Creating content is, by far, the best way to attract and bring in leads. But are you aware of which content trends to avoid and which ones to follow? If not, you might be making mistakes without realizing it’s happening.
Content marketing isn’t easy and involves more than long-form blog posts. We’re living in a world where blogging happens so often it’s impossible to keep up – for example, as of this writing, the number of blog posts written today is over 5,000,000!
Because we’re inundated with content daily – emails, social media posts, press releases, you name it – it’s easy to get caught up in the momentum and make mistakes. Let’s look at which content trends you should avoid, why you should avoid them, and what to do instead.
Content Trends – What to Avoid
Having a solid content marketing strategy means it includes high-quality content driving customer action. The idea is to regularly create relevant and valuable content and avoid content trends that stall those efforts.
Content that Doesn’t Adapt
Your content marketing plan is far more than writing and posting blog posts with an occasional social media share.
Kaleigh Moore, a freelance writer who specializes in retail tech, tweets, “Everyone wants to get the biggest bang for their buck when it comes to content creation, yet so many people still don’t repurpose their existing content very well.”
Posting one-off blog posts that aren’t adaptable isn’t doing your brand any favors. Instead, look at those blog posts as opportunities to create:
- Case studies
- How-to guides
- (This list could go on and on)
Ideally, you’re thinking beyond the blog post. Ask yourself – what appeals most to my target audience? Then, create content that adapts and shows them what they want to see.
Not Engaging with Target Audiences
Communication plays an integral role in content marketing. For example, social media conversations must be two-way to create meaningful connections and maintain active engagement. Engaging with your target audience includes answering emails and private messages, responding to comments (if that feature is active on your site), and engaging with social media posts.
It’s easy to get caught up in everyday business, but the point of reaching your target audience is maintaining engagement throughout their buyer’s journey. Keeping up with active engagement helps companies maintain a positive and professional reputation within their industry.
Strategies for engaging with your target audience include:
- Timely responses to all comments, direct messages, emails, and tweets
- Increase audience participation and brand awareness by hosting online events – like giveaways, polls, surveys, and more
- Kick-off conversations by posting content that triggers your target audience’s interests
- Draw others to your social media channels and website by commenting on other user or brand posts
Not Sharing Original Content
Original content is critical for reaching audiences effectively. That includes what you share on your social networks. For example, channels prioritize original content over links and shares. What that means is, that when you post an original image on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, include a caption that engages your following to increase engagement rates.
Organic content also does well, including graphics, photos, polls, and videos. Regarding graphics and photos – make sure they’re high-quality and spark interest. There are dozens of photo editing and digital design tools, like Canva, for example, that help bump your graphics up a notch or two.
Over-Posting to Social Media
Posting too much on social media doesn’t guarantee you’ll reach more people. There are instances where posting multiple times does increase engagement—it doesn’t mean you’ll reach more people in your newsfeed. No one can predict what’s going on with social media algorithms. So, if you post several times at once, that might result in one group of people seeing those posts.
Conversely – brands also fall into the trap of not posting enough. Not posting often enough could cost your brand followers, and they might forget your brand exists. Hootsuite offers some guidance regarding the best times to post on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. And it goes without saying, please don’t buy “likes” or “followers.” That screams, “Spam!” (Which leads us to our next point . . . )
No one likes seeing countless messages from companies, no matter where they are in their buyer’s journey. Inundating your customer base with emails and social messages is bad for business. Mitigate this issue by mapping out your email marketing strategies to ensure there’s little to no overlap. Spamming can also raise FTC compliance and privacy issues.
Here are some best practices for mitigating this mistake:
- Never buy email subscribers, social media followers, or “likes.”
- Limit how often you send emails to once weekly or bi-weekly.
- Avoid using “donotreply” @ “your domain name” .com in the emails “from” field.
- Don’t use clickbait titles or subject lines.
Content Trends – What to Focus On
We live in an unpredictable world, and because we don’t know what’s on the horizon, marketers must look at trends that’ll reach their target audiences best. For example, during the pandemic, eCommerce sales spiked in a way no one could predict. And that time also brought forth a “new norm” regarding video conferencing, social media use, and shifts in how brands connect with their audiences. That’s where knowing which content trends to focus on comes into play.
Often a forgotten marketing tool, HubSpot’s 2020 marketing report tells us that 13% of marketers use case studies within their content marketing strategies. Case studies are valuable assets because they give potential customers a birds-eye view into another buyer’s experiences with a brand’s products or services.
SEMrush, an online visibility management SaaS platform, tweets, “Case studies can be incredibly influential & informative content for your audience, but there is an art & a science to writing them.”
Here are some examples of when you can focus on case studies:
- When you need additional sales or marketing assets
- As a way of showcasing social proof on a dedicated page of your website
- In blog posts where you identify your target audience’s needs and use the case study as a possible solution
- As fodder for other assets, including eBooks, templates, videos, and podcasts
- In social media strategies by including challenges that the client had to overcome and pertinent data showcasing solutions (for example, a “percentage” increase in ROI)
- As part of your email marketing and newsletters
Effective SEO Strategies
With over 1.2 trillion searches annually (40,000 searched per second), it’s no wonder businesses must prioritize SEO strategies. For example, research conducted by Intuit reveals that 70% of consumers support local businesses by either shopping online or mixing online shopping with in-store shopping. If local businesses (or any other business, for that matter) aren’t ranking well, they can’t effectively reach their target audience.
Because the majority of search engine users don’t navigate beyond the first page of results, businesses that don’t rank won’t get noticed. Building an effective SEO strategy involves:
- Keyword optimization: Avoid keyword stuffing and anchor linking to keywords. Instead, use a variety as natural as possible.
- Metadata: Your site’s metadata includes its meta title and meta description—it’s the short preview users see when your company’s site pops up in a search result.
- Link-building: Gain domain authority and improve the odds of users clicking through to your site by acquiring backlinks. Strategies include guest blogging, testimonials, Quora answers, and creating infographics and other shareable content.
- Technical SEO: Make sure your site’s user experience (UX) plays nicely with mobile devices and has a clean URL structure. Fast site speed is also an important factor.
Personalization and UGC
Personalization involves focusing on user-generated content (UGC) to create messages, publications, or other content forms according to consumers’ behavior, interests, or maturity during their buying journey. It’s beneficial for:
- Building and strengthening communities
- Creating uplifting and relatable content
- Allowing brands to meet customers where they’re at
- Providing social proof
Merrily McGugan of LogicMonitor talked with Forbes about how brands can benefit from UGC without publishing long-form content or creating a video from scratch. Her suggestion is to “Make the most of UGC by editing submissions down to their essence while still preserving their original intent.”
Creating content that aligns across all channels is an effective way to reach target audiences using minimal resources. Ideally, your goal is to create the highest quality content and share it with as many people in your target audience as possible. Repurposing content allows you to achieve that goal without starting from scratch.
That means marketers can look at the webinars, podcasts, and other virtual events already produced to see how they can repurpose them into newsletter mentions, social media posts, blog posts, case studies, and more. Conducting a content audit is a surefire way of determining what’s performing well, what isn’t, and what you can repurpose.
Webinars, Videos, Podcasting
Statistics indicate that using video in marketing has grown from 61% in 2016 to 86% today. Here are a few other statistics focusing specifically on this content worth noting:
- Webinars: 67% of marketers increased investments in webinars in 2020
- Videos: 87% of marketers state that video has increased their website’s traffic
- Podcasting: There are currently over 2,000,000 podcast shows
With live events moving to online sessions, this content is growing in importance. Webinars, videos, and podcasting are quick and effective tools for communicating messages and educating target audiences. Consumers want to collect and learn from information quickly, and these marketing strategies give them the resources to do so.
The unpredictable nature of the times we live in now forces brands to think about how they can improve the ways (or find new ones) they use to connect with their customers. By thinking outside the box and branching out in different directions, it’s possible to reach your target audiences effectively by knowing which content trends to focus on and which to avoid.