As a content marketer, you know how important it is for your content to increase audience engagement, drive conversions and promote brand awareness — all while providing great ROI.
From visual content marketing trends to SEO for voice search, from harnessing the power of account-based marketing to identifying the right KPIs and metrics to measure, here are the content creation trends that matter in 2022 to help you stay ahead of the curve.
1. Increased focus on Account-Based Marketing
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a highly effective marketing strategy where brands target a specific list of prospects, using fairly strict criteria, with relevant bespoke content. In 2021, 70% of marketers reported they were using ABM, an increase of 15% from 2020, so this is a content creation trend to watch.
The market is saturated with blogs, guides, listicles, and white papers. When your hot lead clicks on a link claiming to solve their problem or satisfy their need, they want it to be addressed right away.
They also want to feel like the brand is speaking to them directly, and that their unique goals and aspirations are understood. Adopting an ABM approach can enable you to do just that.
Rather than casting the widest possible net with your carefully crafted content and hoping for the best, ABM targets the highest value, best-fit accounts. This means top-quality website traffic rather than high bounce rates, and active social media engagement instead of a nonplussed community one click away from unfollowing.
It means your sales team talks to nicely warmed-up leads with a wealth of background information, rather than trawling through cold leads who don’t have a budget or an interest in your products.
If you don’t know where to start or are worried you won’t have the time or resources to do it properly, using a content creation platform can help.
When your sales team needs bespoke content to send to leads, it can be produced quickly and to a very high standard. When they want to nudge that lead further down the buyer journey towards conversion, you can create relevant, customized content based on their unique interests and behaviors.
Alongside streamlining the sales process, you’ll also get a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t, helping you to refine your buyer personas, improve branded content, and plan your budget more effectively.
Want to get 50% more ROI on your marketing activities? Discover 5 steps to integrate your content marketing with your ABM strategy
2. Better KPIs and measurement for content marketing
One of the biggest challenges with your content marketing is demonstrating ROI. Research has shown that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing but a recent Gartner report revealed that nearly half of marketers are unable to measure ROI.
Business leaders are no longer interested in hearing that ‘content is king’ — they want to see tangible results. Therefore, when you’re securing your budget for 2022, you need to be able to demonstrate the value that your content has to the business.
The metrics you track for each content format you use, from eBooks to podcasts and webinars, are likely to be based predominantly on your website analytics, social media engagement, and email marketing.
Below we have used blogs as an example of the KPIs you should be using for content marketing in 2022.
KPIs for measuring blog ROI
Blogs are notoriously tricky for measuring ROI. An article may take a while to gain traction, or engagement may fluctuate due to search volumes, peaks, and troughs in social media engagement, newsletter schedules, or any number of factors.
This means your metrics may not tell you anything until months after the article is published.
A good approach for understanding your blog ROI is to view each piece of content as part of a wider picture in your marketing strategy.
Monitoring traffic to your blog is important, but you should also cross-reference unique and return visits with the referral source (social media channel, PR placements, etc), time on site, next page path (where the visitor went next on your website), and any other metrics that show how users are engaging with your content.
You can then compare these figures over time and map them against your search rankings for the keywords you’re targeting, newsletter clicks, social media engagement, and next page paths or button clicks that lead to the next stage of the buyer journey.
Over time, you will be able to identify the most effective subject matter for engaging your readers who fit different customer personas or who are at different stages of the buyer journey.
You can also adapt content length based on how long visitors are staying on the page. For example, if you find your visitors are leaving in less than a minute, it could be a good idea to trim the content down or prioritize the information in a different way to get them hooked from the first paragraph.
KPIs for measuring gated content
Many content marketers are still using PDF content which means that the only metric to work with is the number of times it was downloaded.
This is a huge blindspot when it comes to measuring the performance of content. With PDFs you cannot get information on the following:
- Whether prospects read your content after downloading
- If your PDF was passed on or forwarded to others
- Which pages or sections of your content was the most interesting
- Understanding at what point readers lose or gain interest in your content
PDFs are also difficult to update, especially if you want to freshen up the content with new research or fix any glaring errors. Once they've been sent to readers, they cannot be recalled. That means your out-of-date version will remain in circulation indefinitely.
Read more about this here.
3. Video marketing will step into the spotlight
This might not seem like a new visual content creation trend but bear with us. Personalized video content, most commonly used at the end stages of the buyer journey, is becoming increasingly popular — and with good reason. It’s a great tool for addressing barriers to sales, too.
A well-timed explainer video or testimonial sent to a prospect could be perfect to secure that conversion before the potential customer starts looking elsewhere.
Now that everyone is a budding citizen reporter, it transpires that customers don’t necessarily want a slick, expensive, and warts-free production. If the subject matter is valuable and relevant, the content is well thought through, and is original and credible, it stands a good chance at establishing a good connection with your viewer.
These days, it is far more important to be authentic than lavish. Which is not only great news for your budget and ROI, but should also mean you can produce more content to arm your sales team with when they need it most.
Video marketing offers a great opportunity for engaging with a home-bound audience in desperate need of useful content that will solve their problems, make their lives easier, and keep them entertained, too.
Helpful hint: when publishing your video content, don’t forget to make sure the description of your video is optimized for search. This means including a brief, user-friendly description of the content (written in natural language) with a few relevant keywords and search terms so the right people can find it.
Optimizing content for voice search will be a priority
Growth in the use of voice-enabled devices continues to rise. In fact, 65% of 25-49-year-olds speak to voice-enabled devices such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant at least once a day.
Of course, popularity with voice search doesn’t stop there. According to Review42 mobile users are nearly three times as likely to use voice search over typed search. One of the main reasons is because it is faster.
The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds which is 52% faster than the average page load speed. Modern consumers demand a swift, accurate user experience from their preferred search engine.
As AI and automation become more entrenched in consumers’ lives, optimizing content for voice search should be high on the list of all marketers wanting to capitalize on content writing and content marketing trends.
One of the most effective ways to boost your SEO activities in voice search is to target longer phrases and questions. So, rather than creating content that focuses on shorter phrases like ‘co-working space’ it’s better for your voice SEO to base a blog or short guide around questions such as ‘best co-working space in downtown Manhattan, or ‘best value co-working space with local childcare.’
Studies have shown that the average Google voice search result is written at ninth-grade level (14 to 15 years old) so the actual on-page content should be as clear and concise as possible — though you need to balance this with delivering great content that your audience will find useful, and demonstrates your expertise and credibility.
FAQ or question-based web pages are great for this, so make sure you hone in on the whys, wheres, whos, and so on.
Like so many of your marketing activities, success with SEO for voice search is a result of understanding your user behavior so monitoring your analytics is key.
Pay attention to the kinds of devices your customers are using, and the conversational keywords they prefer. Then adapt your content accordingly.
Remember that your customer will only be presented with one voice search result rather than a whole page of meta descriptions so you need to make your content count. It’s all about getting to grips with your user’s intent and keeping up with content marketing trends in the area of voice search.
It’s still relatively new and Google is likely to adapt its ranking algorithms as it becomes more established in the world of SEO. So, this is definitely another content marketing trend to keep us on our toes!
4. PDFs on the way out, highly immersive content experiences in
PDFs were introduced in 1993 to render documents on any operating system correctly. For a long time, they were the standard format for all content.
With the changes the internet and smartphones have brought to marketing in general, we're seeing PDFs fall out of favor after nearly three decades. Unfortunately, the format that once enabled advances in communication is now inhabiting it.
Because they aren't responsive and don't allow page-by-page analytics, PDFs are less than ideal for the connected and mobile world of which we're all now a part. Both a better reading experience and more in-depth insights can be attained with web-based formats.
Content marketers have taken longer than some other professions to catch on to this trend, but the benefits of moving away from PDFs are already accessible. It's only a matter of time before this antiquated file format has disappeared entirely from the content marketing arsenal.
It's no longer acceptable to publish content that forces your audience to pinch and zoom to be able to read it. This will turn away readers quicker than you can say, "Please buy from my competitors."
With over half of your audience likely now reading on a mobile device, you need to ensure everything you create is built with them in mind.
It's not surprising that responsiveness is essential. The challenge will come with the new content types that marketers are exploring. Aside from the trends we mention here, the proliferation of content marketing means that companies are likely to start experimenting with new and unique content types.
Those will have various combinations of written content and design, and they'll have different levels of interaction. That means companies will have to do extra work to ensure that they are all responsive on all devices.
Interaction and personalization
The holy grail for marketers is the ability to reach all of their potential customers and speak to each of them as individuals.
Big data lets us do that more easily on social media, and there's a high degree of personalization that's possible on companies' websites. However, content marketing has lagged until now.
As web-based content replaces traditional eBooks and white papers, there's an opportunity to bring in some of that sought-after personalization. Not only can you address readers by name, but you can also make sure they see content related to their industry, hide case studies from their competitors, and more.
In a similar vein, interactive content is quickly becoming an important way to give conversations between you and your audience a more authentic feel. From clickable infographics to quizzes and more, interactive content holds your audience's attention and stands out from static written documents of the past. For that reason, it's earned its seat at the table.
As we mentioned earlier, page-by-page analytics were not possible for content distributed as PDFs. However, it's very much in the grasp of content marketers today.
You're probably already making use of such analytics for your website. Monitoring bounce rates, exit rates, scroll depth, time on page, and more gives you a good idea of how visitors react to your copy and design. That's what gives you the ability to A/B test and improve over time.
Follow these trends
These are certainly exciting times to be working in content marketing, both in terms of how tactics are changing to the variety of tools we have available to us.
Advances in automation and AI offer unprecedented opportunities for understanding and serving our audiences and can be far more cost-effective, and easy to adopt than we might imagine.
The most successful content marketers will be those who identify which trends are relevant to their brands and customers and develop tactics and activities that are customer-focused to the changing needs of their marketplace. And, of course, it's always important to follow up on these great initiatives with a thorough and regular analysis of the successes and the areas you can improve upon.