Posted by: Sarah Durkin | Share:
As 2023 gets underway, it’s difficult to not get excited thinking about where the new year will take marketing. I’m always curious to see what best practices and trends will come, which will go, what will stay the same or be tweaked, and what will be the new “it” thing, especially when it comes to content marketing. This might be bold of me to do, but based on my experience and what I’ve seen in industry news, I’m making 5 predictions for content marketing trends in 2023 that should be part of your strategy.
Taking a “human” approach to content isn’t necessarily new; we’ve seen more and more companies dropping the marketing speak and jargon and approaching content as a conversation, but I think we will see it increase even more this year.
Over the last few years, perhaps as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, we’ve seen a shift to bringing your own voice and authentic self to writing, even if that writing was coming from a company. Ann Handley of MarketingProfs captured this idea brilliantly during the GURU conference saying,
“We’re showing up more as ourselves, even when representing a brand, we’re turning the camera around and showing ourselves. Newsletters are now from people, not companies.”
When we show ourselves, we become more relatable, emotional, and empathetic, resulting in more connection with our consumers, and more brand trust and loyalty.
To help build that connection, make sure you’re interacting with your audience. Don’t just put content out there and not listen to what people are saying or how they are reacting. You need to make it a conversation – engage in real time – answer questions, share things, do a Livestream, and have customer service available across platforms to answer inquiries as quickly as possible. Let the walls between you and your consumers fall and let them see you and your company for what it is – even if it’s a little messy or unpolished – consumers appreciate your transparency.
Adobe found that 95% of consumers are more loyal to brands that are transparent and genuine, and 75% of those consumers would pay more to support genuine brands. So make authenticity a focus this year if you haven’t yet discussed this as part of your strategy.
A complement to humanizing content, storytelling will be at the heart of content. Think about it: if you’re being authentic and using your voice, you’re most likely telling a story with what you’re saying. You want to create that connection and relationship with your reader, and a story does that, as opposed to a piece focused on the features of your product or service; features are nice but they don’t hook or keep someone around for long.
The focus of your story should be on what you can do for the person reading it. Don’t tell them what you have, tell them what it does and why it will work for them. I’m writing this ahead of the holidays and have shopping on my brain, so an example that comes to mind is Stitch Fix. Yes, they have clothes but the story isn’t “buy our clothes” it’s “you’re busy, you don’t have time to go to the store and sort through clothes looking for something you might like. We know your style, we’ll do the shopping for you and send it to you to try on in the convenience of your own home, as time permits you.” It’s saving you time and money (at least in my case because I’m limited to 5 items versus seeing about 20 I might want in a store) while fulfilling a need.
A good story should:
I don’t think email has ever “gone away” per se, but it may have lost some of its prominence over the last few years, thanks to the rise of social media and instant interactions/updates. Rather than needing to read an email to find out about the sale at your favorite clothing store, you’re finding out via an Instagram ad or tweet. But, I think there is still a place for email, and apparently so do others as companies are reporting increased email budgets and more email engagement over the past year.
While you may be concerned that your email will get lost in the inbox, you can be pretty certain it will get seen at some point. Contrast that with social media where you have to constantly beat the algorithm – which is always changing! Email allows you to create a better 1:1 relationship (going back to point 1) as you can speak to each individual member of your audience or database. You can be targeted and personal in your emails, and tailor them based on what you know about the intended audience; you’re not blasting it out on a platform for all to see and hoping it resonates with millions of people.
If you have let email fall by the wayside lately, take another look at it as you plan for 2023 and think about how it can work for you. Especially if you are leveraging an automation platform, email can be a strategic way to incorporate storytelling throughout the customer experience. And don’t forget to optimize your emails for mobile and use preheaders and subject lines to your advantage!
I know what you’re probably thinking, “She’s using long-form to tell me that short-form will be one of this year’s content marketing trends?” Yes, hear me out. I’m not saying that long-form doesn’t have a place, it does, but short-form can help move the funnel more.
Between people having short attention spans and the majority of consumption taking place on phones (60-70% of emails are opened on mobile), content needs to be short and attention-grabbing. You need them to “stop the scroll” and notice your content. Once they notice it, they’ll want to be able to digest it easily, and not be scrolling and scrolling to read an email, article, etc.
Short-form is a way to get people involved and interested in longer form. Hook them and then give them more. Create long-form content, like a blog, and then break it up into smaller sections. For example, this blog could be a 5 part email, with one “prediction” going out via email every day for a week. The predictions could become a graphic for social media with a quick blurb that drives to the full blog post.
Long-form content will have its place in 2023 but short-form should play a large role in your content strategy.
Video will continue to be the #1 way that people WANT and WILL consume content in 2023. If video hasn’t been part of your content mix, it’s time to get it into your content calendar. If you’ve already been doing video, keep doing it, and make sure they’re consistent and timely.
At this point, consumers expect to see videos from brands. In fact, 88% of people want to see more videos from brands. Videos receive more engagement than static posts and drive more leads than other forms of content.
People tend to think “video” and think high production value and lots of time. But the truth is, you can produce effective marketing videos on a budget. It goes back to content trend #1 – be authentic, and let them see your true self.
If you aren’t regularly doing video content on social, start by tracking trends, see what’s working and mimic it. Just be sure to produce a variety of video types so that things don’t get stale. According to Digital Summit presenter Desiree Martinez of All-in-One Social Media, you should be creating these eight different videos to mix it up:
When creating your video, make sure to keep them short (10 minutes or less), optimize for mobile (video accounts for 80% of all mobile data traffic), and have a CTA at the end so your viewers know what to do!