For the last two years, COVID-19 has been leaving its mark on the digital world as well as the rest of it. Most noticeably, it created an urgency for automation and adaptation to a more rigorous digital customer.
And as the market is adapting, trends in content marketing are beginning to solidify. In fact, savvier businesses are already using some of these to assert their lead on the competition.
But online content consumption has doubled in the last year, creating pressure for marketing leads to react quickly. Most teams are eager to adapt and innovate to meet their customers’ online needs.
Build a community with social, video, and audio formats
As 2022 inherits remote work and increased screen time from its predecessor, both business teams and consumers are starting to recognize the importance of online communities.
The importance of being social
For individuals, the appeal of joining an online community is simple. They get more engaging content that’s better curated and can interact with the business directly. But content marketers also benefit from implementing community-centric strategies for their audience. For instance, over 30% of customers assess whether a business is credible via chat or messaging. And messages sent to businesses on Facebook have grown 100% in the last year alone. This suggests that there is a need for a customer-centric approach, and marketers should aim to meet it.
In defense of live video streaming
Live video streaming is an emerging trend that achieves two important things. It nurtures a sense of community and caters to a demographic which is altogether moving online. Globally, the live streaming industry has doubled since 2020. And although esports make up more than 50% of the market, all platforms that offer live streaming show stable growth tendencies. For example, Twitter gets a 14% increase in unique visitors during live events and boasts a 34% YoY increase in watch time. On the other hand, Facebook Live streaming sessions have grown 330% in the last 3 years.
Besides enabling businesses to digitalize their services, live streams do something else. They bring the much-needed “human factor” into the marketing mix. The audience can connect with the brand in real-time with video content. This serves both the brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. Moreover, if the content is relevant and interesting, live videos can generate up to 6 times more engagement than regular videos. And it should come as no surprise. Live streams are interactive and provide a platform where many users can ask questions and get immediate answers. This is especially beneficial for content marketers who are trying to educate and nurture returning customers.
Just podcast it
Similar to most other types of content, live streaming works best with specific demographics. Podcasts are worth considering if you’re looking for an alternative way to deliver long-form content to prospective customers. More than 110 million people in the US alone are active podcast listeners. Of course, the best way to convert your core audience is to start a podcast with your business in the focus.
But if that’s not feasible for your business, there are other ways to utilize this trend. Advertising on podcasts effectively introduces a product to a new audience and increases brand awareness. In fact, 69% of podcast listeners say they’ve learned about a new product from a podcast. And an extra 38% admit they’ve purchased a product mentioned on a podcast. Of course, this should not come as a shock. Hosts and audiences typically have a deep and loyal relationship, which makes it easier to trust an endorsement.
Repurpose, diversify, and personalize content
Content marketers in 2022 are smarter in both strategy and tools. They are relying more and more on creating excellent content and repurposing it to feed an ever-growing media mix.
Although this is not cutting-edge innovation in the industry, the practice has stood the test of time. It helps businesses to achieve two things. They can reach new audiences and establish brand cohesiveness. But more importantly, with the right automation tools and design team, managers can do this at scale. This strategy is very cost-effective which explains why most marketers use it (61%, as of late 2020, beaten only by SEO). It is also why it’s unlikely that the practice will drop in popularity anytime soon.
Repurposing content doesn’t only cater to the marketer’s needs. Consumers expect a diverse mix of content types to keep them informed. This helps them make educated decisions about the products or services they’ll support. For example, all adults say they prefer video. But Millennials and Generation Z also rely on social images. On the other hand, blog articles and email communication cater to the needs of more mature audiences.
Even though consumers differ in their format preferences, they agree on one thing. Over 90% of buyers in the US say there are benefits of receiving personalized content and offers. In fact, they actively expect to see this from the brands they’re researching. Audiences want to engage with relevant content at every stage in their buying journey. Repurposed content enables marketers to address this need. And while a short-form content piece is unlikely to satisfy all customers at all stages of their journey, good long-form content can. It is perfect for repackaging and dissemination in various formats.
Focus on mobile behavior, SEO, and user experience
Most marketers acknowledge that a large percentage of their target audience finds, researches, and buys on the go. In the UK alone, smartphones have a penetration rate of 82.9% (100% for Generation Z), with mobile browsing comprising 40% of the national internet usage. These numbers point to a critical trend. As the younger generations increase their purchasing power, businesses will be forced to rely on mobile content in their strategies.
Location, location, location
When it comes to mobile optimization, there are low-hanging fruits. Almost half of all Google searches are looking for local information. This suggests that improving location SEO is an easy high-reward change. If done correctly, securing a place in Google’s top 3 results can increase the business’s visibility 5-fold. This typically also doubles the interactions with the business.
Monitoring Google’s search query reports can also be beneficial. Marketers can use it to both create content strategies that serve the end-user well and maximize positive interaction. For instance, searches including “best” or “not working”, have increased by at least 70% in the last two years. One takeaway here is that it’s becoming increasingly important to identify the customer’s pains. If marketers recognize and promptly address these needs with first-class content, they can differentiate their business meaningfully.
“Hey, Google, how popular is voice search?”
Then again, some businesses are taking a step back from long-form content altogether. Instead, they focus on ranking for niche search queries to improve organic search on the go. They achieve this by optimizing content for natural language and voice search. This content strategy is tailored toward answering customer questions in stride. In the US nearly 40% of internet users use voice search for product research. And 55% of teenagers use it daily, mostly on mobile. What’s promising about this strategy is that it can meet customers’ needs regardless of where they are in their journey. This can improve brand awareness, boost sales, and distinguish brands as leaders in their niche.
UX is King
Google’s Page Experience Update promises to make technical SEO and user experience even more central to marketing teams.
Effectively, three new criteria will help determine search ranks. These are the webpage’s interactivity, loading times, and stability. According to Google, these parameters are central to a healthy and pleasant user experience. But this is not bad news for the quick-acting business. If brands understand Google’s requirements, they can implement the needed improvements fast. This can leave competitors still in the research phase and further back in the rankings. After all, user experience is customer experience and innovation makes a difference in a crowded market.
The content marketing landscape is changing more dynamically than ever. This is equally stimulated by consumer behavior and technological trends. Staying ahead in 2022 requires brands to be proactive in their planning, anticipating trends and customer needs. Committing to providing a superb customer experience is crucial. It’s rewarded by Google, the user in the digital community, and the on-the-go customer. Marketing content is the most frequent point of contact between a business and a consumer. As such, it needs to be relevant, personalized, and timely. This will ensure that it meets the consumer’s needs at every step in their journey to purchase, on mobile or at home.