In the beginning, content marketing was more like a trending buzzword, and companies were adopting it for marketing as an experiment. Fast forward to today, content marketing has become a necessity for a brand's marketing strategy to succeed. It has developed into a proven marketing channel for maximizing ROI and has evolved to include a variety of other channels and analytical tools to test and prove what works and what doesn't. 

Buffer, the popular social media brand used guest blogging to boost their growth initially—publishing content multiple times a day, on high performing websites. This was one of the critical growth hacking strategies that helped Buffer attract its first 100,000 users. On its blog, Buffer attracted individuals who influenced their customers by creating high quality and highly shareable content. Currently, with around 400,000 users and approximately a million followers across multiple social channels, Buffer is a trusted brand with four blogs, including the Transparency blog and Open blog, where they share their failures and successes over the years. 

buffer-socia

It’s clear how Buffer has utilized several advanced content marketing tactics and strategies built on proven growth frameworks to help them achieve unparalleled success over the last few years.  The way they have used guest posts to help gain traction and brand awareness by borrowing other audiences to their websites is worth following. They have also curated and repurposed evergreen content to create value for readers.

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Content marketers today are exploring new forms of valuable content that businesses are willing to test. While written, printed content is losing its charm, online audio-visual content like videos, live streaming, and webinars are seeing impressive results. Written forms of content like eBooks, infographics are also emerging as valuable assets in an organization’s content marketing arsenal.

As marketing strategies continue to grow and diversify, missing out on one or a few content marketing channels can result in a loss of leads and opportunities for companies. For this purpose, we’ve compiled the top content marketing trends you should watch for in 2022, and some of the job opportunities that are emerging because of them.

1. Dynamic, Personalized Content

The modern consumer expects a highly personalized user experience and almost instantly rejects generalized information that's not relevant to them. CMI's 2019 B2B report indicates that prioritizing customer's needs was one of the successful marketing strategies last year. Customers are looking for informational, trustworthy, and messages that can guide them throughout the buyer journey and help them make informed decisions.

personalized-content

2019 Trends in Personalization Survey Report from Evergage suggests that personalization helps advance customer relationships, with 70% marketers claiming it has a "strong" or "powerful" impact. About 85% of the respondents agree that their customers and prospects expect a personalized marketing experience. When asked about the benefits of adding personalization to their content strategy, marketers said that it helps in delivering better customer experiences, increasing loyalty, and generating measurable lift/ROI. The email was the most personalized channel in 2019, followed by website, in-person, online advertising, mobile app, and web applications. 

With businesses focusing on creating new and engaging ways to communicate with and retain the attention of their customers, this trend of personalization will continue throughout 2022 and beyond.

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2. The Rise of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Chatbots, and Interactive Content 

Visual-forward platforms with augmented reality and virtual reality will continue to be a hot trend in 2022. AR (augmented reality) amplifies the real world around you, enabling users to see virtual items or information while looking at real things. Snapchat's ability to apply static and moving lenses to a selfie is an authentic example of AR.

snapchat

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Virtual reality, on the other hand, allows you to immerse yourself in a totally fabricated virtual world. VR technology is more expensive than the AR, and that's why it is still lagging. 

Currently, the marketing opportunities for using AR and VR are still nascent, but exciting applications are being created every day. This can be seen as an opportunity for creative content marketers. As VR becomes popular, immersive ads will be treated as a truly unique way to get your message delivered to prospective customers.

It is believed that chatbots will handle a vast majority of one to one conversations with customers in 2022, as chatbots become more robust with the advancement of AI, natural language processing, and machine learning. 

This Mobile Marketer study indicates that chatbots will drive $112B in retail sales by 2023. The main benefit of chatbots is their 24/7 availability at customer touchpoints. A significant parameter for the success of AI-enabled chatbots will be humans working behind-the-scenes on the scripts, language–using natural language processing (NLP) tools and queries the bots can deal with. A chatbot is created to communicate with a customer via auditory or textual methods. They are often utilized as customer service agents on a website's homepage or to give automated voice responses on a business' phone line. Chatbots have machine learning capabilities that help them create future conversations from previous conversational data.

Businesses can utilize the power of chatbots to build a trustworthy relationship with their customers. Having a machine that can answer hundreds of customers at once is beneficial when many visitors may be visiting your website instead of having a handful of customer service representatives. Moreover, chatbots are faster, less invasive, and cost-effective.

3. Video Content and Podcast Will Become Strong

As it is said, "seeing is believing, "video remains a crucial component at every stage in the customer journey and creating brand awareness. Indeed, users don't necessarily watch a video with the intention of buying, but they're open to discovery. And, videos can kick-start action and sometimes purchases too. Today’s users prefer video over all other forms of content to acquire information on new products and services. Increasingly, live video is being integrated with interactive content like polls and session feedback. 

Although the number of podcast listeners has nearly tripled over the last ten years in the US, podcasts are not many businesses are fully aware of the true potential behind the medium. Podcasts are a perfect combination of information and entertainment with light-hearted banter. They are undoubtedly engaging and a useful medium for businesses and listeners alike. Here's an example of a podcast of a webinar:

A great example of a highly captivating podcast is Marketing School by Neil Patel and his co-host, Eric Sue. Patel's podcasts touch all aspects of digital marketing including, inbound marketing, account-based marketing, influencer marketing, search engine optimization, conversion optimization, content creation, social media marketing, and more. Marketing School posts new episodes every day, and each episode is only about 5 minutes long but packed with tips, tactics, strategies, and insights on a particular topic.

4. Voice Search and Long Tail Keywords on the Rise

According to Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker, voice and image searches will account for at least half of all searches by 2020. And that equals to about 200 billion voice searches. Now that's huge! As technology evolves, companies will become more focused and capable of catering to voice searches via smart devices.

With the increasing popularity of voice search devices like Alexa and Google Home amongst consumers, businesses are now developing a voice strategy to be incorporated in their digital marketing plans. From playing your favorite song, to switching off your living room light from the bedroom—the opportunities for voice search are endless. 

To stay relevant to this changing user behavior, companies need to modify their content strategy by SEO optimization for voice search. Both Alexa and Google Home can differentiate between voices and can deliver personalized and accurate results. Voice search interactions are less time consuming than text searches, which is why consumers are relying on them more and more. Companies that create regular, highly relevant, top-quality content are getting prime spots in these search results. 

If your brand is regularly publishing well-written, authoritative content that touches and resolves your audience’s primary needs and challenges, you’re already 80 percent done. The remaining 20 percent will be from updating your SEO strategy to better optimize for voice search trends. This includes incorporating long-tail, semantic keyword phrases to create ultra-personalized content. Producing long-form, FAQ inclusive content targeted towards the middle and top of the funnel will also benefit the brands. 

When focusing on your voice search strategy, you’ll need to keep in mind that people use more ‘natural’ speech while voice searching. You have to think about how people speak and using long-tail keywords is a must. For example, instead of ‘top content marketing tools 2022’, using a long-tailed keyword like ‘what are the top content marketing tools in 2022’ will drive greater results. Another tip is to list down the type of questions customers ask you and create long-form content that answers these queries. 

If you want search engines to pull answers/information from your site, write direct, long-tail questions. This will not only help your website to show up in voice search results but at the top of any text-based search as featured snippets, increasing web traffic, and beating the competition.

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5. Data-Driven Content Marketing

Today's content is not just creative; it's a blend of creativity and data. A data-driven content strategy can help your data analysis in two ways: 

  1. The effectiveness of your content distribution
  2. Data that informs content creation itself. 

Not only do you have to keep in mind how your content is connecting with your audience, but also how you can use these metrics within your content creation process. To do so effectively, you need to keep a record of the traffic, engagement rates, and conversions.

Businesses investing in tools like Google AdWords, Google Analytics, MailChimp, Asana, BuzzSumo, MeetEdgar, Buffer, and Hootsuite to automate their marketing efforts and gather insights of their marketing performance. 

The Content Marketing Team Structure is Changing

Content marketing is no longer limited to copywriting or publishing blogs. Today's content marketing team is a hybrid team where the roles and responsibilities are aligned with desired business outcomes.

New digital media, content formats, tools, analytics, and the integration of offline with online (e.g., live video and streaming) means the construct of content marketing teams is changing. Individuals need to understand all aspects of marketing and be experts in one or two domains. Strategy development, editorial planning, content creation, design, SEO, email marketing, social media, audience acquisition, data analysis, and research are some of the most in-demand skills that marketing teams require today.

CM-team

The modern content team owns and performs the following tasks:

1. Strategize

This role is performed by a content strategist who is responsible for designing the overall strategy, including developing goals, and reader personas, creating a brand style guide, building a content calendar, determining methods for data validation, and measuring success. The CMO or the marketing head reviews the content strategy and works closely with the strategist to ensure higher-level inbound marketing initiatives are achieved.

2. Plan

A content manager is responsible for making decisions about what should be written, when, and by who. They should be able to explain the reason behind creating a content piece for content creators and stakeholders, and how the content will help to achieve the overall marketing goals. 

Content managers must have a working expertise in SEO and keyword research and should be able to identify topics and opportunities for improving organic traffic. They must find topics that will perform well for various channels (social media, email, blogs, etc.). The content manager is aware of all aspects of the content calendar, the daily tasks of each content creator, and manages the workflow to oversee that content gets completed and published within a set timeframe.

3. Create

Content creators are responsible for creating all forms of content pieces your brand uses—blogs, emails, webinars, social media posts, advertisements, eBooks, case studies, whitepapers, collaterals, and more. 

Content writers, graphic designers, video producers, photographers are all considered content creators. You can either have a big team of content creators or can outsource freelancers. Content creators are key to executing your content marketing strategy.

4. Review

Before any content is published the content editor or art director must review the written content and accompanying visuals to make sure you are delivering high-quality content that reflects the brand and supports your content strategy. The content editor should also be looking for ways to better optimize the post for search engines.

5. Publish and Promote

A digital marketing specialist is responsible for publishing the content and creating a promotion strategy that makes sense for the content.

The PESO model is usually an excellent way to base a digital marketing promotion strategy on;

  1. Paid
  2. Earned
  3. Shared
  4. Owned
  5. Measure

Data validation has become more important in content marketing than ever before. A content analyst or a Google analytics expert is responsible for the creation of reports that help marketers drive the content strategy for long-term results. The content analyst is responsible for tracking the progress of every campaign and sharing their learnings with the team. Like what strategy worked well and what didn’t. 

To be successful, companies need to do more than just create great content. They must build a content team that knows how to analyze data and performance metrics to devise data-driven content marketing and digital marketing strategies.

Simplilearn's Advanced Content Marketing Course helps you to produce compelling and impressive marketing content, concentrating on the vital strategies, tactics, and best practices that a marketer needs to create and enhance content marketing efforts. This course also trains you to learn various aspects of planning and executing Content Marketing strategies with greater efficiency and impact.

How good are your content marketing skills? Try answering these Content Marketing Practice Test Questions and find out now!

In Conclusion

Content marketing is evolving at a rapid pace. In addition to the roles mentioned above, channel experts (e.g., social media, email, print, video), librarians, translators, and dedicated editors, are all finding critical roles on content marketing teams. While data-driven content marketing will continue to rule in 2022, AR, chatbots, personalized content, brand authenticity, and storytelling will also contribute to making a sound content strategy.

The future of content marketing is undoubtedly being transformed by technology. Big data, AI, machine learning, automation, immersive technologies, and smart tech are changing the way brands receive and analyze customer data and interact with their modern audiences. 

To stay ahead of the curve and increase conversions for your organization, you'll need to get better at creating personalized, interactive, and engaging content—especially audio and video content— and be able to track the results. Upskilling with content marketing courses can help you master these skills and stand apart from your peers. 2022 is definitely going to be an exciting year for content marketers—one ripe with opportunities for those who are enthusiastic about learning and willing to adapt to the ever-changing world of content marketing.

About the Author

Eshna VermaEshna Verma

Eshna writes on PMP, PRINCE2, ITIL, ITSM, & Ethical Hacking. She has done her Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication and is a Gold Medalist in the same. A voracious reader, she has penned several articles in leading national newspapers like TOI, HT, and The Telegraph. She loves travelling and photography.

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