Let me ask a question: Has digital marketing ever had a cohesive, definable zeitgeist?
We often talk about digital marketing trends as something that is in a constant state of flux, yet especially in the world of digital marketing agencies and specialists, the real weight of that sentiment often gets brushed to the side. In truth, more so than an exact science, digital marketing is an intuitive pursuit, relying more on the freeform whims of those that have come to understand its language and less on formulas that will inevitably lead to success. Naturally, the same goes for all of digital marketing’s various niches, especially content.
In short, you need to look at the present and the past of content marketing to try and intuit its future. That’s why, today, we are going to take a look at some of the trends which are currently being utilised by marketing specialists, and what you can do to potentially implement them in your own strategies.
Style Over Substance: Creating an Immersive Customer Experience
It feels strangely glib to say that the digital landscape is not a meritocracy. With that said, after decades of new stores, new brands, new sites, and new ways to shop for goods and services, the expectations of an audience in 2022 are not going to be the same as they were even a few years ago. This is especially true in a post-lockdown world, wherein people from across the globe were forced to embrace online shopping as a necessity of day to day life. Because of this, you need to offer your audience something that is going to get them truly hooked, and that is rarely going to be the quality of your product or service, at least at first.
One of the great difficulties of online shopping is that the internet isn’t good at showing whether a product is good or not. Pictures can be misleading, videos can be half-truths; we as customers are used to being deceived. So, if you’re looking to start your business off on the right track, you need to give your audience something to latch onto. From creative web design to insightful on-site blogging, your online brand persona needs to exist as more than just a means to an end, and one great way to do that is with social media.
Put the Social in Your Socials
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok; all of these platforms are not just ways to get your brand out there, they are a way to interact directly with your audience. One of the biggest challenges that businesses face is simply getting their brand to stick in the minds of an audience that has thousands of readily available alternatives at their fingertips. However, by connecting with your audience directly on a personal level, whilst also providing them with engaging, insightful content and a unique aesthetic style, you’re giving them an experience beyond a simple buy-sell dynamic.
Voice Search Optimisation: The Tech of Tactful Talking Points
Any time the idea of affordable small business SEO starts to get discussed in 2022, one of the main talking points that arise is invariably going to be voice search optimisation. However, there’s one important factor in this fascinating topic that rarely gets addressed in those fervent murmurs:
“So… What does that actually mean?”
Naturally, as you can likely intuit from the name, voice search optimisation is a means of optimising your content and web pages for voice searches. The issue that often arises when I’ve tried to elaborate on this topic when it’s brought up in conversation is that people know it’s a thing you should definitely be doing, but nobody I’ve met has actually done it to tell me how it works.
The Truth of Optimising for Voice Search
Unlike trying to rank for search engine results, we haven’t exactly worked out a good black and white consistently-viable method for definitely appearing in voice searches. However, there are many things you can do to improve your chances of appearing for voice search, including:
- Keeping listings like your Google My Business (GMB) up-to-date and consistently updated with responses to reviews and other small tweaks to ensure that it remains active in the eyes of search engines.
- Maintain relevant on-site blog writing on a consistent basis for any subjects you would like to appear in voice search results for. This not only increases your site’s relevance for these topics but also provides more potential touchpoints to answer niche components of questions around those subjects.
- Don’t just focus on your core keywords, branch out into longer-tail questions. After all, if you look on SEMRush and find that certain questions have search volume, chances are that similar questions are being asked through voice search. This is especially useful when writing FAQ sections, as they are often smaller, and more in line with the format of voice search answers.
The main benefit of all this is that voice search optimisation also doubles as good search engine optimisation a lot of the time. So, whether you succeed at getting into voice searches or not, you should still see positive results from the process.
Short-Form Videos: Your Content Means More Than Words Ever Could
Whilst you may feel slightly nauseated by the constant reminders of hustle culture thought leaders like Gary Vee that you should be making endless TikTok videos and pumping out 20 pieces of content a day, there is some value in content diversity. After all, content has often been about finding what is most shareable and relatable to the needs of your audience, which is how sites like Buzzfeed became monoliths in the age of “Which BLANK are you?” quizzes.
Content preferences and trends are always shifting, and you’re not always going to be able to make the next big thing work for your particular brand and audience (a quiz like “Which Long Haul American Trailer Manufacturer Are You?” probably wouldn’t have made massive gains in 2015), short-form video is a relatively level playing field. Whether you’re 14 and trying to gain a following on TikTok and Instagram or a multinational business trying to show their expertise to a new audience, short-form videos are a relatively low-risk, small investment that could get your brand in front of a lot of people.
Just remember that your content needs to speak to your audience, and jumping on the latest trend can easily backfire if what you’re going for is credibility.
The way we think about content marketing has never been a stable thing. No matter what moment in time you can point to in which a certain type of content was popular, it was always perched in the shadow of something that would inevitably come along to take its place. So, stay in tune with the trends, try to understand what your audience needs, and listen to those around you. The internet is a place for small businesses with big ideas, and there’s no better way to invest in your own success than with your time and creativity.