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The best content marketing trends for 2021

2021 June 24 09:00 GMT-06:00

Trying to outrank your competition on Google? 

How about building an audience that converts? 

Well, you can’t do either if you’re still writing and optimizing articles the same way you did five years ago. Heck, even a year later, and the landscape of content marketing is quite a shade different. 

Honestly, these yearly changes are for the better. I’m not talking about Google’s hundreds of yearly algorithm changes either. No, content marketing trends (aka best practices) are a result of testing. Lots and lots of testing… with a dash of algorithm changes.

In this article, I’m going to lay out the best content marketing trends for 2021 (and hopefully beyond) and why they’ve risen to fame and glory. 

Top Content Marketing Trends for 2021

Technically, I should include sections in this article such as “What is content marketing?” and “Why is content marketing important?” because the top ranking articles for content marketing best practices include those sections.

See…

And this one’s from Hubspot…

 

These articles still rank, and rank well… but a lot of that rides on their domain authority. They’re massive companies with a lot of firepower behind their SEO. 

Competing with them is just insane…but there are ways to do it. 

There are ways to stand out in the content crowd. 

Here we go… the best trends emerging in content marketing this year.

Building Content Communities

Your mind might jump to things like social media at the mention of content communities, and you’re not entirely wrong. 

If you show yourself as a subject matter expert with value-driven content on social, yeah, you’ll build an audience. It does count as a community.

But the actual trend is moving people off of social media, into communities dedicated to specific types of content sharing or communication.

Essentially, they’re creating their own niche hangouts for followers, without the distraction of other profiles and content. Once dialed in, they’re hyper-focused on your perceived value, and they can’t easily divert from this unless they exit your community entirely. 

But the longer they’re there, the more “addicted” they become. Soon, being there is just part of their routine. 

John Bonini is succeeding at this mightily with his Some Good Content community. 

Luke Mathews is doing something similar (but for free) with Discord

Benji Hyam and Devesh Khanal from Grow & Convert built a course on content strategy, but added a forum and turned the course into a discussion and meetup platform. 

Well, it’s a trend, so a lot of people are doing it. But for damn good reason. 

It’s pretty much engagement at its peak. 

Original Research

It may seem strange to add original research to the list of content marketing trends, but I promise you, this is a good one.

What does original research produce?

Stats.

Content writers love stats. Readers love em too. Watch, I’ll use one to prove my point right now. 

73.6% of all statistics are made up. 

And guess what… that statistic is too, but you believed it for a second because statistics are meant to be solid evidence of something. They’re a condensed representation of something important.

In content marketing, statistics back up our points… add authority to what we’re saying. 

But it’s not enough to just add statistics to your articles anymore. More and more companies are doing their own research and adding it to articles.

Why?

Well, again, it adds authority. 

But that’s not the only reason. Here’s the rundown:

  1. You can actually do very simple research today. All it takes is running a survey through a tool, or sending a survey or poll in an email blast to your audience (or on your social media).
  2. When you use your own statistics in an article, more writers are likely to use them. This gains you immediate backlinks (because writers will always try to link to the source, and they’re always searching for statistics).
  3. I’ll add authority again.
  4. And backlinks again…

I mean, really, it comes down to those two things. These two things are very important for both gaining a captive audience and ranking higher in Google.

When more people link to your articles, it shows Google that you’re relevant to the topic and that people are paying attention. It causes a bit of a snowball effect. 

Google sees people linking to you, they amplify your content with better rankings and site domain, which then gets more eyes on your content, which positions you even better in a Google search.

Do you see the value?

Search Intent

One of the best trends in content marketing is a heightened focus on search intent. 

What is search intent?

You’ve probably heard about it, and if not, the phrase explains a lot. Search intent is the reason behind the user’s search. Why they’re reading your article. Why they’re visiting your site. Why they’re downloading your ebook.

In most cases, readers are searching for a solution to a problem or an answer to a question.

It’s not that content marketers weren’t aware of this before, or that there was no focus on search intent.

But in the past, most marketers made a master list of keywords and wrote articles with those keywords as the topic. 

That’s not enough today.

SEO is great for growing traffic, but traffic is just traffic. You might have a small percentage of that traffic converting into customers… but not as much as it could be with a more focused strategy. 

The more focused strategy is search intent.

Don’t write content based on keywords. 

You can grow your traffic and develop a more loyal following that actually converts and draws more attention to your brand, by delivering actual answers to your audience’s pain points. 

How do you find the pain points/ search intent of your target audience?

  • Interview your customers
  • Listen to customer calls
  • Engage in niche communities and on social media (you’ll spot trends in your industry)
  • Send out a survey
  • Speak to client-facing employees about customer questions

When you invest in staying connected with your audience, you learn what they want and what gets their attention. This is the focus of content marketing today.

Content Repurposing

Content marketers are tired people. Most companies, even the larger ones, have small marketing teams. So, no matter where you are, you’re likely wearing a lot of hats. 

So, how do you continue producing a lot of content across dozens of platforms while maintaining all of your other tasks?

Content repurposing. 

It’s always been a thing, but we’re getting a lot better at it. It’s also a lot easier than ever, thanks to all the fun tools and platforms at our disposal.

Here’s an example:

  1. Record a podcast episode
  2. Turn it into an article
  3. Break it down into several LinkedIn posts
  4. Rephrase for Facebook
  5. Take out snippets for 10-20 tweets
  6. Turn it into a Slideshare presentation
  7. Add the podcast recording to Youtube
  8. Turn it into a newsletter

That’s not even half of it. You can do a lot with one piece of content, and content marketers are starting to take more advantage of that. 

Content Marketing Trends: Key Takeaways

  • Just like every other form of marketing, content marketing changes based on the audience and continuous testing. Which means you’re never going to nail it down entirely. In fact, these trends are just that. They’re what works right now. 
  • SEO is still important, but creating content that people want to read and NEED to read is more important. People will follow you if you’re giving them good stuff consistently. 
  • You don’t have to complicate your funnel. Keep it simple and repurpose.
  • Pay more attention to the why. Don’t create any content that can’t answer that substantially. 
Sarah Colley

Written by Sarah Colley

Sarah is a freelance content writer and strategist for B2B SaaS & tech companies such as Memory AI, Vancery, and GoGuardian. When she isn't writing for companies, she's writing stories about nightmares coming to life and aliens saving the planet.

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