The world of content marketing is always evolving—especially in the increasingly digital world that we live in. Because of this, businesses must stay on top of the latest trends in the content marketing space in order to effectively attract, engage and delight their potential customers.
According to Forbes, “marketers typically designate 25% to 30% of their budgets to content marketing.” This means that if your business doesn’t have the specific content that a customer is looking for, they’ll simply take their business elsewhere.
If your company is just starting to implement content marketing, these statistics can be very intimidating. Content creation is exhausting, especially if your business isn’t seeing the results they want. To prevent employee burnout and drive more meaningful engagement with your customer base, it’s important to develop a strategic plan for your content marketing efforts. According to a survey by Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 78% of content marketers have a documented content marketing strategy in place.
At first, creating a content marketing strategy can seem like a daunting task—especially if you don’t have the internal resources to support its execution. However, it is absolutely essential in this business landscape to make content marketing a core part of your marketing plan. Taking a look at current industry trends that have shown success can provide inspiration and direction for your company.
Whether you’re a marketing novice, or just looking to step up your game, check out these five content marketing trends that you should focus on in 2022:
1. Use Content Audits to Your Advantage
Have you ever been stuck on something at work and Googled the answer, only to find a blog from years ago with outdated information? If you’re like me, you clicked away immediately, and never gave the website a second chance. This website could contain amazing information in their newer blog posts, but countless visitors such as myself would never know. This reason, amongst many others, shows why it is vital that you regularly conduct content audits for your website.
So, first things first—what exactly is the point of a content audit? Well, a thorough content audit allows you to prune older and low-performing content, keep blog posts updated with current information and SEO best practices, and repurpose content into a more engaging asset like an infographic or video.
Another major benefit of a content audit is the ability to see which types of content resonates best with your customers. You can statistically compare what topics drove the most conversions to your site, and plan to develop additional content targeted specifically to those keywords.
By performing audits, your website will remain up-to-date and professional, and position your company as a thought leader in your industry. After all, potential customers will be more likely to do business with companies they believe are most knowledgeable and trustworthy.
2. Pay More Attention to Content Performance
Every marketer knows that creating content is important. However, measuring how well that content did is just as—if not even more—important. To accurately measure your content’s success, you must create a content funnel, set realistic KPIs for everything you create, and employ the right measurement tools.
We’re all familiar with sales and marketing funnels, but implementing a content funnel is key to measuring how well your content is performing. Following the inbound marketing methodology, you should be creating content that attracts, engages and delights your customers. By breaking up content into these three stages, you can more easily compare content that was created for a similar purpose. For example, it’s much easier to compare two webinars against each other than it is to compare a how-to video to a blog post.
Think about it this way… what is a blacksmith without his anvil? A plumber without his wrench? Having the right tools in place to track and measure data is vital to any trade—especially content marketing. According to CMI, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and Buffer are a few recognizable and robust platforms that could support your data collection efforts.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are crucial for measuring success due to their ability to attach goals and statistics to creative works. This in turn helps your content better support your company’s overall goals and objectives. It can also very quickly show you which content is performing best for your business.
3. Focus on Your Most Important KPIs
Figuring out which KPIs to focus your efforts on can quickly become overwhelming. Historically, search engine ranking has been the main priority of marketers and content creators alike. However, even if your content ranks highly, that doesn’t mean it’s actually leading to conversions for your business.
So, which KPIs lead to conversions? According to Pardot, unique page visits, downloads, time on page, conversion rates and number of leads generated are great KPIs that can be used to measure your content performance. Be sure to focus your efforts on topics that are regularly searched, but lack adequate response. Examples of this are questions like, “How do you perform a competitive analysis?” or “How do I turn a blog post into a video?”
By tracking these statistics and comparing them both month over month (MoM) and year over year (YoY), you can better focus your creativity and budget on content marketing strategy that supports your business goals.
4. Make Your Content More Human
Customers want to feel like they’re being spoken to, not at. By making your content more human, you can better help meet their needs, and eventually convert qualified leads into customers for your business.
Here are a few tips for making your content seem more approachable:
- Treat the content you create like a conversation with your audience.
- Avoid using large words and jargon where possible.
- Use first- and second-person pronouns in your writing.
- Add original stories that relate to the content.
- Speak directly to your audience.
Next time you write a blog post, or hit “record” on your camera, try these tips. By being more personable in your content, you’re ultimately developing a relationship with your customer and creating brand loyalty that you wouldn’t have otherwise. As HubSpot’s Co-Founder Brian Halligan says, “A customer isn’t a customer until they’ve had the chance to leave you—and don’t.”
5. Invest in Your Customers
When it comes down to it, the ultimate goal of a business is to sell its products and/or services. So, it might seem odd at first that we’re advising you to invest in your customers—but hear us out. Investing in your customers means researching their needs, commissioning original market research, creating customer personas, and developing content for all stages of the marketing and sales funnel. This can have an enormously positive impact on your business.
Take the time to research your customers’ needs by talking to them directly—whether that’s through a customer satisfaction survey or by conducting a focus group. This way, you can find out their pain points, and how your product has helped them. Not only that, but you can also ask about any missed opportunities that may have ultimately led them to go with a competitor. Conducting internal reviews of your product or service is great, but there’s nothing quite like a review directly from your consumer’s mouth.
Market research is very important for determining which products or services are performing well with your target audience. By conducting market research, you’re able to see what topics, types of content and resources best attract your desired lead. Not only that, but you’re also able to see what does—and doesn’t—work for your competitor.
This brings us back to the point that it’s crucial to develop content specific to each stage of the funnel. For example, if all your business has is how-to videos for a product you sell, potential customers who are trying to figure out a solution to their problem won’t be interested in your services. But by creating a blog post that appeals to specific challenges and/or needs commonly faced in the industry, a piece of gated content that provides value by helping your customers solve a problem, and a webinar about the product they just bought, customers feel supported and guided throughout the entire process—and will be much more likely to buy from you again.
Although investing in your customers takes a bit of up-front work, the benefit significantly outweighs the cost at the end of the day. By combining what you already know about your customers, your existing content and a few new trends that have proven to be successful, you can effectively attract, engage and delight your customers along the buyer’s journey—ultimately resulting in more conversions and higher revenue for your business.
Download our Buyer’s Journey Guide to learn how to create content for all three stages of the buying cycle.