Just like that, Q1 has come to a close. With the holiday season and new year now long behind us, the season’s biggest sales are many months in the making. But with the arrival of spring comes new opportunities to boost your brand and generate excitement about new arrivals, promotions, and the summer season. So let’s get serious about making sales.
Brands often experience a lull in sales from January to March when it comes to conversions. Coming off of this slow period, we can’t think of a better way to make a splash than with some marketing strategies to prep your content and make the most out of the remaining three quarters of 2022.
Just as the years come and go, so do trends in content; they’re here one minute and gone the next. But trends are important to businesses because they influence customer interests and behavior. When it comes to content, trends will influence your brand’s relevancy to customers. If you fail to create content that keeps up with the times, you could see a dip in site activity, user engagement, and, ultimately, sales.
Put simply, content and trends go hand in hand. For creators, developing content for brands is all about appealing to and understanding the audience’s interests – and trends, or trending topics, tend to influence that interest. This relationship between content and trends produces relatable and relevant material to potential customers; it’s content that they will actually be able to engage and identify with.
To get your brand prepared to make 2022 the best year yet, let’s dive into some of the content trends to watch and implement into your marketing efforts.
Diversity and Inclusion in Content
To preface, diversity and inclusion is not merely a trending topic. It is a major socio-political issue that affects millions of individuals both in the business world and in their personal, daily lives outside the office. However, this is a top-of-mind issue for many people who are browsing the web with questions and searching for content that addresses their concerns.
As a result, the dialogue surrounding diversity and inclusion is becoming a priority for businesses – both in developing in-office practices to support inclusivity and their outward-facing marketing efforts. Why? Well, because it’s unattractive when brands adopt and put forth marketing strategies that are tone-deaf to this issue and exclusive to certain groups.
Exclusive marketing can really hurt businesses’ relationships with their customers (in terms of satisfaction and loyalty), their public image, and even their sales. So, when it comes to marketing, creating content that is at the very least cognizant of the issue of exclusion – and striving to make a shift towards inclusivity – is becoming critical.
So, how will diversity and inclusion affect content this year? For starters, more inclusive marketing practices are something we can expect content to put forth in webinars, blogs, and promotions – especially around the holiday season. This means appealing to a wider target audience.
Content creators will have to consider and attempt to appeal to the shared values of customers. Instead of focusing on identifiers that make them different from other audiences (like socio-economic class, occupation, social identity, and religious holidays), this means focusing on their shared values (like family and friends, charity work, and community involvement). We can also expect to see content that adopts an inclusive voice and language. One thing to remember: It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.
The bottom line is that the more inclusive your content is, the more people you will reach and appeal to (and the better your business will perform).
Greater Focus on Customer Retention
Content creation has notoriously been about attracting new audiences. However, we are beginning to see a shift towards content strategies that focus on maintaining an existing customer base.
So, what does this mean for content creators? For starters, this shift will call for creating content that enhances user and customer experience. Your content must add value to their experience both while browsing your site and throughout the purchasing process to retain customer interest and loyalty.
This shift towards customer retention will also call for increased promotions and campaigns that encourage repeat purchases. These initiatives will also need special offers and rewards for returning shoppers to re-engage their interest and incentivize their business.
As a result of the stress the pandemic put on businesses, the importance of customer loyalty and retention is at an all-time high. In terms of insecurity or uncertainty, customer loyalty is what keeps businesses, well, in business. Focusing on retention is also a more cost-effective way to boost sales than investing in marketing strategies to attract new customers (like paid search, for example).
Visual and Audio Content
Content is no longer just words on a page! The popularity of visual and audio content is growing immensely due to its highly engaging and stimulating nature. Augmented reality, virtual tours, webinars and video conferences, and interactive site features are trending this year.
The popularity of and demand for educational podcasts is also at an all-time high. This is because audio content provides users with a more human experience, especially when it comes to tone of voice and the human emotion behind auditory storytelling. Podcasts have a lot of potential as a content marketing tool because they verbalize content and give it an audible human voice. They also serve as a good complement to blog posts, so users are getting both the visual and auditory experience.
So, why are we moving away from traditional forms of content like blogs and guest posts? It’s as simple as this: Information is absorbed better when it engages more senses. So, audio and visual content provide potential customers with an easier way of digesting information. This doesn’t mean you should completely abandon long-form written content. However, changing things up a bit keeps your brand fresh. Audio and visual content may also complement, enhance, and optimize existing blogs.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When it comes to the ever-growing industry that is eCommerce, this year, we are seeing an increased demand for quality SEO to remain competitive and offset competitors. This means generating unique content and optimized, relevant keywords.
Optimizing content for higher search rankings will continue to be of maximum importance, as 95% of visitors only look at the first page of search results. With competition for business at an all-time high, it will be important for brands to spice up their SEO strategies to continue to perform.
Though SEO is its own branch of marketing, SEO and content are not two separate entities that function independently; they go together and are interdependent. The need for both SEO and content teams to be in communication, on the same page, and working together will continue to rank a top priority this year.
No More General and Generic Content
One thing is for certain: Boring and mediocre content just won’t cut it. More than ever, content needs to be specific with a clear focus. The more explicit and concise content is, the more useful and valuable to users. Because there is so much content competing for rankings and user engagement, it’s become critical to generate unique and niche content that targets your audience’s distinct interests and needs.
Another reason for this shift is that our attention spans are shortening. Thanks to changes in our habits and behaviors – like binge-watching and obsessively scrolling through 15-30 second TikToks – our patience and concentration have become limited. So, for content to remain effective it needs to be kept simple, concise, and digestible while also being engaging and unique. Customers aren’t going to waste their time sifting through pages of content for a few bits of information. So, the best way to keep them interested is to get to the point.
Interactive and Engaging Content
To substitute generic and general content, there is an increased need for content that is both interactive and engaging. The key is that your content needs to grab and hold the attention of users.
Because we exist within a society that craves instant gratification – thanks to technology and our ever-shortening attention spans – content needs to accommodate these behavioral changes. This can be anything from infographics, quizzes, and questionnaires to podcasts and short videos. These bits of engaging and interactive content add value to your brand and the user experience.
Content that reflects brand values and authenticity will be a must this year. For businesses looking to make a deeper connection with their audience and customers – especially when it comes to customer retention – generating earnest and honest content that reflects their brand’s unique culture and identity is key.
In light of making more inclusive content, brands will want to avoid – at all costs – putting out performative or disingenuous content. Now more than ever, audiences and customers have zero tolerance for inauthenticity, especially when investing in a brand. Because content contributes to trust and loyalty, authenticity is needed. So, if your target audience can relate to and identify with your brand values through your content, they are much more likely to convert to customers.
Use content to build a connection with your audience by speaking to and showcasing your brand values. Allow your audience to relate to your business by providing content that may resonate with their values.
Content Is Still King
While trends come and go, content – and the importance of it – is here to stay. From the team at Zero Gravity Marketing, “Content is more than just words on a page. It’s a message, a story, and a way to use your voice. Just like every person deserves the chance to speak their mind, every brand deserves the same – and that’s where content marketing comes in. It’s not only a way for companies to express their beliefs, build trust, and educate your readers, but also a chance to establish your values and really connect with your audience in a way others don’t.” – Alyssa Anderson, Director of Content
If you’re looking to keep your brand’s content on trend this year, trust the experts at Zero Gravity Marketing. Our expert team can help your business make 2022 your best year yet. To learn more about our digital marketing services, visit our site or contact us.