Content marketing has arguably been the most important marketing strategies to emerge in the last decade. No wonder, since content typically offers the best return on investment of any online marketing strategy.
However, content marketing has steadily changed. It looks very different to how it did ten years ago. Similarly, its popularity shows no signs of slowing down in the coming years.
For that reason, smart businesses will stay informed regarding the changes in content creation and content consumption habits. Otherwise, they’ll risk being left behind. With this in mind, here’s a look at what you can expect from content marketing in 2020 and years to come.
With that in mind, here’s how you can expect content marketing to change in 2020.
Search intent will drive content marketing
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to provide value for an audience – this will not change. However, how we go about this will change thanks to Google’s renewed emphasis on search intent (i.e., what users look for when they perform a search).
“Intent is the new demographics. When it comes to searchers, it’s not about who they are, but what they want. And Google gets this,” according to STAT Search Analytics. “Through processing trillions of searches each year, Google’s algorithm has evolved to understand the intent behind each query. The changing face of the SERPs [search engine results pages] can largely be attributed to search intent — SERP features exist to get a searcher from point A to point B in as few clicks as possible.”
Create search-driven content
In the future, content marketers that desire to rank well will need to put greater effort into search-oriented content. This means creating content for each kind of search. Luckily, this isn’t that difficult.
Once you’ve identified campaign specific keywords to target with your content, you can simply perform a search for this term yourself. This allows you to view existing successful content aimed at that keyword, and gives you a good idea of what kind of content you should create.
Pro Tip: Target long-tail keywords to tailor your content for search intent. For instance, long-tail keywords which begin with ‘how to…’ often pop up in informational content.
Snippets will be more important than ever
Consider how Google displays search results based on search intent. In short, content marketers’ goal is to provide value, and Google’s business model is based on the same priority. For example, you’ll notice Google often offers an extended preview of a page it deems best suited to a user’s search intent, especially for informational searches. This is known as the snippet.
This is important for content marketers, as it has led to a massive increase in no-click searches, where the user finds what they were looking for without ever clicking on a specific search result.
This will lead to greater competition for the Snippet in the years to come. However, there are several things you can do to improve your chances of winning here, including:
- Create solution-oriented long-form content (i.e., 2,000 words and above)
- Use concise headlines to signal the insights on offer
- Optimize your meta-description for both primary and long-tail keywords
Audio content popularity will continue rise
In the last couple of years, the way people access the internet has fundamentally changed. Chief among these changes is the rise of smart speakers. The smart speaker market is set to be worth nearly $30 billion by 2022.
This has two main implications for content marketers.
The first is an increasing importance of semantic search. When a search query is made on a voice assistant, your targeted keywords might not appear at all. Instead, the goal is to target certain topics in your content. In practice, this means content marketers must create more long-form cornerstone content that addresses these topics.
Second, smart speakers will increase the importance of audio content (e.g., podcasts) as a part of your marketing strategy. As such, in the coming decade, the balance will begin to shift away from textual content and towards high-quality audio.
Data-driven content will lead the way
Finally, data will increasingly dominate how content marketers provide value to their intended audiences. The crux of this approach is using evidence (i.e., data) to shape content strategy.
The first step to creating data-driven content is defining goals, whether that be increased traffic, more social shares, or improved revenue. Whichever of these you choose will drive Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Next, your task is to review which prior content performed best for these KPIs.
In particular, seek out what factors the most successful content placements have in common in terms of distribution, format, length, content, and headlines. Then, utilize these insights to ensure the success of future content efforts.
Ronan McQuillan is a freelance writer and copywriter from Ireland. He also regularly contributes to LaunchSpace to round up the best lifetime deals on marketing tools software.
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