Content marketing is ever evolving. It requires ongoing diligence to remain current and relevant and is not something you can simply set and forget. It also needs to sit as part of a considered go-to-market plan. In support of this, here are six trends for H2 2021 that content feeds into as part of the wider marketing mix.
1. Interactive virtual events
The global pandemic has seen an acceleration of virtual events across the board, from round tables to large-scale conferences and exhibitions. With increasingly creative ways of attracting remote attendees, virtual events have become a staple part of the marketing landscape. But what’s the best way to keep delegates engaged when they’re not there in person?
Interactive elements and breakout sessions are good ways to maintain engagement with your audience. Real-time polls, live quizzes mid-discussion, and other gamification ideas should be built into virtual events to create all-important two-way dialogue and rapport.
2. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
Home-working is paving the way for VR and AR to play a bigger role in the marketing mix and the customer/prospect experience. By 2023 it’s estimated 60% of businesses that have pivoted to virtual events will incorporate real-time experiential elements into their marketing experiences.
To this end, we’ll soon see more marketers adding VR and AR elements to the mix. This will require considerable content investment, but will help drive differentiation in crowded markets. The benefits of VR aren’t just limited to promotional or lead generation activities either. They are also a way for HR to boost employee morale by enhancing remote team interactions.
3. Explainer and campaign-related videos
Explainer videos are not new, but they are still highly relevant and have pride of place in the marketing playbook. Short, informative, and clear content is always well-received – especially in the modern working environment.
Teaser videos on social channels work well when they follow this format, and can be used to build momentum around a specific campaign or product/service launch. With the number of LinkedIn users increasing 85 million between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021 alone, you can expect use of this type of content to continue to grow throughout the rest of the year.
4. Interactive content marketing
Surveys, quizzes, and other interactive methods of engaging with your audience are a great way to enhance brand awareness. As more and more companies turn to data-driven campaigns in 2021 and beyond, forward-thinking brands will also use the insights they gain from interactive content marketing to inform their other promotional efforts. Quick and easy to collect, this type of data can bring new life to older assets and support lead generation, helping you get the most out of your content investment.
5. Customer-centric marketing resulting in organic ambassadors
The pandemic has encouraged marketers to take an empathetic view, and supporting and nurturing customers is much more personal when it’s person-to-person. When you then also consider that your colleagues are connected to ten-times the number of people that your brand is on social media, it’s no surprise employee advocacy programmes continue to grow in popularity.
Again, content is the hero. As these programmes expand in size and scope, one-size-fits-all content won’t hit the mark. Instead, you’ll will need to give employees segmented and targeted messaging to help them communicate in a way that resonates.
“The way of selling also had to change. We had to be more humanistic, empathetic. B2B customers are also people, also going through a tough time.”
6. B2B podcasts
With the increasing rise in the popularity of podcasts and the ability to select a relevant topic at a time of your choosing, more and more professionals are digesting information audibly. This trend is going from strength to strength, with many B2B companies jumping on the bandwagon. As today’s buyers will check your brand out more than 15 times before speaking to your sales team, a podcast is an intimate way to build that engagement over time.
Podcasts require a lot of planning though. A well-considered content structure is needed to avoid going off topic. A carefully considered promotion strategy is equally important.
In summary, much like the blog we wrote back at the end of 2020, our opinion still stands – it’s easy for marketers to get caught up in trying many different things at once and adopting new trends for the sake of them. The key to success is working out which are the right routes for your business and strategic objectives and then honing in with top-notch, well-considered and targeted content and executions.