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Predicting the Top Content Marketing Trends in 2021

December 9, 2020

Take a look into our crystal ball. Here’s what we think is in store for content marketing in 2021.

It’s been a long year, and thankfully 2020 is finally coming to an end. We can’t be sure when the virus will be gone, or when (if ever) we will return to business as usual, but we can try our hand at predicting 2021’s content marketing trends.

The allure of visual content and videos

Visual content marketing has been on an upward trend for the past few years, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Be it infographics, videos or memes, visual content is the way to go in 2021.

In fact, it’s predicted that videos will account for 82% of all consumer Internet traffic!

From tear-jerkers (like this one from Oreo) to animated explainer videos (take a look at a video we made for Cisco), there are many ways a brand can utilise videos in their content marketing strategy.

It’s likely that more brands will try their hand at interactive videos in their content marketing campaigns, such as by incorporating elements of augmented reality (AR).

Esteé Lauder, for example, launched a virtual try-on platform, where potential buyers can “try on” shades of lipstick on a photo of themselves. And this is just a sneak peek into what’s to come in the future for content marketing.

The rise and reign of live videos

Speaking of videos, live videos (or livestreaming) have seen a truly unprecedented surge in popularity because of Covid-19. From online concerts, to virtual events and webinars, the pandemic has driven us to discover the many uses of live video.

We predict that the popularity of live video will continue into 2021, since 80% of people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog (I must be in the minority on this. I hope you’ll keep reading).

There are many ways to use livestreaming technology to enrich your content marketing strategy. For example, Bon Appétit Magazine filmed the “BA Test Kitchen Variety Show” over a Zoom call. In the show, the hosts participated in cooking challenges and games, created cooking tutorials, and raised money for charity — all from the comfort of their own homes.

As we move into 2021, keep an eye out for innovative uses of live video for content marketing, or any advancements in live streaming technology.

Podcasting — a blooming industry

Step aside, music. Podcasts are the new go-to when it comes to filling in the silence in the car, at home, or on the way to work. With a whopping total of 850,000 podcasts and over 30 million podcast episodes in 2020, listeners have an endless list of content to choose from!

Plus, podcasting seems to be a blooming industry all around the world. South Korea currently leads the board in terms of the percentage of people who listen to a podcast monthly, followed by Spain and then Sweden.

So how should you incorporate podcasting into your content marketing strategy? Well, why not produce a podcast of your own?

Take General Electric’s podcast “The Message” for example. Instead of being an overt advertisement for its brand, it enthrals millions of listeners with intriguing science-fiction stories. The key to incorporating podcasts into your content marketing strategy is to find a topic that your brand can specialise in, and give it an interesting twist!

Brand activism and value-based content marketing

Thanks to social media and the internet, millennials and Generation Z are now more aware of and engaged with a variety of social, environmental and political issues.

This has affected their purchasing preferences and customer behaviour — 71% of customers prefer buying from brands that align with their values. Brand activism is more important than ever in the eyes of younger generations.

It can be tricky to properly implement value-based content marketing. Customers can easily tell when a brand is being disingenuous, so it’s crucial to put your money where your mouth is!

Ben and Jerry’s is an example of a brand that uses value-based content marketing. They are constantly coming out with new ice cream flavours in support of different issues, and even produce accompanying write-ups that elaborate their stance on them. These interesting ice cream flavour names include “Save our Swirled” (in support of the global climate movement) in 2015, and “Unfudge Our Future” (an Australia-only release that takes a jab at the Australian government’s use of fossil fuels) among many others.

As of right now, they have taken a stand on issues such as climate justice, peace building and fair trade.

Employee activation in content marketing

In 2019, influencer marketing was predicted to be one of the bigger content marketing trends of 2020. Unfortunately, its impact was not only hampered by the onset of pandemic budget cuts, but the average customer also found it difficult to relate to influencers.

Since influencer marketing can be hit-or-miss, why not give employee activation a shot? Get your employees involved in writing or producing the marketing content!

Employee activation can help produce interesting and niche content according to your employee’s own unique interests. Brand content shared by employees receive eight times more engagement than content shared on the brand’s channels.

And here’s another thing — employee involvement makes them feel more appreciated and valued in the company, and gives them greater incentive to perform better.

The power of user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is content created by customers and fans of your brand, and is often shared by the brand on social media channels later. It can be a tricky content strategy to manage, but when done well, can be really effective.

UGC is a good way to show your brand’s authenticity and genuineness to your customers. Authenticity is something that many customers prize.

Hashtag challenges started by brands on social media channels like TikTok and Instagram are great examples of UGC strategies! Just last month, Chipotle launched the “Chipotle Royalty” challenge on Tiktok using famous influencer David Dobrik, and this generated about 250,000 entries on the platform.

Optimise your content for voice search

Whether your hands are occupied, or you’re just feeling a little lazy, being able to make an online search with just your voice is pretty life-changing. Not only is voice search quick and convenient, recent advancements in technology have also made it more reliable.

Since the number of voice search users is predicted to increase by 9.7% in 2021 and reach a total of 122.7 million users, we see 2021 as the year of voice search optimisation. Optimising your content marketing campaign for voice search will make it easier for your customers to find.

By extension, your content should then also be optimised for mobile use! More than 25% of the online population worldwide use the voice search feature on their mobile device.

Creating content with Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Voice search technology is merely one of the branches of AI, and is a great example of how AI can help content marketing campaigns reach more people. But AI is also instrumental in helping brands create their content marketing strategies.

Not sure what topics to create content on? AI’s predictive technology can forecast customers’ reactions and reception towards specific topics, and decide which topic will generate the best customer engagement.

Natural language generation (NLG), a branch of AI, also offers real-time content suggestions, and can even help brands create content that is targeted and personalised for their audience.

We’ve talked about AI making the content creation process more efficient, but have you ever heard of AI creating its own content? It may sound like something out of a science-fiction novel, but the OpenAI released GPT-3 in its beta version just this year, and it’s an AI program that can generate extremely human-like conversations and stories. In fact, we wrote a whole article on it.

It’s only the beginning — the GPT-3 is just an indication of what AI can accomplish, and how fast AI technology is advancing.

The future is here and it’s pretty cool if you ask us. Who knows what other kinds of developments 2021 will bring?

If you’re looking to refresh your content marketing strategy in 2021, hit us up. Reach out to our CEO Simon Kearney at [email protected]

Read more from Click2View:

  1. This is what it’s really like to shoot sports car content.
  2. The pandemic has made us all tech-takers.
  3. Omni-channel marketing is the way into the future.

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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.