It’s 2023 and time to stay up to date on the top digital marketing and content trends.
I wasn’t going to start this blog by saying the clichéd term “content is king,” but it’s a well-known marketing hymn for a reason – right?
Before we take the phrase as gospel, let’s dive into the history of the term and why it can be extremely misleading.
The term was originated by Bill Gates in 1996, two years before Google even existed. Even after nearly three decades, it’s still a hallmark phrase in digital marketing. Many marketers live by this mantra and use it as justification to invest thousands of dollars in content without a blink of an eye. But have you looked at your website’s bounce rate recently? I’m willing to bet it’s above 50% and that the average time on site is less than 30 seconds.
This means 50% or more of your traffic is leaving as soon as they get to your website. It also means 50% or more of the people searching for a term see and click on your high-ranking content, find no relevance, and leave. Not only does this impact website metrics, it also signals a serious credibility problem.
You might think to yourself that 50% isn’t all that bad — and you’re right, it’s not the worst. Clients often bring me in with their bounce rate averaging 80% or higher (this may not always be as bad as it seems – there are exceptions and complexities with an average metric). Regardless, bounce rates this high can be a red flag for the current content on your site and it certainly isn’t a metric to be content (no pun intended) with.
Yes, content is important. But a common mistake among marketers is that we create a “content machine” that is focused more so on creating volume rather than quality. What really matters is that you’re creating valuable content that your target audience is interested in consuming.
Quality content and utilizing the right platforms to reach your target audience is a time-tested recipe for marketing success. These 5 trends will help you achieve thought leadership and relevance in 2022 and beyond.
Long-form SERP Content and Optimization
We know that search engine page results (SERPs), especially Google, are favoring long-form content. These articles are 1,500 words at minimum, but the preferred count is 2,500 words or more.
However, as we finally exit the stone age of the blogger era, companies will find themselves with an abundance of outdated content. Blogs are not going away, but the expectations of digital content are drastically changing.
Companies will start to prioritize optimizing and repurposing older content (I recommend batching content when possible). The main goal throughout this process should be SEO, and images are an easy way to boost your ranking if you go about them the right way. When your goal is to write or repurpose content to meet the new preferred minimum of 2,500+ words, think about how you can break it up in bite sized pieces. This can include bullets, callouts, infographics, or an image every 200 words or so.
In fact, content with images or other visuals is viewed up to 94% more than content without visuals. Think infographics, videos and other rich media types. Whether you’re selling to consumers or businesses, the reality is that millennials and Generation Z now contribute significant buying power, and 62% of this audience want more visual search capabilities.
Mobile search, Google Suggest, News, and similar tools will be key targets for SERP expansion moving forward. It’s especially important to focus on image thumbnails as these will play a major role in your content performance in the above areas. Note, as you start to incorporate more images, make sure you optimize them for search.
Social Media and Video Marketing
It’s no secret that LinkedIn and Facebook videos, TikTok and Instagram Reels are prevailing social media trends that are heavily influencing internet browser expectations, even in the B2B world. While this may not seem relevant to you if you’re in a B2B SaaS or Fintech company, I promise it has more of an impact than you think.
Cisco forecasts that videos will make up 82% of all internet traffic in 2022, up from 73% in 2017.
TikTok heavily relies on their property algorithm, which favors how often certain videos are shared as well as how often. Instagram is transitioning 100% of its focus to video. Believe it or not, B2B social media marketing (looking at you, LinkedIn) is 100% influenced by Facebook and Instagram.
Trends you see on your “For You” page today will eventually land on your to-do list in B2B marketing, so all marketing strategies should be adjusted accordingly.
Today’s audiences expect video content wherever they go — no matter if that’s in ads or shared content. And remember, even in B2B, you’re still selling your technology or services to people. Video can be the bridge that takes a customer from zero brand recognition to actively searching and consuming content from you.
Storytelling and Personifying Brands
People resonate with people, not brands. The best way to build trust and authenticity is to shake things up with a little personality. Your audience is more likely to engage with your content if it feels like they are having a conversation with a person rather than talking to a computer. If we look at B2C (which is almost always ahead of and significantly influences B2B marketing), brands are personalizing themselves to be relevant. This is also why influencer marketing is such a major strategy for most modern companies. Audiences want to know they can relate to a company, and the most effective way of achieving that connection is with another customer or an employee.
Intentional, Data-Driven Strategy
Your content must tell a story — even better if it’s a story that shares how you can meet your customers’ needs and solve their challenges — and your message should always be intentional.
Account-based marketing (ABM) tools like Marketo, Triblio and 6sense give marketers valuable, anonymous intent data today. But will this always be the case with a cookie-less future?
Belts have been tightening on third-party cookies for more than 10 years; however, more recent objectives such as GDPR and the California Data Act are now influencing email tools. Many believe this to be the beginning of the end for mass email, and more time will need to be spent on valuable one-to-one outreach, tailoring content and messaging to the prospect.
In 2022, smart marketers will invest in a long-term approach to bypass depleting engagement: exchanging value for data. In the meantime, the industry is working to align on a solution. One option in development is Google’s The Privacy Sandbox, which forms targeted, anonymous groups that advertisers can target.
The moral of the story is this: brands can no longer hide their bad content behind third-party cookie data sets to drive intention data and good attribution metrics. More than ever before, companies will have to invest in value over quantity to earn the data desired for attribution.
The “Why” is Key
Simon Sinek urges marketers to ask themselves three questions: what is your purpose, who are you attracting and why should customers believe in what you’re doing?
If your company focuses on making relevant content that is both entertaining and intentional, your target audience will engage consistently over time. This could be unexpected to some, but digital marketing is all about the audience, not about the advertiser. Shifting your mindset to exchanging value for data will be instrumental in reaching the specific businesses, brands and customers you’re targeting. Implementing the above strategies will add personality and value to your messaging, which will help your brand both acquiring new business and retain loyal customers.
Contact Method Q today for a free consultation.