6 Content Marketing Trends to Look Out For in 2021

In the world of marketing, becoming early adopters of new trends and best practices is key to reaching our target audiences and achieving success. So, what’s on the horizon for content marketing in 2021? Let’s take a look!

If ever we needed a fresh start, it’s now.

Although things aren’t quite ‘back to normal’, we know more, we’re more prepared, and we’re more resilient than ever. Collectively, we’re all hoping to make 2021 a better year! 

These feelings of hope and excitement likely extend to our professional lives as well. 

Like almost every other industry, content marketing found new and exciting ways to adapt in 2020. Some content marketing trends were born from the pandemic, and others were strengthened by it. 

But which will continue to thrive in 2021 and what's on the horizon for the marketing world in 2021?

6 content marketing trends to look out for in 2021:

In general, the overarching theme for content marketing this year is this: Connect with customers more personally than ever. 

Here’s how marketers are going to get it done:

1. Video live streams

The popularity of video marketing is nothing new. However, 2020 was the first year that videos actually surpassed blogs as the most dominant content format on the internet. And the momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, video content is likely to amount to a shocking 82% of all global internet traffic by the end of this year!

Many content marketers spent 2020 testing the waters on different types of video marketing. And many found that live streams were among the most effective. In fact, 91% of marketers who did live streaming in 2020 say they will continue into 2021. And for good reason:

  • 36% of business streamers say their revenue has increased since they started live streaming 
  • And 73% of survey respondents in a recent study say they have seen a positive ROI from live streaming
  • Live streams are watched 3 times longer and receive 10 times as many comments over conventional videos.

The top channels for live streaming in 2021 are likely to be the current giants: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok. LinkedIn just recently got into the live streaming game as well, which could be a bit of a game changer for B2B in reaching professional audiences.

2. Voice optimized content strategy

By now, many of us are friends with Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. And it’s a good thing too. Because by the end of this year, it is estimated that as many as half of all online searches will be voice-based.

This means it’s time for marketers to start thinking about their SEO optimization from a voice perspective. Small changes in content text that make it more conversational and more question-based will be key to capturing more traffic.

For example, changing a content title from “Best Cat Food Brands of 2021” to “Who Makes the Best Cat Food in 2021” could make a big difference. 

This change is especially important for localized businesses, as voice search normally favors results based on the user’s current location.

3. A focus on building online communities

Connection is the new currency. 

The emergence of strong online communities is becoming a huge driver in audience engagement. Marketers have found that building exclusive communities can increase high-value customer engagement that leads directly to sales, renewals and upsells:

  • 76% of customers say they would buy from a brand they feel connected to over a competitor
  • 57% of customers say they are more likely to increase how much they spend with a brand when they feel connected
  • And 49% expect brands to bring people together toward a common goal

Using platforms like Facebook, Slack, and Instagram to create community-oriented content programs works by:

  • Growing customer retention and strengthening customer loyalty
  • Improving digital experiences
  • Cutting costs in customer support while increasing satisfaction
  • Strengthening your brand
  • Presenting new and simple opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell
  • Nurturing your current customer advocates 

These groups help customers feel included, valued and accepted. And clearly this desire for customers to feel connected to the brands they buy from is growing. So this trend will only continue to grow as well!

4. A stronger need for personalized content

As competition for their attention continues to increase online, customers are expecting content to address their exact needs. Actually, if it doesn’t, they’re not likely to even give you a chance:

  • 42% of consumers get annoyed when their content isn’t personalized
  • And 66% of consumers will not purchase from a site when they feel the content does not speak to their specific interests

We know — ouch.

This means it's more important than ever to formulate your content with a very specific audience in mind. In fact, 88% of marketers report seeing measurable improvements due to personalization — with more than half reporting a lift greater than 10%.

What this also means is marketers need to get very serious about their data and segmentation. 

Get super clear on what technology your audience is using, what their demographics are, what their user behavior is, etc. Knowing your audience in-and-out and delivering at the right time is what is going to make your content perform. Revisit the content you have for each phase of the customer’s buying journey and making sure it’s reaching customers at the correct intervals. 

In 2021, a focus on hyper-segmentation, customizing offers and incentives, and testing out your delivery methods will serve you well. 

5. Focus on values

Like we said, 2020 has been a tough year for all of us. Globally. Many have been dealing with heightened levels of personal frustration and loss of control. More than ever before, customers will expect companies to demonstrate values like trustworthiness, empathy, and integrity. 

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of global consumers prefer to purchase products and services from companies that share their own values, and will avoid companies that don't. This means you need to make your company’s values very visible. Live them out and share them. Of course, content marketing is a great avenue for this. 

You need to use your content marketing to really show how your company is living out those values. For example, instead of listing on your website that your company “is doing your part to help stop climate change”, tell your audience how. Send out an email about how you’ve reduced your energy consumption by X%; or do a social media campaign on how you’ve switched to more sustainable suppliers. 

It can feel a bit counter-intuitive at first to tout values over your product/service, but these are the messages customers want to see! Once they feel a personal connection to your values, they’re more likely to check out your product. 

6. An ever-increasing demand

If your company has yet to invest in your content strategy, you may lag behind in 2021. The demands of customers for new, fresh content is rising. And that means the demands on marketers is rising as well. Currently, 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day.

If you consider all the responsibilities of your marketing team as a whole, it’s clear to see that you need to have at least one person dedicated solely to content. If you don’t have the ability to hire one, consider outsourcing. Curating a team of trusted contributors who create consistent content can help keep you ahead of the game. 

If you want to bring on truly seasoned professionals who can not only produce content for you, but also help you shape your content strategy in 2021, check out Scribly. Our team will get to know your company and produce content that’s guaranteed to get results.

We’re sure to see more trends pop-up as the year progresses. For now, focus on the list above, and enjoy this fresh new start. 

Happy New Year!

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