Content marketing trends 2021

Aren’t you glad 2020 is finally over? Even though the world is still working hard to finally put an end to the COVID pandemic, it still feels like we’re off to a new start and that things are getting better. This renewed optimism is exactly why content marketing experts are already recommending a big shift in tone for the year ahead, with a new focus on generating demand.

As companies emerge from the pandemic, it’s time for us all to renew our focus on adding value through high-quality content. That means:

  • Using content to appeal to a larger potential customer base in 2021
  • Returning to a focus on positive storytelling and strong emotional impact
  • Using content above all to generate demand by appealing to customers’ interests, needs and desires.

In this article, we look at some of the latest trend analysis that shows how top marketers expect to use their content in the year ahead. And we’ll focus especially on the key topic of demand generation.

Why use content marketing for demand generation?

So, why is content such an effective demand-generation tool?

Here are two main reasons:

  1. Content is immersive. It creates positive interactive experiences with your brand and its products. Your content invites your customers to imagine what it’s like to use your product or service, or to have your company (and its thought leadership) at their side. This makes potential customers more likely to engage at that crucial early stage of the customer journey.
  2. Content is predictive. Good content caters to your target audience’s interests, but at the same time, it anticipates their needs. That creates an opportunity for you to propose solutions that might not have been on your potential customers’ radar before. In other words, your content makes them aware of useful products and services that they didn’t even know they needed.

Because of its immersive, predictive power, high-quality content is just the tool for drawing potential customers into your funnel. That’s why a recent survey found that nearly 9 in 10 marketers expect to use content specifically for demand generation in 2021.

How to use content marketing in your demand-generation strategy

To get optimal demand generation out of your content, we’ve rounded up a few tips based on the latest market research. Here’s what experts are recommending for 2021:

Focus your content at the top of the funnel

Generating demand starts at the earliest stage of the customer journey. Focus your attention on raising brand awareness and setting yourself apart from competitors. This means taking more creative approaches to how you present your company’s ideas, products and services. The most successful content marketers in 2021 will be those who know how to tell stories and capture an audience’s imagination, especially with inspiring, upbeat messaging.

Use the right content types

Market research shows that the most effective content type for targeting the top of your funnel in 2021 will be blog posts and articles, followed closely by videos. The idea is to optimise your impact while using smaller bundles of information. So, now’s a good time to revamp your blog. You might consider refreshing older content in addition to rolling out new material. Remember to include plenty of personal stories to boost the emotional impact. Focus longer content on targeting customers who are further inside your funnel.

Follow the right metrics

To keep track of their content’s success, 75% of respondents to a recent content marketing survey said they’re especially looking at conversion rate in 2021. Perhaps that’s no surprise, as conversion is generally the gold-standard for marketing metrics. However, the same research finds that engagement metrics will be particularly crucial this year, as more companies focus on demand generation. So, be sure to keep an eye on click tracking, view times and other engagement metrics to streamline your content.

Off with the old, on with the new!

As markets slowly return to normal in 2021, you’ll be facing more competition than ever when it comes to winning over your customers’ hearts and minds. So, let’s all get this year off to a good start! That means reaching out to a wider audience and using high-impact content to show them what your brand can do for them.

Customers are sick of being bombarded with negative headlines and bad news over the past year. Now that things are looking up, you’ve got a great opportunity to win over new customers with emotional storytelling and positive messaging.

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