A solid content marketing strategy is one of the most important ways a business can grow. It can help you communicate your brand identity, attract interest from prospects, and continually engage your market. It also establishes your authority in your industry to build trust.
However, the evolution of content marketing means that achieving these outcomes is easier said than done. The digital marketing and SEO world has completely changed and is much different than it was a decade ago. This shift could be for several reasons; the rise in influencer culture, changes in technology, and even the pandemic. As a result, content creation and marketing campaigns will require different tactics and different thinking as we head into this next year.
So let’s take a look at the evolution of marketing that has occurred, and discuss ways to position your company for an excellent 2022:
The Landmark Study
In 2011, Google ushered in a wave of change across the marketing world with their Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) study. It discovered an awareness stage during the consumer buying cycle in which word of mouth was critical in researching their choice.
It was a major point in the evolution of content marketing, leading businesses to focus on creating more content to control their stories online. Otherwise, their narrative would be out of their marketing department’s control.
The study also highlighted the importance of solid SEO, as being found via search queries was becoming essential to a business’s online presence.
The Big Algorithm Shift
Something else happened in the 2010s that was a game-changer for SEO. Google changed its algorithm to punish “keyword stuffing” — the unethical practice of inserting various keywords in high volume to trick the search results.
This was another beneficial change for users, as Google allowed them to find more relevant results. However, it also cemented that marketers now needed to focus on high quality content and relevant content.
The Social Media Revolution
Search engines alone do not completely explain the evolution of content marketing. Over the past 10 years, social media has experienced a meteoric rise. It has disrupted virtually everything about the way humans connect with, enjoy, and learn about the world around them.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram even LinkedIn became mainstays of the digital experience and disrupted the traditional online rules of marketing. Yet again, content marketers had to adapt.
Instead of more pointed content via search engines, users discovered content passively through these social media channels. As a result, marketing teams now needed to make highly shareable and digestible content throughout social media that spoke to their potential customers and brought them to their websites via other methods.
With the amount of content generated on social media, marketers also realised that their content needed to relate to the customers personally – enter influencer marketing. As a result, influencer marketing has become a massive part of social media. As a result, many businesses choose to use user-generated content on their social media over other forms of content.
The mid-to-late 2010’s changed content marketing in terms of the types of content that people were consuming. In 2017, over half of the consumers already wanted videos from their favourite brands, more than any other type of content.
This makes sense because, video, is naturally very engaging. It mimics face-to-face communication better than anything and engages with your target audiences on that personal level. Furthermore, it helps users with reading disabilities who can’t readily consume ebooks, newsletters, or blog posts. It’s no mistake that platforms such as YouTube rose so quickly in popularity.
Voice Search Optimisation
Now another factor in the evolution of content marketing has been the use of voice search optimisation. In October 2011, Apple launched Siri and voice search took off. As a result, artificial intelligence assistants became a new digital trend, with voice-activated technologies like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Home becoming the next must-have gadget.
Voice search has impacted local SEO because the queries are often longer and more specific resulting in long-tail keywords being picked up, allowing users to receive accurate and relevant content to their query, making a crucial marketing tool.
How Content Will Evolve in 2022 and Beyond
Content marketing never stands still. As new technologies are created, consumer habits change, and new digital marketing strategies emerge. What they preferred in the past may not be what they prefer in the future, or even 6 months from now.
But there are inevitable shifts in your marketing efforts that you can take to win the content battle in 2022:
Video Will Continue to Thrive
As we previously mentioned, video has been one of the biggest trends of the past decade. And due to the popularity of TikTok and Instagram Reels with millennials, it shows no signs of slowing down. As a result, video content is already a staple of many companies’ marketing arsenal, and it should be for yours.
85% of marketing professionals use some form of video marketing. That means that if you’re not, you’re falling behind our competition.
Video marketing is an excellent way to engage your audience and add visuals that just aren’t possible with static content. With new trends creepy up almost daily, it’s important to stay present. You can also repurpose blog posts, emails, and even entire sales presentations to maximize your marketing reach and create high-quality content that will enhance your customer experience.
Mobile Will Be Essential
There’s no getting around it anymore! 90% of the internet-connected world world uses a mobile device to get online. Users are using mobiles to listen to podcasts, online shop and even speak to businesses through chatbots. This is why every business should be looking for new opportunities in this mobile evolution of marketing.
This includes creating mobile-ready websites that are responsive to different screen types. Making your site mobile-friendly will also improve SEO, helping you generate more free traffic. In addition, videos, blog posts, infographics, and any form of interactive content should be easily viewable and appropriate for smaller devices, resulting in a better user experience.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a rising trend that should be on your radar for 2022. This interactive technology allows brands to provide immersive experiences to users. As a result, you can showcase your products in 3D, create mental ownership, and engage your customers to boost brand awareness and conversions.
For instance, cosmetic brands can allow shoppers to try on their makeup virtually before buying. And event companies can create augmented reality experiences to enable ticket buyers to pick the perfect seat.
Google’s algorithms have been shifting toward more customer-centric content. Instead of simply relying on keywords, SEO now requires you to focus on the bigger picture.
Truly empathetic and impactful content that solves your market’s needs will be rewarded with higher rankings. SEO factors such as how long a user spends on your website and how many elements they engage with are more important than ever.
Google will continue to reward websites that have links from other relevant sites. This is a mix of both quantity and quality. Outreach efforts to build partnerships from high ranking websites in your industry will be a must.
As most marketing strategists know, marketing evolution is never-ending. While some of the more monumental changes occurred years ago, every year moving forward will produce new challenges, consumer behaviours, digital marketing trends and emergent marketing strategies. To optimise your SEO, your social networks and your online presence, you’ll need to commit to engaging, empathetic, and relevant content strategically if you want to stand out.
If you want help keeping up with content marketing evolutions, as well as a sound outsourced marketing strategy to improve traffic and conversions, get in touch with us today.