Content marketing is an ever-evolving category. One trend melts into another. We get a progressive flow of strategies and trends, so we can’t put a clear line between them. We can’t say that we’ll be dealing with completely new strategies in 2021. We already implemented some of them. The only difference is that they evolve on the go.
You can’t notice huge differences between 2018 and 2019. But take a look at the beginnings of content marketing. Do you remember the days when keyword stuffing was the standard? We’ve come a long way. Today, we still produce SEO friendly content, but we focus more on making it reader-friendly.
In 2021, developing reading-friendly content is the trend that leads all others.
So, let’s see where the evolution got us. We’ll list the top content marketing trends for 2021.
Top 10 Trends in 2021 Content Marketing
Have you seen the stats for influencer marketing spending on Instagram? In 2019, global spending is expected to reach 7 billion U.S. dollars.
We’re seeing influencers with millions of followers recommending one brand after another. People believe in their recommendations. It’s part of admiration and part belief that the recommendations are honest.
But what if you own a small brand and you’re trying to make it in the world of big influencers? You’ll go smaller. Micro-influencers don’t have millions of followers. They have thousands. Some of them started using social media recently, and they got the status of rising stars. Those are the ones you want to target.
Gisele Bundchen and other massive stars are already taken. Plus, let’s be honest: it’s not like small brands could afford them. Micro-influencers open your doors to a more affordable, but equally as effective marketing strategy. They have more space for sponsored posts on their profiles. They won’t impose impossible fees. They seem genuine to their ever-growing audiences. It’s a good deal!
- Social Media Video Ads
You already noticed this: when watching a video on Facebook, it gets interrupted by ads. We’ve been dealing with the same thing on YouTube for quite some time.
For content marketers, it’s a good thing. It means they can infuse their content in the middle of content that already got the attention of their audience. When people use Facebook as an app on their phones, blocking ads is not an option.
Invest in this trend while it lasts!
- Technicalities Are Getting More Important
That initial stage of keyword-stuffed content was rather embarrassing. But we got over it. Over the last few years, content marketing was all about creative writing. We’re moving away from that trend, too.
Don’t get me wrong. Creativity still is important. But we’re getting at a point where technical expertise separates great content marketers from the average.
Just take a look at the content that made Tasty popular on Facebook. There’s a lot of creativity involved, for sure. There’s also a lot of graphic design and video editing. Those skills contribute towards effective campaigns when combined with creativity. But that’s not all.
Behind the result that we consider creative, there’s a lot of project management, data analytics, and marketing automation going all. Those are pure technicalities that don’t have much to do with creativity. That’s the foundation of a successful content marketing campaign in 2021.
It means that you can’t limit your team to managers and writers. You’ll need to expand to video editors and data scientists. Yes; that means investing more. But it also means gaining more from your campaign.
Let’s look at some of the content on Tasty Presents. It’s a Facebook page with 4 million followers.
These are not simple recipe videos. They are stories. There are characters sharing memories and showing the entire process behind developing a unique recipe.
Storytelling runs beyond the point of your content. You want to share a message, but you also want to engage the audience. With this method, you hit both goals at once.
- Experimenting with Content-Length
At one point, short text was one of the most prominent content marketing trends. We heard it over and over again: an Internet user has the attention span of a goldfish. Only eight seconds. That’s just a myth. Everyone is different, so we can’t say for a fact that short content works for us all.
Then the era of long-form content came. We saw it everywhere. Long guides, detailed reports, and endless text supported with a ridiculous amount of screenshots.
Is there a balance between these two extremes?
There is, and it’s coming in 2021.
The content you produce depends on your audience. If you try to promote a writing business, you’ll face a broad audience looking for different things. Some people will need quick writing tips. Others will want to read an essay on school bullying. Some will be interested in an entire online writing course.
Analyze the needs of your audience. The content should meet as many of them as possible. There’s no rule about content length; just experiment will different sizes and you’ll find various approaches that work.
- Content That’s Ready for Voice Search
When trying to figure out what your audience does, start from yourself.
Do you use a voice search?
If you’re like most people, you’re slowly getting dependent on it. The Voice Search for Local Business Study 2018 showed that 58% of consumers used voice search to find info on local businesses over 2018.
The trend of using Siri, Alexa and Google Home is progressively growing. In 2019, it will hit the point when it becomes the new normal.
What does this mean for content marketing? Your usual keywords are not enough! Instead of thinking about what people type when searching online, think of what they ask. They use entire, logical sentences to interact with voice search. You want to target such phrases in your strategy.
- Live Video
When people first started sharing bits of their lives through Instagram stories, it seemed weird. Are we getting that far? Are we going to broadcast our ordinary days?
That’s exactly what we started doing. With Instagram Live, the users are not limited in length when communicating their message. They can schedule Q&A sessions, give online lessons, or share moments of their life.
When you combine this social media trend with the micro-influencer trend, you unlock endless opportunities to promote your brand. Your brand ambassadors can answer questions about your products. They can share real-time reviews or show their followers how they can most benefit from your products.
- Instagram Checkout
Yet another trend imposed by Instagram. The Checkout feature was introduced in March 2019. It means that when the users see a product they like, they can buy it directly through the platform. They don’t need to open a new window in the browser. There’s no need for leaving the app and using Chrome or Safari. Everything is done through Instagram.
Do you know what this means for your brand? You can create content that sells. Literally! The focus is on creating amazing product photos and using Instagram to boost sales.
- Offering the Best for Your Target Audience
All these content marketing trends may lead you towards the wrong assumptions. You’ll want to be the first at making data-driven decisions. You’ll want to appear in the first results in voice search. Micro-influencers will be the main target, and you’ll want the best among them.
Don’t go in that direction. Content marketing is all about consumers. That rule has been valid for quite some time. It still stands. You don’t have to be the master of all social media platforms. There’s no need to gather a huge number of micro-influencers in your campaign. You should simply focus on offering the BEST product or services to your audience.
Content marketing is just a supportive tool, so it shouldn’t take the focus.
- Strategies Are Still the Real Deal
Bottom line – you still need a strategy. The B2B Content Marketing 2019 report by the Content Marketing Institute revealed many trends. We already mentioned the most important ones above. But there’s one particular trend that leads all others: the need for an outlined strategy.
81% of the content marketers said that a documented content marketing strategy helped them align all actions around common goals. 81% also said that the strategy simplified their decisions around what kind of content to create.
A successful strategy starts with a detailed market analysis. It will outline the goals for the entire campaign. From there on, you’ll easily translate those goals into actionable steps.
Over to You
Content marketing is not a definite thing. It changes. It evolves. You can either go with the flow or lag behind the successful brands. Of course, you want to be one of the leaders. That’s why you’re so interested in the trends.
2021 opens new viewpoints for content marketers. They remain focused on the audience, but they get more opportunities to spread their message. Voice search, micro-influencers, live video, adds in the middle of Facebook videos, Instagram Checkout… isn’t it cool to have so many options to explore?