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Best 2021 Content Marketing Trends for Success [Expert Guide]

10 Mar, 2021

Simone Cunningham Content marketing trends for success

Back away from your keyboard. Before you create any more content you need to get up to speed with the best 2021 Content Marketing Trends.

To be successful this year, every business owner, entrepreneur, and content creator needs to determine which channels they will use to distribute their content.

It may not be all of them, but there are some important trends emerging that you need to pay close attention to so you don’t get left behind.

So by now, you probably have your content marketing strategy planned or content calendar updated with great content ideas for your business this year.

If by chance you haven’t yet take a look at this video and article.

I show you how to create a content marketing strategy and give you my Comprehensive Content Marketing Plan template. This will be a huge help to you.

I also have my Essential Content Calendar that you can download here as well—it’s where you organize all your fabulous new content.

Okay so assuming you’ve ticked both those off your to-do list already this year. You’re done, right?

Well not quite. There’s more you need to know so you can keep up with your competitors.

What Are the Most Effective Content Marketing Channels and Tactics in 2021?

 

Twelve months is a long time in marketing and with the pandemic, there’s been a dramatic shift in how our customers consume content.

It’s changed a lot since 2019. So to reach our target audience, we need to make content they want and deliver it to the right channels.

Let’s start by breaking it down. What is content marketing?

Content marketing revolves around two main activities:

  1.  Content creation
  2.  Content distribution (i.e. the marketing)

If you’re reading this article I’m sure that you’re familiar with Step 1: Content Creation.

No doubt you’re working hard to create content for your business or at least you want to be. 

You’re writing articles and producing videos that are made for your target audience or ideal customers.  

And to top it off, you’re also providing value, as well as measuring the result of your efforts by analyzing what’s working and what’s not working in your content marketing.

But what about Step 2: Content Distribution? Ask yourself these three questions:

  1.  Where are your customers spending their time?
  2.  What sort of content are they interested in?
  3.  Which channels are they most active?

This last point is what I want to focus on for the rest of the article. Consider:

  • What content distribution channels should you target this year?
  • What key areas should you focus your attention on when planning your content marketing strategy? 

If you prefer to watch the video click here or check it out below.

 

Watch now – Content Marketing Trends for 2021: 10 Best Content Marketing Channels and Tactics to Use

 

 

If you’re continuing on the blog, let’s get into it.

 

Here are the 10 Best Content Marketing Channels and Tactics in 2021

 

Content Marketing Trend #1: YouTube

 

You had to see this one coming right? Every year video marketing has become more and more popular to the point that it’s now a very important channel for businesses and entrepreneurs.

In a study two years ago, 40% of the business surveyed predicted that in 2020/2021 that up to 80% of businesses would rely heavily on visuals as part of their marketing strategies.

YouTube is the number one video channel, used by 55% of marketers.

 

YouTube marketing

 

Its power for business and connecting with your customers can’t be ignored.

YouTube’s reach is massive, with 2 billion users worldwide (Statista, 2019), and 79% of internet users saying they have a YouTube account.

It’s also the second-most popular search engine after Google.

YouTube viewers watch more than 1 billion hours of video on the platform each day, that’s billions of video views every day (YouTube, 2021).

So are businesses and entrepreneurs actually using video with success? The answer is YES! 

In a recent Video Marketing Survey 93% of businesses report that video is an important part of their marketing strategy.

87% agree that video gives a positive return on investment.

If you aren’t on YouTube yet, here are 4 ways you can use it to grow your brand and attract customers:

  1.  Use the channel to host your business or brand videos. You can link them back to your website and blog which will help generate more traffic.
  2.  Take advantage of YouTube’s search engine opportunities. Just like Google people type in keywords to search for videos.
  3.  Increase your organic reach. YouTube videos are shown in Google search results and you can also click on the video tab to view all the videos for a particular search term.
  4.  Promote your business or videos via YouTube ads. This is a way to attract new audiences and promote your product or brand by targeting your ideal customers

 

YouTube videos are shown in google

If you are thinking about getting started in videos, the best time to start is now, as the medium is already becoming very saturated, as is YouTube itself. 

The goal should be to make video content every month, working up to weekly content as your processes are streamlined and it becomes easier for you to produce.

 

Content Marketing Trend #2: Live Videos and Webinars

 

You may already be making video for your business but is it live video?

It sounds scary and well it can be sometimes, especially when things don’t go to plan.

Yet, it’s something as a business owner, entrepreneur, or content creator that we need to become more comfortable with.

The video live streaming industry increased by 99% in 2020. Crazy right? 

Statistics show that it was on a significant upward trend even before the pandemic.

However last year, as we all know, suddenly everyone seemed to be doing a live video, even if it was just a Zoom meeting.

There is also a big trend this year for live streaming events.

Eventbrite reports that 67% of video viewers are likely to buy a ticket to a concert or live stream business event this year. 

So making a live stream event like a webinar at a reduced cost, or even no cost, could drive more customers to your products or services.

The interesting thing is that 80% of people would actually prefer to watch a live video than read a blog post. 

While everyone seems to be time-poor these days, 39% of B2B buyers find webinar content valuable.

63% of respondents willing to spend from 20 to 60 minutes watching a webinar.

51% are willing to spend 5 to 20 minutes watching videos.

And if you’re worried about making the investment in time and resources, according to Hubspot you shouldn’t be.

52% of marketers name video as the type of content with the best ROI. 

So remember, if you’re not interested in investing in live video, there’s a good chance your competition is!

 

Trend for live video and webinars

Content Marketing Trend #3: Podcasts

 

Like video, podcasts as a marketing channel have been gaining popularity over the last few years.

A recent survey revealed that 55% (that’s 155 million) people in the United States have listened to a podcast—50% in two years.

Podcasting is a great form of entertainment, but it’s also an extremely useful business marketing tool.

Podcast listeners are described as loyal, affluent, and educated according to a Podcast Insights survey.

And 61% of regular listeners in the US have a 4-year college degree, postgraduate degree, or advanced degree.

A survey of content marketers found that 64% prefer podcasts at the top of their funnel.

That’s because more than half of B2B buyers are willing to spend up to 30 minutes listening to a podcast to research their purchase.

 

marketing funnel content trends

 

With more than 1.5 million podcasts available there’s quite a bit of competition out there, but it’s much less competitive than video.

Podcasts are an effective business tool for 3 reasons:

  1.  Increases brand awareness
  2.  Improves trust and build authority
  3.  Drives traffic to your website and social media accounts

In 2021, it’s predicted that more people than ever before will tune into podcasts. Consider how your business could benefit from branching into this space.

 

Content Marketing Trend #4: Email Marketing

 

Yes, email marketing is still a relevant and necessary part of content marketing in 2021.

Why? Because it allows you to personalize and target your communication (called segmenting) more than any other form of marketing.

Email marketing can bring your customers and potential customers on a very detailed buyer’s journey.

It starts with lead generation and then gradually funneling them to purchase from you, once they form a relationship with you and your brand.

Interestingly, while people complain of receiving too many emails, they are also happy to open up emails from businesses they’re interested in.

The key here is to provide value to them.

Creating segmented email marketing campaigns that focus on each customer’s wants and needs during the buying journey takes time, but the investment is worth it.

It’s estimated that email generates $38 for every $1 spent (HubSpot, 2020).

That’s a 3,800% ROI—quite impressive.

If you’re still a bit hesitant about investing your resources into email marketing don’t be.

73% of marketers report email marketing as their best digital channel for ROI. Additionally, 80% of marketers reported an increase in email engagement in 2020. 

 

email marketing

Content Marketing Trend #5: Improving Content Experience

 

If you get annoyed by pop-ups and ads you’re not alone. Too much of that detracts from the overall experience of your content—essentially it turns people off. 

The experience you create for your customers is almost as important as the content you are creating for them.

It usually takes multiple exposures to your content and brand before someone is willing to trust you or buy from you.

That interaction starts from the moment they first visit your website.

Your goal should be to keep them engaged and interested in your brand with every piece of content you create.

You can improve your customer experience in 5 ways:

  1.  Think about your reader in constructing your content. What do they find valuable? In what format do they like to consume content? Is it blogs, videos or podcasts?
  2.  Consider personalizing the buying journey, so they feel valued. Create content based on specifics about their wants and needs. 
  3.  Prioritize the mobile experience. 55% percent of people use mobile devices over desktop computers. On my website, it’s 80%. You need to know where your traffic is coming from.
  4.  Focus on brand loyalty. Keep your current customers happy and well as develop relationships with new customers.
  5.  Be consistent. This will establish brand loyalty. People like the brand voice and overall feel of the brand to be the same no matter where they find you. Don’t be different on every platform. It’s confusing and detracts from your customer’s experience of your brand.

 

Content Marketing Trend #6: Visual Content

 

We live in a world where we are bombarded every day with visual content. It’s what people want and for some, it’s also how they learn.

Some people have a visual learning style. They need to see information to learn it.

In creating your content marketing you can use visual content to your advantage by developing:

  • Infographics
  • Illustrations
  • Photos
  • Charts
  • Slides
  • Presentations
  • And videos.

Visual content marketing is continuing to rise, with 84% of communications being visual in 2020.

By the end of last year, 79% of internet traffic was video.

It’s also claimed that 65% of people remember information they see in a visual, but only retain 10% of the information they hear out loud.

That’s why infographics work so well.

Also, remember to break up the walls of text in your blog posts with colorful images.

Color in visuals is said to increase the attention span in viewers by 82% (Visme.co).

 

Visual Content Marketing

 

Content Marketing Trend #7: Social Media Marketing

 

Leveraging social media marketing to attract more clients is still a valuable tactic in 2021.

More than 4 billion people worldwide now use social media every month.

It’s also worth noting that active social media users rose by 12% in the last year— that’s up by 453 million people. On average people have 8 different social media accounts.

With social media only on the rise, it’s important to consider how you’re using content in social media to your best advantage.

Social media is a great place for not only promoting your products and services but also creating engagement.

Connect with your target audience through sharing content, interacting with other people’s content, and answering questions. 

 

Consumers on Social Media

 

Businesses use social media to connect with their customers in a world that feels divided, however, it’s also an effective marketing tool.

69% of marketers use social media for brand awareness and 52% use it to increase their web traffic.

A report from Sprout Social identifies connection as the new currency.

3 reasons why people follow brands on social media:

  1.  57% of people follow brands to learn about their new products or services.
  2.  47% use it to stay up-to-date with company news.
  3.  40% for learning about promotions or discounts.

Furthermore, almost two-thirds of people trust brands they follow. 53% of people say they feel connected when that brand’s values align with their own.

 

why consumers follow brands

 

Many of the social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest have been around for a long time now.

However, it’s also worth checking out newcomers TikTok and Instagram’s Reels and researching how you can make it work for your target audience.

Be warned though, if you don’t want to be unfollowed make sure that your products and services are top-notch.

The main reasons that consumers unfollow brands on social media are:

  • Poor quality of product or support—49%
  • Poor customer service—49%
  • Irrelevant content—45%
  • Too many ads from that brand—45%

 

49% of consumers unfollow brands for poor customer service

 

It’s also worth noting that 45% of people like and follow accounts suggested in their feeds or discovery tools.

Remember to make sure you have that enabled in your settings if you want to grow your account.

 

Follow accounts from feeds or discovery tools

 

Content Marketing Trend #8: Prioritize SEO Content

 

Creating high-quality engaging content is essential, but it needs to be optimized for SEO or no one will see it.

Look at it this way. SEO and content marketing work together.

Through content marketing, you provide value to your audience.

Good SEO helps your audience find your content, with search engine algorithms determining the value of your content.

It’s not enough to produce what you think is great content anymore.

In 2021 you need to produce high-quality content that covers topics people are actually searching for.

You need to ask yourself—does the content provide real value to your target audience?

If you’re not producing relevant content that people want, there’s a chance that your content will not generate very much traffic, wasting your time and resources.

Keyword research is an important first step in your content creation process.

Long-tail keywords will be more important than ever as the more common keywords become saturated.

seo content strategy

Consider reviewing your SEO content strategy to see if there’s room for improvement.

Here are 5 ways to build your SEO traffic more quickly:

  1.  Create high-quality content consistently. Use a content calendar to keep track of all the content your team creates.
  2.  Publish high-value directory content. Creating a clever library or directory can direct traffic to your site.
  3.  Generate backlinks with free offers. Giving away useful content can increase traffic.
  4.  Build authoritative content from webinars. Turn the content into valuable ‘pillar content’ to attract traffic.
  5.  Keep optimizing your content. Refresh your content with relevant updates to make the most of the work you’ve already done.

 

 

 

Content Marketing Trend #9: Focusing On Products and Services

 

As businesses continue to spend carefully, the trend towards bottom-of-funnel content related to core offerings is expected to continue and strengthen in 2021.

And it makes sense. Conservative marketing plans mean business owners and entrepreneurs want to have a laser focus on their buyer’s journey.

They will be addressing core topics and objections as people progress through the funnel.

There will be more content that’s linked directly to products, services, and launches. With businesses focusing on creating content that directly explains the benefits of a product or service—with the goal of securing a sale.

Taking a prospect to the bottom of the funnel is time-consuming and expensive.

It’s worthwhile doing an audit of your content catalog quickly in your head.

How much bottom-of-funnel or decision-stage content do you have?

4 examples of formats you can use are:

  1. Downloadable PDFs—ebook, product brochure or template.
  2. Webinars and video training courses. 
  3. Success stories.
  4. Free courses and education.

 

bottom of funnel

 

Many business owners and entrepreneurs are great at developing material for the content awareness stage.

This year consider what content you need to create that directs your prospect to their buying decision. 

Don’t forget to track your conversions so you know what piece of content generated that sale.

A few metrics to consider include:

  • Total conversions.
  • Average order value.
  • Signup/cart abandonment rate.
  • Earnings per lead.
  • Return on investment.

 

Content Marketing Trend #10: Repurposing Content Across Channels

 

I really hope you’re repurposing your content already. If you’re not, your content marketing world is about to get a bit more exciting. 

The idea behind this strategy is that you take the high-quality content you’ve already created and turn it into multiple content pieces across all your different channels.

You then share it with as many people as possible. Why?

If you are taking the time to create engaging content you may as well leverage it.

However, be careful. Content repurposing doesn’t just mean that you reuse an old piece of content again and again.

True repurposing requires that we alter it to make it fresh and appealing to a new audience.

For example, turn your YouTube video into a podcast or article. Then you shorten it for a Reels or TikTock video. Turn your articles into social media posts and then reuse the content for email marketing.

You get the picture. 

 

Content repurposing

 

Yes, some rewriting and editing are required to make each piece of content fit into the requirements of each platform.

However, by creating off-shoots of content from your single well-written and researched content piece you’re making it stretch further—allowing you to reach more people. 

You’re also saving yourself the headache of coming up with something new each time.

Work on getting the content you’ve already created in front of more people.

“Create less, promote more.” – Salma Jafri

One of the benefits of repurposing your content is that it will save you so much time in the content creation process.

Don’t worry about overexposing your content for two reasons:

  1.  Your audience generally doesn’t follow you on every social media account you have or platform you use.
  2.  People gravitate toward the mediums that they enjoy and fit into their lifestyle. For example, some people still prefer to read than watch videos.

 

Ready to Implement Those 2021 Content Marketing Trends?

 

So that’s it, 10 of the best content marketing channels and tactics for content marketing in 2021.

As I mentioned earlier, you’re not expected to suddenly start implementing them all—unless you’re supported by a team.

It takes time to build out content and the learn ins and outs of the different channels.

Focus on incorporating one or two new content marketing trends to begin with, and grow your audience there.

In time, you can branch into new channels and tactics as your confidence and followers build.

I’m interested to hear what content marketing trends you are excited to try in 2021?

Is there a trend that you’ve had great success with that you will continue this year?

I’d love to hear from you so be sure to leave your comments below.

 

Want to learn more about me and my business?

 

My name’s Simone

 

For 20 years, I’ve been creating compelling content and marketing for entrepreneurs, big and small businesses.

 

I’ll help you turn your traffic into loyal customers and return visitors. As well as create valuable content your audience will love!

 

Let me show you how to manage it effectively, create authority, and generate leads.

 

I have also created courses and resources to aid you in this journey. No need to fly blind anymore!

 

Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a message here.

 

As always, thank you for dropping by, for reading my blog posts, and for subscribing to my YouTube channel. Thank you too for watching my videos. I feel the love. 

 

Best of luck with your 2021 content marketing! Remember to reach out if I can help.

Have something to say? Comment below.

4 Comments

  1. Simply a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style.

    Reply
  2. Wow! This can be one particular of the most helpful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Fantastic. I am also an expert in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

    Reply
  3. You could definitely see your expertise within the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

    Reply
    • Thank you. Yes, I agree. If you believe in what you are doing, it shows in your work. I wish you all the best.

      Reply

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Simone Cunningham

Simone Cunningham

Director & Content Strategist

Simone is a content marketing strategist, and the Director and Founder of eWords Agency. For 20 years she’s been developing communications and marketing strategies for written and video content, and partners with businesses, government, and not-for-profits as an industry authority.

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