Content is still king in 2022, but the way it rules has changed. Having content is not enough; today’s content needs to make the right statement with the right people at the right time.
Content marketing today looks drastically different than it did a year ago. From new formats like podcasting to new platforms like TikTok, content strategies need to evolve with the times.
With this in mind, let’s look at eight tips to blow your 2022 content marketing out of the water.
1. Know Why (and For Whom) You’re Creating Content
Content creation begins with the end in mind. Brands don’t create content just because it’s fun. You expect your content to do something for you, whether it’s to build authority, generate new leads, or provide real value to your audience.
That’s why your entire content strategy should start with your audience. You need to know who your ideal customers are, what they need from you, and how you can cater to them. Knowing these things will allow you to create content that actually matters to them — and it helps you achieve your content goals, too.
In 2022, we have more ways than ever to learn about an audience. Going beyond surface-level demographics like age, location, and income levels, brands can use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to find deeper connections in their customer base.
AI tools like Linkfluence use natural language processing, allowing you to learn more about the context behind your audience’s sentiments. Learn how your users talk about certain topics and the verbiage they use so you can mirror this in your content.
Successful content is all about making the right connections. The more authentically you know your audience, the better positioned you are to make content they will see as valuable.
2. Empower Content Ideation with AI
It used to be that brands would take an SEO-first approach to content ideas. You’d pick a high-ranking keyword, then latch onto topics around that term to get the most traffic.
SEO is still important, but brands are realizing that traffic doesn’t always equal conversions.
Rather, when you take a value-first approach to content ideation, you build stronger connections with your audience. You establish yourself as an authority not just based on popularity, but also by meeting your audiences’ needs. Plus, you attract leads that are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
AI can help you identify topics your audience cares about. Tools like Linkfluence monitor millions of topics and conversations online to find deeper connections between buyers, then pick out topics and ideas shared by your target market.
SEO can only take you so far. It’s key for boosting your visibility in search, but if it lacks the substance your audience really needs, users are likely to bounce — and SEO will likely suffer in the long run. When you focus on value first, traffic, clicks, and conversions become natural by-products.
3. Build on Your Previous Wins
On average, it takes brands 6-7 hours to produce a single piece of content. This includes the time it takes for brainstorming, the content creation phase, and publishing the content. That’s why, for the last several years, a top content marketing trend has been to repurpose content as much as possible.
Content repurposing allows you to get more mileage out of every piece of content. For instance, if you write a blog post, you can turn your blog into several tweets or Facebook posts, an infographic, a downloadable one-sheeter, a video, and an email newsletter.
But repurposing content on topics that don’t hit home with your audience isn’t going to help you reach your goals. It simply creates more of the same lackluster content your audience never really cared about in the first place.
In 2022, brands will take the concept of content repurposing a step further. Linking to older blogs or content in new blogs is already a common practice. But with new AI tools that can track each piece of content’s performance, brands can see at a glance what content is already being well received and build new content around those topics.
What’s more, AI can take this another step further by analyzing your competitors’ top-performing content. Instead of guessing whether competing content is generating the right buzz, AI can do all the recon for you.
As a result, brands can spend less time coming up with hollow content ideas that won’t resonate with their audiences and focus more time on creating content on impactful topics.
4. Explore a Variety of Content Formats
From podcasting to TikTok videos, live streaming to influencer marketing, we’ve seen several new content formats emerge in the last few years. Brands have more ways than ever to connect with their audiences. If you’re still relying on blogs and PPC ads, it might be time to explore other ways to reach your target customers.
That said, exploring more content formats can be an expensive undertaking — in terms of time, money, and skills. You want results from your content, but shifting to a new content format can take some trial and error to get right. Plus, every new format requires a slightly different skill set and best practices.
Tools and technology won’t guarantee your success, but they can help to shorten the learning curve. For instance, if you want to double down on influencer marketing, you might use AI-driven tools to find and vet influencers and reduce the search effort. Or, you might turn to consumer insight tools to learn more about the content formats your audience prefers.
5. Trade Stock Photos for Custom Assets
Stock photos have been a long-time favorite for brands because they’re inexpensive and add “color” to their content. But in the current climate of authenticity, transparency, and rising above the content marketing noise, stock photos are losing their luster.
In general, consumers are growing tired of stock photo-heavy content. They’re cheesy and inauthentic and do little to illustrate your brand in a special way. And to the discerning customer, it might even appear like you’re trying to cut corners by taking the easy road.
Today’s content marketing is leaning more toward original assets that have a “shareability” factor. From real photos of your employees or customers to custom data graphs, your imagery is a chance to make your brand stand out.
What’s more, it ensures that all of your images and visuals stay with your brand. The same isn’t true for stock photos — your competitors might use the same ones, which makes it harder for your content to stand out.
6. Understand Your Users’ Search Intent
Optimizing your content for search is a step in the right direction. But there’s an art to it, and it starts with understanding search intent.
We define search intent as the process of knowing why a user is searching for a specific term or phrase.
For example, let’s say that you’re a beauty brand selling makeup and skincare. You’re trying to boost your search rankings for your line of foundations, so “foundation” might seem like an obvious keyword to optimize for. Except —
When a user types “foundation” into Google, they might be presented with makeup. Or, they might be directed to a local home builder that builds foundations. Or, when we type “foundation” into Google, we actually see an app as the first result, as well as a movie title of the same name.
That’s because Google doesn’t have enough context into the search term to figure out what you really want to know. That’s why search intent matters.
When you understand the why behind the search, you can create content around those purposes and stand a better chance of ranking well.
A better search term for the beauty brand might be “foundation shades” or “how to choose a foundation color,” for example. Here’s what we get when we search for “foundation shades”:
That’s right — the first result (or results) are images, not web pages. That should tell you that this term is a highly visual one, which means you might want to create some image-based content for this term.
In fact, content type is a big part of search intent. Depending on the term, Google may display images, videos, blogs, landing pages, or web pages at the top of the search engine results page. We recommend testing your keyword to figure out the best type of content to create for a specific term.
7. Think about How Users Search for Content
Running alongside search intent, brands need to start thinking about how users are searching for content, too.
In the past, using your desktop or laptop computer was your only option to find content online. Then smartphones came on the scene and now account for more web traffic than fixed connections. And now, we have voice assistants that search for content on our behalf.
Because users are searching for content in various ways, content marketers need to think carefully about how they can create content that caters to a variety of channels.
Search Engine Land did an experiment on nearly 25 million keywords and found that 79% of them displayed different rankings on desktop vs mobile. Optimizing the same content for every channel might not be feasible, but you should learn how your audience prefers to find you and focus your efforts there.
8. Let Your Data Do the Talking
We’re smack dab in the middle of all things Big Data, and it’s the perfect partner for content marketing. The internet is already a crowded place, especially in terms of content. Now that so many brands are doing content marketing, being “original” is a little harder to come by.
That’s why tapping into your own data is such a power move. Rather than covering topics on low-hanging fruit that have more than likely been covered at length, you can shed new light on topics with your own data.
Tap into your CRM, ERP, Google Analytics, email marketing platform, social media insights, and any other platform that collects and compiles data for your company. Then weave your insights into your content marketing or create entire data-driven reports for your industry.
Adding real data helps you illustrate a point on more than just theoretical knowledge. Plus, other content marketers are stats-hungry. If you can share a great staistic or data point, you may be able to gain backlinks from other websites that are looking for real data to support their own thoughts. Instant authority!
Growing Your Content Marketing in 2022
Content marketing continues to be a dominating force in digital marketing. But with growing competition from other brands and more ways to create and promote content than ever before, brands need to take a serious look at their strategy and adjust their approach for 2022.
At Linkfluence, we leverage AI to help inform content ideation and content creation to help you reach results without the guesswork. Learn more when you schedule a demo.