Here are 5 key content marketing trends for your 2022 brand strategy
The world of content marketing is always on the move. Internet usage has skyrocketed since last year when the pandemic began. So it is clear that some of the changes to the marketing game are here to stay. Establishing and growing a digital presence is more important than ever. So brands and organizations need to adjust their strategy to stay up to date with the rapidly transforming landscape. Get ahead with these five content marketing trends that will likely dominate 2022.
#1: Short-Form Video
Short-form video has been on an explosive rise over the last few years and isn’t going away any time soon. In 2020, people spent a total of 12.2 billion minutes watching video online, and it’s projected that video content will make up 82% of all consumer web traffic in 2022. As users scroll through their different social media feeds—from Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to TikTok and YouTube—brands have little time to grab their attention. Opt for videos one to two minutes in length. The average attention span is only 8.25 seconds, so an effective video needs to grab viewers’ attention and get its message across quickly and concisely.
When focusing on more than one social media platform, it’s important to adapt to the video for each channel. You should also customize your content to engage each distinct audience. For example, because 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, you may not need to rely too much on voice-over but instead incorporate text or captions that navigate viewers through your video. At the same time, pay attention to the video specs of social media sites so your content fits the platform. This includes aspect ratios, format and length.
What ultimately sets a successful video apart from a sea of others is the quality of storytelling. A memorable video shares a story that’s meaningful to the audience. Instead of simply stating your brand’s message in words on the screen, show the need. Showcase how your brand can help through a compelling narrative. Pay attention to small details such as colors and angles that convey a human touch. Remember, videos should resonate with your audience to inspire action. If you need more ideas, repurposing your best content can help keep the creativity flowing in video production.
#2: Improve SEO
It’s impossible to talk about content marketing of the present and future without mentioning search engine optimization (SEO). Creating SEO-friendly content supports your marketing efforts by improving your rank in search results, bringing more visitors to your site. About 71% of users only look at the first page of search results, so brands need to develop smart SEO techniques to increase their visibility and engage potential consumers. Regular SEO site audits, for instance, can reveal the reasons behind a website’s ranking and help focus efforts to develop new content, refresh existing content or optimize website pages.
Just like how a sturdy house needs a strong foundation, an effective SEO strategy should be built around valuable and relevant keywords. Conducting keyword research before creating any content will help ensure the topics you’re writing about are the same topics your audience cares about. However, SEO also requires carefully considering the placement of those terms across titles, headlines and in the page copy itself. Using the target keyword throughout the page copy can help leverage your content in the search results. But providing in-depth content to specifically answer questions may get you a featured snippet on Google that drives traffic to your site. What’s more, integrating long-tail keywords can help you understand users’ search intent and satisfy their needs. Long-tail keywords like “Why is SEO important?” tend to have less competition than generic keywords like “SEO” and often yield higher conversion rates for brands.
The rise of voice search also impacts SEO. In fact, 65% of 25- to 49-year-olds conduct voice searches on their mobile devices at least once a day. The language that people use when they speak can be different from what they type as a question, so make sure to generate conversational content that takes these spoken keyword phrases into consideration.
#3: Make use of data
Knowing your audience is especially relevant for content marketing in 2022. Instead of targeting a wide audience segment, it’s often more advantageous and cost-effective to concentrate resources on smaller groups of consumers who are most likely to resonate with a brand. Having more insights into a brand’s target audience helps form a more efficient and effective marketing plan. This is where audience data and analytics come in.
Big data—the process of systematically extracting information from large, complex data sets—has drastically transformed how brands understand and relate to their audiences. By revealing the characteristics and behavior of target groups, such as demographics and purchase history, this data enables brands to segment their audiences based on generations, geographic locations, interests and more. This doesn’t just give brands an idea of how to leverage their messaging to its full potential. It also presents them a chance to expand the boundaries of their current market.
Data-driven personalization is also shaping the future of content marketing. Being specific can help captivate today’s savvier customers, as 61% of people expect brands to take their preferences on an individual level into account. Personalized marketing delivers the right content at the right moment. Investing in high-quality data analytics can help create a more human experience for each user and answer questions before users ask.
#4: Empathetic Marketing
The best marketing isn’t about the brand: It’s about the audience. The concept of empathetic marketing has already been around for some time. But the unpredictability and anxiety of the pandemic and social issues have made leading with empathy more critical than ever. With the pandemic still ongoing, brands need to pay attention to the needs and feelings of their audience. People aren’t attracted to a brand simply because of the services or products it offers. They also look at other factors, including its personality and core values. Brands that are able to relate to their audience on a personal level are more likely to capture attention and grow their fanbase. Campaigns that achieved the highest performance devote 31% of their advertising to emotion-based content and only 16% to rational.
Showing empathy as a brand is more than just creating an email that starts with the recipient’s name. It’s even more than sharing an informative social post. Rather, the key to building trust and connection with consumers and donors is having a deep understanding of what matters. You can then use that knowledge to provide true value in your messaging. Use empathy to drive the content creation process by engaging in social listening and monitoring. Searching relevant hashtags, responding to messages from your audience and understanding their passions, goals and pain points can help you better tailor what you’re offering to meet their needs. Finally, make sure to thoughtfully personalize your responses so that they don’t sound like automatic replies.
#5: Build strong communities
With the ever-expanding digital sphere, people desire to be seen and heard. Building a community around your brand can give your audience a voice as well as a sense of belonging. From Facebook Groups to customer forums, online communities connect brands with their target audience to foster long-term, meaningful relationships that ultimately help win more advocates by word of mouth. These communities benefit a brand’s marketing efforts by allowing consumers to develop and share content with each other. In turn, this means small businesses and nonprofits can expand their reach with fewer resources.
Consumers often make decisions based on their perception of a brand. And community marketing can show a brand cares about its audience. When brands build a community for users, they also build a strong identity and a great customer experience that will help them outperform competitors.
As you plan your brand strategy for 2022, make sure to keep these five content marketing trends in mind to grow your brand and audience. Contact us if you need a marketing partner to help tell your brand’s story!