Content marketing remains one of the most important tools in any digital marketer’s arsenal. According to HubSpot, 70 percent of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. And it pays off, with content marketing generating more than three times as many leads as outbound marketing at a 62-percent lower cost.
But like everything else, content marketing is constantly changing, and it’s up to companies to make sure they’re keeping up with those changes. From the creation of more videos to the increased use of voice searches, here are four major trends you need to keep an eye out for in 2021.
Content marketing trends in 2021
- User-generated content
- Video content creation
- Quality, not quantity
- Increased voice searches
1. User-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is when unpaid contributors create content that includes your brand. These contributors are often customers and fans who promote your product or services.
UGC can be anything from guest blogs and product reviews to social media posts and testimonials. This type of content is inexpensive but extremely effective. In fact, 85 percent of consumers find UGC more influential than branded content.
Remember the Coca-Cola “Share a Coke” campaign? The soda giant encouraged users to find a Coke with their name on it and share it on social media. As people showed off images with their Coke, the company benefited from free viral content marketing at virtually no cost to them.
How can you get this type of valuable content? Brands can take a note from Coke and create a specific campaign that encourages users to submit and share branded content with a specific hashtag. Or consider incentivizing users to leave reviews of your company and offer rewards for both submitting those reviews and photos and for sharing them on social media.
Regardless of which route you go, make sure that you’re clear about the kind of content you’re looking for, and make it easy for people to share content that fits your needs. After all, getting tagged in a photo is nice, but if it doesn’t support your marketing goals, it’s simply more internet noise.
2. Video content creation
If you’re on the fence about including video into your content marketing plan, remember this: Video is the no. 1 form of media used in content strategy. It’s now even more popular than blogs and infographics. In fact, 66 percent of consumers prefer watching a video to reading about a product, and it’s predicted that by the end of 2020, 82 percent of all consumer web traffic will be video.
When it comes to what types of video content to incorporate into your marketing, the possibilities are endless — from demo videos showcasing how your product or service works to brand videos showcasing your company’s high-level vision to educational how-tos. Start by figuring out what types of content your audience is looking for and engaging with, and use that as a starting point for your video content.
3. Quality, not quantity
While it’s important to share content on a regular basis, it’s also important that the content is authentic and high quality. Quality always trumps quantity and makes your brand more personable and authentic, two things that users value and look for from brands. If you post too often, you can overwhelm your audience, come off as spammy, and dilute your brand and your message.
When it comes to the kind of content that you produce, remember to use a variety of media for your content so that users don’t get bored. Consider incorporating infographics, videos, podcasts, images, and other types of content that help you present information in a new and exciting way.
4. Increased voice searches
As of 2019, there were 3.25 billion digital voice assistants being used in devices around the world, and forecasts suggest that by 2023 that number will reach around 8 billion units — that’s more than the world’s population.
In other words, it makes sense to capitalize on this smart device trend with content marketing. First, figure out how your target audience would use voice search to find content that relates to your brand. While they might type one thing — “2021 content marketing trends” — they might actually say, “What are the biggest content marketing trends for 2021?”
How we speak isn’t always the same as how we write. Knowing this, you can write more effective headlines; focus your content on more specific, long-tail keywords; and include more complete, full-sentence questions.
Moving forward in 2021
It’s safe to say that content marketing isn’t going anywhere; it’s simply evolving as the times change. Whether it’s incorporating more video or jumping on board with voice searches and user-generated content, brands that embrace these marketing efforts will not only survive — they’ll thrive — in 2021 and beyond.