Are you already creating content marketing for your site and your social media? Fantastic. That’s on trend. But as customer habits and expectations change, your content should change with it. Here are 10 trends to reach your audiences right now.
Trend 1: Optimizing your site for voice search
Listen up. According to BusinessWire, global smart speaker sales surpassed 150,000 units in 2020. Now that users are familiar with voice assistants, they’re accustomed to forming whole questions like “What’s the weather in Dallas this weekend?” For your site, that means it’s important to create content that feels natural and isn’t stuffed with SEO keywords. Using voice search, customers want the facts. Your website should reflect your hours, location(s) and other information that a local customer will need. According to Convince and Convert, voice searches are three times as likely to be local as other searches. Consider an FAQ page that answers questions you hear over and over. If your restaurant is known for a great signature dish, your voice assistant can pass that info to your customers.
Trend 2: Live video is here to stay
Nearly two-thirds of millennials watch livestreams regularly, according to Twitter Marketing (via Influencer Marketing Hub). Platforms like Instagram/Facebook Live, Twitch, Twitter and Zoom can help you reach wider audiences and prioritize accessibility. Plus, you can repurpose live video for landing page offers, blog posts and podcasts (see trend 7). Need help? Consider these ideas for great video content.
Trend 3: Browsers love interactive content
Interactives aren’t going away any time soon. Quizzes, calculators and other interactive formats like webinars and mobile games can help build trust in your business, generate leads and drive conversions. Interactive content is more likely to be shared and is more effective at conversions than static content.
Trend 4: Using long-tail keywords to create natural, helpful content
A 2021 content marketing strategy looks different from the keyword-obsessed world of a couple years ago. Keywords remain important, but this trend focuses on using long-tail keywords—keywords that individually get fewer searches but which are more relevant to your business. For instance, many people search “contractor Los Angeles” or “lawyer Milwaukee,” but you’re unlikely to rank very high for those. You’ll get more traffic from less common searches, like “rainfall shower install expert Los Angeles” or “estate planning revocable trust Milwaukee,” so you must use those keywords when you create content. You can further optimize for SEO by organizing your blog around topics using pillar pages, which help search engines explore your content the same way a prospect might: jumping around to content related to a central theme.
Trend 5: Investing in user-generated content
User-generated content, or UGC, is material, including reviews and social media, that your customers create about your business. Almost 90% of consumers use reviews to inform their purchase decisions, and they’re key to a solid content marketing strategy. Besides seeking reviews, you can have users post on Instagram (see trends 8 and 10) and have hashtag contests on any platform that supports hashtags. UGC creates exposure for your business, informs decisions and builds trust in your products.
Trend 6: AI-powered copywriters lend a helping hand
Most small businesses don’t have a lot of time to spend on marketing: from 2 to 20 hours a week, depending on who you ask. Owners are using artificial intelligence–powered copywriting to save time needed elsewhere in their business. Using AI to write blog posts and marketing offers doesn’t mean you won’t do any work—you provide the software with samples and keywords to get started. It’s more for getting something on the page, brainstorming and workshopping than it is for replacing human writers—for now! Companies like CopyAI and Phrasee offer AI copy generation, and users are impressed.
Trend 7: Recycling (content) is hot
Almost 60% of marketers say they reuse content. This doesn’t mean copying and pasting a blog post everywhere you can think of. It means thoughtfully repackaging content for different platforms. You might crop an image from your blog and share it to Instagram with an excerpt, rework several blog posts into a marketing offer on your landing page or even turn a post into the basis for a podcast. It can mean retooling something from previous years for today. Remember, the content should fit the platform and take advantage of these ideas for repurposing content.
Trend 8: Tell (and use) stories on social media
Stories are temporary posts that show up on your followers’ feeds, and they boost the bottom line: Close to 60% of Instgram users say that have become interested in a product after seeing it in Stories. A form of social marketing, these informal stories can encourage followers to visit your location, alert them to surprise deals or availability, showcase employees’ personalities and expand your business’ reach. They’re a wildly popular and relatively new format worth learning and investing in.
Trend 9: Give ’em something to talk about with chatbots
Chatbots have quickly become a popular way to acquire new leads and serve existing customers. If you’ve ever seen a little pop-up in the corner of a website offering some help and to connect with someone, you’ve seen a chatbot! Most internet users like that chatbots can serve them 24 hours a day: They help keep existing and potential customers interested in your business and help you collect information about what they’re looking for. Resources like Drift, HubSpot, MobileMonkey and Zendesk offer easy-to-program and no-code interfaces for creating a bot and adding it to your site. Once set up, bots require little ongoing maintenance.
Trend 10: Partnering with micro-influencers can have macro impacts
Number 10! Influencer marketing is a form of social media content creation similar to product placement—you pay for your business to be featured in someone else’s social posts, usually a celebrity’s. But you don’t have to work with a Kardashian or Samuel L. Jackson to achieve effective influencer marketing, and this is where micro-influencers—accounts with under 100,000 followers—come in. According to Forbes, micro-influencers deliver worthy benefits like highly targeted, loyal audiences for a fraction of the cost of the big famous names. Read more here on how to find, approach and work with micro-influencers.
Ultimately, 2021’s content marketing trends are about helping your prospects and current customers by creating great content that meets them where they are. Need more inspiration? Check out these 10 sites that are creating content we love.
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