Content trends for 2021 Content is still king. But it’s going through a period of rapid change. Compared to outbound tactics, content marketing costs 62% less but generates 3x as many leads. And businesses that use content marketing have conversion rates 6x higher on average than those that do not. Perhaps that’s why roughly 24% of marketers plan to increase their spending on content marketing in both B2B and B2C. But as customer demands change. So do content requirements. Making it essential for marketers to stay on top of industry trends. Ensuring that their content strategy does not stagnate, and they are offering their audience exactly what they want. So to help marketers out, here are our predictions for content trends for 2021. For marketers. Better starts here. Content communities After periods of lockdown, stress, and isolation. Community is something that many are craving in 2021. And for brands, building a content community brings many benefits. Firstly, it helps to nurture a personal relationship between a brand and their audience. After all, 82% of companies agree that retention is cheaper than acquisition. And engaging with your customers is essential for increasing loyalty. Secondly, many marketers will face a barrier when it comes to content creation. There is only so much content that can be created for a specific budget. But by building communities that are centred around creating and sharing content, brands have access to a wide range of user-generated content that can help their own promotion and brand awareness. In fact, consumers consider user-generated content to be 9.8x more impactful than influencer content. How to get started Social networks are a fantastic place to start. Whether you are using your own business page, forum, or group, social media allows two-way communication and content sharing with your wider community. If social networks don’t appeal to your community, then email is another great option. It enables you to open up a conversation by sharing your latest content with an already engaged audience. You can encourage comments and sharing of your content to keep the engagement moving forward. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, why not start up your own dedicated community website? Lego is a great example of doing just that. The brand started up Lego Ideas so that their community can share their creations and creativity, enter prize competitions, showcase their proposals for new Lego Ideas sets, and vote for models dreamt up by their fellow fan designers. Video and live streaming Unsurprisingly, video, webinar, and live streaming content has seen an increase in the past year. With 55% of online users watching video every single day. And YouTube reporting a 250% increase in the amount of time people watch live content on their TV screens. This trend is predicted to continue, not only due to lockdown restrictions, but also because live video was trending well before the pandemic. That’s because video and live streaming is quick, effective, engaging, and far easier to execute than a full-blown event. And for many consumers, it is easier to engage with than a long-form blog post, or to attend than an event which is miles away. Add to this that the next generation of consumers – Gen Z – are huge fans of video and live streaming. 62% of this age bracket are daily YouTube users. Compared to a mere 34% who use Facebook daily and just 23% on Twitter. How to get started If your brand produces written content, then you already have material for your video and live stream. Simply repurpose your blog posts, guides, and reports into video content to attract a wider audience. If you don’t have the content to hand, then you can offer product demos and walkthroughs to show your audience how to get the most out of what you offer. And if that doesn’t sound like you, then you can just let your brand personality shine through with fun and engaging video and live streaming. For instance, Buzzfeed are the masters of engaging video and live streaming. In fact, they have been championing live streaming for years. For instance, way back in 2016 they asked the question “How many rubber bands would it take to crush a watermelon?” And then made a live video about it, which generated over 800,000 live views. AI-driven content Not so long ago AI was exciting, futuristic, and a little bit scary. Fast forward to 2021 and AI is becoming the norm. Tools such as Contentyze and Phrasee are now readily available to marketers, making AI a very real possibility for everyday activity. These tools help to identify the best words and images to use in your content and ads for the best possible outcome. Taking into account previous results and audience engagement levels. And it’s not just content creation and curation that AI can help with. AI can provide marketers with insight and intelligence into the most targeted and relevant content for their audience. It offers data-driven insights to help inform marketing strategy. And can help marketers optimise their content for both organic and paid rankings. But does this mean that content marketers should be worried? Are they soon to be out of a job? Or replaced by robots? Not so much. Many areas of marketing have been improved by automation over the years, but still require qualified, experienced marketers to work alongside the technology to get the very most out of it. The goal of AI is to make marketers’ lives easier. Enabling them to spend less time on the small, fiddly jobs and more time on strategy and business growth. How to get started As we mentioned, there are a series of tools available for marketers to begin using AI to support their own content efforts. And these tools can be used to support a whole host of marketing activity, from social posts and paid ads to emails and website copy. If you’re not quite ready for AI, don’t forget about all of the automation and personalisation capabilities available to you, particularly within email and website, to help you create the most targeted campaigns and communications possible. Sephora was a particularly early adopter of AI, using a chatbot to offer consumers beauty advice back in 2017. The chatbot would help consumers to narrow down their beauty choices, beginning with a quiz about their product preferences. Interactive content In 2021 content isn’t just about reading or viewing. It’s about engaging and interacting. And with good reason. Interactive content gains two times more engagement than static content. And 43% of consumers prefer interactive video content over other types of video content because it gives them the ability to decide what information they want to view and when they want to view it. How to get started You can begin with making your content more interactive by offering it in a variety of formats. Video, infographics, quizzes, and competitions are all fantastic ways to engage your audience with your content. Without boring them. Adidas used interactive content to promote their newly launched Neo Label. As part of the campaign, the users could customise and showcase their designs of the product. And four winners stood a chance to turn their designs into a real Adidas collection. Optimising for voice search One trend that isn’t so frequently discussed, but is very much on the horizon, is voice search. Voice search has gradually been on the rise since 2012. But in 2021 it’s expected to explode. For instance, more than a quarter of the world’s population uses voice search on their mobile phones. And with 71% of consumers preferring to conduct queries by voice instead of typing, there’s a real possibility that text search will one day become obsolete – or at least used minimally. That means that in 2021, as well as optimising for text search, marketers need to focus on optimising for voice search as well. How to get started Instead of just focusing on keywords such as “best marketing automation tool”, marketers need to embed more conversational phrases and questions into their content, such as “what is the best marketing automation tool for small businesses?” Essentially, you need to identify how your audience speaks about your product and service. A great place to start is with tools such as Answer The Public, which offer invaluable insight into typical questions based on your keywords. Alternatively, gather insight from your sales and customer service departments, or listen to sales calls, and get a feel for the language and phrases that prospects and customers frequently use. Personalisation There are some content trends that will never go out of fashion. And personalisation is one of them. Why? Because so many brands are still not practicing content personalisation. Yet consumers are expecting it. In fact, 80% of frequent shoppers will only shop with brands that personalise their experience. And by personalised content we don’t just mean blog posts and videos. We also mean the products and services that a brand promotes. Because 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers specific and relevant to them. How to get started Fortunately, as our data usage becomes increasingly sophisticated. We develop more data touchpoints and tools for collecting and analysing data. Which enables marketers to become far more personalised in their content approach. For instance, YouTube have their Director Mix tool, which enables brands to create customised videos at scale, swapping out different elements to tailor content to specific audiences. But if you’re not quite at that stage yet, content personalisation can be more straightforward. Brands can use dynamic content elements both on websites and in email, for instance, to personalise content such as products and services to a consumer’s specific demographic and behavioural data. Clothes retailers, such as ASOS, frequently use dynamic content to recommend similar products, linked items, or recently viewed outfits. Looking to excel in content in 2021? A key component to all of these content trends is the ability to manage audience data in order to automate and personalise content and communications. Fortunately, Pure360 can help you with all of that. And more. Why not get in touch with our experts to see how we can help you make the most of your content in 2021?