Some transformations that reshaped content marketing during the height of the pandemic were likely to happen anyway. Key technology-based activities, such as distance learning and working, telemedicine, streaming entertainment and online shopping, were already on the rise. The pandemic has simply triggered a massive acceleration in these trends.
Other transformations, however, we were as unprepared as we were for the global pandemic itself. People worried about their health and safety have experienced a huge shift in priorities. What had seemed extremely important to them before the pandemic found itself at the bottom of their lists. This shift has resulted in a drastic shift in purchasing decisions, accompanied by a decline in discretionary spending.
Brands have jumped at opportunities to reach literally captive audiences with a proliferation of content. Many efforts were knee-jerk reactions as marketers hoped to take advantage of the circumstances to reach new readers. Like many other things during the pandemic, the content was created on the fly.
Now that the worst seems to be behind us, brands are taking a look content strategies who will be successful in a changed world. While the main lesson learned is that we really don’t know exactly what to expect, here are three content marketing trends that brands can expect.
1. Agility will be essential
A universal key to survival during the pandemic was the ability to pivot. Some brands have done this in different ways, such as distilleries making hand sanitizer. Others have done so in more modest ways, such as restaurants and retailers offering curbside pickup.
Brands have also had to rotate their content. Before the pandemic, brands focused largely on telling customers what they wanted them to know about their products. Brands knew customer issues and their content told them how their products could solve them.
To survive once the pandemic hit, brands had to start listening to the cacophony of customer concerns, some as new as the virus itself. Customers demanded that the content was about them, not the products, and that it was sensitive to their situation. Brands had to respond with genuine concern, providing customers with value without even a hint of selfish opportunism.
Completely re-evaluating consumer needs and adjusting content marketing strategies accordingly required considerable agility at the time and will continue into 2022. Brands will need to identify pivotal triggers and design processes to make those pivotal points in content strategy. smoothly halfway through. Irregular changes were acceptable during the pandemic; they will not be in the future.
In a climate of mistrust on all subjects, consumers only spend their money with brands they trust. To earn that trust, you need to share content that is timely, easily accessible, and honest. In a constantly changing and unknowable world, content marketing strategies will need to remain both nimble and responsive.
2. The analysis will determine the winners and the losers
Good content isn’t just creative. It is informed. As more and more content is released around the world, readers will find the type that relies on data and analytics. The rest will disappear into the dark. Brands can no longer afford to throw away content and see what sticks, or worse, not find out what sticks at all.
Data, not the marketing team‘s intuition of the week, should drive a brand’s content. Remember, customers now want content to be about them. Creating targeted, strategic content that connects with the right readers in the right places takes data. It also requires analytics to determine the effectiveness of the content after its distribution.
Brands should look at key metrics by channel, such as traffic, engagement, and conversion rates. They need to keep up with changing motivations for buying decisions and monitoring changing priorities so they can adjust their content to keep it relevant every time.
That said, analytics need to take a holistic view of content performance, otherwise brands risk misinterpreting their data. For example, high-quality content should be given a reasonable amount of time to gain an audience, not be taken down after a few days. Day 1 metrics will change, so brands should resist the temptation to keep revising content every time they look at the most recent data.
3. Emerging technologies will expand delivery options
Consumers have gone back to basics, but that doesn’t mean they’ve gone the old way. They are embracing new technology and brands will need to join in 2022 if they haven’t already. What makes content relevant to consumers has changed, and so has the way they access it.
As households improved their technology during the pandemic, many added virtual assistant devices. They are increasingly using voice search instead of entering queries into search engines. Verbal queries tend to include long tail keywords because that is how people talk. This means brands need to optimize their content for long tail searches or they won’t be found.
AI technologies like chatbots don’t just provide an opportunity to free up employees while providing great customer service. They can also improve the customer experience by extracting permanent content that is relevant to them. Additionally, a well-designed chatbot used for more than just a website’s homepage marks content across all channels used.
Then there are podcasts. Consumers weary of screen time are turning to audio instead. In just three years, the percentage of American adult podcast listeners has increased more than 40%. This is another promising channel for brands, but they will need to create engaging and relevant content that is enjoyable to hear.
As more and more distribution channels emerge, brands face greater challenges in optimizing and managing them. Fortunately, there are plenty of content tools to help you out. Brands therefore have no excuse not to take advantage of new avenues to reach their customers and extend their influence.
Will life ever be like life before the pandemic? No one knows, and that’s the point. What we do know is that in 2022, brands will need an agile content marketing strategy that makes full use of emerging technologies and analytics to drive it. Brands that do this will remain relevant, believable, and trustworthy, no matter what the world has in store for them.