In today’s digital world, online trends drive public attitude and consumer behavior. And fortunately, many are easy to predict. From social media challenges to conspiracy theories, online trends make connecting with your target audience much easier and more effective.Content follows the same patterns—from the time MySpace was the talk of the town in the early 2000s to the present day when 2 billion people log into YouTube.
As a brand, it’s never been easier to get in front of your target audience and build a relationship with them—all thanks to the content trends and internet fads of each year. Whether you’re a B2B marketing business or someone who took up blogging because it’s a fun way to make money online, they’re worth paying attention to.
Experts made their predictions in 2020, and now the results are in. So without further ado, let’s explore the content trends and expectations of 2021.
Video Content Is Still King
Last year, content marketers were determined that 2020 would be the year of video—and that prediction came true. And in 2021, the popularity and importance of video is expected to continue rising. Just how important is video in 2021, you might ask? According to the Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018-2023), video is expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic.
But not only is video becoming more popular among consumers, it’s becoming more preferred. HubSpot found that 54% of over 3,000 consumers responded with “video” when asked what kind of content they want to see from brands or businesses they support. Plus, if you choose to place much of your focus on videos this year, you could become monetized on YouTube. So not only is video content a marketing trend, it’s also a worthwhile method to make passive income.
This can work for just about any industry. For instance, Attorney Brian White & Associates, a personal injury lawyer, has a video introduction to his law firm right there on his homepage:
This lets the company reach people across different social platforms like YouTube while also giving website visitors different ways of interacting with the brand. Of course, focusing on video does not mean you compromise on other content creation methods.
For instance, Brain White’s law firm also has a blog page, a website, and multiple social media platforms. When it comes to content creation, diversification is always a good bet- no matter what is popular.
Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots Impact Content Creation
Chatbots and AI (artificial intelligence) have become important parts of user experience over the past few years. But in 2021, it’s role is predicted to expand. Instead of just impacting user experience, they’ll now impact the way we create and deliver content.
Software driven by AI can support content creation by supplying writers with data, references, and sourcing information relevant to the piece, which makes its delivery more impactful. This is especially helpful when writers are working remotely.
Additionally, chatbots support marketing campaigns and deliver information seamlessly, as they’re becoming increasingly smart. Thus, it’s important to keep your eye on what marketers are using them for throughout the upcoming years.
The use of chatbots extends to industries across all sectors. For instance, Hollander Law Firm, a personal injury lawyer uses chatbots to better assist his clients.
While blog posts can be helpful and have the answers to a lot of frequently asked questions, chatbots are great ways to personally help customers and bring them further down your sales pipeline.
Voice Search Optimization Should Be Prioritized
Like video content, optimizing content for voice search was a popular trend in 2020, and it’s continuing to rise in 2021. According to a study by Microsoft, more than 25% of the world population uses voice search on their mobile phones.
If that number might seem too low to prioritize right now, think about it this way—someday, the number will be possibly close to 100%. The best time to prepare for the future is now before it becomes too crowded by other marketers and content creators who waited for the number to increase.
But what does it mean to optimize content for voice search? The bottom line is to make the keywords you use more conversational and less text-based. For example, instead of targeting the keyword “best laptop for bloggers,” also target “what is the best laptop for bloggers.”
When people type their questions into a search bar, they use broken up, short phrases. But when speaking to Siri, they ask questions in their full forms. Focusing on voice search optimization is a good game plan if you want to benefit your overall SEO strategy in the long-term.
Live-stream Viewing Is Increasing
While the world was in lockdown, live events were turned into live streams, from church services to big events like the Content Marketing World conference. As a result, live-stream views increased by 50% on Facebook and 70% on Instagram.
Experts say we can expect this pattern to continue in 2021, perhaps because consumers have found that they like being able to attend virtual events from the comfort of their homes.
Not only are live-streams becoming a content trend, but they’re also a way to establish a human connection with your target audience and build trust.
Finally, Amazon Live took off during 2020, with influencers taking to the platform to promote products during their live-streams. One reason the platform is now so popular is that viewers can purchase the products while watching the stream.
User-generated Content is Vital to Your Content Strategy
Hootsuite defines user-generated content (USG) as “any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands.”
The brands will then upload the content created by people to their social channels—such as Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok—as a means of connecting with their target audience and building trust with them. According to Global Web Index (GWI), 54% of users research products on social media, and before they buy, they need to be assured that they’re making the right decision.
What better way to do that than by having your current customers testify?User-generated content enhances the customer experience and instantly shows that there are people who love and trust you.
Podcast and Newsletter Consumption is Rising
Podcasting and email marketing have been content trends over the past few years, but 2020 saw a drastic increase in their consumption—which means if you weren’t on the bandwagon last year, you should definitely hop on this year. According to Brand Equity, 55% of Americans now listen to podcasts and newsletter mentions increased by 14%.
Why are these types of content suddenly on the rise again? The answer is simple: they’re easy to consume. Your newsletters do not always have to have opt-in freebies either. You can just have a simple sign up form for your website visitors to use when they are on your website. Eachnight does this by adding a simple one field newsletter opt-in form in the footer of all their pages.
This means instead of a freebie opt-in being sent to each new subscriber, they will send a simple welcome email instead.
The great part about this type of content (newsletters) is that you can constantly keep interacting with your email list. They are always there for you to build relationships with and potentially sell your products to.
The same can be said about podcasts where subscribers are always coming back for more if you produce good content.
Not only are consumers using content like podcasts more, but advertisers are, too. In fact, ad spending on podcasts in the U.S. alone is expected to surpass $1 billion in 2021.
Plus, the start-up costs for these types of content are usually quite low. Many platforms that offer podcast hosting, for example, are completely free.
TikTok for User-generated Content and Influencer Marketing
The rise of TikTok in 2020 is going to be prevalent in 2021, and businesses are just starting to take advantage of the platform.
But TikTok isn’t a great marketing strategy just to promote your business – it’s a valuable place for user-generated content and influencer marketing.
With features such as “duet” and “respond”—which allows you to interact with and answer other users in video format—it’s easy to connect with not just your target audience, but also influential people who already have a significant following.
Influencer marketing is a strategy that’s been around for a while, and it’s highly effective. According to Four Communications, 49% of consumers say that they rely on social media influencer recommendations when deciding on a product to purchase.
Repurpose and Recycle Content on Multiple Channels
Content creation can be a daunting process, especially if you consistently publish long-form blog posts, 10+ minute long YouTube videos, and do live-streams on social media.
Fortunately, reusing your old content is a trend that many marketers prioritized in 2020, and one they’ll continue to use this year.
For example, Aura, an Amazon repricer, recycles content by sharing the same posts on both their website as well as their social media platforms.
However, when you do recycle content like this, you should make sure you use the same business name across different social channels.
This means your Facebook page should have the same business name as your website, for example.
Instead of creating new, individual pieces of content on each platform or channel you use, extract meaningful parts of existing content and repurpose them. You can even use a simple calendar app to keep a track on your content creation and schedule out new pieces.
For example, a blog post can be turned into a YouTube video. The video can be shared on all platforms. An infographic can be turned into Instagram slides. The list of possibilities goes on, but the important part is to get the most out of everything you create and use it across multiple channels to expand its reach.
When it comes to content marketing, there’s no time like the present. Find out where your target audience is and meet them there—and give them a valuable, seamless customer experience.
So there you have it, eight content trends to give you success in the new year, and to better equip you for connecting with your target audience.