According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, the majority of marketers utilise content marketing.
First of all, let’s explore what it really is. If you’re publishing informative content to engage an audience of potential consumers and give them something genuinely useful and interesting, then you’re already using content marketing.
It involves focusing on content which is valuable, relevant, and consistent - the kind of thing people will actively visit your website to find. Attract the right visitors and you can be sure of engaging qualified leads.
The usual influx of sales spiel seen in emails, on social media and across the internet is certainly consistent, but it lacks the attributes that make content marketing a valuable tool. Content marketing absolutely takes commitment and an investment of time, but can be an enormously impactful way to find a new audience looking for genuinely informational posts online.
What will 2022 look like for content marketers, however? The pandemic has had a significant effect - since 2020 the focus on the channel has grown hugely, after face-to-face meetings and in-person events took a hit.
With all the competition for attention online, brands need to do more than ever to make sure they're not only grabbing people's attention, but maintaining it.
Gary Jenkins is the Co-founder and MD of No Brainer, a Warrington-based agency specialising in digital PR and content marketing.
“Insights and data are central to effective modern content marketing strategies. It’s easy to create amazing content, but to drive genuine outcomes and impact and really cut through the noise, that content must serve an audience you understand and know.
“Not just basic demographics, but the channels they’re likely to be found in and the types of content – from podcasts to media – they’re likely to connect with.”
Video content achieves increased engagement
With people still eager to learn more about their industry while not always being able to attend things in person, video has risen as a popular way of sharing insightful information to users online, as well as speaking directly to people with vigour and personality.
As well as being a popular channel for education and development, video's power has been increased due to the growing abilities of search technology and language processing. This means it can not only help your audience, but have a markedly positive effect on SEO.
In 2022, companies ignoring the influence of video content are set to lose out on engagement with a wider audience - one they can not only inform, but sell to.
Gary Jenkins said:
“Video is leading the charge more than ever. Video-led content marketing is now a staple of most forward-thinking brands, because it drives better engagement across both B2B and B2C channels. The rise of user-generated videos on TikTok, Instagram Reels and Stories is proof of that.
“Also, today’s world is more about people than ever before. Personality-led content – whether it’s for B2B or B2C brands – that puts people, influencers and personalities at the centre is now central to many content marketing strategies, and works particularly well after COVID where human and face to face contact has been reduced.”
Breadth and diversity of content
This year, people are more engaged than ever in a wide range of media - virtual reality, mobile, audio, and social, to name a few. Content marketing services in 2022 will be strongly focused on making the right decisions on how content can be packaged and presented to individuals - as opposed to focusing on posting alone.
For every idea that has the potential to be valuable content for consumers, the medium should be considered. At the end of the day, wide-ranging content that retains value is vital.
Gary said that intelligent content marketing is all about the planning:
“More and more, content marketing is becoming increasingly interactive – either via challenges or actual interactivity with the piece of content itself – so it’s important not to just think about the content landing in front of your audience, but how and why they’d want to interact or engage with it.
“Sometimes less is more, so it’s crucial to ensure content is rich, engaging and relevant, and not just ticking boxes.”
With the rise of bite-size content platforms, brands which focus on micro-content can maximise success in 2022. On social media, an organisation can still help, inform, entertain and educate an audience.
People want the information they’re looking for made easy to digest, and though there is still very much a place for long-form content providing greater depth to a subject, when people are browsing and scanning, the benefits of bitesize messages are remarkable.
A focus on what works
Sometimes, innovation can be blinding. While a commitment to keeping up with new ways of sharing content with consumers is valuable and shouldn’t be ignored, nor should ‘the old ways’ be forgotten.
In 2022, content marketing is more competitive than ever, so a focus on the fundamentals will pay dividends.
What works for you may not be the same for your nearest competitor or a business whose success you admire. Share content which helps readers learn and develop, and differentiate yourself however possible. Listen to those who engage with your content, rather than focusing on keywords and performance, and make sure you truly make a connection.
No Brainer’s Jenkins concluded that even more so than differentiation, engagement is also about values:
“Content marketing that has social impact is making its mark more than ever. From a consumer and employer branding perspective, people want to work with and purchase from companies that have a positive social impact.
“This is even more true after COVID, where people are making more informed choices. We’re expecting more and more brands to showcase their social impact, CSR or ESG via content marketing too, as it helps prove they care about people and the world.
“And that matters more than ever.”
In 2022, content marketing looks quite different to how it did only a couple of years ago. It’s important for marketers to try new things and always consider how best the informative and useful message they want to send can be conveyed - but the dedication to consistent, valuable, relevant and honest content remains above all else.
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