1.You Can Say Goodbye To The Old Rule BookWe’re dealing with a different world than we were a year ago – and that’s gonna require a new way of thinking and a new way of doing business. Content professionals are in a unique position to be at the forefront of new business models – but need to be willing to adapt. “Content professionals need to expect that nothing is ‘normal’ anymore. The faster we adjust and embrace it, the stronger our work is going to be.” ( Ben H. Rome, AIHA )
2. More Investment…and More ResponsibilityWith great power comes great responsibility, as the old adage goes. And the same goes with more money and resources. It seems clear that 2021 will see more invested into content operations. This will be welcome news for content teams who lack the resources to handle the amount of work already coming their way – but it will come with more responsibilities, as well as an obligation to prove their value to the company’s bottom line. Make sure to keep expanding your skill set in areas like digital asset management , focus on achievable goals, and record your progress and successes.
3. Remote Working Is Here To StayWhile it won’t remain the only way we work, when it comes to remote work, conferences and meetings, “the improvements in reach, convenience, economics, and content longevity are too compelling to walk away from after the pandemic.” (Michael Kolowich, OpenExchange). As well as changing the way we work, we’ll need to adapt content styles and editorial content accordingly. Finally, this more than ever fully online way of doing things will push content marketers to the frontlines. With less travel, events, and conferences, companies need to reach customers online more than ever, and in house sales teams will need a boost from content creators to make up for lack of in-person engagement with potential clients. This will mean stepping up SEO work to improve rankings, and increasing personalization in emails and direct marketing to stand out from the crowd.
4. New Ways of Generating and Sharing ContentWith content marketers being expected to both generate more content AND make it more personalized, we may find ourselves looking into AI and natural language generation that can take our content templates and tailor them to each individual to increase engagement. Reaching customers through more creative means is also going to be key. As the pandemic has made it more clear that broadcast television has been overtaken by online streaming platforms, we’ll see company marketing budgets diverted away from traditional television spots and into things like online videos and podcasts. “These two content types give marketers room to get creative, tell an engaging product story, and connect with their target audiences in a more visual and auditory way.” (Michaela Scampoli, Datto). We can also expect to see companies beginning to create their own in-house platforms to share this content, rather than relying on third party media and channels.
5. More Will Be Demanded of ContentContent will be a more important marketing component than ever, more time and money will need to be invested in it, and consequently people are going to expect more from it.
From Your CustomersYour customers will look for the best possible answers to their questions, and you’ll need to know if that’s just a brief summation or a long form article – there’s no one size fits all solution anymore. Sometimes simple and quick is better than lengthy and in-depth. Your audience has spent more time online wading through more content, and they’re going to be more critical of what you’re putting out there. And now “It won’t simply be enough to say something is so; we’ll have to provide evidence if we hope to persuade the consumer of our content to believe what we are telling them.” (Tom Martin, Converse Digital) A great way to accomplish this, and one that’s set to be the next trend in content marketing, is offering more educational content. Joe Lazauskas from Contently explains: “A study by Conductor found high-quality educational content increases a prospect’s likelihood to buy by 131%, but the impact isn’t limited to new business. Educational content is also a key customer success tool, helping to develop savvier, more loyal customers while reducing the overall cost to serve.”
From Your CompanyLikewise, your investors will be looking for clear ROI. Your content will need to not only be high quality, but also aimed at the right audience, in the right place, at the right time. It’ll be just as important, if not more so, to show your content is measurably effective in generating leads and sales as well as being rewarding to customers. You should “be ready to show how everything you’re doing has a real impact – whether building an audience, motivating one, or mining their activities for insights that help the business.” (Kim Moutsos, vice president of editorial, Content Marketing Institute)
ConclusionGoing into 2021 it’s more clear than ever that content marketing is now front and center in the marketing and communication strategy for any forward thinking company. As Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks puts it: “Without content, you don’t have anything to share on social, nothing to boost through paid social and search, and certainly nothing to show to a journalist to prove your thought leadership and expertise.” If you’re ready to adapt, embrace the changing landscape, and keep your eye on these current trends, 2021 will offer a wider range of opportunities in content marketing than we’ve seen before.
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