Content marketing is a wildly competitive arena, that’s why brands need to implement strategies that will allow them to stand out from the crowd.
Brands need to do whatever it takes to remain relevant and get in front of the right audience. However, when you consider that the content marketing industry is forever evolving, this can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. You don’t want to invest time and money in the wrong places.
Luckily, content marketing doesn’t have to be a guessing game. You can better map out your strategy for the year ahead when you consider top content marketing trends and begin incorporating them.
Why It’s Important to Monitor Content Marketing Trends
Before we dive into the top content marketing trends of 2022, you might be wondering if following what’s trending is worth it.
While it’s smart to focus on implementing the strategies you know are effective for your brand, it’s also important to experiment. Being open to trying new things could help you discover other clever tactics for getting your brand out into the world.
Here are a few reasons why you want to be aware of the trends:
- It Tells You What’s Happening in the Industry: Don’t ignore what’s happening in your industry, or you’ll quickly fall behind your competitors. It’s better to be aware of the directions of trends so you can adapt your strategy accordingly.
- Your Content Marketing Strategy Won’t Get Stale: Doing the same old thing all the time will get boring fast, for both you and your audience. If you’re looking to freshen things up, try experimenting with a new idea. It’ll be exciting to create something different and will give your audience fresh content to enjoy. Then, you can see what resonates most with them.
- It Could Help You Reach a Whole New Audience: Introducing a new medium to your content marketing strategy (like podcasting when you’ve strictly published blogs) can help you reach a much wider audience. You’ll generate more brand awareness that could lead to massive success.
11 Content Marketing Trends to Keep an Eye On in 2022
For 2022, 66% of marketers expected to increase their content marketing budget compared to 2021. Especially since content marketing is a powerful way to reach your target audience, drive conversions, and grow your business. But to use it effectively, you need to know where to direct your attention. Here are 11 content marketing trends to watch this year:
1. Greater Focus on Value-Driven Content
When it comes to your inbound strategy, value-driven content is where it’s at. People are more receptive to content when there’s something in it for them versus when you’re focused on pitching an offering. That’s a turn-off that will send people running from your website. Now more than ever, being of service to your audience is essential.
Instead of thinking about what’s in it for you, think about how you can provide readers, viewers, and listeners with content they’ll genuinely enjoy.
To do this, create content on topics that will resonate with your target audience. Focus on providing a solution to their biggest pain points. Then, provide tremendous value that will position you as an expert immediately. Show them that you’re knowledgeable on the topic at hand and establish trust.
This is a long-term game, but you can reap major rewards. It’ll help you develop a strong connection with your audience, while you step into the role of a thought leader in your industry.
2. Short-Form Video is Getting Top Priority
Mirroring the success of TikTok, Meta launched Instagram Reels in 2020 and then brought the feature to Facebook in 2021. All three of these options are focused on short-form video. TikTok allows users to create videos up to three minutes long, although it is also rolling out 10-minute videos. Meanwhile, Instagram and Facebook have kept videos limited to the one-minute mark.
Considering both TikTok and Instagram Reels have seen great success, it’s no wonder many brands are jumping on board. TikTok hit one billion active users in September 2021, with creators using it to share entertaining videos, dances, pranks, and more. And since influencers see an engagement rate of nearly 18% (consistently higher than Instagram and YouTube), it seems to be paying off. Over on Instagram, Reels are showing a 22% higher engagement rate than regular videos.
If you haven’t yet jumped on board with short-form video on one of these platforms, start thinking about it. Brands can share actionable tips and tricks, helpful advice, or even behind-the-scenes content to build relationships. All are great options to use these one-to-three-minute video platforms.
3. Podcasting is Still a Worthwhile Avenue
In 2021, U.S. consumers reportedly listened to 15 billion hours of podcasts. This statistic shows that podcasting isn’t going away anytime soon. And with the introduction of platforms like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, brands have been sparked to incorporate audio into their content strategies.
While Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces offer an easy way to get started with audio content, podcasting is for those ready to get serious about this medium. Podcasting allows you to build a house to store all your audio conversations, which is often preferable when you consider they’ll ultimately expire on Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. With a podcast, your content can live on for a long time.
Podcasting is a fantastic way to generate more awareness for your brand and position yourself as an authority in your field by sharing valuable content. Not only that, but 60% of podcast listeners said they searched for a product after hearing it mentioned in a podcast. So, you can use this to drive sales effectively for your brand’s products and services.
4. Content Audits Will Become a Necessity
If you’re not already conducting regular audits of your content, you’re missing out. This is one of the content marketing trends you simply cannot avoid if you want to get the most bang for your buck from the work you’re publishing. Content audits allow you to do a deep-dive into your analytics so you can see what’s working and what’s not.
From there, you can determine what to continue spending time and money on. If you notice a particular social media platform isn’t performing as well as you’d hoped, that’s an indicator to tweak your strategy to see if you can turn things around. If you see your blog posts perform well, you’ll know it’s worthwhile to stick to a consistent posting strategy. Let the data be your guide so you can do things with intention.
5. Increased Virtual Events Over In-Person Events
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, brands that typically hosted in-person events were forced to forgo them due to public health and safety concerns. Although it’s now 2022 and the world is reopening, many are hesitant to go back to life as they knew it before. For that reason, there’s been an increase in virtual events as brands opt to hold their annual conferences online or offer a hybrid option.
A Content Marketing Institute survey stated that 30% of respondents planned to increase their investment in hybrid events. Events are a fantastic way to drive revenue for a business and are also great for bringing people together to make connections and build relationships. So, it makes sense that brands wouldn’t want to cut out events entirely.
To curate events successfully now, the content marketing trends show two options. You either go all virtual or offer a hybrid model, allowing people to choose how they’d like to attend. With a hybrid option, those that can spend more or want to mix in person can do that. Meanwhile, those who want a cheaper ticket and no travel expenses while still soaking up the value of the event can opt for a virtual seat.
6. Influencer Marketing Will Generate Awareness
While some may be tired of hearing the word “influencer,” it’s not going away anytime soon. Influencer marketing is one of the top content marketing trends in 2022 because it’s been shown to drive real results. 51% of marketers reported that influencer marketing allowed them to acquire better customers.
The reason behind this is that people trust their favorite creators’ suggestions for something to do or purchase. 61% of consumers say they trust recommendations from influencers, while only 38% trust branded social media content. That says a lot about the kind of content that resonates with people online, meaning it’s worth experimenting with an influencer marketing campaign.
The exposure generated from working with an influencer could result in more brand awareness, getting in front of a new audience, improved brand advocacy, and a boost in sales. All those things are worthwhile goals to target and can easily be done through one short campaign.
7. AI Will Make Your Job Easier
Content marketing trends almost always evolve simultaneously with the latest in technology. And these days, it’s all about artificial intelligence. Although AI isn’t foolproof, it can help save time.
For instance, there are tons of AI writing tools that can be used to generate content at the push of a button. You only need to input the pertinent data and watch the content populate. Generally, it still requires a human to comb through the content and make edits for readability.
You’ll also still need to take extra steps to optimize the content for Google and add links to resources. So it’s unlikely to produce a ready-to-publish blog but can get the ball rolling. That’s why we don’t see AI replacing humans.
Besides writing tools, another smart way to use AI is by adding a chatbot to your website. These bots are powered by AI technology and can address common complaints or concerns from customers. However, they can only do so much.
Chatbots can be programmed to answer specific requests but aren’t able to go in-depth when deeper issues arise. A customer service request will need to be passed to a human, but it eliminates time spent answering repetitive inquiries.
8. User-Generated Content Will Be More Popular
Paying for others to post about your brand through influencer marketing is great. However, there will always be people who post and rave about your work for free. This is known as user-generated content.
These are unpaid posts that someone shares with their audience to genuinely talk about their experience with your brand, products, or services. Think of it like word-of-mouth marketing because they’re telling their friends about you via social media without you having to pay a dime. It doesn’t get much better than that!
The reason user-generated content is worth mentioning as one of our content marketing trends for 2022 is because brands don’t utilize these posts enough. First, you need to make sure you’re keeping an eye out for mentions of your brand on social media. If someone pays you a compliment, say thanks. Then, get permission to share their post to your account.
Not only does it show you’re appreciative of their kind words, but it builds social proof. It shows you have brand advocates who support you. This type of organic and genuine love for your brand will go a long way in positioning your brand as trustworthy.
9. More Interest in Infographics
Did you know that 45% of marketers who leverage content marketing also create infographics as part of their content strategy? Infographics provide a powerful way to communicate information to your readers. These visuals can focus on important information contained in an article, such as relevant data and statistics. Infographics can even summarize the main points mentioned within an article.
Not only are these great for helping readers digest information, but they’re highly shareable. Infographics perform well on platforms like Pinterest, and they can help your content stand out. While it may seem time-consuming, a great infographic goes a long way. Consider hiring a designer (if you don’t have one on your team already) to create some to go along with your top blog posts.
10. Your Audience Expects Personalization
These days, your audience craves personalization. We’ve all gotten so accustomed to how different brands personalize their websites and content based on our interests. For example, Amazon considers your search history when recommending other products to purchase. Netflix recommends new shows based on ones you have watched previously. And even Spotify will suggest new songs according to your tastes.
But how can you incorporate personalization for your audience? It helps to understand your audience’s buyer personas. You need to know what people are interested in and what they’re turning to your brand for when it comes to content and offerings.
To do this, you can build various segments of your email list to make sure you’re sending specific content to those who would be most interested. For example, if you offer different opt-in freebies, you can segment people based on their interests. Someone who signed up to receive an opt-in on marketing would likely enjoy receiving emails catered to this interest. Therefore, you could send them special emails on this topic and promote any relevant offerings to them.
11. More Human, Empathetic Content
Given the state of the world in recent years, it’s more important than ever that brands put themselves in the shoes of those in their audience. They need to understand their customers, the challenges they’re facing, and what kind of solutions they’re looking for.
Brands are also expected to care about and get involved with important social causes. That’s because people are looking to support brands whose values align with theirs, or they may take their business elsewhere.
While making sales in business is important, it’s crucial to focus on providing better customer experiences, building relationships, and establishing trust. And you can do that by showing the human side of your brand and being empathetic toward what your customers need most.
Let Express Writers Handle Your Content Marketing
Trying to manage your content marketing totally on your own can sometimes feel overwhelming. That’s when you need to hand it over to the pros! At Express Writers, our team of expert writers can map out a content plan, write blog posts, create lead magnets to help your brand get noticed.
Need help deciding what services work for your brand? Chat with our expert client success team.
This post was updated on June 7, 2022