Though it’s been clear for the last few years that the world of content marketing has been constantly changing, the pace that this change enjoys seems to be getting faster all the time.
Just when we think we’ve found the “next big technique” that will let us connect with our target audiences in bold new ways, that idea is quickly replaced by several alternatives that promise even better results in far more efficient ways.
On that front, 2021 certainly seems to be no exception. Even though we’re just a few days into January, experts are already talking about the top trends for the new year that are poised to turn the world of content marketing on its proverbial head all over again.
Whether or not that is actually true remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: content marketing, in general, has a tendency to move fast and if you don’t make every effort to keep up, you WILL find yourself (and your organization) left behind.
Biggest Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021
Behold: The Internet of Things
As a concept, the Internet of Things (commonly referred to as the IoT for short) has ushered in a wave of disruption for every industry that it happens to touch. For those unfamiliar, it’s the idea that everything that can have a computer chip and an Internet connection inside should – from appliances to televisions to thermostats, scales and so much more.
Those devices can then all create and share information with one another, using that data to automatically make our lives better in a wide range of different ways.
On the consumer side of the equation, the Internet of Things is the concept that lets you automatically get a push notification on your Smartphone, when motion is detected just outside your front door while you’re at work, or how your thermostat automatically knows to turn the internal temperature of your house to a cool 71 degrees when you hop in your car to return home at the end of the day.
As it turns out, 2018 may be the year where the Internet of Things makes its presence known in the world of content marketing in particular.
Experts are already predicting that 2021 will be the year where the IoT takes content marketing “off the screen” and into the world around us, in ways that are both hands and eyes-free.
Imagine a world where someone can interact with your brand via a well crafted, thoughtfully designed piece of content in their car via a digital assistant like Siri or Amazon Alexa.
The digital assistant could essentially “read” that content to them, educating them about your products or services, while they’re on that long eight-hour road trip from Washington, DC to Cleveland for the holidays. This is the type of world we might be living in sooner rather than later.
After all, it only makes sense – we’ve already embraced this type of “call-and-response” interaction with our technology in just about every other area of our lives.
You can already say “Alexa, order me some paper towels” while standing in your kitchen and have them arrive on your doorstep a few hours later. Why should content marketing be any different?
More Formats, More Diversity
Experts are also predicting that 2021 will usher in a new era of not just diversification of content, but of content formats in general. Think about that last Infographic that you created with a tool like Visme (which I founded and bootstrapped a few years ago).
What if someone wanted to start reading it on their desktop computer, then finish enjoying it from their smartwatch while they were on their commute to work?
What’s stopping them from doing that? From the technology end of the discussion, there really is nothing – it’s the content creators that need to be up to the challenge.
Provided that you’re able to find yourself in this particular group, 2018 is an era where you strengthen your connection with your audience in ways that none of us could have predicted even a few short years ago.
Or what if you used the same tool to not only create a sleek attractive presentation that could also be enjoyed on a smartwatch but one that was optimized for this particular format in the first place?
What does that mean in terms of the ways in which consumers interact with our content, or about how a particular format like the presentation is defined in the first place?
In addition to the IoT-enabled diversification as outlined above, 2018 is also predicted to be the year where content marketers rely more on techniques like audio and podcasts than ever before.
You’ll start to see more live streaming on social media than you have in previous years. You’ll (somehow) see even more video – which marketers are already using to great effect, monetizing video collateral in innovative ways thanks to services like Uscreen.
This diversity will represent a pretty significant change from the way you like to do things, yes – but it also brings with it perhaps the most important benefit of all.
It gives you the ability to not just create newer and more powerful content, but newer and more enriching experiences that your customers won’t soon forget.
The Shape of Things to Come
In the end, it’s important to understand that the top content marketing trends to watch out for in 2021 are not necessarily a roadmap that your organization needs to follow literally. These are not hard and fast rules, regardless of how popular certain techniques may initially seem.
Using the Internet of Things to take your content off the computer screen and onto smartwatches and similar types of devices may seem terrific on paper – but if this isn’t what your audience actively wants, it isn’t necessarily the right move to make at the right time for you in particular.
Instead, think of them more like guidelines or best practices. As always, you should learn as much about these trends and techniques as possible – but only so that you’re in a better position to take full advantage of what works for you and move away from what doesn’t.
So long as you begin the new year by asking yourself about the current needs of your audience, then let the answer to that question inform your content marketing strategy for 2021 and beyond, you will absolutely be able to generate the types of results that you need when you need them the most.
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