Content marketing is constantly evolving. As attention spans keep shrinking and the cycle of demand for something new and exciting becomes shorter, content marketing is evolving too.
As content is the heart of branding, generating leads, and even for sales conversion (SEO and PPC), it’s imperative to follow the latest trends that help boost marketing.
What worked in 2022 may not work in 2023. Heck, what worked two months ago may not work now. With so much importance on virality, marketers cannot just sit on top of one trend that works. They need to continuously create newer ways to keep their consumers engaged.
Considering these factors, let’s explore what new ideas content marketers are putting out there, and what new trends are sure to emerge in the coming year. After all, adopting them could mean you get more traffic on your website… and in turn, more lead generation.
A shift toward premium and personalized content
Mass produced content has had its moment. Every single brand is making content. There is so much of it, that mediocre content simply doesn’t cut it anymore.
Users are savvier to different types of content now and have started to naturally gravitate towards content that speak to them in a personalized way..
And that is because expectations have changed; being relevant to what a buyer wants to know is really the gateway. Customers want substance, they want quality, and they want it now.
So, what’s the trend that is bound to emerge this year? Personalization.
It's what will allow you to tailor your content directly to the desires and needs of your specific customers. It's the surefire way to serve up content that your audience finds irresistibly valuable.
To ace personalization in your message, you need a lot of data of your target audience, such as demographics, preferences, and search intent.
Let’s consider two companies that have tailored their content for individuals in the right way.
Netflix's content personalization strategies have transformed the way we consume entertainment. Here are some things they’re doing right:
Netflix is zeroing in on data-driven personalization, in the entertainment realm. But nearly all B2B marketing and content marketers can learn something here.
Whole Foods has transformed the shopping experience with its innovative app. Here’s what they are doing:
Seamless integration of online and in-store shopping:
Targeted notifications and store-specific offers:
Basically, the Whole Foods app creates a cohesive and personalized shopping experience.
They do this by combining online and in-store functionalities. They mine out customer purchase history and tailor recommendations using it. This also helps in providing targeted notifications and store-specific offers.
For both these companies, data is gold. Data is what is driving them to make their content more personalized so it can stand apart from the crowd.
Accepting that AI content is here to stay
If there’s one thing that ChatGPT has taught us, it is that there is no hiding away from AI content anymore. AI content is only going to multiply as time goes on; marketers just need to know how to leverage it to help their human content creators.
How is AI helping content creation? Once again, data is at the epicenter of this trend. The ability to collect extensive data empowers hyper-personalization and better content outcomes.
However, there is one point to consider. While AI can supplement content creation and help generate more material in less time, it is not yet a complete replacement for human-generated content.
Because in many cases, Google is still penalizing AI-only content… which hurts your website’s rankings.
Google's stance on AI and automatically generated content is clear and consistent throughout its policy--any kind of content generated from AI or even use of automatic content generator is strictly prohibited and considered a violation of its terms.
Anyone caught doing this, their website will automatically be penalized and lose ranking.
However, not all use of automation, including AI generation, is classified as spam. There is some form of content in which AI is a free-for-all. Useful content like sports scores, weather forecasts, and transcripts gets a free pass.
Other things that get a free pass are graphics. Many startups opt for AI marketing agency logo makers to create their emblems.
Google’s policies are actually setting marketing trends. Google wants there to be a suitable collaboration between AI and humans.
They want automation to empower individuals with new technologies but at the same time, they want to maintain high standards for content quality and the overall helpfulness of content in its search results.
Here are examples of how two companies are making the right use of AI in their content marketing.
Alibaba, a big Chinese e-commerce company, uses AI a lot in its business. They use AI to predict what customers might want to buy and personalize their offerings.
They do this by using AI to automatically create descriptions for their products, which makes it faster to create content. They also make it so that the descriptions are what you as an individual are looking for.
Alibaba also has this tool that helps brands and advertisers create product descriptions. They can insert a link to a product page and use the "Produce Smart Copy" feature to get different copies to choose from.
Brands like Esprit and Dickies have used this tool to adjust the length and style of their copy. They can choose a tone that is promotional, functional, fun, poetic, or heartwarming.
Many merchants and marketers on Alibaba's e-commerce sites use this tool nearly a million times a day.
Alibaba's rival JD.com also has an AI writing robot that generates product descriptions and shopping guides quickly. It learns from customer reviews and creates over 1,000 pieces of content every day.
IBM Research has developed an AI-powered system called Project Debater that can engage in complex debates with humans.
Using natural language processing and deep learning techniques, the system analyzes millions of articles to gather relevant arguments and build a compelling narrative.
Now, it is still not at the level of human debaters, but Project Debater has shown the ability to change the stance of participants in debates and enrich their knowledge.
The system aims to recognize bias in data sources and is being explored for potential applications in social media and interactive dialogue systems.
Both companies agree on one aspect—AI cannot replace human. AI can supplement human abilities. And that’s what makes this trend.
A change in influencer marketing
“De-influencing” seemed to be the buzzword at the beginning of the year. However, when that shift started to happen, brands soon started to realize that they cannot simply do away with influences this soon.
In 2023, influencers and social media returned to becoming vital components of content marketing strategies. After all, each platform, from Instagram to TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter, offers unique tools to effectively distribute content… and these had to be made use of.
This is why integrating influencers and social media once again began to significantly boost website traffic. It helped tailoring content to resonate with platform users.
Strategizing them, such as by creating TikTok challenges or asking YouTube creators for shout outs does not seem to be going away anytime soon.
Brands now prioritize quality over quantity in influencer marketing, recognizing that social proof and trustworthiness are crucial for buyers.
Establishing specific criteria for influencer partnerships, targeting campaigns accordingly, and nurturing relationships with responsive influencers are essential. Tracking data ensures the investment's effectiveness.
Here are two companies that are leading the influencer marketing trend just right:
CashApp recognized this emerging trend and tried a few marketing ploys that worked in their favor.
Recently, they began a campaign where they interview influencers and celebrities, asking them uncomfortable money questions. In a TikTok video with Bella Poarch, they ask her about money and then ask her to send them $5 on CashApp.
When popular influencers and famous people talk about the app, it can attract users who are already familiar with their content and might want to try the app too.
Gymshark is a brand that makes clothes for people who love fitness, the gym, and fashion, specifically targeting young adults between 18 and 25 years old.
They have become very successful by working with influencers who wear and promote Gymshark clothes in their workouts and videos.
Gymshark collaborates with influencers like @leanadeebb on Instagram and others in their community who mention or speak positively about the brand on social media.
When followers of these influencers see them wearing and using Gymshark products, they are more likely to buy from Gymshark because they trust their favorite influencers.
These companies are examples that the influencer marketing trend is re-emerging. We are not “de-influencing” any time soon.
More focus on short-form content
Short form content is going to get even more legitimized in 2023.
Videos are really popular nowadays. This is pretty evident with how much time people are spending in watching them. Marketers have become pretty aware of this, the B2B world is also catching up.
Short-form videos truly are the rising stars of this year. There is a greater content push toward TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts.
They're popular because people now have short attention spans. This sort of content is now making up a big chunk of mobile data usage—nearly 80% of all mobile data traffic.
Short-form videos are pretty efficient and cost-saving for brands. They can make more content in less time, and people are more likely to watch and engage with shorter videos.
So, in 2023, you’ll see a lot of push towards videos under 10 minutes. And of course, TikTok-style content, which is less than a minute, will run supreme.
Here are some companies that are using short-form content as the new trend:
Fenty Beauty really took TikTok tutorials by storm. Tutorials had always been popular on this app, and Fenty used TikTok and Instagram reels to show makeup tips and product launches.
Fenty Beauty has focused on TikTok because they want to make content that Gen-Z could relate to. On TikTok, the hashtag #fentybeauty has gained over 44 million views, and the hashtag #fentybeautyhouse got 10 million views in just three weeks.
They really grabbed short form by the horns and took over when the time was right.
TikTok hashtag challenges allowed brands to gain more clout than they thought possible, and this was proven by Converse and their successful "#ConverseAllStar" challenge.
The challenge was simple: users were encouraged to showcase their custom Converse sneaker designs and share them with others. This led to a surge in creativity, increased brand exposure, and ultimately, more sales for Converse.
Short-form videos are becoming increasingly important for brands because influencers can create authentic content without the need for fancy studios or professional photographers. It's a platform where they can showcase their brand in a more natural and genuine way.
SEO will change altogether
Our final trend links many of the above trends together.
New search engine guidelines are changing the way marketers create content. Instead of focusing solely on ranking high in search results, they now need to think about what readers actually want.
Some people say that OpenAI has brought with it the death of SEO as we know it. However, Google’s stance remains the same—create content for humans, not for search engines.
So, is SEO truly dead? Not really. The advent of SEO and short form won’t kill it. If anything, some more guidelines could come forth to regulate them.
What brands should really aim for are zero-click searches. These could be in the form of informative snippets, instant answers or knowledge panels.
This is how brands should be optimizing for search engines in 2023.
In the fierce battleground of content marketing, mediocrity won't cut it anymore. The web is about to explode with content, and only those who dare to be unique, helpful, and stand out will emerge victorious.
While embracing AI is essential, it must be used wisely in harmony with human expertise. Beware of sensationalized headlines claiming that AI will replace everything in marketing. Such fluff won't lead to real progress.
It's time to transform our processes, adapt as marketers, and strike a balance between the present and the future. By tapping into these content trends, we can forge a path towards innovation and achieve success in our marketing strategies this year.
So, let's raise the bar, create exceptional content, and ride the wave of these trends to make our mark in the ever-evolving world of content marketing.