When times are tough, content marketers must keep assessing and making changes to their content strategies to ensure their content assets are working as efficiently and effectively as they can
The best content marketers in 2023 already understand that taking a strategic approach to content planning helps focus the purpose of content assets, reduces duplication, and accelerates proofing/sign-off, as well as helping to integrate our marketing and digital marketing activities.
But with so many different content marketing techniques and types - how do you decide where to invest your time and budget? These 5 marketing trends are based on current research into different aspects of content marketing, for you to review and consider when planning your next strategy or project.
1. Customer-centric content creation
In their recent survey, the Content Marketing Institute found that more than half of marketers cite finding the right content for their audience to be their biggest challenge.
At the close of 2023, the year when AI has taken centre stage, it's interesting to see B2B content creators reporting a mostly human-focused marketing challenge. As we all know, content sits in the sweet spot between science and art, so it makes sense that marketers are not losing sight of that when assessing the content landscape.
Having witnessed 2 helpful content updates from Google this year, web copywriters, bloggers, and SEOs will be particularly mindful of producing content that answers their readers' questions, and adds value to their search experience.
The helpful content system aims to better reward content where visitors feel they've had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn't meet a visitor's expectations won't perform as well.
- Google Search Central, September 2023
2. Content marketing across the funnel
Our poll found a mixed bag when we asked our LinkedIn network which part of their content marketing funnel they would be optimizing in 2024.
This demonstrates that purpose-driven content can add value across each stage of your strategies! Or, even better, I'd recommend repurposing content that works well higher up the funnel to add more personalized value to help influence decisions at the purchase stage. You can read more about each stage of the journey and recommended measures in the infographic below.
Smart Insights created RACE as a practical tool to help marketers and business owners plan, manage and optimize their digital marketing using a more strategic, structured, and data-driven approach. Find out more about RACE in our free RACE explainer blog.
3. Integrated content marketing
The CMI also found that, among larger companies (100-plus employees), 70% integrate their content strategies.
This is going to be more important than ever going forward as our customers' experiences of our brands on different platforms become more intertwined. Even amongst our own preparation for 2024, we're already seeing customer-focused strategies shape email marketing trends and social media marketing trends.
Meanwhile, research by Cognitive SEO based on 23 million shares found a strong linear correlation between the average number of shares, comments, and likes on social networking sites and site rank. So whilst 'social signals' are still not officially acknowledged by Google, it is safe to say that combining SEO and social to distribute your content seems to be a wise move.
4. AI-assisted content marketing
Amongst the many new opportunities afforded by AI, the fusion of multiple different platforms and channels is the kingpin. ChatGPT itself has shared 10 ways that AI can benefit omnichannel marketing strategies:
- Analyzes omnichannel customer data efficiently.
- Personalizes content, ensuring consistent cross-channel experience.
- Offers real-time insights for agile adjustments.
- Streamlines marketing tasks, saving time through automation.
- Predicts trends in customer behavior.
- Can recommend products for enhanced cross-selling and upselling.
- Can boost customer support across channels with chatbots.
- Real-time A/B tests optimize omnichannel marketing campaigns.
- Improves cost-efficiency and marketing ROI.
- Enables scalable, omnichannel marketing strategies.
5. Reinterpreting organic search journeys (post-SGE)
Content marketing and SEO go hand in hand. So it would be improper to write about content trends without noting the 'SEO Apocalypse' here - of course, I'm talking about Search Generative Experience.
What are the trends that we will see as a result of Google's latest development? Much like during the introduction of SERP features, SEOs can expect less real estate on SERPS for old-fashioned blue text links. But the advice from Google is to keep writing for humans (the bots should be able to decipher the most important information to answer different queries)!
In the wake of these new developments, content marketers see themselves considering new routes of distribution, such as UGC for insurance. Our own Content Distribution Matrix is a useful tool for considering these changes in relation to your own content marketing strategy.
Finally, don't miss our free Future of Digital Marketing Trends report for more insights on how to integrate these 5 content trends and more across 7 pillars of your marketing strategy.