2020 has been a mixed bag by all standards, but despite the prevailing circumstances, it is not all doom and gloom, at least not for digital marketing enthusiasts and for certain brands.
You see, companies, especially start-ups, still have a good shot at weathering the storm albeit with a few bruises.
Having experienced a tough 2020, we marketers are eager to look forward to 2021. Some things will still be impossible to predict, but I like to focus on what we can control. You know, for a feeling of security we all need right about now.
For SMEs that were a transaction away from closing up shop due to the after-effects of the global health crisis, emerging content marketing trends now present them with the much-needed lifeline that is super important for their survival.
Sure, these are just predictions and they might not necessarily turn out as expected but these trends paint a picture of what SMEs need to prepare for in advance.
The whole idea here is not to be caught off guard, which might result in playing catch up.
So, as we settle into 2021, there is always an interest in reviewing innovation and digital marketing trends. This is vital because it helps marketers to identify marketing opportunities that they can use to grow their businesses and subsequently their market share.
5 Top 2021 Content Marketing Trends for SMEs
1. Voice Search Is a Must-Have
Driven by the need for convenience, consumers are now increasingly using voice to search for content. Needless to say, SMEs need to align their search engine optimization goals with consumer behavior.
SEO is a critical pillar in the world of content and digital marketing and voice search is rapidly becoming the go-to solution for most consumers.
To put it in perspective, the number of households in the United States that are expected to own a smart speaker is predicted to rise to 55 percent by 2022 from a paltry 13 percent in 2017.
So, if for whatever reason you haven’t been ranking high on search engines, then it is rather obvious that you’ve also not been attracting the right amount of traffic. This means that your website or eCommerce portal has really been struggling to bring in sales and leads to your business.
As old as the concept sounds, SEO is still a super important digital marketing trend for 2021, especially for mobile and voice search.
With the use of mobile to access the internet continuously becoming a growing trend, especially among millennials, voice search cannot be underestimated. Fifty-five percent of teenagers are using voice search daily with 56 percent of adults saying that they feel tech-savvy whenever they use voice search functions on their devices.
Now, this is a trend that all SMEs need to take extremely seriously in 2021 if they are to effectively compete in their respective industries. If you run an SME and you haven’t jumped onto the voice search bandwagon yet, here’s a quick guide on how to go about it.
- Have a website that is mobile friendly and responsive, with a very high loading speed.
- Figure out if the featured snippet matches your desired keyword and if so, can you top that kind of content?
- Invest more in in-depth content. Think about it this way: if a user needs to bounce back to search results after reading your content, then it’s not good enough. Write exhaustively on all the topics you tackle, so that your website is a one-stop-shop for all your visitors’ information needs.
- H2 and H3 sub-headings exist for a reason — to create more SEO-friendly content. Use them!
2. Content Without a Strategy Is Guess Work
If you do one thing in 2021, do this: avoid guesswork in your content creation. Do not write content for the sake of writing or because your competitors are doing it. Don’t allow your content to look random, and worse still, irrelevant.
Instead, create a solid content strategy and align it with your business goals. Always ensure that your content is original, timely and that it will help your target audience solve their problems.
A good content strategy has immediate benefits, such as saving time and money not to mention driving conversions – which is what every digital marketer wants. At the same time, it also has other benefits like influencing consumer behavior and also gaining lasting and valuable business assets.
3. Results-Focused Content
As much as content must be timely and informative, it must also have a great ROI. After all, isn’t ROI the reason why content writers exist? Today, there are content creators who still blog on a daily basis without seeing any tangible results.
When creating content, avoid short-sightedness. Instead, focus on the bigger picture: creating results-focused content by attaching a goal to every piece of content you create.
When writing, ensure your words are useful and relevant to the buyer, and that the content can blend seamlessly with your business goals.
Fact: no partnership is perfect. Good content might earn hits on social media but may not bring in new subscribers. Therefore, attach a different goal to every piece of content you publish. Some may be instant hits on certain social media groups, while others may drive newsletter sign-ups.
Be realistic and don’t expect a single piece of content to be the solution to all your marketing and sales issues. Instead, think of your content strategy as an ecosystem, where every piece supports the others and all of them together support your business goals.
Not sure how you can do that? Get a sneak-peek into our strategy for driving both SEO results and conversions.
4. Quality Content at all Times
The need for quality content for SMEs cannot be stressed enough. That is why quality content marketing is a top priority for 53 percent of marketers today.
Quality content is king simply because it will help you to increase audience retention, establish trust with your target audience, as well as generate the much-needed leads not to mention improve your conversion rate.
Ensure that you have exhausted all the points that you had and cover all dimensions to create a comprehensive post when writing. Don’t struggle to keep up with the word count or the competition. Instead, write quality content about a topic that makes sense to your target audience.
Always remember at all times that you are primarily writing for human consumption and not for search engines.
Content marketing for startups is not always easy. That is why it is also important to regularly keep track of how your content is performing. To do this you need to familiarize yourself with content marketing KPIs to measure your success.
5. Prioritize Semantic Search
Prioritizing semantic search and optimizing it is an ongoing effort. Marketers must, therefore, incorporate it in the planning and execution of content for 2021. You need to know who your users are, how they search, and how they consume your content.
What are they likely looking for, and are you in a position to provide it? Also, ask yourself what experience your users are looking for and whether you can provide them with that experience.
In 2019, Google rolled out the BERT update, an excellent starting point if you want to understand how users search and what you can do to meet their needs. TL;DR: focus on optimizing your content for topics, not for keywords. More importantly, don’t bother with short keywords. Opt for long-tail ones — they are easier to rank for and, the cherry on top, much easier to match with your business goals.
Wrapping Things Up
How often have you heard the phrase “we’re all in this together in 2020”? Too often? I get it. But I don’t think you’ll stop hearing it (or variations of it) this year either.
It is a cliche, yes. However, most things end up being cliches because they are true. In your content marketing strategy for 2021, remember that everyone’s trying to survive — businesses and consumers alike. Be there for your customers with content that speaks to their pain points.
More importantly, be honest. Offer solutions only when you have them and don’t let your content over promise things you can’t actually deliver.