If someone offered you a crystal ball that could tell you the future of content generation, would you want it? As a member of The Upside, an award-winning community and accelerator for thriving consultants, I participated in a recent Clubhouse event discussing the future of content generation. This got me thinking about trends for the remainder of this year and beyond.
Following an amazing discussion with Erin Halper, CEO of The Upside, and my colleagues Rebecca Orlov, Rachel Dorton, and Lisa Weiss, I asked my LinkedIn network to provide some tips and content marketing trends they were most excited about as we enter the second half of 2021.
As you begin planning your content marketing strategy for the remainder of this year, I encourage you to keep the below trends and tips in mind. Overall, developing high-quality content that doesn’t necessarily require more resources was a major focus among the panelists. This can go a long way toward crushing key marketing objectives in 2021.
The Emergence of Audio Platforms
Back in April I wrote an article for Search Engine Watch on whether Clubhouse was really worth the hype. Within the post I explored how brands can use Clubhouse to build an online community to further add value and drive engagement. My key takeaway was that although it came onto the market at the right time, I’m cautious about its role over the long term. As Twitter, LinkedIn, and other audio apps emerge Clubhouse will have to quickly adapt and make some changes if it wants to become a mainstream platform for brand marketers.
Although I remain interested and active on the platform, I’m cautious that it’s the “popular kids” hangout and the allure and interest is largely based around buzz. Certainly, brands can and should listen into ongoing conversations and get ideas about the topics target audiences and tuning into and discussing. The brands that listen openly to new ideas and have a pulse on the culture and content their market is exposed to will have a long-standing advantage and edge.
Margaret Molloy, the Global Chief Marketing Officer at Siegel+Gale added, “I expect to see more audio content from an evolution of live audio platforms including Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse as well as the expansion of podcasts. The mobility and portability are so attractive as people recommence commuting or continue to do more exercise or even simply walking their dogs!”
Danielle Guzman, the Global Head of Social Media at Mercer added, “The rise of social audio will drive growth in a conversation-first approach to content. Start with a conversation (aka social audio platforms) and use that conversation as fuel for your content plan, putting the experts (influencers, SMEs, employee advocates) at the center of your content strategy), and then when you activate on channels, those voices are amplified in content different formats.”
I agree with Danielle and Margaret that audio platforms offer a much-needed relief for the Zoom fatigue many of us experienced this year. Although they are mobile friendly, they’re merely a part of a set of tools we must have within our pocket. When used properly and effectively audio can be used to help achieve success for your brand. The future of audio platforms seems bright, and it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds over time.
Explosion of Video Content
With major events out of play the for bulk of 2021, video and webinar content became even more important—and guess what, it’s not going away. Consumers want to get information and learn quickly and there’s no better way to do that without video marketing. Video is a quick and effective medium to communicate your message and educate your audience. Video content is on a seemingly never-ending rise around the world.
Cisco’s Annual Internet Report reported that video content is predicted to amount to a whopping 82% of all internet traffic. Additionally, according to a HubSpot survey, over 54% of consumers would like to see more content from their brands. It’s pretty clear that video is what we need to focus on in 2021!
This isn’t to say you should ignore all other forms of content, but it does mean that video must be at the forefront of your strategy. Sarah-Jane Manco, a marketing and communications senior professional within the financial services industry, added, “I see short form video sticking around for a lot longer. Our attention spans are shortening thanks to social media, so condensing your message into a 15-30 second video is the way forward!”
I couldn’t agree more and encourage brands and marketers to continue to develop short content to cut through the digital noise and amplify your story. It’s important to use a variety of video formats to fit your brand, industry, and niche, and optimize them for every step of the customer’s journey.
The More Personal, the BETTER!
Personalization in 2021 goes beyond merely addressing your customer by their name in emails or when you’re talking to them via chat. In the years to come, technologies like artificial intelligence will make data analysis more efficient and effective, allowing you to achieve hyper-personalized communication.
Providing a stellar customer experience is no longer a “nice to have;” it’s now a true necessity. Customers expect and demand seamless and personalized experiences throughout their journey with your brand. User-generated content (UGC) is a highly effective way of creating more connected relationships with customers, especially when leveraged across social media channels. UGC provides an additional stream of content that is typically engaging, authentic and reflective of the overall brand promise.
Building Content Communities
Creators are now in the driver’s seat and users are in for the ride alongside them. With the rise of Clubhouse offering authenticity through voice or Slack communities across tech, building communities has been a push for marketing teams for the remainder of the year.
However, building communities specifically around content sharing and creation will allow marketing teams to continue to expand their reach, even with fewer resources.
Expanding your reach is great for brand awareness—and, of course, your metrics—but that kind of inclusion is also good for fostering a sense of community with your audience, too.
One of the major threads within my LinkedIn post was the use of repurposing content. Repackaging content is nothing new, but the idea is to turn existing content into new formats. Tom Pick, a B2B Tech Digital Marketing Consultant, added that he thinks “we’ll see more’ video first’ content creation. Meaning, creators will start by recording an online video with an expert, maybe live, maybe not. The audio will be repurposed as a podcast, and the transcript as a blog post (or more than one). Then excerpts will be pulled from a string of these to create an expert roundup post. It’s the next stage of repurposing.”
This idea of the future state of repurposed and repackaged content will allow for us to turn existing how-to articles into visual flowcharts or revise an article into a podcast or even a mini audiobook. The main aspect of content repackaging is that a new content piece creates value of its own. It’s not just about re-marketing your old content simply for additional clicks or conversions. Content repackaging is the marketing tactic that aims to give your audience a new way to consume information. It also involves expanding your own content with new research and up-to-date information.
April Rudin the Founder and CEO of the Rudin Group added, “Personalization and the opportunity to repurpose existing content is HUGE particularly for regulated industries like financial services and pharmaceutical, I’m a fan of infographics and data visuals to help tell stories in a snapshot. To me, video should be used sparingly and in short spurts, no one wants to watch lengthy videos or listen to long podcasts without visuals.
Meredith Bodgas, the Editorial Strategy Lead at Toptal, added, “Consider repackaging of existing content to match the different platforms on which you might not be using that content.” What I love about Meredith’s advice is that it allows us to create new and unique content for a variety of social media channels. It lets us experiment with many content formats and identify our best-working engagement tactics.
Like any other content marketing strategy, repackaging content is all about consistency. I recommend brands create 2-3 additional content assets whenever they publish a new article. Consider using some of the advice within this article, such as developing a piece of audio content, adding a voice over or turning a presentation into a video.
A good rule of thumb according to Singlegrain is that we should be spending 20% of our time on content creation and 80% on content promotion. They offer some great tips within the article about the basics of promotion and the foundation of developing GOOD content. Remember, content is king, and will continue to be for many years to come.
What else would you add to what’s in store for the future of content generation? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @marissapick