Content Marketing Trends 2022 with Dave Chaffey

This outtake focused on content marketing trends 2022 is taken from a live webinar from January 2022 recorded exclusively with Dave Chaffey, the UK’s leading digital marketing expert and tutor on MMC Learning’s MSc in Digital Marketing.

In this exclusive 12 minute extract, Dave sets out some of the key trends and key resources he draws on to stay ahead in content marketing.

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But, for now, we’re going to look at treating content marketing and the trends within that, looking at them from a strategic approach.

I think one of the things Joe Pulizzi said, which I like, is that content marketing, obviously two words, but actually the majority of focus is on the content creation itself and how we select that.

So the red sphere here feeding into your content hub (on the graphic), which might be your blog or your social media. Actually there’s relatively little thought on the content distribution and how you use influence in marketing and social media to share that content.

It’s definitely the two together, and that’s what we’ll be covering, plus, of course, we’ll look at the importance of measuring and to try and get this test, learn, refine process with your content marketing because I think, actually, the way analytics is structured, whether you’re Google or Adobe Analytics, it’s actually pretty tricky to find which content is working most effectively for you. I’ll give you some practical tips on that a little later.

For those of you who don’t know, and I guess to show my credibility and also show the importance of search for us as well, with Smart Insights, since we’ve launched, we built up an audience for around half a million uniques a month through Google in the main part, and 80% of those are organic search. The techniques have certainly worked well for us, and I think that’s because we’ve had a strategic approach to content marketing, which I’ll explain as we go through.

Okay. Imran was talking about how you reflect on your personal career. We’re going to start by reflecting on how your content marketing, how it’s managed in your business or in which your clients, how good you are effectively and what some of the gaps are.

Then we’re going to look at a practical level of how content can support the buyer journey because this is a great way of making sure you’re using content marketing to the max and the full opportunity.

Then, we’re going to look at content types, look at measurement, and then distribution. Hopefully, a lot of practical tips you can take from this, and, as Imran was saying, just pull that one game changer, hopefully, from what we say.

The Content Marketing Challenge

This is the challenge. That quote from Seth Godin, you’ve got to be remarkable or you are invisible.

This really shows it from a content marketing and social media point of view. There’s just so much content now, and people like Mark Schaefer have talked about “content shock”, where I think so many markets have bought into content marketing, and the volume’s just risen and risen. Then you get these diminishing returns.

That’s really why it’s so important as well to have a strategy for content because if you create Me-too content that doesn’t stand out within your audience, within your market, you’re really not going to get the returns.

I’ve got some examples of some of the latest techniques that that brands are using for that, both B2B and B2C, how to be remarkable.

Content Marketing Strategy

Now, if you want to approach content marketing in a strategic way, it very much requires going back to the fundamentals of marketing. I think one of the reasons our digital marketing books have been successful is that they don’t just focus on the digital tactics. This figure on the right here, this was there from the very first edition in 2000 who was saying, you’ve got to align your digital activities with your marketing strategy and core to that, to support your goals, is your audience and how you target and how you position against them.

That’s really what a content strategy should do.

It should explain how you’re going to develop more relevance, more value for your audience to engage different segments, different personas.

Check out on-demand content marketing strategy courses here.

60% don’t have written Content Strategies

Given that we’re saying it’s important to have a documented content strategy, I thought I’d ask next whether you do, indeed, have that. This will be an interesting one, hopefully. Just a simple, yes, no, or not sure. Maybe if you’re a student, it’s not so relevant for you. Seeing the results fly in, and good to see, actually, I’m a bit surprised how many do have a documented strategy. It’s basically 60/40, but the 60 is those of you who don’t have a documented strategy. Of course, you’ll refer to content within other comms plans and marketing plans.

But, thanks for voting. Let’s just share the results in with you if you can’t see that there. It ended up 50%, no, 37%, yes, you do have a strategy. Kudos to you if you are in that situation, and then there was about 13%, not sure. Great that a lot of you do have that approach.
I think one way to think about what would go into your content marketing strategy is to break it down this way.

Now, we’ve developed a series of… You can download these templates via Smart Insights, and we developed them to allow you to really draw a line in the sand and think, well, where are we now, and where do we need to get to, both for content marketing and other channels and your digital marketing overall?

What we found is actually many businesses are at stage one and two, so they don’t really have clear objectives for their content marketing. They might have, say, personas or target markets within their marketing as a whole, but they haven’t really related those to the digital channels. Then, there may be some areas you’re more refined in, so you’ll perhaps have an editorial calendar. You might be at three in that area even if you’re only at one or two in terms of the strategy.

This is something you can follow up with. I think the slides will be available afterwards.

I’d really recommend thinking through, both for your organisation and your knowledge, whether you have the right types of content to… Really, you should be at that defined stage, I think, to be able to compete on content. I think you’re going to struggle to get visibility unless you’re at (level) three.

Check out on-demand content marketing strategy courses here.

Content Marketing Institute

I mentioned Joe Pulizzi and Content Marketing Institute earlier. If you haven’t heard of him, that’s another follow up I would really recommend subscribing to their emails or socials because they’ve got a lot of great practical content and also some research content.

If you’re studying at the moment, they’re good for referencing in assignments. They actually see a very similar figure in terms of those, I haven’t got the data here, in terms of those who do and don’t have a content strategy. But it is very much the most successful companies who do have a strategy.

They do cover off these issues of the segmentation, targeting, positioning, the measurement. That’s what this research shows. You can see there, 90% of those leaders are able to measure content performance well.

Interactive content – fourth wave of content

You may also, if you want to look at, and this would be an example of what one of the latest trends in content marketing is this idea of interactive content.

As well as the download, what we’ve created on Smart Insights was interactive tools to help you score yourself and then to connect with the most relevant templates and learning to boost yourself up that curve.

You can see here that when I ran this last, the majority of people were just scoring themselves as one or two, and there were relatively few three and above. If you are feeling, oh, we’ve got so far to go, you’re not alone, I guess this shows.

I mentioned there that this is a term from Scott Brinker, who talks… He works at HubSpot on their marketing technology evangelism these days.

But, he talked about this fourth wave of content marketing, where we’re developing more interactive experiences now. That goes beyond the sort of simple personalization.

Then we’re seeing more and more AR and VR. I’m not going to talk much about those because despite any hype you’ve heard about the metaverse, for example, it’s not going to make a whole lot of difference, I think, certainly this year or in future years to you.

Global WebIndex on Social Media Marketing

Those of you who are interested in social media marketing, I hope you’re aware of GlobalWebIndex. They’re one of the best sources via their blog and social for learning about consumer adoption of social media.

Traditionally, they’ve created classic PDFs, but I noticed that their latest report is much more interactive, and you can see how they’re integrating charts, videos, and segmentation into the report, and it’s all an interactive report.

If we look at the channel area, so this is the one on media, you’ll see we’ve got the video integrated there and different data.

Certainly, it’s sort of thing you can imagine if you’re taking time out, you’re on a tablet or a mobile, you could read through. If you’re, I don’t know, lucky or unlucky enough to be on a commute, you could read this on your smartphone. We’re certainly seeing more of this.

I think, what would be interesting to know whether this is more or less effective than a PDF because my gut feel would be in terms of sort of practical learning, it might be less valuable.

But, in terms of showing the credibility of the brand and wanting someone to learn more, it could well be more effective. You’d have to do the research to show whether it would be more effective.

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