It’s 2020 already! Are you ready to seize the new decade by the horns?

I sure am! We’re just a few short weeks into the year, and it’s already shaping up to be an exciting one in the world of writing.

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s happening in content marketing, then you’re already a step ahead of the curve.

Several ideas and innovations are maturing, bringing us more possibilities when it comes to writing and distributing our most magnetic content.

Wondering what the future of content marketing looks like? Check it out. I’ve rounded up my best predictions for the 2020 trends in content marketing.

This year is already roaring along at full speed, so we’d better get started!

The 5 Biggest Content Marketing Trends for 2020 You Must Embrace

1. “Good” Is Not Enough! Readers E-A-T Only the Best Content

  • Topic-Focused Content Builds Authority
  • Results-Focused Copy Builds Relevance
  • Customer-Focused Marketing Builds Trust

2. Pictures Become Worth 1 Million Words – If They’re Living

  • Visual Media Is Becoming Interactive

3. An Emphasis on Lasting Relationships

4. Brand Authenticity Approaches New Dimensions

  • Authenticity, Storytelling, and Story Creation
  • Conversational Marketing

5. We Cannot Ignore the New Ways to Search

content marketing trends for 2020

Excited to start the new year with fresh ideas to boost your content marketing to the next level? @JuliaEMcCoy shares the best content marketing trends in 2020 you should start following right now. Click To Tweet

The 5 Biggest Content Marketing Trends for 2020 You Must Embrace

While 2019 was all about refining what worked, the energy of 2020 signals that it’s all about seizing the day – or year. We’ve practiced, honed, experimented…

Now it’s time to put all that newfound knowledge to work to build those dreams as you’ve never built before.

Without further ado, here are the five content marketing trends for 2020 you must absolutely watch.

1. “Good” Is Not Enough! Readers E-A-T Only the BEST Content

The phrase “content is king” has been floating around the internet now for almost a quarter of a century. (Thanks, Bill.)

It’s a deceptively simple statement. Yet, 24 years later, we’re still discovering exactly what it means.

2020 may be the year that we (collectively) finally get it.

An emphasis on good content has existed for a while now, largely spurred on by Google’s constant (and often revolutionary) updates to its search engine algorithms. Last decade, we saw several seismic updates that completely altered the nature of search.

Google has a knack for doing that.

However, the last several core updates such as Google BERT and the January Core Update have been relatively unique. Not only have they continued to tailor their algorithms to the human element, but they’ve now begun sending a pretty clear message to the content creation (and SEO) community with every update:

Google really, really, REALLY wants you to stop overanalyzing the SEO situation every time it updates its algorithms.

Why? Because in 2020 SEO has ONE main rule:

Focus on delivering the best possible content to your readers.

Oh look, another deceptively simple statement.

In 2020, content and search engine ranking are fusing. It’s no longer going to be about either optimizing for people or optimizing for search engines. By crafting exceptional content, you’re now doing both.

If there’s anything you take away, it’s these three points for content trends in 2020. (Which are so important, we made an image for you.)

content marketing trends

1. Topic-Focused Content Builds Authority

To establish authority in the search engines, you’ll need to prove to Google that you know something about a topic. That doesn’t mean posting one or two articles on the subject and calling it good. The average content pillar has been 2,000 and 10,000 words with 6-8 sub-topics (or pages) linked.

2. Results-Focused Copy Builds Relevance

Craft content with a purpose. People use search engines to find answers to problems, but only 21% of searches lead to more than one result getting clicked. If your copy isn’t laser-focused on achieving a specific result (like solving the problem that person searched for), you won’t make it to the top of the list.

3. Customer-Focused Marketing Builds Trust

In 2020, the primary means you’ll build trust with your readers is by delivering helpful, useful content. Such content indicates a willingness to be helpful, to give without expectation of monetary returns. Turns out it works. According to research by Conductor, customers are up to 131% more likely to purchase from brands that provide early-stage, educational content.

Don't settle for good this 2020, go for GREAT! How? Focus on these three important points: the right topics (to build authority), ️ results (to build relevance), and customers (to build trust). Click To Tweet

Take a moment to absorb these three points. They’re what underlie the rest of the content marketing trends for 2020.

BTW – Google is setting a high bar for what is considered quality content. And unsurprisingly, Content Marketing Institute found that 84% of brands outsource their content creation to pros. If you’re concerned about quality, this is the route to take.

Did you know? @cmicontent found that 84% of brands outsource their content creation to pros. Stressed for time? Maybe it's time to trust a pro writing partner. ✍️ Click To Tweet

2. Visuals Become Worth 1 Million Words – If They’re Live

Remember the first infographic ever made? (Probably not – it was published in 1821.) It rocked everyone’s world.

Today, infographics and visuals remain incredibly powerful. We’re going to keep seeing them – but they’re getting a refresh. How?

Visual Media Is Becoming Interactive

Infographics are neat, but unless they’re designed and optimized for social media sharing (like Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook), they’re surprisingly limited. They can pique our interest for a few minutes or flash across our social media feed… but they can’t do much else.

In contrast, live video content is an experience. When something is real-time, we’re primed to think it’s unique. Plus, the real-time nature of the media amplifies the exclusivity and sense of connection with the brand.

Got eye-catching infographics? Make sure they're all optimized for social media sharing. Want to work on video content? Try going live to connect to your audience in real-time. Know the other content marketing trends for 2020. Click To Tweet

Don’t believe me? Check out these stats.

  • 80% of individuals would choose to watch a live video from a brand over reading an article
  • 87% of people will choose to watch a live video if it means more behind-the-scenes or exclusive looks at a brand.
  • 56% of individuals want “breaking news” live content over other forms.
  • 67% of live video viewers go on to purchase tickets or seats to similar events.

Live video content is also unique because it blends user experience with one of the ultimate tools of content marketing: storytelling.

It gives brands a chance to apply classic storytelling techniques – in a way that includes the viewer.

Now, you aren’t just telling your story to your customers. You’re involving them in the creation of your story.

How’s that for being customer-focused?

Which brings us to our next major content marketing trend for 2020…

3. An Emphasis on Lasting Relationships

Make no mistake, your readers are smart. If you’re just out to make a quick buck, they’ll spot you coming from a mile away and vanish.

In 2020, they’re getting even smarter.

Possibly it’s because we’re now totally empowered with the ability to find information quickly, easily, and on-demand.

Some 60% of all searches are done on a mobile device – doubling from just 5 years ago.

This trend of instant consumption on the go is a mixed blessing. On one hand, it means readers will gravitate towards quick, bite-sized nuggets of information that won’t disrupt their life.

On the other hand, it means readers are also exposing themselves much more frequently to our content marketing efforts.

It’s that second feature on which we should focus. Our challenge isn’t finding and selling to customers (they’re already looking for us constantly). It’s keeping them.

This year, the prevailing trends will force us to really dive deep into what it means to build relationships and rapport with our readership.

According to the folks at the CMI, almost everyone (79%) is successful at educating their audiences and building credibility or trust (75%).

Fewer people manage to successfully meet goals associated with generating sales (53%) or building loyalty with existing customers (63%).

In other words, they’re putting out quality, helpful content but they’re failing to support their readers in further interactions with their brands. Their copy isn’t results-focused.

According to CMI, there’s a growing disparity between what successful content marketers are focusing on and what everyone else is doing. Successful content marketers nurture long-term relationships with specifics, while everyone else focuses on general (but still important!) goals:

What Successful Content Marketers Focus On…

  • Responding to specific audience needs
  • Using metrics and KPIs to track content performance
  • Crafting content according to customer journey stages

What Everyone Else Is Focusing On…

  • Creating sales funnels/lead generation
  • Producing high-quality content
  • Building authority organically (vs. using paid distribution channels)

What successful content marketers focus on: a) specific audience needs b) metrics and real KPIs to track performance c) crafting content for customer stages. Everyone else: a) sales funnels b) content by itself. More: Click To Tweet

Remember: all relationships thrive with a healthy balance between giving and taking.

And – according to Sprout Social – some 70% of customers indicate that they feel closer to a brand after reading helpful, useful branded content.

When readers know you and like you, they’ll buy from you. Nurture that to create long-term relationships where you both thrive.

Our challenge isn’t finding and selling to customers (they’re already looking for us constantly). It’s keeping them. This year's the time to start interacting with your audience. Start by replying to their comments! Click To Tweet

4. Brand Authenticity Approaches New Dimensions

Brand authenticity has been a really big deal for a while. It was a content marketing trend for 2019, and it remains a major trend in 2020 as well.

I’ve hinted a little so far at what brand authenticity for the new decade looks like, but let’s dive in much more deeply.

Authenticity, Storytelling, and Story Creation

In 2020, expect authenticity and interactivity to blend. Brands are increasingly opening the door for more engagement from their customers with their content to include them in the storytelling process.

We’re already seeing this in the case of live video content as I mentioned before. However, there are a few other examples of where it’s also happening:

  • Augmented reality. It hasn’t taken over the consumer world by storm, but it’s definitely here.
  • User-generated content. According to Convince and Convert, 85% of consumers think that brand-related content generated by other consumers is more influential than the content the brand itself puts out. Who are those users generating content related to your brand? They are your most avid fans.
  • Dynamic personalized content. What better way to include your reader in your story than to put them right in it with content tailored directly for them? We’ve mastered personalization. Now enter dynamic personalized content. It’s a form of hyper-personalization that ensures the content presented is both relevant to each specific reader, and fresh each time.
More brands are now opening their doors for more engagement. You can see this through the popularity of live video content . It happens too through augmented reality and user-generated content from fans. Click To Tweet

What are the components of authenticity for 2020?

  • A real story: Create a genuine, relatable story.
  • The human element: Show off the human side. Give your readers a behind-the-scenes look.
  • Interactivity: Recast your brand as a conversation. Invite your readers to participate.

How can one be more authentic this 2020? Know these 3 components: share your real and relatable story, show your human side, and ☕ interact with your readers! Click To Tweet

Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing is a new marketing philosophy that spun out of the discussions around interactive content and the way social media has changed customer service. In conversational marketing, a brand crafts its experience through – you guessed it – conversations.

What do these conversations look like? That depends on your brand. Among the most common conversational marketing tools that leverage content include:

  • Email marketing: But not just any cold email spammed out to a list of thousands. Conversational email marketing actively seeks reader responses.
  • Chatbots: Only recently recognized as a potential marketing tool, the content in chatbots can prove just as valuable as the content on your pages or in your blog.
  • Messaging apps: It’s a non-obvious solution to keeping in touch with your users. Nonetheless, some 79% of customers indicate they’ll use them if it means faster access to the answers they seek.
Conversational marketing is IN. How do you start these conversations? Start with the most common tools like email marketing, chatbots, and messaging apps. Click To Tweet

All of these tactics are already deployed by savvy content marketers. However, as these tactics have coalesced under a single term, it’s worth watching this year to see what ingenious ideas people implement around conversations and customer engagement.

5. We Cannot Ignore the New Ways to Search

Last but not least, we return to the state of search.

Not how machines are searching, but this time humans.

Over the past year, Google’s core updates have emphasized the increasingly diverse ways that users are now searching for content. In particular, voice search has made significant gains in popularity.

According to research by Adobe, some 48% of general web searches are done using voice assistants.

This is a direct result of the popularity of using mobile devices to find information. The study reveals that users overwhelmingly report voice search as easy to use and faster than fumbling with an onscreen keyboard.

Last year, voice search was an innovative curiosity. This year, it’s a new digital reality.

Content marketers can’t ignore it.

Are you ready?

Voice search has made significant gains in popularity. ️ According to Adobe, 48% of general web searches are done using voice assistants. Don't ignore this and start optimizing content for voice search. Click To Tweet

Seize the Year with Killer Content from Express Writers

Content marketing has become a sophisticated field… and that’s a good thing!

There are so many ways to plan, create, and distribute content to build an engaged readership. I’ve covered five of what I suspect will be the prevailing content marketing trends for 2020.

The future of content marketing is here. This year, the stars are aligning with one clear message: with everyone focused on putting out GOOD content, it’s time to set yourself apart with something EXCEPTIONAL.

Don’t leave that to chance. Secure top writing talent now and make 2020 a year to remember.

How are you setting yourself apart this year? Trust our team to craft content that caters to building and nurturing your audience.

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