2022 content marketing trends
Creativity is cheaper and has a longer shelf-life than paid advertising.

With the cost of paid advertising growing and pay-to-play on Facebook and Instagram increasing, it is a must to ask ourselves what can we do to generate more organic traffic. It’s tough to compete with big business when the cost-per-click (CPC) increased by 20% year-over-year, and big business has increased spending on paid search ads by 32% compared to last year.

As small businesses, we are likely to struggle to compete with larger firms if we focus entirely on paid advertising. Fortunately, we don’t have to. The internet has levelled the playing field; what we must do is listen to what content our customers want and try to figure out what platforms with the highest organic reach cater to them.

Content marketing is our superpower, and if we take advantage of content marketing trends early on, we can edge in revenue and engagement with creativity and editorial differentiation alone. Below our the top six content marketing trends to watch out for in 2022. In summary: the winner brands will be the most creative, multiplatform, audiovisual and that leverage the power of AI to create amazing content, faster and cheaper.

1. Podcasts have made a big comeback.

Podcasts can be cheaper and more effective to reach audiences than time-consuming in-depth blog posts and expensive customised promotional videos. However, they tend to struggle with distribution.

Consumers are listening to more audio, and, no, it’s not just Joe Rogan’s podcast, but a long tail of niche genres and topics. Research shows that more than one in five global internet users listens to a podcast every week and more than one-third (104 million) of Americans now listen to podcasts regularly. It is also worth noting that podcast audiences are mostly young women between the ages of 16 and 21, accounting for 25% of global female internet users. Brands targeting that demographic and Gen Z audiences should pay close attention to this format.

Podcasts can also give small businesses a competitive edge for relatively low cost and effort. As the audience for our podcasts grows, so will our brand’s visibility and customer base. Audio is also easier and cheaper to produce than video and, nowadays, it is also much easier to create instant audio events on Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, for example.

Moreover, to extend the lifespan of your performing content, AI-powered audio processing tools like Imaginario can help you turn long podcasts and recorded  events into memorable soundbites for social. Our AI automatically extracts highlights from long videos and audios (check this feature in the video below). We also provide more hands-on tools so you can edit and select your clips from automatic transcriptions (we will be releasing this feature soon!).

There are also plenty of platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcast where we can distribute our podcasts and even get some of the investment back with sponsorships.

2. ‘Amateur‘ is no longer a dirty word and both useful in B2C and B2B marketing.

User-generated content can drive higher conversions than professional-grade visuals because of its authenticity and customer appeal. TL;DR: small companies can create great content with a tight budget.

It turns out customers don’t want to see professionally produced content all the time. When deciding which brand they will support, customers are clear: 51% consider that half of the brands create content that is inauthentic.

It is not surprising: there’s something about some professionally produced promos that makes them unrelatable and sterile (especially if they are filled with stock footage). This is why using User-Generated Content (UGC) shot by your own clients and fans is an effective way to improve your conversion and engagement metrics, especially in e-commerce. We suggest having a look at UGC aggregators like Stackla, Tintup, Olapic, and others. Big brands are doing it, so why not small companies! Most are affordable.

There is also something about a video shot from a phone or a webcam that conveys a sense of authenticity and intimacy. Of course, the first criteria is to decide on which platforms will the video be published on and for which products. A video shot on the phone is likely more useful to promote consumer products than a YouTube video targeting small companies (business-to-business marketing). This said the lines between B2C and B2B digital marketing are blurring.

3. The importance of multi-language content and multi-cultural narratives.

Non-English content is popular around the world. Any content marketing you produce should also be translated to reach a wider global audience.

The massive popularity of non-English shows on Netflix mirrors the rest of the Internet. One hundred thirty-two million people globally had watched the Korean drama “Squid Game” on Netflix within the first 23 days following its release, making it the most-watched show in Netflix’s history. Other non-English shows like “Money Heist”, “Lupin” and “Elite” have gained global recognition. Even in music, K-Pop, with the likes of the Korean boy band Bangtan Boys (or BTS for short), has amassed a global following with barely any English songs.

Although politically the world seems to be retreating from globalisation, it is increasingly becoming a closely-knit community in terms of media consumption. As taste and topic-based communities continue to melt into each other on platforms like Reedit and Discord, we will see more traditional divides like geography, language, and culture blend away. This presents content developers with unique opportunities, including new content ideas, new audiences, and new co-creation opportunities across borders. To help bridge the natural language barriers, Imaginario’s automatic subtitle generation and translation into dozens of languages is here to help! We have even bigger plans in this area…!

4. Customers’ trust is not fully in your hands.

Before buying, customers inform themselves through search engines, social networks and consumer reviews. Give them enough incentives to become brand ambassadors and help you sell more.

Although search is still the number 1 source (49.2%) of new brand discovery, numbers 2 and 3 are social networks (43.2%) and consumer reviews (37%), respectively. Naturally, customers trust word-of-mouth more than brands to give accurate feedback about a product or service we provide. Even when they already know about us, 43.2% of internet users will still rely on social media when searching for information about our brands.

As we map out our strategy for 2022, we need to think about what kind of comments and posts potential customers will see from existing customers and whether we are effectively engaging them across multiple social networks or not. We also need to ask ourselves if we are giving them enough incentive to share how great our product or service is because word of mouth is still the most effective marketing tool we have at our disposal. Also, be careful not to overwhelm them as you target them across platforms.

5. Voice search and discovery on the rise.

Voice search on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant is becoming more important to reach target audiences. Think about how'll you address these new emerging platforms.

With smart speaker consumer adoption growing and AI-powered speech technologies getting better, voice search should also be considered an important piece to your overall content marketing strategy. eMarketer estimated that 128 million people in the US used a voice assistant at least monthly in 2020, up 11.1% from 115.2 million in 2019. This is 44.2% of internet users and 38.5% of the entire US population.

Voice search is here to stay, and as we see a higher adoption curve, we need to consider how we want to position our brand to rank higher on the dominant Alexa and Google Assistant search results. That is why as we begin to create content, we need to make sense in text as well as in speech. We shouldn’t be afraid to break formal writing rules when scripting conteny and take up a more conversational and laid-back style. In addition, before giving a video a title, consider scanning through to develop voice SEO-friendly titles.

6. Customers are on multiple networks and each requires plenty of content to win their attention.

Customers attention is fragmented across multiple social media platforms. Repurposing your long content and existing libraries into engaging snippets can save you tons of time and money.

Internet users now spend an average of almost 7 hours on the internet every dayand engage with 6.7 social media platforms each month. We can no longer afford a marketing strategy that is heavily reliant on one platform and entirely neglects others. Therefore, we recommended adopting a cross-platform view of your brand with a comprehensive narrative as audiences switch from one social network to another.

Of course, we might not have the infrastructure and resources to create new content for each platform. However, it’s still possible to repurpose existing long content into small but impactful posts. This will help you reduce content costs and save time. Click here to know more in-depth why repurposing content must be top of mind this year.

7. Who said thought leaders shouldn’t be fun?

Gone are the days when thought leadership content was considered effective entirely based on the quality of the information provided. People’s attention spans are at an all-time low. Even for thought leadership content, 55% of buyers would not give this content more than 5 minutes if they find it boring. Our thought leadership audiences are expecting us to deliver valuable information and entertain them all at the same time. Interestingly, 81% of that audience iseven expecting us to be provocative.

Our audiences are also expecting us to remember that we are talking to human beings, and not fact calculating machines. That means we have a better chance of engaging them if we communicate in a more human tone instead of a formal one. It also means making a deliberate effort to understand the audience for our content; their needs, quirks, values, and cultural nuances.

8. Customers love brands with a conscience.

Customers are increasingly interested in brands that share their values or stand for something. In fact, a study by Customer Themormeter showed that at least 13% of customers would be willing to pay 31% to 50% more for a product or service if they perceive our brands to be making a positive impact in the world. The same report showed that 60% of people would boycott a brand that is politically offensive or unethical. It’s not just about the value our products and services offer anymore, customers are looking to form relationships with brands with values and their ecosystem of providers.

To attract new customers and drive brand loyalty, we will need to consistently deliver content that clearly demonstrates our brand’s values and a commitment to making the world a better place. If our customers can’t clearly see what we stand for, from our content, they will look for those values elsewhere.

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