2023 CONTENT MARKETING TRENDS TO WATCH
The term “content marketing” may have been coined more recently, but its principles have been around for more than a century.
First published in 1895, The Furrow, a brand magazine from farm equipment manufacturer John Deere, is the earliest example of content marketing.
Most things that thrive through centuries need to evolve. The longevity of content marketing is a testament to its effectiveness in helping businesses build trust with their customers.
THE RECENT EVOLUTION OF CONTENT MARKETING
In 2011, a Google ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) study first made it official: 88% of consumers at that time were using Zero Moment of Truth, a discovery and awareness phase where a customer seeks out information about a product before purchasing. This study highlighted the importance of search engine optimization in bolstering a company’s online presence.
This was followed by the arrival of social media platforms that continue to rapidly evolve, providing brands and marketers with several ways to reach their customers.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT CONTENT MARKETING TO LOOK LIKE IN 2023?
Here are four content marketing trends we predict will be big in 2023:
TREND #1: LONG-FORM CONTENT
Contrary to popular opinion, users prefer reading longform content as compared to 500-word pieces. Why?
One of the reasons behind this could be the high volume but low-quality content that is mostly available online. Users have been experiencing digital fatigue for a while, but the pandemic, and the accompanying increase in time spent online, has made this fatigue more pronounced.
It’s frustrating to consume a lot of content and still feel like you haven’t learned anything useful. Long-from content solves for this.
WHAT IS LONG-FORM CONTENT?
There is no specific word count that you need to adhere to, but generally, writing about 1200 words on a topic can be considered long-form. While traditionally, these may have been blog posts and articles, in marketing, long-form content can take different shapes. Some examples of long-form content are:
- Case Studies
- White papers
- Annual impact reports
WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN LONG-FORM CONTENT
Cut Through the Noise: You know it, it’s getting noisier online. The way to stand out through this noise isn’t necessarily to be the loudest or talk the most. It is to speak thoughtfully and knowledgeably.
Establish your business as an authority in your industry by creating well-researched content that helps answer a question, or presents a unique point of view.
As you empower your team to create more long-form content, your audience will get used to searching for your website when they are looking for reliable information.
Long-form content reaches your audience at the Zero Moment of Truth phase. As mentioned above, this is the research phase of your customer’s buyer journey. If you can become a trustworthy source of information here, it is extremely likely you will make a sale to your customer when they are ready to buy. Several studies have shown that trust in a brand is an important consideration for customers, and a large majority of people are even willing to pay more to buy from a brand they trust.
Improve Your SERP Ranking: According to research by Backlinko and Wordstream, long-form content has been shown to improve a site’s search engine results page ranking. One of the reasons for this could be that when done right, long-form content is useful to visitors. This signals to search engines that your website is delivering on the promise you make in the meta information. Another reason for the success of long-form content on the SERP is that this type of format creates several opportunities to build internal links, another important ranking factor for Google.
Adapt to Changing Shopper Behavior: The nature of online shopping, where users can’t yet touch, feel, or try the products they will be spending money on, combined with the current economic climate, has resulted in shifting shopper behavior. According to a study by Mintel, people are indulging in more “intentional shopping.” Not only are they spending more time comparing products and prices, but they also want to know about a company’s sustainability practices and social impact. In short, shoppers are now more aware and intentional about how they spend their money.
Long-form content is one of the ways you can reach these consumers and deliver the information they are looking for.
TREND # 2: AI-DRIVEN CREATIVITY AND DATA ANALYTICS
One of the most talked-about AI products in recent times has to be Open AI’s ChatGPT. The chatbot hit the market at the end of November and crossed the 1 million user mark within a week!
WHAT IS AI-DRIVEN CREATIVITY?
As the term suggests, AI-driven creativity is the act of producing pieces of creative work while being assisted by artificial intelligence. For instance, since ChatGPT hit the market in November 2022, users have used ChatGPT to write articles, poems, class papers, songs, and much more.
AI-driven creativity isn’t just for words. Platforms like DALL-E and DALL-E 2 (also from Open AI), have taken the visual world by storm, and several people have used them to create stunning imagery.
WHY YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO AI-DRIVEN CREATIVITY AND ANALYTICS
Predictably, the discussion about using artificial intelligence has mostly concentrated on the downsides of this technology. However, AI holds immense potential for content marketing.
AI Is A Tool, Not A Threat: Much has been said about AI replacing writers, marketers, and artists. However, we don’t think AI has become that sophisticated yet. Communication is made up of nuances, and creative professionals will continue to be integral to the marketing process.
Smart marketers will use AI in areas like research and idea generation. What can take diligent writers hours to research will take AI only a few seconds to pull up. This essentially frees a writer’s time to ask bigger questions and seek deeper answers.
AI Can Aid Personalization: Personalization is an important factor in acquiring and retaining customers. From website content to email messages, customers expect brands to get personalization right. However, gathering and sifting through vast amounts of data isn’t easy, especially for smaller marketing teams that most eCommerce businesses tend to have.
As written in VentureBeat, “AI uses machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing” to deliver personalized messaging to users. For eCommerce businesses, AI-driven personalization can be used to offer relevant product information, deliver hassle-free customer service, provide unintrusive marketing messaging, and more.
TREND # 3: COLLABORATIVE MARKETING
From user-generated content to influencer marketing to brand partnerships, collaborations are the flavor of the season. While each of these trends has had staying power, we can expect more brands to adopt collaborative marketing in 2023.
WHAT IS COLLABORATIVE MARKETING?
Collaborative or co-marketing is the practice of two or more brands joining forces to develop a marketing campaign or message. This type of marketing is often visible on platforms like Instagram and Twitter and is especially suited for podcasts. Influencer marketing and user-generated content (UGC) can also be categorized under “collaborative marketing.”
WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER COLLABORATIVE MARKETING
Word of Mouth Marketing Is Powerful: That’s right! Old-school word-of-mouth marketing hasn’t gone away. It has simply transformed.
User-generated content is one type of collaborative marketing where you invite your customers (or they choose to themselves) to share their experience with your product or service. This low-cost marketing tactic provides high returns for brands. Not only do people trust other people (over brands), but the desire for authenticity has created the perfect environment for user-generated content. Influencer marketing is different from user-generated content, but serves a similar purpose.
There is Power in Partnership: One of the simplest reasons to use collaborative marketing is that it gives both you and your brand partner an opportunity to leverage each other’s audience. It is extremely important to remember that brand collaborations should only be done between brands that share a common theme. For example, a paint company collaborating with a city mural artist makes sense, but a shoe company collaborating with a convenience store, maybe not so much.
TREND # 4: PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY WILL BECOME MORE INTERESTING
We’ve been keeping an eye on this trend for a while. Bland, boring, beige imagery is making way for bright, bold colors and more art direction.
This trend is in its infancy, so your brand can have a first-mover advantage. We are mostly seeing upstart brands experiment with interesting product photography, but this style is helping them stand out in the increasingly busy eCommerce space.
WHY YOUR BRAND SHOULD FOCUS ON USING PHOTOGRAPHY TO STAND OUT
Use photography to Tell Your Brand Story: One of the biggest reasons to stop using the same minimalist photography style as every other brand is that, well, it makes you look like every other brand.
If you haven’t identified it yet, your eCommerce agency partners or marketing team can help you unearth your brand’s unique story. Use your product photography to showcase this narrative. Not only does this help you stand out, but it also cements your brand identity in your customer’s mind.
Customers Want a Taste of Authenticity: As more brands begin to look the same in a crowded eCommerce marketplace, customers will seek out the ones that appear more authentic. The desire for authenticity has been around for a while, but increased time spend online, the rise of content creators, and the unedited photo and video content rewarded by platforms like TikTok make it all the more important for brands to embrace their true selves.
CONTENT MARKETING PROMISES TO BE EXCITING IN 2023
Big changes in technology and shopper behavior combined with the continued growth of online shopping will make 2023 an exciting year for content marketing. While it’s important to keep an eye on the trends, it’s equally important to make sure you meet each trend strategically. If your eCommerce business is looking for ways to invest in content marketing this year, see our results and set up a free consultation with us.