It’s hard to find a content marketer who doesn’t know how to adapt to change. Flexibility comes with the territory. But even the savviest among us have been thrown for a loop by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are coming off of a crazy year, and it’s hard to predict changing consumer trends when we can’t even reliably say what next month will look like. Understandably, even the most nimble marketer can feel a bit out of sorts as they plan their content for 2021. Fortunately though, even as we navigate uncharted territory, there are still some definite consumer trends emerging in 2021. We’ve been keeping our eyes on them how to use these trends to create better content.
When it comes to creating content in 2021, there are two main insights to keep in mind. The first is (unsurprisingly) that online is everything. The second is a little less obvious: “online” doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as it meant before. Both of these insights have some big implications for your content moving forward.
2020 made the whole world move to a virtual space. Your marketing team is probably one of the countless others that have adjusted to meeting each other and your customers online. And even if you were already creating some great online content before, there’s far more of it to compete with now that more businesses are investing more dollars into online marketing. Your content will need to work that much harder in 2021 to stand out from the crowd. These are some good strategies to help you compete in this newly crowded space.
- Multi-Channel Marketing: Sometimes, it all comes down to a numbers game. Now that there’s so much more competition in the online space, it has never been more important for your content to be in multiple places at once. And it’s not only your competitors who are spending more time online. Consumers are exploring new channels as well. With that in mind, creating content for multiple channels will likely be a major focus in 2021. And if that feels like a lot of extra work, remember that repurposing existing content is a great way to put high-quality content in multiple places without expending too many extra resources. According to Brooklin Nash, Head of Content at Sales Hacker:
“In every panel discussion, there’s at least five social media posts, a blog post, a newsletter mention. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel—just get it turning faster.”
- SEO: 2021 is the time to double down on your SEO strategy. It’s much easier to set your content apart when you’ve got Google in your corner. One of the best ways to get them there is by including keywords in your content. But don’t waste your resources competing with the behemoths for the most popular search terms. Instead, focus your keyword research on “long-tail” and niche options that are easier to rank for, and will ultimately get your content seen by the right people.“Top 10 lists” and big industry keywords are a dime a dozen on the Internet. Setting yourself apart can be as simple as writing something different. (Side note: we know a fantastic SEO expert if you need a referral.)
- Video Content: Without the availability of in-person events in 2020, more businesses focused on offering virtual alternatives like webinars, Ask Me Anything sessions, and fireside chats. And consumers loved the chance to interact! Even when things start to open in 2021, your video content should continue on this interactive trajectory. Now that they’ve seen better, your customers aren’t going to sit through boring, pre-recorded slide presentations anymore.
- Optimize for mobile: More time on the internet means more time on smartphones. In fact, according to Statcounter, as of this February, mobile web traffic actually surpassed desktop web traffic by almost 15 percent. If you want your content to get seen in 2021, it needs to be mobile-friendly. So simplify your calls to action and give more “one-click” options. Think about optimizing your content for the types of popular “Near me” searches people are more likely to do on their phones than on their computers.
The New “Online”
If you think you knew the online game before, you might want to think again in 2021. Consumers are relating to online content differently, and what may have kept their attention online in the past might not be cutting it anymore. According to Google, over 90 percent of users utilize devices for help while they’re in the middle of doing something. That means that in 2021, people are going to the Internet to find content that fulfills an immediate need. Because of this, there are a couple of implications for this year’s content marketing strategy:
- Put all the relevant information in one place: Customers don’t want to hunt all over your website to find the content relevant to their query. If they can’t find what they’re looking for right away in your content, they have plenty of other options to choose from. If you want them to stick with your content, consider creating content silo pages that link to all your relevant content in that area. With all that information at their fingertips, there’s no way your customer’s question hasn’t been answered. And who knows? Maybe now that they’ve spent time looking at your content, they might have some new questions you could answer. With that in mind…
- Answer their questions: If you know what questions your customers want your content to answer, be explicit about it. Formatting your content in a question/answer or problem/solution format will get relevant information found quicker–a win for both you and your customers!
- Use content-driven personalization: Since customers want information quickly when they visit your website, they might not stay for very long. More likely, they’ll visit your site, find what they need, and leave immediately. But they were still there! Use what they searched for last time to tailor your content to their interests next time. This is called content-driven personalization. A good way to do this is through automated email marketing campaigns based on the types of content your customers have engaged with in the past (even for a relatively short time).
Your Content Toolbelt
So now you’re ready to go forth and create some strategic, interactive, and mobile-friendly content! But don’t worry, we aren’t sending you on this mission empty-handed. Below is a list of eight of the best gadgets to help you ace the content game in 2021.
- Trello: Who needs walkie-talkies when you have Trello, the ultimate resource for virtual collaboration? Use it to easily share content, schedule responsibilities, and chat with your team.
- BuzzSumo: Think of BuzzSumo as your thermal camera: showing you which topics and people are hot in your industry today. Use it to help plan what you want to write about,when you want to write it, and who you want to promote it.
- Uberflip: Ever watch a movie with spy glasses that do quick research in real-time so that the spy knows what to say? That’s Uberflip: your one-stop-shop for customizing the content on your site based on its judgments of where each particular visitor is on their buyer journey.
- Hootsuite: Aim and fire at multiple targets at once with Hootsuite, which allows you to draft, schedule, and manage social media content across a variety of platforms in advance and all in one place.
- Tweepsmap: Target your tweets with laser-like precision using Tweepsmap. Use its visual representations of where your followers are geographically to post the content most relevant to them.
- GetResponse: This is the gun that fires for you! Trigger your emails and events automatically with GetResponse, the email marketing tool that sends emails based on how your clients are engaging with you AND collects data about your ongoing relationship with them in the same place.
- Moz: The ultimate SEO spy-cam: Moz tells you a little bit of everything about how your SEO strategy (and the strategies of your competitors) is working. It also gives you insights as to how you can improve and which keywords would be best for you to use.
- Canva: Help your customers decode your content by creating demystifying infographics and beautiful imagery using Canva’s pre-designed, customizable templates.
2020 may have thrown us all for a loop, but with a good grasp of consumer trends and the content creation tools we have at our disposal, we can continue creating amazing content in 2021.
If you want some more guidance or help to do that, always feel free to contact us –we’d love to help! We’d also love to hear how your content marketing strategy is shaping up this year. Let us know in the comments what some of the trends you’re watching are, and some of the tools you can’t live without!