Content is proving to be the king of marketing year after year, with content marketing industry posting double digit growth yet again in 2021. And with people glued to their screens, content consumption is also on a massive uptrend. All this is music to a content marketer’s ear. What isn’t is the fight for the mind share with so much content being created and shared on the web. Which is why it is absolutely necessary to stay top of your content marketing game by following the content marketing trends for 2022.
The global content marketing market is estimated to grow by $417.85 billion by 2025, with a growth rate of 16%. Content marketers have tremendous opportunities in front of them. As we step into the new year, here are some of the most important 2022 content marketing trends you should watch out for.
1. Automation in content creation is going to be big
Content marketing thrives on great content. But creating great content has become increasingly complex and effort intensive every passing year. There are multiple channels that marketers need to create content for today. From blogs to social media, videos for platforms like YouTube and audio content for podcasts, the arena is getting bigger and bigger.
With so much content to be created and distributed, content marketers have their hands full, which is why automation in content marketing is growing into a huge space. Content creation process and content generation are two critical areas in need for automation. A number of software tools are now targeting this space to make content creators and teams’ lives easier.
Content marketers are focusing more and more on content process automation where tools like Narrato and Notion are proving to be extremely helpful.
Narrato is a content creation, collaboration and workflow management platform that lets you automate and manage your content creation process. Narrato at its core is a solid content workflow and team management platform, with awesome content creation tools like an AI writing assistant, idea generator, image search and a freelancer management module. It’s project and content management features include content views ranging from folders-based content organization, Kanban boards, lists to content calendars. Narrato’s goal is to make content creation and collaboration effortless, and I must say it does a pretty good job at it.
Notion is another useful tool that is helping content marketers better manage their content creation and marketing efforts. With a lot of customizability at hand and templates to fall back on, Notion is especially useful for creating Wikis and some basic content project management dashboards.
Content creation is getting a speedier facelift with technologies like Natural Language Processing and Generation (NLP and NLG). OpenAI’s GPT-3 (an AI-based autoregressive language model that can produce human-like text) has made waves in the NLG space with AI writing becoming mainstream.
Technologies like these are going to find much wider use in content marketing in 2022.
2. Influencer marketing as a part of mainstream content marketing
Influencer marketing started as a means of gaining some extra reach with content on social media. But it has now evolved into something much bigger and more important. Influencer marketing is gradually turning into a mainstream marketing tactic that almost every business is trying to cash in on. According to The State of Influencer Marketing 2021 survey by the Influencer Marketing Hub, 90% of respondents found influencer marketing to be very effective.
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
The report also suggests that despite initial apprehensions about how the Covid-19 pandemic would affect influencer marketing, the use of this marketing tactic has indeed grown in the past year. As people are spending more time online than they did previously, businesses are using this opportunity to adjust their models and cater to the growing demand for content by leveraging influencer marketing.
This trend is expected to be carried forward into 2022 as well, albeit with some more upgrades. Content marketers will have to create full-fledged influencer marketing strategies, deciding the criteria for influencers who could work with their brand. They will also need to attract the attention of such influencers and make sure the influencers’ content is aligned to the brand voice. Influencer marketing platforms and agencies are springing up everywhere to help both brands and influencers iron out the process.
Influencer marketing is serious business today and brands will have to use some deliberation when implementing it.
3. AI-powered tools will give a competitive advantage
AI in content marketing has played a crucial role so far and it will continue to do so in the coming year. From content creation to editing to publishing, AI has made content marketing a lot more streamlined by automating several tasks involved. With the help of AI, content teams are able to receive improvement suggestions on their written content and even automate content creation in some cases. AI-powered chatbots are automating content creation for interaction with customers in real-time.
AI is also helping content marketers with data analysis and insights that help them create more targeted content and campaigns. For example, the American Marketing Association decided to create a newsletter to disseminate personalized marketing news to their community of marketers, which is 100,000 plus strong. They wanted their newsletter to grab the reader’s attention immediately, delivering only what is most relevant to them. To achieve this, AMA partnered with AI-driven personalization platform Rasa.io. The AI engine helped them create personalized subject lines for each email, based on the member interest data gathered that tells them which articles are most relevant to each individual reader.
This has helped AMA achieve a 42% increase in user engagement and drive thousands of more users to their website.
With AI technology making advancements every day, it is surely going to bring some interesting developments to the world of content marketing.
4. Podcasts will continue to gain popularity
Podcasts have been growing in popularity for the past few years now. According to Nielsen Podcast Insights, in the U.S. alone there were over 60 million homes that listen to, or rather are fans of, podcasts as of 2017 (which is bound to increase year over year).
And the U.S. was only at number 5 among the countries with the highest percentage of listeners as of 2020. So there are other countries where podcasts are even more popular.
Content marketers cannot let go of this opportunity in 2022. Podcasting as a medium for content marketing is still in its early stages and early adopters are likely to get maximum returns out of it before it gets oversaturated. Platforms like Spotify are always introducing new features and functionalities which are likely to further contribute to the growth of podcasts in the coming years.
If you are certain that your audience is going to appreciate this new form of content, this is the best time to hop onto the podcast bandwagon.
5. Empathy and inclusivity will be a central theme
Consumers today are increasingly looking for brands that are socially and environmentally responsible. According to reports, about 87% of millennials and over 94% of Gen Z consumers expect companies to speak up on social and environmental issues. Brands have to show their human side when interacting with their audience. The audience wants to be treated with empathy and compassion. Instead of promotional content and hard-selling, the focus needs to be more on the audiences’ problems and needs.
Also more and more brands today are creating content that is inclusive and accessible to a diverse audience. The audience is more aware than ever before and they notice when brands promote diversity and inclusion through their content. A Google research in 2019, found that people are more likely to support a brand or a product if they feel their ads are diverse or inclusive. Microsoft says that is true for almost 70% of Gen Z consumers.
Source: Think With Google
Many brands are leveraging this to connect with their diverse audiences. For instance, the beauty brand Curology created several ads for their acne cure skincare routine featuring male users, in an otherwise female-centric industry. They also have many user reviews on their YouTube channel from male users. This was a great move because many men suffer from acne too and the brand wouldn’t want to leave them out. Another renowned brand, Hallmark Cards, featured a hearing-impaired girl in their advertisement for Christmas, emphasizing that everyone deserves to be merry during the festive season.
So, empathetic, inclusive content is going to be an important aspect of content marketing in 2022. Brands will need to understand their audience, avoid generalizations and assumptions, and choose their words/ visuals very carefully.
6. Video content will be shorter
Video will continue to rule the top content marketing trends for 2022. According to a Wyzowl survey, people watched 2.5 hours of online video per day in 2021 compared to only 1.5 hours per day in 2018. Video consumption is increasing at a steady pace and content marketers cannot let go of this goldmine.
Video content is changing too, though. There are all kinds of video content trending these days from silent videos to VR and AR videos. Shorter videos are usually found to be more impactful in content marketing. Facebook recommends keeping videos as short as 15 seconds and that the maximum value is usually delivered in the first 3 seconds of a video.
With features like IG and Facebook reels and YouTube shorts getting extremely popular with viewers, video content is likely to be shorter and much more engaging in 2022.
7. Customer retention will be a priority
Though the focus has always been on attracting and acquiring new leads through content marketing, the need to retain existing customers cannot be overlooked. Customer retention tactics like improving customer experience on the website, retargeting existing customers with new or repurposed content, and leveraging customer insights to create content they want to see are going to be crucial in the coming years.
In other words, content marketing trends 2022 will need brands to use their experience and historical data to find out what works with their existing customers. Such information will be helpful in targeting new leads too.
8. ABM will bring sales and marketing teams together
Content marketing is stressing more and more on personalization today. This is why Account-Based Marketing seems to be one of the top content marketing trends for 2022. ABM requires both the marketing and the sales team to work together to identify the best-fitting prospect accounts and create targeted campaigns to convert them into customers. the marketing team relies on prospect information and insights shared by the sales team to create relevant content for the target accounts.
ABM is gaining momentum with both small and large businesses alike. LinkedIn surveyed more than 800 marketers globally and found that over half of them are already using ABM in their strategy. Also, 80% of marketers surveyed said that they plan to boost their ABM budget in the upcoming years.
9. SEO will be more important than ever
SEO will never be out of trend as long as content marketers rely on organic search. In fact, with growing competition focusing on high-quality SEO is becoming all the more important every passing year. In a survey by Search Engine Journal, almost 49% of respondents said that organic search gives them the highest ROI, compared to other sources like paid search, social media, and email.
Source: Search Engine Journal
And the aim for content marketers is not just to make a place on the first page of Google search but to be ranked #1 as far as possible. the #1 ranked page in Google organic search results has 10 times more chances of getting a click than the #10 rank. The only way to achieve this is through a robust SEO strategy. So, both B2C and B2B content marketing trends for 2022 will demand some intense effort on SEO from content marketers.
10. Immersive experiences will continue to draw in users
Immersive technology like AR and VR is changing and becoming more accessible to the common people. People are not only able to buy immersive tech tools they are also finding more use for them. Marketers have already started leveraging augmented reality to give customers content that they can experience. Many furniture brands, cosmetic brands, clothing brands, among others have been using AI to show customers how a piece of furniture would look in their home or how a product would look on them when they wear it.
But these are just some basic uses. The immersive tech industry is growing. According to reports, the Extended Reality (XR) industry that includes AR, VR, and mixed reality, is expected to shoot from $33 billion in 2021 up to $125.2 billion by 2026. Also, the use of immersive content in marketing has seen the most change since early 2020, second only to healthcare.
Source: XR Industry Insider 2021 Survey
With such promising growth, immersive content is sure to make waves alongside other content marketing trends 2022.
Apart from immersive tech, other ways of engrossing your audience in your content include gamification techniques that offer incentives to the user. Interactive content and gamification give your audience a sense of achievement when they are able to finish a task or solve a puzzle. Such fun content often becomes addictive too, driving more engagement for you. It also builds a sense of community among your audience as everyone shares their progress, rewards, and ranks for others to see. Leveraging on such communities and making the best use of immersive/ gamification tech can give your brand a bigger, more loyal, and highly-engaged following this year and beyond.
11. Specialized and niche content will rule
With so much content on the internet today, standing out in the crowd has become extremely difficult. Most businesses in an industry are publishing similar content. Getting ranked in organic search in such a saturated environment is near impossible for new content marketers. This is why many marketers are now concentrating on creating niche content, content that is specialized for a very specific target audience.
So, instead of writing a blog post on why CRM software is important to business, marketers would rather write about how CRM software can help EdTech companies, for instance. Niche content and thought leadership articles help brands establish their authority and stand apart from competitors while providing their target audience with some very valuable information they probably wouldn’t find elsewhere.
This kind of content will see huge growth in the coming years. It is high time that marketers count this among the top content marketing trends for 2022 if they want to stay in the race.
12. Optimization for mobile will be increasingly important
So no matter what kind of content you create, optimizing it for mobile is always going to be important. Mobile-friendly content is sure to increase audience engagement as well as content’s reach.
Users are more likely to engage with a site that publishes mobile-optimized content. Irrespective of what year it is, this is one of the content marketing trends 2022 that should be a priority for content marketers.
13. Data-driven content marketing will improve targeting
Content marketing strategies have to be built on data and information today. Data analytics is transforming the way business is done and it can bring the same value to content marketing as well. Capturing customer data, market data, competitor data, and other crucial, relevant information can give you meaningful insights to create better strategies.
A data-driven content marketing strategy will help you meet customer needs, personalize content and enhance their experience. Data will also help marketers adapt to trends, make informed targeting decisions and achieve better outcomes. Though data analysis in marketing is nothing new, yet in the ever-increasing competition the competitive advantage that data gives you cannot be overlooked.
Data-driven content marketing is not just one of the top content marketing trends for 2022, but for years to come.
With the pandemic bringing some major changes in consumer behaviors and lifestyles over the past two years, content marketing has seen some new opportunities surface. As people are spending more of their time online, there is scope to make a bigger impact with a well-thought-out content strategy. These top content marketing trends for 2022 will help you create content campaigns that achieve sure shot success. So go ahead and start planning.