach a wider audience, paves the way to find influencers, and is the most trust-worthy content form for any business. Positive user-generated marketing content boosts brand credibility, as they are created around humanized elements of a brand.
And this factor motivates the prospects to engage with a brand. Most importantly, studies have found that sales wherein the prospects were exposed to UGC, spiked up to 82%.
With all these in mind, let’s take a sneak-peek into what 2021 will look like for content marketers. And what all trends and predictions they must consider while determining the right kind of efforts to put in their marketing campaigns.
1. More Focus on Topical Authority instead of Keywords.
When we talk about authority, most marketers assign that with keyword-rich content or link building. Well, not that these metrics are to be neglected, but now is the time of creating authoritative content for search engines that are topically optimized and not just keyword-optimized. Keyword research is, of course, not dead. There is still immense value for the right keyword to drive organic traffic.
However, in 2021, content makers must not just focus on finding keywords to sprinkle on their content. Instead, they need to organize keywords into relevant topical groups based on the searcher’s intent. Thereafter, authoritative content has to be developed. Your audience wants to know how deep is your knowledge about the subjects you speak on your website.
Therefore, Google will emphasize on topic expertise rather than keywords and link building. Now it’s not enough to create content for one SEO-rich keyword. Marketers and Bloggers have to put more focus on how well the content suits your overall website or the nature of your business.
2. Voice Content Strategy Optimization.
Audiobooks, podcasts, voice search – have paved the way for voice content into the mainstream digital marketing gamut since 2018. But 2021 is going to be a major affair for voice content.
It is predicted to open a whole new opportunity for consumers. As far as voice search is concerned, almost one-fourth of the global online shoppers use their Smartphones and other IoT gadgets for a voice search. And 2021 will see half of all online searches done through voice search, owing to its convenience.
Voice optimized content are on the rise as smart speakers adoption amongst marketers have grown to 38.9%. Smart speakers enable webmasters to connect with their target audience through highly engaging and personalized voice experiences, automatically deployed to voice platforms like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Apple Siri, etc. Implementation of Audio Blogs has gained great popularity, and 2021 will see a significant boost in this. Voice content strategy makers, ahoy!
3. Content Strategy would be Exclusively Products and Services Oriented.
2021 will be a year for content creators to stay laser-focused on buyer personas and user behaviors for creating core content topics. It is projected that tighter focus will be seen on the assets that persuade buyers to make a purchase from your company.
Usually, these bottom-of-the-funnel content materials, like case studies, testimonials, product pages, highlight the products or service offerings to build trust.
Over the next 6-9 months, businesses will tend to apply such BOFU content materials into their content pieces, optimized for buyers and not search engines. Such has been the new-age content marketing trends and the future of marketing operations.
4. Live and Short Form Videos will Rise.
We have already seen the surge of live video streamings in 2019; 2021 will see a massive rise in the trend as a popular form of content. This also includes search results. Although some social media networks give the option of pre-recorded videos, they fail to create as much buzz and engagement as live videos.
Live videos attribute to personal video calls with the viewers, even if it is getting streamed amidst thousand of people. Don’t forget, that mobile usage is soaring higher and higher, with 5.11 billion mobile users globally. Moreover, mobile apps like TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram Reels – short videos have been one of the most popular trends, leading to positive ROI for businesses.
Therefore, your 2021 video content strategy must certainly include live videos to appease the mobile users. You may reach out to the professionals for some help if required.
5. Content Communities will be Formed More than Ever.
Creating a better human experience is the ultimate goal for all marketers. Content communities drive growth and improve the user experience even with fewer resources. With the rise in personalization during the pandemic, Slack communities, community building has been even more important than it was.
Take for example, Netflix’s separate YouTube handle, ‘NetflixIsAJoke’, for stand-up comedies that shares all the promotional content and drive further engagement. A perfect example of how webmasters use content marketing to build a community for their audience.
Such communities also provide social validation and a quintessential A/B testing forum. 2021 will see marketers furthermore leveraging content-oriented groups and communities for business benefits.
6. Augmented Reality is all set to Contextualize Content Marketing.
AR-VR are no longer marketing gimmicks but integral parts of inbound marketing efforts for global businesses. Even SMEs and small businesses are following the suit and buckling down their investments on leveraging augmented reality.
And this year’s content marketing predictions will see a massive boom in businesses implementing AR in a bid to improve customer experience and boost eCommerce success. The trend trajectory of augmented reality within mobile apps allows customers to enjoy an immersive and interactive experience.
So, make sure your 2021 digital marketing repertoire fuses content development and augmented reality together to give the much-needed context to your brand messages.
7. Consumers will prefer Value-Driven Content Only.
Take your key New Year’s resolution if you have not already. Be purposeful! What purpose does your brand serve for your TG (Target Group)? What unique value does it put in for them?
Hopefully, 2021 will see the end of gated content for anything on the Internet, save for the most original research. The vicious cycle of giving away personal details (emails, phone numbers) for unworthy content might end. Value-oriented and purposeful content will rise to the pinnacle, converting leads into paying customers.
For e.g.; if you own a female beauty regime brand, don’t just focus on stressing upon your products and how they can give them a makeover. But talk about how water consumption promotes glowing skin and slows down the aging process. These kinds of practical suggestions and value-driven content will help you grow your brand reputation, as well as build trust.
8. Reduce Marketing Risks with Minimum Viable Content, aka, MVC!
MVP stands for ‘Minimum Viable Product’ that refers to the initial stage (beta version) of the first workable version of a product with enough features to attract the early-adopters. This way, the product idea gets validated in the product development cycle, with the least possible effort. It is more of a trial and error phase for a product.
But why do we talk about MVP here? Because experts opine that this is a year to focus on proven tactics without purchasing advanced content management software and tools.
That said, this year, let’s focus on MVC – Minimum Viable Content, to reduce the risk factor. Every sector, every business has its own set of minimum viable content metric, but the following metrics are the same across all industries:
- Email subscriptions
- Audience Research
- First-click Attributions
- SWOT Analysis
- Search Rankings
Marketing through quality content is a blend of art and science both. If executed correctly, it can bring in phenomenal growth and success. Focus on these fundamental metrics and plan your strategies meticulously.
9. Content Mapping will Immensely Surface.
Ever wondered how each of your content pieces strategically relate to and support your customers in their journey? With the growing trend of Content Mapping, this year might be the year of opportunities for content strategists. A marketer must be aware of the role played by the landing pages, and the strategic CTAs play in influencing a prospect across the business touch-points.
The insights gained as such can help in creating effective and successful marketing strategies to nurture prospects through the sales funnel. A crucial part of strategic content planning, content mapping can be deemed as one of the most promising content writing trends in the realm of digital marketing.
Start early, so as to create brand new creative content assets that seamlessly guide a lead to the next level of the purchase funnel.
10. SEO Priority will Skyrocket, once again!
The priority for SEO optimized content will never die; the content marketing predictions this year, tell the earlier content optimization phenomenon happening steadily. Experts are hoping to see high-quality SEO optimization as the central part of any content plan, focusing on the niche and long-tail keywords to direct the users better.
Updating the SEO elements of a content piece will go a long way in differentiating the second movers with that of the SEO strategies of the first movers. This year, look out for better SEO opportunities to avail!
11. Personalized and Conversational Marketing will be the Need of the Hour!
Since the wake of 2019, we have seen the mass adoption of personalization in digital marketing, which has taken user experience to the next level. Back when Smartphones entered the commercial market in 2007, the need for a personalized approach arose, and customers started desiring customized marketing pitch that genuinely addresses their pain-points.
Following that trend, now we have Conversational Marketing in our kitty that allows marketers to go deeper into the needs and emotions of their target audience.
Marketers are communicating with the audience directly through intelligent messaging bots, robust social listening, instant messaging, one-on-one customer interviews, and many more. This year and the upcoming years will see content strategists creating value-added content that focuses on the consumer as a whole per se.
And not just the purchase part!
For e.g. if you own a fashion chain, it is not enough to just create a custom content about how corduroys make a man look more manly. Your content must cover the whole personality of the buyer. As in, how important it is for a man to have a perfect gait, that amplifies their appearance.
These content marketing tips are major developments in the regime of content creation, and marketers must make all the efforts to implement conversational marketing tactics in their business operations.
12. Featured Snippets are Imminent!
The featured snippet in Google search result will not go obsolete this year and the upcoming years even – rather will continue to be the most coveted spot for all marketers.
The 2021 SEO trends are prioritizing featured snippet above everything else. Featured snippets are information boxes that appear at the top of a search result, which gives the onlooker a glimpse of the answer to their questions. This implies that you could steal some attention from the top-ranking page owing to the featured snippet.
To achieve this, structure your content to make it easy on the eyes, use short paragraphs, headlines, brief statements, structured data, markups from Schema.org – all contributing to more SEO visibility in position ‘zero’.
13. Dynamic Google Stories, or Web Stories will Rise in Popularity.
Like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, even search engine giant Google is riding on the stories trend. Google Web Stories are nothing but a web-based version of the most hyped ‘stories’. Creating web stories is pretty easy to create on Google’s free story creation website.
These kinds of dynamic video content could be used as an alternative to News Feed Ads, and could be linked to the top-ranking Blog post or article behind it.
This would not just help the readers to easily find what they are searching for. But would also provide a lot of lucrative opportunities for marketers in their efforts to interact and provide information to the audience. 2021 is an active year for such dynamic web stories.
14. A Massive Upswing in Messaging Apps Usage will be the New Normal!
2021 will be the year for the instant messaging apps boom – private and instant messaging apps are becoming more and more relevant to social media users. So much so, that usage of messaging apps has surpassed the usage of social networks.
WhatsApp, with 2 billion active users, has already become the number one messaging app in the past few years. But with WhatsApp’s privacy woes, Signal and Telegram saw a recent spike in their download rate. This year will be dominated by apps that would also bring in some innovative opportunities for brands in general.
Content specialists ought to leverage the app explosion, along with the 3 billion app users. This is a trend that marketers should certainly consider in their marketing plan-develop apps for their brands. And include bits and pieces of the brand content in the apps. App potential is going to smash all the records in 2021!
15. There will be a Surge in Bot/Machine-Generated Content.
Artificial Intelligence has already proved its potential in making our lives easy; with IoT gadgets, smart assistants and bots at our disposal, we have been considerably exposed to the extent of AI’s capabilities.
This year is going to be another groundbreaking advancement in AI where we would see it playing a bigger role in content marketing. Since the advent of bots, a question revolved around the curious minds: Can robots write content and create stories?
Well, the answer is yes, and already we have content that are created by a machine. MGC or Machine Generated Content will have a strong impact on creative fields and help marketers pick up the slack where their in-house team lacks competency.
Judging the growing MGC trend, investments must be made in AI tools that create creative brand content in bulk. This would save time and resources both, as well as disrupt the content marketing game.
Well, these are some of the biggest emerging content marketing predictions that you can jump on. Putting the long story short, this year will mainly focus on creating high quality content that are more business-oriented and personalized. Apart from following these essentials, explore out-of-the-box ways to inspire and engage with your clients, and make your 2021 a great marketing success.
2020 has taught us that nothing is permanent, and one cannot stand still. The kind of content that used to work earlier, don’t do now. The pandemic has changed the way content is delivered a lot. Digital marketers must keep on evolving and adopting newer trends to sustain in the market.
If you are looking for a strategic content partner to inspire your target audience and evolve with time, then we are just an email away. We can create engaging Blog posts with stunning Infographics, data visualizations, and Social Media Graphics. Let us know what other predictions you hope to see this year and the years next. Keep the comment section resourceful with your valuable insights.