By Luke Fitzpatrick
For digital marketers, the coming of a new year comes with a chance to improve and strengthen their marketing strategies. This could mean staying up to date with the trends that could shape the world of digital marketing for small businesses.
With the chaos of 2020 now behind us, it’s time to look ahead to what we can expect in 2021. Let’s look at seven of the content marketing trends to adopt this year:
1. Value-driven content will matter more
At this time and age, web users see a lot of content on the internet. With the sheer volume of blogs and content uploaded each day, you can expect people to become picky when it comes to what content they want to consume. At best, they pick an article containing information they haven’t read anywhere else on the internet.
Remember that you’re not the only one offering your products in the market. You have to make sure that you stand out among your competitors. If you’re giving away eBooks or guides that contain generic information, they’re less likely to give out their contact information to get access to your offers.
The best chance you have at gaining your customers’ trust is to offer content that drives value. Start by thinking of how your product will affect their lives in the long run. If you focus too much on directly promoting the product itself, chances are, your audience will skip it and look for information they need elsewhere.
For instance, if you’re selling a fruit juicer, instead of just producing content about what it is and how it’s used, you can talk about the health benefits of consuming fruit juices. You can also talk about how using the fruit juice will help them save time, effort, etc.
Use concrete examples, and if possible, use your customers’ testimonies. Reading other people’s experiences with a product or service will affect how consumers view your product, thus, helping you convert them into customers.
2. Video content will continue to dominate in the digital marketing arena
Videos are one of the most effective mediums to deliver your brand’s message out there. People are highly visual, and many consumers are more likely to prefer consuming information in the form of a 2-3 minute video than scroll through blogs.
When HubSpot conducted a survey on video marketing in 2017, they found out that 54 percent of their 3,010 consumers from the US, Germany, Colombia, and Mexico would like to see videos from brands. These video marketing statistics from DepositPhotos in 2017 are also worth considering:
- 90 percent of consumers say that watching a video helps them make buying decisions.
- Adding videos to your website’s landing pages can lead to 80% more conversions.
- The mere mention of videos on your email marketing subject line can lead to a 19% increase in open rates.
If anything, it tells us that if your brand isn’t utilizing video marketing, you might as well start doing it now. Videos are easy to consume, and it keeps your audience engaged.
Moreover, with events and face-to-face interaction still limited in 2021, live video events, like webinars, will become one way businesses can generate leads, work with influencers to promote their brand, and ultimately raise their profits.
3. Consumers will prefer hyper-personalized content
Personalization has long been a digital marketing trend, and it will continue to be one in 2021. But as customers become savvier, merely using your customers’ first names may not be enough to improve their experience. If you want to drive more traffic and increase conversions, and therefore, sales, you have to know what your customers want.
This is where the concept of hyper-personalization comes into play. Hyper-personalization is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to collect data from your web visitors — their activity on your website, products they frequently view, and more. The more data you have, the better personalized content you’ll be able to deliver to your audience.
You can collect these data using third-party software like Google Analytics, HubSpot’s Marketing Hub, and more. With the data, you can create personalized emails, pop-ups, and other content tailored to your audience preferences. For instance, if one of your web visitors abandoned their cart after shopping, you can send them a follow-up email after a few hours to remind them to complete the purchase process.
4. Topical authority will start to matter more
Search engine algorithms will be placing more emphasis on expertise and authority when it comes to ranking websites on the search engine results page (SERPs). Topical authority talks about the website’s depth of knowledge when it comes to a specific subject matter. It’s typically achieved by writing longer and high-quality content.
The reason behind this is that when you have long-form content, you’ll be able to discuss a topic in more depth. In other words, you’ll be supplying more information to your consumers, which will eventually help you gain their trust. If other websites find your content valuable, they may use it as a reference, and in turn, you’ll gain backlinks — another important SEO ranking factor.
5. Voice searches will impact how content marketing will sound like
The advent of Siri, Alexa, and Cortana brought people’s strategy to the next level. Now, screenless searching is something that millions of people in the U.S. do every single day. By simply asking the AI-powered voice assistant, they can have the answers spoken back to them without even looking at or touching the device.
If you want to up your content marketing strategy in 2021, optimizing your content for voice searches won’t just be an option but a necessity.
The easiest way to optimize your content is to write your product description so that it answers questions in a straightforward manner. This obviously causes a shift in how content marketing will sound like how we write isn’t exactly the same as how we speak. With voice search optimization, you’ll have to ensure that your content will adapt to the natural language.
When writing, try to use complete sentences with long-tail keywords within your content. You can also take advantage of “near me” searches to appeal to more targeted and local searches.
6. AI-Powered content will start to dominate
The beauty of artificial intelligence is that it can take a lot of things off people’s plates. In content marketing, AI proves this statement to be true. It helps collect customer information for personalization, but it can also make use of those data to generate targeted content that they can send to consumers. From captions to summaries, AI-powered tools can help you develop that.
One tool, in particular, the GPT-3 by the OpenAI Company, has been known to generate decent-quality content. It sources information and references all over the internet, which it then uses to create content. AI-driven content will help build your website’s authority over time.
Chatbots are also AI-powered, and they are getting smarter every single day. Now, stores can use their chatbots to assist their customers in order placement, check out, and tracking. Businesses can also use chatbots to deliver information quickly, thus adding more support to your business’s content marketing strategy.
7. Content atomization will be a thing
With movements still limited for people because of COVID-19, getting content out there will be slightly different in 2021. Marketers would have to make use of what they currently have to expand their reach. This is then where content atomization comes into play.
Content atomization is breaking down long-form content into five or more content pieces. Each of the articles will be discussed in more detail and maybe presented from a new angle.
For instance, if you created an eBook guide on your fruit juicer, you can pick some of the subheadings individually and build content around that. You can publish it as a blog or newsletter. You can also turn your eBook into shorter, more digestible content like an infographic.
Constant content production will be vital as businesses move forward. Content atomization allows them to maximize what they already have and turn it into something more engaging and fun for the audience. It also benefits them in a way that they won’t have to spend more on content creation since they will only be repurposing old content.
You may have heard of the adage “content is king” a hundred times before, but in 2021, it will remain very much true. As people continue to look at new ways to access and consume information, marketers will have to adapt to these content marketing trends to make sure that they deliver the content their audience needs at the right time.
Digital marketing for small businesses has come a long way since. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that for businesses to survive; they have to be ready to adapt to changes. Content provides a way for marketers to reach their audience. If done right, your strategies might just help convince consumers and persuade them to convert into paying customers.
About the author
Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program.