Content marketing has never lost its appeal—and depending on how you track it, that appeal may go as far back as the 1800’s. We’ve previously discussed the medicine show, a sort of traveling performance/sales pitch, as a solid example of early content marketing—albeit a not-entirely-honest one. As we approach 2022, what does content marketing look like, and what can we expect in the new year?
One metric by which to judge content marketing’s continued importance is measuring its revenue—which in 2019 surpassed $42 billion and continues to rise, according to a study from Statista cited by Jigar Agrawal. “Many companies prioritize their content marketing approach [and] if you don’t, you will be left behind,” Agrawal follows this statistic. The author proceeds to detail a few key areas to prioritize within that approach, starting with putting a premium on customer retention.
A Continuum of Content
Content-focused strategies, as Agrawal puts it, that will help you maintain existing customers include a frequently updated website, observing and examining how people engage with your product post-purchase, and more. “Promotional information, compelling product highlights and features, news about recent and impending changes, or any discounts that can bring distracted customers back into the fold are all included in email marketing campaigns.”
In other words, content marketing in 2022 will need to be a continuous enterprise. You should not consider the job done once you have added some content to your website—people won’t want to see the same video, or imagery, or whatever you’ve utilized, over and over again.
Similarly, you shouldn’t think of your product as a one-off, celebrating its sale and then moving on towards the next one. How do your users interact with the product? Are they posting online about it? Are they using it in combination with your other products? Keeping track will help you with product design going forward, and help you encourage social media and online celebration of your brand.
Finally, this ‘up-to-date’ content marketing requires an ongoing dialogue. You need to ensure that your customers continue to hear from your brand, and that they’re rewarded for their engagement with the types of promos and discounts that Agrawal describes. People like to be recognized—don’t miss the chance!
Writing for Audiences, not Algorithms
PJ Germain writes that another crucial trend for content marketing 2022 is “writing for people rather than search engines.” The author explains that “previously, it was easy to rank high on Google by mashing several high-ranking keywords into a poorly-written article and passing it off as SEO content. However, Google is now focusing on content that meets and satisfies users’ search intent.”
Try to write beyond simple search engine optimization and maximizing your content’s exposure, Germain argues, and make it truly good content. The web is awash with SEO-friendly yet underdeveloped or flawed content, and it can do more harm than good to expose your audiences to low-quality content.
Good content, by contrast, is “compelling, value-driven” and well-informed, and follows a two-step process for creation: Understand your audience, and focus on intent. Understanding your audience is possible when you ask the right questions: “Who is your audience? What pain points do they have? What kind of content will address their pain points and satisfy them?”
Armed with solid answers to these questions, you can go forward with content that will “Focus on the search intent of the user you’re writing for and then tailor your article or content to suit those intents.” Think like the consumer—would you rather type some terms in a search bar and see a dozen badly-written, uninteresting results, or find the content that truly matches the reason you searched in the first place?
Germain also stresses the power and importance of video marketing. As video content accounts for 82% of all internet traffic, it’s wise to follow the successful trend rather than try to circumvent it.
Germain even adds that “mentioning the word ‘video’ in your email subject lines can increase your open rates by up to 19%,” and that you don’t need a full production team and studio to dive in—“Studies have shown that consumers resonate more with lower-quality videos than ‘overproduced’ ones because they feel more genuine and relatable.”
Concept Cape’s piece “Content Marketing Trends That’ll Matter the Most in 2022” includes a discussion of an even newer trend worth paying attention to: Account-Based Marketing (ABM), another way to ensure that your content is more concerned with quality than searchability. “Account-Based Marketing is not about putting out generic blog posts to try and catch leads. It’s the exact opposite,” involving “best-fit accounts… relationship-building and quality outreach.”
The thread is consistent throughout business reporting: target more, update regularly, know your customer well through research. Ann Gynn’s article “Content Marketing in 2022: Very Personal, No Silos, and Lots of Voice” sums this up fittingly in its title alone. From there, Gynn jumps into the demand to “Make it personal” with a “very segmented audience.”
The content marketing world is no longer about quantity of output, with the intent to reach the largest possible amount of viewers regardless of the ‘quality’ of the materials. It’s about carefully understanding your audience and creating lastingly high-quality content, in as personalized a manner as possible.
How is your content marketing strategy shifting as 2022 gets closer? Do you agree that the personal, focused approach is the way to go, or do you think the broadest appeal is the best? Do you think you can maintain quality content in a widespread context? How much do you think content quality matters to your consumers?