The digital world post the turbulent waters of 2020 seems to evolve and the content marketing trends for the year 2021 have begun to shape as marketers have started to brainstorm and prepare for the year 2021. The focus of the content trends in the year 2021 will be to create high-quality content that does more for your business and consumes fewer resources. These strategies can be used to create better content and optimize your marketing plan in the year 2021 & beyond.
The content marketing trends in 2021 will be delineated by empathy, established humanized connections, inclusiveness, transparency, and the adoption of new automation & MarTech tools to capture & monitor the customer data & derive inferences.
The content marketing trends in the year 2021 will constantly evolve as the marketers will gear up to transcend beyond the disruptions brought by the year 2021. Here are some content trends to forth at the start of the year 2021, and these will further continue to evolve as we move along the year.
1) Seamless experiences across omnichannel
As digital transformation is all set to dominate the marketing world in the year 2021, marketers need to design seamless experiences for their target audience groups across omnichannel. Omnichannel customer experience is the way to go as modern customers expect their favorite brands to provide them with phenomenal experiences across all the digital & physical channels. So, no marketers need to come up with a multichannel sales approach that has been carefully curated to provide a seamless shopping experience for the customers.
The philosophy of omnichannel marketing is based on customer behavior and interaction. Based on their behavior across different channels the customers get served with impressions on other platforms. This one of the most effective ways to communicate a brand message by optimizing the multiple touchpoints to create a unified spectrum of customer experience. Omnichannel marketing allows you to sustain the competition in the crowded marketplace and allows you to properly interact with your customers by amplifying their experience indexes.
Such personalized experiences drive conversions, fuel customer retention, and help customer acquisition process by positive word-of-mouth-marketing (WOMM).
2) Make It Experiential
Experiential marketing, also sometimes called engagement marketing helps create a meaningful connection between brands & customers. It creates real-life and memorable customer experiences by setting clear goals & then measuring those goals. The marketers need to determine ways to clearly define & measure their goals. Since this strategy is data-driven, creative, stimulating & impactful, it allows marketers to maximize online engagement through social media & other channels.
According to research by Eventmarketer.com, 80% of the marketers employing an experiential strategy witnessed a 3x ROI (return on investment) while 16% realized an ROI of 20x or more.
The strategy is all about allowing the customers to experience a brand:
- This strategy is effective & quantifiable and can be used by the brands to generate engagement, awareness, give out information and even promote purchase to move a customer down the sales funnel
- Experiential marketing integrates with content marketing, social media marketing & PR
- The strategy is an excellent way to boost your omnichannel reputation management framework and build your brands’ credibility
- Experiential marketing offers customers interactive & engaging experiences
- Not only the customers get engaged but the experience is also memorable
Thus, experiential marketing helps create & nurture business opportunities & develop long-term customer loyalty and will emerge as an important content trend in 2021.
3) Don’t Forget Empathy & Igniting a spark of humor
Intertwining empathy in marketing allows marketers to mature genuinely and connect with their prospects on an emotional level. Building a genuine relationship with their prospects helps marketers build an emotional connection with the customers. In times when customers are fighting with the disruptions brought by the COVID pandemic, brands need to build trust & positive customer sentiment. Empathy is an integral part of designing holistic customer experiences and helps move an undecided customer to be a committed and long-term one.
Marketers need to show their customers that they care, and it transcends just beyond words. Make things easier for your customers as far as practicable. Empathy also plays a crucial role in how your brand is perceived across omnichannel. Be of service to your customers, step in your customers’ shoes and it will excellently shape your brand resonance.
Moreover, brands can leverage the power of humor to connect with their target audience groups. Humor must still need to connect with brad image to increase the familiarity of the brands with the target audience groups.
4) Make it agile, episodic & cross-functional: Most Importantly Keep It All Aligned
Agile marketing strategy is amongst the important marketing strategies in 2021. Agile content marketing is a way to break down content creation into manageable pieces that can be finished, tweaked & tested quickly. An agile content strategy has the following advantages:
- The focus is on one initiative at a time
- There are no unanticipated hindrances
- One can easily test-run & optimize the content strategy
- As the content is created with data & in real-time, it is actionable and insightful
An agile content marketing team usually has content creators, representatives from sales, C-suite employees, product development, and a customer service team.
Cross functionality is an important aspect of the evolving content trends in the year 2021 & beyond. Many well-known companies across the globe including Google, Netflix, Facebook & Amazon have started reaping the benefits of cross-team collaboration. Companies have to forgo dependencies on siloed departments and this inspires innovation, coordination & organizational speed.
Research by proofhub.com shows that 75% of businesses consider online collaboration tools important for them concerning fetching unexpected value to their businesses.
Cross-functional collaboration brings people from different spheres together and thus helps them work interdependently amplifying their knowledge, expertise, and experience, and helping them succeed together as a team.
Cross-functional teams have efficient management to support them, have highly-motivated team members, an amplified level of accountability, open-mindedness, and non-confronting personal goals with clear priorities or direction & adequate communication, which helps them succeed and amplify the operational output of brands as a whole.
5) Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is pretty basic and an evergreen content trend including in the year 2021.
This marketing plan allows marketers to craft tailored content for each stage of the customers’ journey and with ample data about the customers the marketers can serve customers with hyper-personalized pieces of content at the right time which helps them achieve their business objectives and accelerate their sales conversions.
6) Embrace Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is going to dominate every sphere of the marketing world in the year 2021 and beyond. There are so many reasons to look forward to 2021, and there are a lot of emerging trends of digital transformation to look forth in the year 2021:
- The e-commerce industry will continue to witness a surge which started with the proliferation of COVID-19
- Brands have to work out ways to reflect on their social values and work out how they express themselves in an authentic way
- Voice search will rule all the searches including the searches meant for the social media channels
- Brands will have to be audience focused and will have to level-up their personalization game more than ever before
Digital transformation plays a prominent role in shaping your business processes in the year 2021 & beyond. The digital transformation framework plays a crucial role in shaping the business model for the businesses and helps strengthen our cultural and organizational structure.
7) Employ Storytelling & be Proactive to Address the Customers’ Requirements
The power of storytelling is immense. Telling the unique story of your brand allows marketers to make your company stand-out & also helps you to have dozens of followers on the social platform. Striking an emotional connection with the target audience groups is of paramount importance for marketers.
Telling a unique story about your brand makes your company stand out as you have dozens of competitors. Brand storytelling is the art of creating a company’s essence through consistent storytelling.
Through consistent storytelling, companies can reveal more about themselves & their culture which establishes an element of trust because customers appreciate transparency and are more likely to purchase from the brands they trust.
8) Keep Abreast With the Latest Trends & Think Inclusively To Paint a Holistic Picture
Digital marketing has made rapid inroads during the pandemic and businesses across the globe. The marketers need to be aware of the latest digital trends in the year 2021 & need to embrace the latest MarTech tools to amplify the scope & output of their businesses.
Artificial intelligence is at the heart of the global business and allows marketers to deduce data-driven insights & make wise business decisions.
The adoption of AI is increasing among marketers and according to a study by Singlegrain.com, about 84% of marketers agree that AI allows them to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.
AI can also give marketers useful insights into customer behavior and search patterns and help marketers in deducing how their brands are perceived by the target audience groups.
Moving forth in the new calendar year artificial intelligence can be implemented in several business pursuits such as basic communication, product recommendations, content creation, personalized emails, and in several E-commerce transactions.
9) Build Content Communities
Building content communities is another important trend that helps marketers in ways more than one. This marketing strategy is like a present for the marketers. Building a community with value, identifying it, and attracting customers to it helps marketers in improving their reputation – whether they’re building a new community or working to grow an existing one. Marketers can have some influencers in the group so that the community can learn from them and so that more and more users are drawn to your community.
Once your community gets rolling, you can leverage the platform to reflect on the intrinsic values of your company and to optimize your reach among your target audience groups.
Also, building a community is a job never done. The process needs to be molded as the company grows and changes. Always the community you build should be aligned with your marketing plan and should help you in building a better business.
10) Invest in Webinars & Video Marketing
According to a study by Smartinsights.com, customers are likely to spend about 100 minutes a day watching online videos in 2021.
Video-based content and on-demand webinar have emerged as the most effective types of marketing strategy for marketers in recent years and the year 2021 isn’t going to be very different. So, the new-year is all-set to witness an upsurge in the use of webinars & video-based content.
11) Make Your Content Customer-Centric First
For content marketers, focusing on customer-centricity will be an important content marketing trend in the year 2021. This strategy allows marketers to create meaningful & long-term relationships with customers and boosts customer loyalty rates.
Customer-centric content is created with customers’ best interests in mind and helps them resolve a particular pain-point to create meaningful & long-term relationships with customers & to boost customer loyalty. The focus on customer experience has become more important than ever before and therefore the importance of writing copies to show customer-centricity & optimize the customers’ experiences has accentuated.
12) Employ Automation
Marketing automation is a booming marketing strategy for marketers over the years.
According to research by SharpSpring, marketing automation is a $72.5 billion industry globally and is anticipated to grow at 20% or more annually over the next few years.
The rate of growth will be of no surprise to the marketers but still, despite the growth, marketing automation is getting started.
According to a report by Dun & Bradstreet, 14% of the B2B marketers stated that they use a platform with advanced functions while an incredibly 25% stated that they aren’t using a marketing automation platform at all now, though they intend to do so over the due course of 12 months.
Another surprising 18% of the marketers stated that they aren’t using any marketing automation platform and have no plans to do so.
Organizations need to realize that to keep pace with the rapid modernization of digital technologies & to scale their businesses at large, they need to embrace automation. This helps in improving campaign effectiveness, improving marketing and sales alignment & the quality of leads generated. Automation also helps in improving marketing-related metrics, improving data systems centralization, marketing attribution & improving data-governance/hygiene.
13) Double Down on SEO
An important marketing strategy for content marketers in 2021 will be focusing on creating intent-based content. The marketers will have to keep the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) in mind while creating the pieces of content meant for their target audience groups.
The content creators have to keep in mind that along with the optimization of their keyword strategy in the prime geographies, they would also need to focus on intent-specific pieces of content and employ a dynamic content strategy wherever possible to scale-up the user experience.
Moreover, equally important remains for the content marketers to optimize their content strategy for local searches and voice search.
To dominate the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) and optimize their revenue goals in 2021, the content marketers will need to double down on SEO by implementing the steps below:
- They need to focus on prioritizing the users’ experiences as well as their search intent.
- Marketers need to leverage analytics and use the insights to optimize the customer lifetime value (LTV)
- Personalized knowledge graphs can help marketers dominate the search engine results
- The focus should be on optimizing the Website experience, the experience on each page in particular
- With the increasing use of mobile, one of the core focus of marketers should be to optimize their mobile SEO game
- Doing the basics correctly, employing automation, and keeping abreast of Google’s latest algorithmic updates is vital for marketers
- Employing long-form content will ensure that your blog ranks higher.
Employing the above strategies correctly will ensure that the marketers have an edge over their competitors, and their marketing plan for 2021 looks rock-solid, with an invincible SEO strategy.
14) Employ Content Syndication & Repurposing to Make the Most of the Content at Hand
Content syndication is the process of republishing the content on your website on third-party sites which helps your content get extra eyeballs. The organic visibility of your content can be improved by using publishing opportunities from authoritative, industry platforms and print or digital magazines. Content syndication primarily offers the following advantages:
- Access to a larger audience base
- Targeted lead-generation opportunities
- Link authority and link equity
- More information to factor into buyer personas
- Extended Reach on the Social Platforms, and
- An increased number of brand recognition and brand mentions
Some of the popular free content syndication platforms include Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, Mashable, Business 2 Community, BuzzFeed, Facebook Instant Articles, Quora, and SlideShare, while some popular paid syndication platforms include ARC, MailChimp, PRNewswire (specifically for press releases), and Zemanta.
Content repurposing is the process of converting one piece of content into another form, for example, say repurposing the content of a blog for a video or webinar. Similar to content syndication, content repurposing also offers many advantages for the users including the following:
- It restores the vigor of an old piece of content
- Marketers can reach new audience groups and can extend their organic footprints
- Marketers can achieve multiple goals with the same piece of content
- Marketers can personalize and tailor the pieces of content to match the specific stages in the buying cycles of prospect and can present it in an entirely new form
- New content can be prepared in minimum time and effort and if it’s still popular, it’s popularity can be banked on in the new form as well
- Content repurposing is not only good to boost your online presence but also does wonders to improve your online SEO game
- Repurposing content provides more backlink opportunities and does wonders for conveying your brand message through several forms
- Content repurposing also provides the content marketers with an excellent opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skillsets
Content holds a lot of value and amongst the most important content trends for 2021 will be to increase the multi-channel visibility of your pieces of content. Content repurposing and content syndication are two excellent ways to distribute your content on diverse platforms and gain some high-quality traffic that eventually boosts your down-the-funnel conversions.
15) Make Your Brand Unique to Outlast Your Competitors
For the brands to stand out in the marketplace they need to create a unique proposition. Research your target audience and your competitors and apply your branding across your business and evolve it as you grow.
To succeed with their branding endeavors, the marketers need to do the following things correctly:
- They need to discover the purpose behind their brand and advocate it in the marketplace
- They need to determine the target audience for their brands and work out a mission statement for their brands, right at the inception – to advocate the purpose of their brands in the marketplace
- Marketers need to outline the key qualities and benefits that their brand offers
Marketers should remember to orchestrate their branding goals and form their unique brand voice as a part of their digital marketing strategy to let their brands shine. Before you look forward to monetizing your brand name you must learn to make it unique.
16) Invest in Influencer Marketing & Podcast Marketing
Influencer marketing is amongst the best known digital marketing practices to quickly build the online presence of your brand and raise awareness about your target audience groups. Assimilating influencer marketing to your content strategy offers the following advantages for your business:
- It Helps in Building and Nurturing Trust Among the Target Audience Groups
- Brand Awareness is Improved
- Your Content Strategy Gets Diversified and Enriched
- You can Effectively Engage With Your Target Audience and Provide Them With Amazing Value
- Partnering with Influencers is a Win-Win Strategy to scale-up Your Revenue Goals
Podcast marketing is another effective way to communicate with Your Audience and being more than a business. You can talk about your mission and how your brand has been helping customers seeking customized solutions to their pain-points. Podcast marketing helps you connect with your customers on a more personal level. Marketers can either partner with a reputable podcast producer or might themselves produce a podcast. They can even be a guest on a reputable podcast.
Podcast marketing has innumerable benefits including the following:
- It helps the marketers in reaching the new audience groups and is a lot easier than video marketing
- Podcasts are easy to create and aid additional organic traffic
- Podcasts help in nurturing relationships with the target audience groups and improve the public speaking skills of the marketers
Thus, both podcasts and influencer marketing are emerging content trends for 2021 and will help marketers promote their businesses.
17) Scale-up Personalization By Tailoring Your Content Specifically to the Buyers’ Journeys
Tailoring your content to the specific stages in the buyer’s journey helps marketers scale up personalization and boost conversions on their websites. Marketers need to offer their customers the best individual user experience possible.
Marketers would need to leverage real-time data for content personalization. The intent data of the customers from multiple channels can be combined with the data from the CRM and thus can be targeted more specifically. Such data can be used to personalize the email marketing and remarketing campaigns.
Personalizing content according to the specific stages in the buyers’ cycles gives marketers an upper hand over their competitors. Marketers can further optimize their content personalization strategy by A/B testing it from time to time. Campaigns need to be regularly monitored and tweaked to best suit the needs of the users.
18) Take the Help of Remarketing Backed up by a Strong Content Strategy
Remarketing backed by a strong content strategy helps serve targeted ads to the people who have already visited your website or website and mobile app.
With the help of remarketing backed by a strong content strategy, marketers can convert more leads to sales. This strategy has several advantages and hence is among the notable content trends for 2021:
- Remarketing helps brands in saving cost and improves brand recall
- Remarketing maximizes your marketing ROI and fetches higher visitor engagement
- Remarketing campaigns help in identifying high-value pages that generate high engagement and conversions for the website
- Remarketing campaigns help in offering special coupons and deals for retargeted customers
- Post-conversion customers can also be targeted with remarketing campaigns
- Remarketing campaigns facilitate the targeting of broader keywords and allow marketers to monitor their campaigns and make adjustments as needed.
Thus, employing remarketing campaigns backed by a strong content strategy allows marketers to serve targeted ads to people who have always engaged with them on some level and is an excellent and cost-effective way to increase sales conversions.
19) Innovate, Experiment, Measure & Optimize Your Content Strategy
Amongst the important content trends for marketers in the year 2021, this is another one. Marketers need to constantly innovate and rethink their content strategies in the year 2021, particularly when the world is recovering from the pandemic crisis of 2020.
Experimentation will help in establishing trends that will make a lasting impact in the content marketing realm in the year 2021 and beyond.
Employing content automation and the latest MarTech tools to get the best out of their content marketing endeavors will become essential for marketers.
Marketers will need to be agile in their ways to design the content marketing trends and will need to be measure and optimize their content strategy. They need to define and employ their content marketing KPIs and for this, they need to research and rank for the keywords critical to their business organically.
Heading to 2021, marketers will need to focus on developing SEO-centric content and building brand authority. Marketers need to constantly test-run their content strategy and develop content that depicts an authoritative voice.
20) Employ Conversational Content, Especially on Social Media
Conversational content writing makes you more humane and helps you in creating a connection with the brand. Such content generates more interactive sessions and conversions on social media platforms.
Such content can be easily read by the users and can be easily digested as it is snackable. Opting this style for social media will be an important content trend for 2021 and will allow writing to seem less stained. This style also seems reliable to most of the readers, is snackable and digestible, and helps in optimizing the conversions.
21) Employ the Content Marketing KPIs focused on ROI and Attribution
Marketers need to quantity their content marketing efforts to measure the ROI and attribution from their multi-channel content strategy. This is going to be an important content trend for marketers in the year 2021 and therefore the marketers need to figure out the metrics worth tracking.
This can be done by designing the KPIs and employing them to identify the story behind the content strategy. The data-driven insights can be used to tell meaningful stories, test run, and optimize the content game of a brand in the year 2021 and beyond.
22) Make Your Content Strategy Intent-Focused
User intent is a big factor in deciding the impact of your content strategy. You need to align your content with the search intent of the users on the search engines.
An intent-focused content strategy focuses on answering the queries of the users online and focuses on developing a spectrum of the digital marketing strategy for the business in ways that focus on the user-intent in real-time and allows marketers to optimize their bottom line goals such as conversions and sales revenue.
23) Measure the Return on Your Content Marketing Investment
Content Marketing ROI quantifies the revenue that the marketers gain from their content marketing endeavors compared to what they spend in creating and distributing content.
ROI is one of the most important determinants of successful content marketing and is tied directly to revenue. Marketers can measure the content marketing ROI by following the steps below:
Step 1: Calculate the Cost of Content Production
Step 2: Calculate the Cost of Content Distribution
Step 3: Calculate the Sales Amount Directly From Content
Step 4: Calculate Your Content Marketing ROI by using the formula below:
Content Marketing ROI (Percentage) = [(Return – Investment)/Investment] × 100
(Difference of Return and Investment divided by investment and expressed as a percentage)
Calculating the ROI of the content marketing endeavors is going to be an important content trend for the marketers in 2021 who will get a bigger picture whether all the blog reads, shares, page views, subscriptions, and the number of prospects fetch monetary rewards and are worth the money invested.
24) Try Answering the Business Critical Questions
Answering the business-critical question is another important content marketing strategy for 2021 that marketers need to pay attention to. It helps in developing thought leadership presence and authenticates the subject-matter-expertise of the brands.
This also helps in increasing awareness about your brand and in building positive brand resonance. Marketers can answer the business-critical questions on several platforms and in several ways:
- Going live on Social Media
- By indulging and interacting with Influencers
- On Virtual Webinars and Events
- Through Podcasts
- While answering Queries on the Website, through Email or on Social Media platforms, and in several other similar ways
Remember the higher the trust quotient for your brand and the higher the empathy to address the pain-points of the community and the customers, the better it does for your brand equity. Not only more customers will buy from you but you’ll also have a loyal customer base.
25) Focus on Relevancy & Employ the Content Revenue Models
Marketers need to think more strategically about their content than ever before in the year 2021. Not only the content needs to be relevant to the target audience groups but also the content revenue models need to be employed. Content revenue models hold the secret to become a successful content provider.
The digital content revenue models for online businesses can be direct or indirect. In the direct model, the audience or the content consumers are the primary sources of revenue, whereas in the indirect models the users and the customers are differentiated as separate entities. In the indirect model, the audience consumes the content freely and the content business generates revenue through the third-parties.
Currently, there are three primary revenue models for delivering content: subscription, a la carte, and advertising-supported (both free and freemium).
A content revenue model facilities the generation of financial income by identifying the apt revenue sources to pursue, the values to be offered, the techniques to price the value, and who pays for the value. Thus, the content revenue framework is an essential framework that needs to be developed to make a company’s business model more efficient.
Moving ahead from the pandemonium of the year 2020, the year 2021 is the hopeful new dawn to the content marketers and the business fraternity at large. It’s good to stock & analyzes the trends and the surprises that the time has in store for us in the new year and accordingly gear up to employ the right style of content marketing that ensures customers’ success and aligns with their habits, tastes, and search requirements.
According to thedrum.com, the content marketing industry is worth over $400 billion today. Content marketing is quintessential for the brands and they are continually investing in it.
The scope of content marketing transcends far beyond just marketing and anticipating the above trends will help you maximize the engagement with your target audience groups and boost the bottom-line revenues by deploying a strategic content strategy in 2021.
Sounds good, isn’t it? Employ one or several of the emerging content trends for 2021 and get the maximum rewards of your content planning process.
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