Dramatic changes in consumers’ behavior and informational needs caused by the pandemic have been driving content marketing trends and opportunities through the roof.
As consumers shifted online en masse and the world as we knew it was disrupted, a great many questions arose – and people looked to the brands they do business with for answers.
Video, digital and real-world events, owned-media assets, and paid media are among the top areas of content marketing investment for the year ahead, according to CMI’s latest B2B Content Marketing report.
In this column, we’ll take a look at 10 specific content marketing trends driving this increased investment and activity.
In today’s media environment, video is king. The average user now watches 19 hours of video content every week. But video isn’t a new trend — most marketers already know how important it is.
Video is the top channel for B2B marketing and the hot new trend is short-form video. TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts are now some of the most popular media for brands, thanks to consumers’ decreasing attention spans. Indeed, short-form video accounts for 80% of all mobile data traffic.
Short-form video is also great for your brand. You can produce more content in less time — plus, viewers are more likely to engage with a shorter video that gets straight to the point.
In 2023, brands need to keep their video content to 10 minutes or less. And 10 minutes is still pretty long, so maybe take a cue from TikTok and keep your videos to less than a minute. You can always film a longer video and chop it into short snippets to save time.
2. Empathy and human-focused content
Once upon a time, consumers wanted businesses to come across as professional and formal. That won’t fly in 2023. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers don’t want to feel like barriers exist between themselves and the brands they like.
Avoid producing business-focused or detached material. Your content needs to make it obvious that you connect with your customers — otherwise, it won’t land with your audience. Lean into relatability, emotions, and empathy. That’s the key to building real connections with your followers.
This isn’t just about creating feel-good content. Nearly 95% of consumers are more loyal to brands that are transparent and genuine — and 75% would pay more to support genuine brands. If you want to garner real support with your customers, human-focused content is a must.
This also means you should stop using hard sales pitches and salesy language. Find your natural voice and embrace it. If that means adjusting your brand guidelines or tone of voice, make the necessary changes. Speak to your customers human to human. You can partner with an influencer or brand ambassador to really drive this point home.
3. Strategic SEO
SEO has been important since the dawn of Google. But you can’t just toss a bunch of keywords in a blog post or optimize tags and call it SEO. Search engines are getting smarter, and you have to adjust your SEO game for 2023.
While this content marketing trend might make your life a little harder, if you want to actually rank well in search, you need to revisit your SEO strategy.
First, write for people before search engines. It sounds counterintuitive, but search engines have figured out what users want. In fact, many marketers are now focusing on creating high-quality, relevant content that fits the needs of the customers and letting Google organically raise that content to the top. The idea is to use strategic keywords to show up on the first page and then let the quality of the content speak for itself.
Instead of creating a keyword-laden attempt at ranking for a query, you need to become the authority on a topic. Strive to be the best resource on whatever topic you’re discussing. Instead of looking solely at your URL ranking, focus on your click-through rates and engagement metrics. That’s what search engines care about in 2023.
4. Content-powered revenue
Content isn’t just a branding tool or a means to bring shoppers into your funnel. In 2023, brands will use content as a way to drive revenue. This means you aren’t just a brand — you’re a media company and influencer, too.
Treat content creation as a separate wing of the business with its own revenue-generating opportunities. Whether you’re charging membership fees to access your content or you’re monetizing through the TikTok creator fund, you can generate revenue from your high-quality content.
Treat this like it’s a new business venture. That might mean:
- Creating a thoughtful strategy that funnels users to paying for content, not just your products
- Rolling out shoppable content that allows customers to make a purchase directly from a piece of content
- Setting and tracking performance KPIs for content marketing efforts and treating it as seriously as you would ad spend
5. Value-driven content made for customers
Stop creating content that no one consumes. In 2023, content should meet the needs of the customer and add value to their experience. Brands are creating so much content today that users just don’t have time for subpar stuff. They will only interact with your content if they think it’s actually helpful.
Personalization is the solution. This allows you to tailor content directly to the wants and needs of specific customers. It’s the only way to guarantee that you’ll serve content to the audience that finds it the most valuable.
Of course, you can’t do that without data. Keep track of your audience’s needs via a smart CRM or data solution so you can build a content strategy around what people really care about.
6. User experience matters
It’s not that user experience never mattered. It’s just that consumers have higher expectations today than ever before. You can have the best content in the world — but if you give users a poor experience, it just won’t perform well.
This means you have to prioritize the user experience in terms of:
- Page speed
- Mobile performance
- Cohesive style and voice
- Image placement
- Image quality
Personalization comes into play here, too. When you provide customers with content that solves their biggest problems, they’re more likely to have a positive experience.
If you aren’t sure which UX changes matter the most, try A/B testing. As long as you test only one variable at a time, you’ll learn which features your audience likes the best.
7. High-quality researched content
People are concerned about misleading news stories and misinformation. It isn’t enough to just make a statement — users want to see insights backed by data. That’s why they crave high-quality, well-researched content. Infographics add another element of style and professionalism that will definitely grab customers’ attention.
It’s okay to write content based on another company’s research, but having your own in-house resources will immediately make your material stand out. Plus, other sites will link to your research as a source that can give you a serious boost in SEO and authority.
Write white papers or conduct surveys for your brand. It takes work, but it’s effective — 48% of marketers say research reports produced the best results of any of their 2021 content marketing efforts.
8. Leverage data, AI, automation, and the metaverse
This is one of the biggest — and most daunting — content trends of 2023. While the meat of your content likely won’t change year over year, the technology available to create that content is evolving at a rapid pace.
Technology allows you to collect an immense amount of data, which can help you hyper-personalize content and get more results.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can create content or supplement your existing content, allowing brands to generate more material in less time. AI isn’t good enough to write all of your original content, but it can certainly help marketers generate more content in less time.
Automation is a smart way to streamline certain aspects of content production, too. Simple setups like IFTTT or Zapier can push content tasks around in your project management software, automatically generate video captions, and more.
While it’s still early, plenty of other emerging tech can enhance your content. AR, VR, and the metaverse are only viable for large enterprises right now, but it’s good to plan for these platforms once they become more accessible.
Tech and consumer expectations might change, but 2023 will still be a banner year for content marketing. Brands should have a renewed focus on bringing human connection to the digital experience.
9. Podcasts remain dominant
The great podcasting boom already happened, but this sector is still growing every year. In fact, US consumers listened to 15 billion hours of podcasts in 2021. Podcasts are also an incredibly effective way to drive sales, as 60% of listeners report searching for a product after hearing about it on a podcast.
Like other content marketing trends, it’s important to approach podcasts as a way to deliver value to your customers. Don’t focus too much on the sales pitch — instead, offer useful information or entertainment so listeners have a reason to stick around.
Right now, podcasts are still the dominant audio content marketing trend, but that could change. Live chat rooms like Twitter Spaces give listeners a live version of a podcast. Platforms like Clubhouse and Discord are also on the rise, so don’t underestimate the value of live audio content marketing.
10. Consistency matters
Content quality absolutely matters, but so does your publishing schedule. It’s tough to keep up with posts when you’re putting more effort into your content, but you have to make it work.
The good news is that you don’t have to upload something every single day. As long as you commit to quality and post on a predictable schedule, your content will get results.
Consumers lost a lot of trust in brands and institutions during the pandemic. Consistency is something they’re craving right now, so give it to them in the form of regular content creation. The last thing you want to do is tell users when they can expect new content from you and then disappoint them when you fall behind.
Your brand should post at least a handful of times per month. That should be enough to guarantee the quality of the content while also staying top of mind with potential customers. But if your content team can handle a faster cadence, go for it. Just avoid overworking your team or overwhelming your audience with too much content. In 2023, it’s all about striking a balance.
Content marketing stats
- 77% of B2B marketers say they changed their content strategy after the pandemic.
- 70% of brands changed their audience targeting and messaging after the pandemic.
- 68% of online experiences start with a search query.
- 46% of businesses want to spend more on content.
- 79% of brands use content to generate leads.
- 70% of consumers bought a product after seeing a video about it on YouTube.
- 84% of organizations follow a content strategy.
- 53% of mobile users will leave if your website loads in more than three seconds.
- 63% of B2B marketers use content to boost customer loyalty.
- 79% of B2B consumers care about content trustworthiness.
- 86% of marketers drive traffic to their website with video content.
Keeping up with content marketing trends
Even if tech and consumer expectations change, 2023 will be a banner year for content marketing. Brands should have a renewed focus on bringing human connection to the digital experience.
Plan to understand and implement these 10 trends into your 2023 content calendar. Use content as a revenue stream, go all-in on research and data, try podcasting, use AI, and create consistently. Content marketing isn’t easy, but your brand will become more competitive and more engaging with a renewed focus on content quality.
All these content marketing trends share one thing — an emphasis on customer experience. When it’s time to recommit to your customers, go with Adobe Experience Manager.
It helps source, adapt, automate, and deliver one-on-one digital experiences across the web, IoT, and more — at any scale — powered by the latest AI.
As a cloud service, Experience Manager is always on and up to date so you can make the most of your content and stay ahead of customer expectations.