digital content marketing strategyIn 2020, 70% of marketers used content marketing. In 2021, this number jumped to 82%. To stand out from the crowd and maximize your content marketing results, it’s imperative that you keep up with the latest developments, strategies, and consumer behaviors around content. 2021 has been an interesting year in the content marketing space. Strategies are becoming more refined, and there’s a generous amount of stats and data confirming which are most effective. Are you looking to the year ahead, wondering what 2021 has taught us and how you can apply this to your digital content marketing strategy? Keep reading to find out the top content marketing takeaways from 2021 that you should be implementing moving forward.

1. Voice Search Is Here to Stay

Voice searches have been rising for some time and are here to stay. Previously, optimizing for voice was a hot “early bird” marketer’s tip. Now, it’s become an essential part of content marketing in 2021. According to statistics, 39.4% of the US population conducts voice searches at least once a month and is predicted to rise to over 40% in the new year.

As more and more people use virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri, this percentage is likely to rise even further. If you want to make sure your content shows in voice search, you have to optimize for it. Fortunately, a lot of the key voice search optimization strategies are intertwined with broader content marketing practices. Such as increasing page load speed and targeting a spot in featured snippets.

2. Customer Retention Through Content Is the Real King

“Content is king” is an old saying in digital marketing. However, customer retention is emerging as the real metric thanks to the flood of content on the internet. Good content and SEO marketing is, of course, key to attracting new leads and customers. However, if you can’t retain these customers, you will have spent a lot of resources to attract them, only to lose them after one conversion.

On the other hand, if you can retain your customers, then you will be maximizing your content marketing strategy to its full potential. Some of the ways you can retain customers through content is by consistently posting, new, valuable content that gives them a reason to come back. You might also be able to create resources that reel customers back to your sites. Such as online calculators, checklists, and interactive content like decision trees. You can also share exclusive offers with them and early access deals. Asking customers to share reviews and feedback is another way to keep the interaction flowing.

3. Interactive Content Retains Attention and Triggers Conversions

Speaking of interactive content, this is another hot content marketing area in 2021 that we should focus on. Interactive content is a broad term and covers things from Buzzfeed-style quizzes and polls to virtual and augmented reality. Interactive content has a host of positive benefits for any digital content marketing strategy. Not only is it highly engaging, but it is also often more effective at educating the buyer, and makes brands stand out. Additionally, it’s very reusable and often triggers repeat visits and multiple exposures. Stats also reveal that interactive content sparks 2x more conversions. It also generates 4-5x more pageviews than static content.

4. Social Listening Continues to Be Important

Social media plays an integral role in digital marketing. It offers brands a way to gain followers, distribute content, and build reach and reputation. However, social media isn’t just an avenue for maximizing your content marketing strategy. It’s also a place to monitor for mentioning of your brand through social listening. Not only do you need to create engaging social media posts, but you also need to keep tabs on what users are saying about your brand on social media.

Monitoring social media channels and search engine results for mentions of your brand allows you to:

  • Gauge what consumers are saying about you
  • Track and analyze conversations
  • Reach out and respond to mentions of your brand

This enables you to make connections, find new leads, and manage your reputation. It can also help inform your content marketing strategy by illuminating key questions and problem areas potential customers have. Up until recently, social listening has primarily been practiced by larger brands and companies. However, social listening holds benefits for smaller brands as well and is definitely a strategy you should consider leveraging to inform your content marketing in 2022.

5. Livestream, Short-From, and Less Produced Video Is Gaining Momentum

If you have been following content marketing trends for some time, then you’re probably well aware that video outstrips static blog post content in terms of engagement, reach, and shares. Stats show that video can help marketers grow their business 49% faster. This is one of the reasons why 20% of marketers name video as their primary medium ahead of blog posts and infographics. Video is also shared at a 12x higher rate on social media, and videos on social platforms enjoy a 48% boost in views.

As we said above, the power and popularity of video content isn’t something new. What is new, however, is the type of video that’s gaining traction. For one thing, short-form video is taking off in a big way. Brands are starting to leverage Instagram reels and TikTok to publish short videos. Streaming is also highly popular, with streamed content attracting far higher engagement rates than on-demand video.

What’s more, 80% of consumers prefer watching live video from brands than reading blog posts, and 82% prefer live video to social media content. One of the reasons for this is that live video provides consumers with an authentic view into a brand, and offers an opportunity for real-time engagement. Although there aren’t any hard stats to prove it, a subtle content marketing trend we’ve been noticing in 2021 is a preference on the part of consumers for raw, less scripted, and less highly edited video content. Live streaming gives brands a perfect opportunity to cater to this shift.

Future-Proof Your Digital Content Marketing Strategy for 2022 With These Top Takeaways

One of the secrets behind content marketing success is paying close attention to the shifts that happen each year, both in the minds of consumers and the industry at large. Now that you know about some of the top takeaways from 2021, you’re primed to apply these to your digital content marketing strategy in 2022. By honing in on top-performing formats like video and interactive content, concentrating on customer retention, catering to voice search, and practicing social listening, you’ll be guaranteed to hit the ground running in 2022.