Top content marketing trends in 2020 and why care about them
To maximize the ROI of your content marketing strategy pay attention to the upcoming trends.
Content marketing is a very important tactic when it comes to growing your brand. However, not all content marketing strategies are equally effective. To create a strategy that is a sales-driving machine, you should consider current and upcoming content marketing trends in the first place. So, here I explore the most in-demand trends for now.
What is content marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.
So, is it the same as blogging? Well, yes and no.
Bloggers blog because of different reasons, not necessarily for business. They may simply love to write or want to become well-known experts in their field. They may not research their target personas, not look for keywords with big search volume and low SEO difficulty, and not build backlinks. In other words, many bloggers are interested in writing and not promoting their business through it.
On the other hand, a key component of content marketing is a strategy. This means that it includes some quite specific tactics that help marketers to achieve their goals, usually driving sales.
When it comes to content marketing, a blog is just one among other instruments for it. So, the content marketing concept is pretty broader than blogging. But it still includes it.
What is content strategy and why does your company need it?
Here I’ve explained why PPC ads are effective despite a very low click-through rate.
Now, let’s reverse this example and look at it from the SEO perspective.
SEO requires much time but the #1 position in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 31.7%. It’s 8–41 times more than PPC gets!
Organic CTR for positions 7–10 is much lower. These results are 10x less likely to receive a click compared to a page in the #1 spot. But still, if we compare the performance of the organic results at the bottom of the search results page 1, we can see that they still get at least the same amount of traffic as paid ads at the top of the page do. And often much higher.
Let’s examine the PPC ads topic. Nowadays, businesses pay $1-$2 per click on average. If you want to stay on top of the Google search for a month, you will spend approximately $10,000. And if you want to extend this period to one year, you should be ready to bring around $120,000 to the table.
When you stop paying, you will immediately lose Google as a source of solid traffic.
And think of another point, as well: do you often click paid ads on Google? I never do that, searching for reviews of products I want to buy in authoritative and free-to-read sources.
And now let’s compare your investment and returns on it in case you use content marketing instead of PPC ads.
Writers who write high-quality articles that rank high on Google usually charge much: from $500 to several thousand bucks for an article.
And of course, you have to do some work to promote it and to build as many links as possible. If you hire an SEO agency to do that, you can expect to pay $750 — $5,000 per month.
Hence, you spend on SEO content marketing less than on display of PPC ads alone, given that the content marketing efficiency can be 40 times higher than that of paid ads.
That’s why if you’re a business owner, you want to seriously consider the creation of your company SEO-optimized content marketing strategy.
Now, let’s talk about what factors to consider when creating a content marketing strategy in 2020.
What trends define content marketing development in 2020
SEJ did great in-depth research on what people are concerned about when it comes to content marketing in 2019 and created an infographic based on their findings.
They’ve researched the marketing aspects related to what content marketing people are talking about and looking for on Twitter and Google. Their research was quite extensive, and I highly recommend you check out their article if you’re interested in the topic. And here I want to sum up the most crucial trends B2B companies should pay attention to. So, here they are:
- Marketing agency
- Content marketing strategy
- Visual content
- Email marketing
Again, we have to remember that these results are dated by the last year. So, probably, some trends can be growing or fading. Many people mentioned machine learning and AI in regard to marketing, and we know that it is a developing trend. So, I would add it to the possible trends of 2020 too.
And now not to make bold claims, I should check if these results are up-to-date.
How am I going to do that?
Trends are the general directions in which something is developing. So, if the demand for something has become bigger in 2020 than it was in 2019, we may conclude that we deal with a growing trend.
Also, I want to analyze the questions which arise often concerning the main points I’ve outlined to understand what is going to be popular in the nearest future.
For this purpose, I will use two pretty handy tools: my favorite Ubersuggest and Google Trends.
So, let’s start.
On Google Trends, we can see a slight growth of the interest in SEO but overall it is quite steady compared to the spring of 2019. So, SEO is still a trend as it was before.
Now, let’s explore Ubersuggest to see what business-related aspects of SEO interest people the most:
As you can see, there are 128 questions related to SEO, so if you’re interested, you can observe them yourself. I’ve selected the most popular ones, as the most popular means a trend.
From the last 2 questions, we can conclude that people are concerned about SEO more than ever before, as they want to implement it from the get-go, either when building a website or changing its domain.
Some business executives are still not sure why SEO is important for their business. Well, I’ve already explained it above, as well as how much SEO typically costs and why it is worth its money.
And “what are SEO tools” is an indication of an in-demand niche that is almost free for now. So, we can expect the emergence of new technological SEO tools that will make SEO easier both for professionals and amateurs.
2. Marketing agency
Businesses are used to cooperating with marketing agencies to get their marketing things done. And the SEJ report reflects that people often looked for agencies in 2019 to create their content marketing strategies. What about 2020?
The growth was quite steady, from which we can conclude that more and more companies finally understand the importance of online presence nowadays. However, a drop, probably, due to the COVID-19 outbreak is quite significant and there are no guarantees that the demand will be renewed in the nearest times.
However, as you can see, it didn’t drop lower than it was in 2019. So, I believe we can consider it a trend as well.
The questions are obvious here and show nothing apart from a business interest in cooperating with a marketing agency. So, let’s move on.
3. SMM or Social media marketing
Though there is a slight growth in search interest in social media marketing, I wouldn’t call it a trend. Demand is rather steady, and we can see a significant drop nowadays during the pandemic.
When a crisis starts, companies typically cease their not very profitable activities, so we can conclude that, probably, SMM does not bring a big enough ROI.
So, even though your business needs to be active in social media regularly because it’s a conventional good tone, SMM will hardly contribute much to bringing you profits.
However, social media is not dead. When it comes to them, here is a real trend in 2020:
As you see, influencer marketing has become twice as searched as compared to the beginning of 2019. So, it makes sense for B2B companies to pay attention to the cooperation with influencers popular among their audience.
Again, we see rising popularity in blogging, and even a financial crisis can’t stop it. Though blogging is rarely searched by business owners, rather by solopreneurs, businesses should still pay attention to this trend.
Our world is moving online. So, more bloggers will appear, and some of them will become influential. With the rise of blogging, influencer marketing will catch its second wind.
So, as a business owner, seriously pay attention to influencer marketing not to be left behind by competitors!
5. Content marketing strategy
I wouldn’t say it was such a big trend in 2019, according to Google Trends but look at how it skyrocketed recently!
Again, in times of crisis businesses stick to the most profitable assets and most effective ways to grow. So, just imagine what a properly-crafted content marketing strategy can do for you if a demand for it during a crisis is so high!
The questions people pose about a content marketing strategy are quite similar:
And I will try to answer all the questions related to it in my next article based on my findings.
6. Visual content
What about the visual content? Is it still a trend?
Nah, not really.
At least, demand for it doesn’t grow.
To be clear, the visual attractiveness of your content is important. But visual content matters as an element of your post and not as an independent type of content.
Besides, people are getting used to everything, and infographics aren’t an exception. So, include infographics if they can add value to your written or video content, but don’t focus on infographics solely for sure.
And let’s look at the questions related to visual content in Ubersuggest to make sure it is not so popular as many marketing gurus forecasted back in 2019:
See? The search volume is not so impressive to invest a lot of effort into infographics creation.
However, according to Neil Patel, you may promote your visual content to get some backlinks from the sites which decide to add a higher value to their content by linking to your infographics. So, infographics can still be very beneficial on the site growth stage for bloggers and content marketers who prefer to use white-hat SEO. But again, everything depends on your goals here.
7. Email marketing
Demand for email marketing has been standing still and even shown a little growth at the end of 2019. But it dropped nowadays.
I am not a big fan of email marketing, as I read emails I’ve subscribed to rarely and buy anything due to them even more rarely. It doesn’t mean that all people act like me. But it’s hard for me to believe that emails can be insanely effective. Just because it seems to me that most people don’t pay attention to the hundreds of emails they receive every day.
And I am not the only person concerned about that:
I am a fan of using chatbot sequences the way we use email ones because prospects are not still fed up with chatbot messages.
But according to Google Trends, that’s not what we have to pay attention to.
Demand for chatbots has been rising before the COVID-19 crisis and reached higher marks than email marketing but then it has been giving up its position. Given that chatbots are typically used not just for marketing purposes, the conclusion can be that email marketing is generally regarded as a more effective way to increase sales.
In any case, we can see that neither email marketing, nor chatbots are in trend, and these stats show a niche for figuring out a more effective and less annoying alternative to both of them.
8. AI and machine learning
Unlike all my expectations, AI and machine learning for marketing are “trends” with varying success.
There are some peaks in the demand curve during the beginning of the year. But this interest is quite unstable. So, it’s difficult to predict whether this will be a trend shortly.
However, I believe that the development of quantum computing and the current tough situation for businesses will positively influence the demand for AI martech.
There are two reasons for that:
- It is cheaper than human service
- It will exclude human errors making marketing strategy more effective in the long run
Methods of implementation of AI into the digital marketing strategy are already a popular search topic for now:
Content marketing strategy is crucial for every business as it helps to achieve bigger results for the smaller money as compared with PPC digital marketing strategy. To make it maximally effective, you should make it up-to-date, though. Or better to adjust it to the upcoming trends.
Some trends are quite sustainable, while others grow pretty quickly right now and can occur mere hype. And some tactics that are considered trends are not so effective but we’re used to doing our marketing that way.
What do you think about it? Do you agree with my conclusions? Are there any trends I forgot to mention? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Jane is a B2B marketing blogger and content marketer, sales funnels architect, digital marketing consultant. She is fond of in-depth analytics and good coffee. You can read more of her articles on Medium: https://email@example.com