We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: content is king. Businesses that use content marketing see six times more conversions than companies that don’t. But if you want to have an effective content marketing strategy, you need to keep it up to date with the latest trends.
Berns San Juan: I think we all know the value of a solid content strategy. And for 2023, here are some of the things that we think you need to be paying attention to. But first, you know that when I do a prospective, I also like to do a retrospective. And so let’s do a quick retrospective about what happened in 2022.
Recap of 2022 Content Marketing Trends
- Long-form content
So in 2022, some of the things that we saw were long-form content. And you know, SEOs do this for a specific reason, like it’s a cheat, right? We literally have a term for it. It’s called the skyscraper strategy or the skyscraper technique. But it’s just that if you are genuinely interested in educating your audiences and therefore capturing informationally intended keywords, long-form content is one of the ways to go.
But you know, when I say long-form content, I don’t mean vomit 2,000 words all over a page, right? If you can support it with a video if you can support it with an infographic if you can support it with graphics and images, do that.
The other thing that I think has been a longstanding practice is that I don’t think everybody does this well, but in my opinion, there are brands that do this well with infographics. Infographics are valuable if you’re not just regurgitating somebody else’s content or information. So infographics are great because they allow us to absorb information a bit faster. You can understand the equivalent of 500 words on an infographic in, I would say, 20 seconds, right? And so, if you have the capabilities for infographics or if you’ve got underutilized graphic artists, go for it.
It’s an asset that you should have on your website. It’s part of the assets that your brand should be rolling out. If I were in insurance, there’s no way I would not be doing infographics. If I were anywhere in investment, there is no way I would not be doing infographics. These are, or this format is, one of the best ways to break down a complex idea into easily digestible, bite-sized pieces of content.
The next thing is, and I’m going to lift our own chair here. Although I won’t take credit for it because it really isn’t my idea, podcasting is on the rise, right? Podcasting is on the rise. And I still can’t believe that we’ve had 3,400 listeners to our podcasts.
There are more local players coming in now. There are some celebrities with causes who champion specific advocacies online, and they do this via podcast. Let’s face it: the pandemic is nearing its end. It’s almost over. People are driving again to work. People are not listening to the radio anymore. They’re listening to podcasts. And so, I think this is one of the reasons why we see podcasts on the rise.
- Customer-centric marketing
Talk to the needs of your customers. When I speak, and teach digital marketing, one of the things I like to remind brands and companies is that your customers don’t care about you until you first care about their problem. So don’t talk to me about what a building looks like, where it’s located, whether it’s a great investment, whether this is your performance in the stock market or whatnot. I don’t care about that.
What I want you to do is understand when I’m buying property: am I looking for a home? or am I looking for financial stability? Because that’s what it amounts to: a home has an emotional connotation, and financial security has an emotional connotation. You need to learn how to communicate the value of your product, your service, and your commodity based on what the needs of your customers are.
And so when I say customer-centric content marketing, speak to the needs of your customers. Sure, you should occasionally humble brag about your brand. But 50, 60, 70, 80, 90% of your content cannot be, “I’m great.” “We’re this; we’re the largest; we’re the first.” Customers don’t care about that. Customers care about their problems, and we buy not just to feel good; we buy to feel good, but we buy to solve problems.
- Video Marketing
The video has been great. TikTok has been on the rise. And I will talk about short-form content in a bit, right? It is one of the things that we see happening in 2023.
But if you are not producing video content now, how are you going to produce short-form videos tomorrow? So video marketing is part of the mix of what has worked really well. There’s a little hack that we do. I’m not sure if you guys notice this, but whenever we advertise on Facebook, those little gif-looking ads that we run are not gifs. They’re videos. They’re very, very short videos. They’re video snippets, and so that’s what they are.
But video is a great way to convey a bunch of messages super quickly, right? Because you’ve got body language that works in your favor, you’ve got music that works in your favor, and you’ve got a text that works in your favor. So if you’re not doing video marketing yet, learn how to add it to your mix. And when I say video marketing, I don’t mean commercial production, right? That’s not what I mean. It doesn’t always have to have commercial production value, but learn how to add video into the mix of your content strategy.
- Leveraging social media applications
And then the last one is understanding promotion. And when I say promotion, I specifically mean social media because we’re in the Philippines. And in the Philippines, content is king, but so is Facebook, right? Facebook is king here, or Meta, or however you want to call it. But social media is king in the Philippines.
Instagram, like TikTok, went from zero to 3 million active users in a matter of months. And Facebook has huge penetration in the country. By Facebook’s estimates, by the way, there are more Facebook accounts than there are internet users in this country. So, there are some of you guys that have that one account; great for you. But we all know that some people out there have, like, two or three accounts, and so on and so forth.
But use social media to promote and distribute your content, because it doesn’t matter if it just sits on the shelf. Your content only matters if it gets in front of your target audience. So these are some of the things. I think the brands that are winning this year are the ones that have been learning to leverage as many of these things that we talked about for 2022. And so this is our retrospective.
Top Content Marketing Trends for 2023
Now, let’s talk about 2023. What should you look forward to? What will the trends be for 2023?
- Repurposing content across channels
So first off, I think one of the tricks that a lot of brands have not learned is how to repurpose content. And repurposing content means, for example, taking this podcast. You will see a teaser for this podcast, which means the teaser is a byproduct of the podcast’s production. You will see a quick intro to the podcast, which is again a byproduct of its production. You will see a blog post, two to three video snippets, and so on and so forth. But in short, this one production piece, this one podcast production, will yield 4, 5, 6, or 7 pieces of content. And this is what we mean when we say, “Repurpose your content.”
Just because you created this piece of content, like, let’s say, a podcast or a webinar, you don’t just leave it to sit on the shelf after it’s done, right? If there was a lot of value if the audience on a live webinar genuinely enjoyed the content, then why would you assume that the audience that didn’t have time to make it to that specific live event would not necessarily enjoy that content as well? So make sure that you repurpose your content more than just repurposing your content aside from, you know, taking your one piece of hero content and then cutting it up into bite-size bits that you can use as teasers, intros, outros, and so on and so forth. Also, learn which channels you can use them for.
So, aside from just maximizing the use of your content, plan out your promotion. If you create valuable content, then it is your obligation to get that content in front of your users.
- Interactive and dynamic content will be a game changer.
Actually, a lot of what I’m going to talk about for 2023 will be interactive content, right? This year alone, we ran so many campaigns where the objective was to get the customers to view content, and then the call to action, the action that we were looking for, was for the user to start a conversation, to start a chat, right? That is excellent.
So those are great examples of how you’re supposed to manage your content. Don’t just create a post because the boss says so and then boost eight of them because that’s what your budget says so, right? What action are you trying to get somebody to take? And ideally, the action you get them to take is an action that leads to an interaction between the brand and your target audience.
- Short-form videos will continue to reign supreme.
Another one that we see making an impact, and I’m really basing this off of the number of inquiries we get about it, is that short-form videos will continue to gain traction this year. Short-form videos are going to gain traction, whether they’re YouTube shorts or TikTok vids. If this is not within your wheelhouse, I recommend you start learning how to put it there.
So one of the pages that I follow and one of the people that I follow online is The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. When he started, one of his staff members recommended that he start doing YouTube shorts, and now I see them on my feed. And whenever I see… I only see two things on my YouTube short feeds, by the way. It’s dog videos, it’s dog shorts, and it’s Daily Show shorts, right? and workout shorts. So, I see three things on my YouTube videos.
I mean, sure, they don’t look like game-changers right now, but these are people who are learning to play the game. They’re ahead of the curve, right? And so, sure, critical mass is not there. But I can’t say that the same will be true for 2023.
There will be more people who consume shorter snippets of content. There will be more people who consume content on TikTok, especially if your demographic is young, if you are a fast-moving consumer if you are a good brand, then you should explore TikTok and YouTube shorts because chances are, the audience you’re targeting is on these channels.
- Podcasts will only grow in popularity.
The next one is, you know, so this one comes from research and maybe a little optimism: podcasts are likely to grow in popularity in 2023. And I see it, right? Like this year, I think we were probably the only digital marketing company I knew of that was doing podcasts. And now we are not the only digital marketing company that is doing podcasts. And so I think they will continue to grow in popularity.
Again, the number of downloads and listens is mind-boggling, and that doesn’t even include the derivative content on Facebook and the published content on YouTube. I’m not even counting the content for consumption there. But podcasts are growing in popularity. I think with more of us going back to the office, they will only continue to grow in popularity.
And there are some great podcasts, by the way. In the Philippines, RJ Ledesma, by the way, is a great example of a podcast, and he’s been at it for a long time. The topic is entrepreneurship. So they were super ahead of the curve, RJ and crew, but I think podcasts will only continue to grow in popularity like in the Philippines, and if you are in a vertical that can benefit from, let’s say, thought leadership and whatnot, it might be the channel for you.
- Human and data-driven stories
Humanize your stories. More than that, have data-driven stories too, right? If there is anything I see Western companies do a lot of, they’re not afraid of communicating their data. They’re not afraid of communicating information.
In the Philippines, it seems like every business likes to keep all information very close to the chest, which is why it’s hard to do research on specific businesses. It’s hard to do research about specific industries. And so the brand that opens the doors, the brand that is generous with information, is likely going to be the brand that people will learn to trust.
But what do I mean when I say, “so there are two sides to this?” I said data-driven stories and human-driven stories. There are two reasons for this, data-driven because we like evidence, right? We’re not just… yes, story bias works, but it only goes so far, right? Story bias works, but it only goes so far.
I’ll give you guys an example. And no, Nissan is not my client, but I will say this. This is kicked out by Nissan. It’s a different kind of hybrid. The electric motor powers the battery. The battery powers the movement of the car. ideal for a country like ours where there are no charging stations. So when they communicate the kicks, they aren’t just saying, “Oh, the wheels are this much, the height is this much, the car is this long, the mileage is this much, and the emissions are 50% lower.” And it’s great that they do that because, for me, that helps convince me, right?
For example, when they tell me that it has X number of leaders, I am looking for 200, because I travel with my mother and always keep a wheelchair in the back of the car. And if I’m going to pack a wheelchair along with some other luggage or some other stuff that I need to bring, I need about 200 liters of storage. So to me, that piece of data matters.
But aside from that, I think Nissan’s marketing works really well, or at least the storytelling around the kicks works well because they talk about the experience of the drive and how far you can go. So they approach it with, “Oh, are you a tree hugger?” Here’s the angle. Oh, are you a family guy? Here’s the angle. “Are you a young urban professional?” “Here’s the angle.” But they’ve got an angle for every need.
And so when I say humanize it, don’t just talk about, “Oh, we’re great; our car is great.” “We’ve been in this industry for so long.” People don’t always care about that.
So humanize the story. If you are a real estate company, publish content about people moving into their first home. Publish content about the lifestyle of a family living at a certain location. Share the security that parents feel in a gated community. This is what you should be talking about, not whether it’s the most environmentally friendly, best-planned, or designed by an award-winning architect. People don’t care about that. I care that if something happens to me, I’m like three minutes from a hospital. I care that my kids—I don’t have kids, but if I did, I would care that they can walk to school and don’t have to do an hour’s commute the way I did when I was growing up, right? These are the things I care about.
And so when we say humanize the story, create content that appeals to the things I care about, not how great you are. I want to read about how great you are, but only after we’ve talked about my needs.
- Original research and case studies
If you are the type of brand or company that simply examines various types of research and then regurgitates, You know, people are smart. There are over a billion searches that happen on Google. I think there are 1.05 billion searches on Google in the Philippines alone. People are Googling things now more than ever, and if you are not the first one to publish that content, then what kind of value are you creating?
I think you guys will notice that Truelogic doesn’t publish much about Google updates. This algorithm updates sometimes there is, especially if it’s a super game-changing update, but we’re not the type of company that goes, “Oh no, oh no, Google algorithm change.” The reason we don’t do that is that by the time we get around to producing it, there are already 6, 12, and 24 articles from super-reliable sources. Sources we follow on our own, sources we read on our own that have already been published, and we know that the audience that would be interested in that probably follows those sources too.
And so for us to regurgitate that content does not create value. What if, however, no one has created a summary of algorithm updates through 2022 and what they mean for your business? What if nobody has produced something like that? Then feel free. Then you create value, and it becomes original.
But, don’t you think, Google is getting better and better at determining who created which valuable content first? So if you’re still in the habit of regurgitating somebody else’s intelligence or content and you relied heavily on it in 2020, you may not be able to do so in 2023.
- Empathetic, inclusive, and diverse content
And then the last bit is that whenever you create content, try to make it empathetic. Try to make it inclusive and try to create diverse content. Now, when I say diverse content, I don’t mean to jump on the bandwagon for everything, right? During Ukraine, do not change your brand’s logo to Ukraine colors. You don’t have to put rainbows on your banners during Pride Week. That’s not what we mean. But we are saying the world is becoming a more inclusive place, and it’s about time we accept that we come in all shapes, sizes, religions, and preferences, right? And when you create content, make sure that it’s crafted to appeal to that. But you just need to make sure that it is sensitive to all of those audiences that you might be talking to.
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