There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with content marketing trends. However, you need to ensure they are aligned with your marketing goals, or you might end up chasing the wrong ones.
You don’t want to invest resources in an approach that may never yield the desired results.
So, let’s talk about some influential content marketing trends to look out for in 2023 and how they can help you reach specific goals.
1. Provide Clear Answers
Most online searches are questions where people want to learn something. Instead of looking to force them to spend more time on a page and engage more with your content, provide the answer to their question upfront.
Don’t use superfluous words to make your content longer than it needs to be. Don’t focus on adding as many keywords a tool has recommended as possible. Focus on providing actionable, valuable advice and information.
Think of it this way. People looking for an answer will appreciate you, read your answer paragraph (which also has the potential of becoming a featured snippet), remember you as a valuable source of information, and move on.
People interested to learn more, who like your writing and how you’ve composed your article, will keep reading. They might check out some of your other pages too.
For a great example, see this post on stock market holidays by MarketBeat. They give you the calendar right away. You can, of course, choose to keep reading, but if you’ve got what you need, you will leave appreciating the brand’s effort. And you will remember them for next time.
This tactic will work for every brand, of any size, in any industry.
2. Create Interactive Content
Interactive content is more shareable, improves time on a page, and helps you connect with your audience more profoundly. It’s also a great way to add value to your content, improve conversion rates, and direct traffic down your sales funnel.
If you create an interactive piece for your top-funnel audience, you can use it to point them toward your sales-oriented pages, which they otherwise wouldn’t have stumbled across. As long as you ensure you’re not pushing a sale but still adding value to the content, this is the essence of blogging for business.
Take a look at the Transparent Labs one rep max calculator. It will be valuable to all regular gym goers; those who have not yet encountered the brand will be exposed organically. Those who want to level up their game will probably read a few other posts and perhaps check out some of the recommended products.
This will work for brands that can distill helpful information into an interactive format and have the budget for creating it. They might choose to make a calculator, a tool, an interactive infographic, etc.
Remember that you don’t have to aim for top-funnel leads. The same tactic will work for those who are already aware of your brand, trust you, and need more exposure and information to convert.
3. Compare and Contrast
As you can already tell, offering value to your readers is key. Don’t write content just for the sake of writing content. Whatever you produce needs to help readers solve an issue or decide.
Compare two different concepts or products. This will help your audience make an educated decision and establish you as an expert. That’s as long as you ensure you are not pushing your agenda or trying to convince readers that one item is infinitely better than others.
Gili Sports does a fantastic job comparing standup paddle boards with kayaks. It helps readers decide which activity to try while enabling the brand to promote its products. Since they happen to sell both paddle boards and kayaks, it’s a no-brainer — they can be sincere and purely informative.
If you compare your product or service with something you don’t sell or do, make sure you genuinely list the positives and the negatives. You will only alienate your readers if you seem overly biased (which you certainly are by the nature of things).
This works for everyone with the expertise and talent to execute it right. In other words, you need to know a lot or at least be ready to research the topic.
4. Stuff Your Posts With Images (Within Reason)
As search engines learn to understand images better, you must ensure you use the right amount of visuals in every content. They need to add depth and another layer of meaning instead of just being pretty and serving to break up your content.
For instance, this post on vintage Lightroom presets needs tons of images, as they serve to illustrate each preset. This is the best way to add value to this post, demonstrate the product, and make the page more engaging with images.
Most posts will need one per paragraph at most. Some posts can get away with just the featured image, provided that you break the content up well and use bullet points and other formatting hacks to make it easier to read and skim.
Every content marketer needs to employ this trend. The only question is how many images your post needs.
5. Have an Expert Write It
The biography of the person writing the article carries enormous weight. Search engines are all about E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trust); the author’s credentials will demonstrate all these.
Ask experts to write your content. It will instantly enhance your credibility, helping you rank better faster and ensuring your audience trusts you. Don’t confuse experts with celebrities or influencers. You don’t need someone famous — you need someone knowledgeable. Look for someone who has extensively studied or worked in the field you cover.
This post on the best mattresses without fiberglass is a great example. It was written and reviewed by a medical professional, so you know the recommendations are of the highest quality. It was also written by someone who knows their way around sleep hygiene, so the post will surely be more valuable than something an “SEO writer” could produce.
This is especially important in YMYL niches but will become increasingly important.
6. Funnel Stage Personalization
Personalization is incredibly valuable in marketing. A niche piece of content may drive less traffic overall, but it will increase targeted traffic. This kind of traffic will either be more likely to convert or easier to funnel toward your end goal.
Take this post on enterprise SEO tools as an example. It’s written for one type of audience only. While it’s not as popular a keyword as “best SEO tools,” the traffic it drives allows Ahrefs to recommend its solution to a specific reader already searching for what they are selling.
This tactic will work for brands that have:
- access to a lot of customer data
- written clear customer personas
- some exact audience segmentation is in place
7. Shorter Video Content for the Win
Instagram and YouTube are already pushing shorter content formats to the forefront. People engage with them more; you will even find Shorts at the top of some search results pages.
Instead of producing static content, start creating short, relevant clips. YouTube is the place to publish them. As Google owns the platform, you’ll surely get more exposure.
Make sure you always tie your video content to the following:
- Your product and brand voice
- Your marketing and sales goals
- Your audience’s needs
Look at Drunk Elephant. Their reels are engaging and valuable for their audience. They’re something that search engines are likely to serve.
The Drunk Elephant videos are attention-grabbing and short. They speak of the benefits of using each product, showing what a product looks like, how it applies, and what kinds of results you can expect. This is all helpful for the audience, who wants as much information as possible to make purchasing decisions.
Plus, you’ll often see their customers demonstrating the products in these videos. Seeing real-life results instead of campaigns shot on sets is much more compelling for people, as the former contributes that element of social proof.
This works for brands whose audiences can be converted via social media.
8. AI-Powered Research
Artificial intelligence can help you write better content, as long as you don’t ask the likes of ChatGPT to do the actual writing. No matter how tempting it may seem, some tools can recognize AI-written content.
It would be best if you used these tools to:
- get ideas for keywords
- figure out the questions people are searching for
- align your voice to what your audience wants to read
Don’t be fooled: search engines can tell when an AI has spun a piece of content out of “thin air.” They will likely start penalizing it, so avoid caution and stick to human writers. There is no chance they will let those with access to AI use it to generate more content than those who decide to still work with human writers.
AI is currently creating content based on what is already out there. So, if the majority of the coverage on a specific topic is flawed or contains the wrong information, the resulting content will be full of flaws too. And that’s not what you want to be presenting to your readers.
This will work for brands with good writers and budgets to use AI solutions. As many of them are pretty affordable, we can say that anyone can use this tactic.
Over to You
Content marketing trends might come and go, but striving to provide value and being empathetic for your audience must always be the foundation of your efforts. There’s so much content out there, good and evil, and people know they can choose to whom they’ll pay their particular attention. You need to provide answers and, if possible, even expert input, but at the same time, you want to make sure it’s all packed in an engaging format. Trends we’ve covered here, such as personalization, video creation, and AI-powered research, can all be valuable practices to help you improve your content strategy.
The expectations are higher than ever, but putting in all that effort is worth it, as it will help you build a stronger relationship with your audience.