If you hopped on every trend that came your way, you’d be stuck with a closet full of neon pleather pants and a house full of sponge-painted walls. In short, you would have invested time, energy and money in something that had a lifespan shorter than a ripened mango. Not to mention a really bad wardrobe.
The same can happen with content marketing. While content marketing trends for 2022 (or any other year) can be fun to review and pull ideas from, they shouldn’t be the guiding light for your overall marketing strategy.
- Trends, like summer rain in Florida, often disappear as quickly as they came. Remember Vine?
- Ongoing best practices, like rain in coastal Oregon, tend to stick around for the long haul. Quality content never goes out of style.
That said, let’s look at a few of the top current content marketing trends you want to consistently avoid, along with strategic suggestions for what you can do instead.
Avoid: Content Marketing Trends about Length
2021 content marketing trends had you investing in blogs that were anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 words long. Writing and research were extensive – and expensive.
Then 2022 comes galloping onto the calendar, telling you your content needs to be concise. If you were a slave to content marketing trends, you’d start investing in super-short pieces.
You’d spend another chunk of your content marketing budget reworking the previous year’s longer pieces into shorter pieces, probably running out of budget before the end of the year even came near.
Do Instead: Make Content as Long as It Needs to Be
Painful. That’s a good way to sum up what it feels like to stumble through a 2,000-word article on a topic that should have been covered in 200 words. The same holds true for hour-long videos that should have been 12 minutes, or rambling 30-minute podcasts that should have lasted 10.
On the flipside, many of today’s so-called news stories provide little information beyond what is mentioned in the headline. Some are as short as two sentences long, stirring up far more questions than they answer:
“Man in Crash. A man was in a crash. Police are investigating. The end.”
Instead of trying to make your topic conform to a set content length, let the length be dictated by the topic and your treatment of it. And please don’t string your audience along through a long, boring ride if you honestly have nothing more to say on a given subject, no matter what metrics you need to hit for SEO.
Like a good meal, your content should leave your audience satiated. Don’t starve them by providing inadequate information. Don’t overload them with fluffy empty calories.
For best results, content should generally cover the main points of your topic, or journalism’s five Ws and an H:
If you’ve answer these questions in your writing, you’ve cover everything readers need to know and delivered what you promised in the headline.
Avoid: The Content Type of the Moment Trend
- Content marketing trend 2022: Short-form videos, TikTok
- Content marketing trend (also!) 2022: Longer-form videos, YouTube
You’ll rock it this year with short-form videos, like the stuff on TikTok. But wait! You’ll also make a splash with longer videos, the kind YouTube has featured all along. So should you make long videos? Short videos? Mid-length videos?
And what about the podcast trend that hit the content marketing scene several years back? It’s still getting hotter by the moment.
So are infographics. Those easy-to-digest visuals have been captivating audiences since…well, 30,000 BC in the form of cave paintings.
What the heck should you do? You think you’re better than cave paintings?!
Do Instead: Create Content Types Your Audience Likes
Like any good company that caters to its target audience, you want to provide a variety of content types to keep things interesting. Your first step here is to determine what types of content your target audience likes.
Even though TikTok may be enjoying a heyday, it may be a bust for you if the bulk of your target audience isn’t even on the platform.
Figure out where your audience hangs out. Research how they best like to consume content. Then create a variety of options especially for them.
You can make it easier by covering the same topic as a blog, a longer video or series of shorter videos, and series of social media posts. Adjust the content of each piece to align with content type in tone and audience. See what works best and do more of the same.
Just make sure each piece of content you create is part of a strategy and contributes to your overall objectives and goals. Content for content’s sake is rarely any good. Even on TikTok.
Avoid: The Social Responsibility Trends
Once upon a time not too long ago, someone realized certain audience members respond really well to brands that proclaim to be diverse, inclusive and extremely concerned about the environment.
All of a sudden, gads of brands across the globe were suddenly diverse, inclusive and extremely concerned about the environment. Or so they said.
If your brand truly is diverse, inclusive and concerned about the environment – and you already back it up with your practices – then great! By all means, tell the world. If these things are part of who you brand is, you deserve credit and kudos where they’re due.
But brands that only say they are socially responsible – while their actions say otherwise – have just told the world they can’t be trusted. Like the companies that go on and on about how environmentally conscious they are – while sending out enough paper junk mail to fell an entire forest.
A number of terms exist to describe varying types of faux social responsibility, or giving the appearance of support when none exists within the company framework.
- Rainbow washing: Misleading messages related to LGBTQIA+
- Pink washing: Misleading messages related to female empowerment (also used for LGBTQIA+)
- Greenwashing: Misleading messages related to the environment
- Brownwashing: Misleading messages related to people of color
Do Instead: Be Authentic
- Are upfront about who they are, what they stand for, why they do what they do – and back it all up with their actions
- Have a unique brand personality and writing style
- Steer clear of generic language, banal buzzwords and overused trendy terms, like “epic,” “truth bomb,” and “literally”
- Know and try to please their target audience, instead of trying to please everyone and their brother (You know the adage: Marketing to everyone is marketing to no one)
- Rely on real life customers instead of overinflated influencers to talk up their products or services
- Do their own thing, not simply copy their competition or scramble to follow a trend because it appears everyone else is doing it
One more sign of an authentic brand? They never have to wonder if they’re being authentic. They know in their hearts they are. So do their fans.
Avoid: Fickle SEO Trends
- Trend 2020: Doubling down on SEO
- Trend 2021: Increasing investment in SEO
- Trend 2022: Moving away from SEO
Chasing SEO trends can be as frustrating as a dog chasing its own tail. You’re not going to nab what you’re going for. That’s because SEO trends can change rather quickly. Just when you think you have one tactic down across your broad range of content, the next great strategy comes to light.
SEO strategies also differ based on who you ask. Some content marketers may swear by a focus on long-tail keywords in tiny little niches. Others say to pay most attention to semantic keywords, or the intent and meaning behind the keyword phrase.
You also have your SEO strategies from AI-powered platforms like Clearscope. Here you may find suggestions to use 30, 40 or even 50 or more terms related to your topics. You’ll also get a suggested word count, reading level and the top-ranking competitors for the topic you’re targeting.
With the endless options and ever-changing digital landscape, the dog chasing its tail may actually have more luck getting the win.
Do Instead: Create Relevant Quality Content
Relevant quality content is a content marketing staple, even as the focus on SEO increases, decreases, shifts and turns upside down as the years go. When you create solid content about a specific topic, relevant keywords tend to fall into place naturally.
A quality piece on content marketing, for instance, is going to end up using the term “content marketing” without a struggle. Good writers may also automatically reach for synonyms and mention related concepts throughout the article, giving your content another boost.
Polish off the piece by reviewing and incorporating SEO best practices that tend to stay the same year after year. These include paying attention to optimizing:
- Title tag and headers
- Body copy
- Meta description
You may also want to check out your competition’s coverage of the same or similar topics so you can fill in the gaps. Provide information they’re lacking, or present a unique take on the same-old topic that may appear to have been done a million times.
Just because you’re not scurrying to embrace the latest SEO trend doesn’t mean you don’t pay attention to SEO. It just means you put your energy into producing valuable content that delights your audience and is easy for search engines to find.
The content marketing trends we brought up are only a small sample of the lists of trends you’ll see every year. But hopefully you get the gist. It’s better to stick with a proven framework for your strategy than to flit about randomly from trend to trend.
Stick with solid practices, and you’ll enjoy content that is:
- Just the right length
- Presented in a variety of types
- Relevant to your audience
- Quality at its finest
- Created and delivered by an authentic brand
While content marketing trends for 2022 and beyond may be useful for generating ideas, they shouldn’t be implemented into your content plan unless they make sense for your brand. Making sense means contributing to your goals, aligning with your personality and delivering value to your target audience.
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