How to do content marketing the right way in 2021

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The success of a business rests heavily on its ability to adapt to changes during challenging times. And in 2020, brands had to switch up their content marketing strategies amid the limitations brought on by the COVID pandemic. That adaptability could prove to be relevant this year, because content continues to flourish. And it’s easy to see why. Because despite lockdowns and the absence of face-to-face interactions, people want fresh content. 

Effective content drives brand awareness, which generates leads, and ultimately grows revenue. And thanks to smarter strategies, consumer research, and the creativity of marketers, content gets better each year. 

Because it’s constantly evolving, it’s paramount to keep up with the current and upcoming trends to determine how to use content marketing to benefit your small business. For example, more consumers today are doing online searches through voice-activated services like Alexa and Siri. Marketing agencies are being replaced by automation in-house, which is saving companies big bucks. And social media analytics let businesses understand what content mediums are resonating with their market.

To help ramp up your marketing efforts in 2021, I explain some key trends and concepts to develop so you stand out from your competitors. 

5 content marketing ideas to focus on in 2021

Here are some amazing content marketing ideas that you can focus on in this decade.

1. Utilise voice activated content 

Three years ago, voice content expanded into the world of marketing. The adoption of smart speakers worldwide grew 38.9% in 2018. And research suggests 55% of households in the U.S. will have a smart speaker by 2022. It's a key trend in content marketing, because half of all online searches are already done by voice

Voice-activated content works when people ask their digital assistant a question. It generates results like a typical online search, except it gives options as if conversing back. When a customer asks where they can find a cafe nearest to a certain train station, if the answer given turns out to be your shop, you increase the chances of generating more business.

There are key benefits to voice-driven content. You increase selling opportunities while dominating a marketing channel before your competitors. You can also improve your SEO performance. 

Voice Search Optimisation (VSO) is the specific SEO effort that focuses on optimising content to rank in voice searches. Different digital search assistants use different data. Google Home uses Google data. Siri depends on Bing data. Alexa relies on Amazon purchase history. 

Most voice answers from Google come from a featured snippet at the top of the search results. To optimise your content for voice search, you need to provide a better answer using the keywords that rank high. This way, your business takes its place and becomes the top recommendation. 

2. AI can automate content marketing 

Online content is a tedious process that requires time and effort to produce. There's a constant battle for creating quality work while staying efficient. Today, there's a growing demand for hyper-personalised content. But with limited time available, businesses are turning to automation. 

The goal of using AI is to relieve team members from doing repetitive tasks through the use of certain tools and applications.

This gives you more time to spend measuring, optimising, and testing new ideas based on data-driven feedback and insights. This exercise will allow you to generate more success with your content efforts. 

AI content creation tools help brands generate straightforward writing for web pages. By supplying the details into an AI engine, it builds context and creates the content. Companies such as the Associated Press, Yahoo, and Fox use this for stock market updates and sports reports. 

Other content-related apps that automate tasks are SEO keyword generators, email marketing software, and social media monitoring programs. 

3. Customers want stories, not information 

The evolution of digital content has shifted its role from selling a product to inspiring its target market. That's why most commercials today are no longer about product features. They're about consumer experience – they're about telling a story. 

Stories are the bridge between a consumer and brand. It lets them build strong relationships by showcasing how a business is there to help make their lives better, without a hard sell approach. 

A great story will leave a mark on your audiences by appealing to their emotions, and oftentimes letting them see a reflection of their own struggles. Whereas numbers and data have almost zero emotional impact, stories are easier to relate to. 

The flexibility of storytelling is what makes it so effective. There are many ways to tell a story, and for small businesses, it's key to explore which ones you can maximise. Writers can write blogs about a particular brand story. Artists can create images and videos for social media that appeal to their consumers.

There are many ways to tell a story effectively. So, ask yourself: what's my story, and how can I tell it to grow my brand in 2021

4. Direct content to where your audience is 

Engaging your customers is what content marketing ultimately boils down to.

And now, you know that storytelling is the best way to do that. 

But, with so much content competing for the same market, it's up to you to figure out how to reach your ideal audience. You need to consider the format, as some prefer audio, others written or some in video. To ensure the growth of your brand, you can create three types of content in three different ways: blogs, podcasts, and videos. 

Blogs

Managing a blog as a part of your website is ideal for nurturing leads and conversions. Consistently uploading new articles that are keyword heavy ranks your blog higher on search engines. So, when someone searches for what your business offers, they'll find you faster on Google. Not only do you drive a significant amount of traffic to your website, you also build relationships with your readers. 

Videos

Common forms of video content include branded storytelling videos, customer testimonials, and Q&As. According to Animoto, 64% consumers make a purchase after watching branded videos on social media. Moreover, 95% of a message when viewed through a video is retained compared to when it’s written.

Videos are an effective way to talk more about your product in a more engaging way. You can capture the interest of your viewers in ways that a long-form piece of writing cannot. And it lets you explore different ways to tell your story, whether it's through you or through other people. 

Podcasts

Podcasts offer a segment of your target customers an invitation to commit to your business. The nature of audio delivery lets you showcase your brand through interviews, narrative stories, and other branded content. This new avenue of customer engagement is to help enhance customer relationships. It's effective because it's content that they can consume while on the go, regardless of where they may be. 

You miss a massive opportunity to nurture relationships when you don't publish a variety of content on multiple channels. Thus, it's key to explore how to direct what you're creating to your audiences. 

5. Use content to build your tribe (or community) 

Tribal marketing addresses customers through a social context. Seth Godin, in his book Tribes, says that shared interests draw people together and form a sense of community where they can openly express themselves with like minded individuals.

People part of a tribe need to genuinely care about what links them together. Anything from fashion preferences to favourite dietary products can be a shared interest. 

Community is essential to the way people live — and that applies to the digital world, too. Because of COVID lockdowns, the feeling of community shifted into an online space. 

Brands built their own "tribes" to connect with their consumers and stay connected. In these circles, they develop content that helps prospective customers grow more familiar with the business and use it to earn their trust. Tribes allow companies to innovate products, reduce support costs, and get more sales because they directly engage with their market everyday. 

To build a tribe, you need to consistently give them value-driven content. That begins by knowing who your target customers are, the platform that they're comfortable using, and the content they crave. 

As a part of my efforts to help more small business leaders, I use Facebook as my channel to build a tribe. It's through this community that I’m able to read, connect, and gain insight to how they have applied what they’ve learned from my business coaching to grow their companies. It’s also a chance for me to reach out to new customers who are looking for a business coach. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to know what they need and assess how I can help them. 

Content marketing is critical for any business trying to win in the digital space, so as small business owners, it’s key to be on top of these changes to stay ahead of your competitors. With these ideas, you can assess how you can adopt new strategies to expand your growth in 2021.


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