With each year becoming even more digitally influenced than the last, it is no surprise that marketers are continually looking for ways to stand out in an oversaturated online space. The rise of inbound marketing and the subsequent introduction of content marketing in the last decade has proven that the internet is the best place to discover your next potential customer.
While there are some tried-and-tested methods to reach your brand awareness and lead acquisition goals, you must check out the new trends are in store for the new year. Below are some trends you should keep your eyes peeled for, along with some underrated content marketing tips you could incorporate into your overall strategy. Let’s get started.
1. Building content communities and groups
The previous year brought a slew of problems for enterprises and small businesses alike because of the COVID-19 pandemic. You may be tired of hearing about it, but from a marketing standpoint, you must acknowledge that this global crisis has changed the way brands approach their strategies for good. One of the techniques used to cope is setting up community groups to disseminate information.
This is partly due to the focus on personalization in marketing and streamlining online experiences for buyers, as many people were unable to go out due to lockdowns.
Groups on social networking and messaging platforms like Facebook, Slack, Discord, and WhatsApp grew in 2020 to accommodate requests and serve as a direct line to people who need a product or service from the comfort of their homes. This technique is beneficial for B2C industries.
This strategy can help you in content distribution—whether you want to share blog posts, limited time offers, and just keeping a connection with your consumers. Since content marketing will not be effective if you do not have the necessary channels to spread them, building community groups could be vital in stepping up your strategy, along with your customer experience roadmap.
2. Continued live streaming and virtual events
With traditional in-person events out of play in 2020, brands got creative and threw online festivals and virtual launches to keep their customers in the loop. Even if things slowly go back to normal in the next few years, the impact of these channels cannot go unnoticed, and as a result, the trend could be here to stay.
Video marketing has been around for quite a while, but the stress has always been on pre-recorded content, social media ads, and the like. This time, live events take center stage, as customers crave more human connection and something to look forward to.
Keep in mind that the pandemic is still ongoing, and while vaccines are rolling out in 2021, different countries have diverse approaches and schedules for tackling this health crisis. Be mindful of your audience and aim to conduct inclusive events such as virtual parties.
3. Starker focus on customer experience
Content marketing is only a cog in a big machine—and it will not go very far without integration from sales and customer service. Together, all three build a customer experience strategy that will instill loyalty in existing customers and pique the interest of prospective ones.
In 2021, it is time to stop thinking of content marketing as a separate entity in your strategy. Content marketers now need to be more diverse and dip their toes in understanding other disciplines that can inspire them to serve better content to their customers, especially in the two abovementioned departments.
Many people have been emotionally drained after a year of constant blasting of safety protocols, dos and don’ts, and negative news from the media. It is now the marketers’ job to bring factual and useful content that uses empathy and understanding rather than fearmongering.
4. More viral marketing strategies
Marketing is not supposed to be bland, and after a long year of reading mostly the same things from different brands on the internet, change is very welcome. Therefore, it is more critical than ever to create viral marketing campaigns that have substance so that you can elicit desired emotions from your target market while still getting brand messaging.
It can do you well to explore different ways of marketing your product so you can cut through the noise. Throw away your definition of what “normal” is and remodel old strategies into something more relevant and fitting in today’s landscape. While there is usually no way to find out if a piece of content will become viral, reading up on case studies can give you clues on developing one.
5. Evolved buyer personas
If you think you already know your customer, think again. Once more, it would help if you put the context of the pandemic into the picture. Most people’s needs have shifted due to the catastrophic health crisis, regardless of wherever they are in the world.
You need to revise and place new goals, frustrations, and backgrounds for your target market to understand them better. This practice can give you a better idea of structuring your brand messaging and creating new products and services that your customers can appreciate.
If you know whom you are talking to, it will be much easier to create content and find the right channels to deliver the message you want to make. Mapping digital customer journeys may help you better understand how the past year has impacted the everyday consumer.
This is relevant, even if you have a physical store since, chances are, you have been hammering hard on your digital marketing efforts since the pandemic hit.
6. A look into podcasts
Podcasts have been around for over a decade, but many brands are still hesitant to ride the trend to create episodes of their own. This is a missed opportunity, as many people would love to hear and relate with brands on a deeper level—something that a fun podcast can do. This is another way to disseminate information and show your customers just how much you care about them.
Podcasts have been growing in popularity recently, and 2021 may just be the time for you to finally have your take on the platform.
Podcasts are a whole different territory than videos, articles, and social media, and they need an innovative approach to produce. You cannot just throw out a listicle and expect the listener to enjoy it. Instead, you need to have engaging story-telling capabilities and inspire the reader to sit through your episode.
This can make you a reputable authority in your industry and give you an avenue to discuss issues that may otherwise be difficult to paint in other channels.
The content marketing trends for 2021 are shaped by the increasing developments in technology and the presumable lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the rapid change of consumer behavior, brands need to test new trends to reach new people while staying relevant to their existing base.
Which of the six trends mentioned have you already implemented in your content marketing strategy? How have they been working well for you so far? Are there other trends you believe will dominate 2021? Share your thoughts in the comments below!