Content Marketing Tips from the Experts

Melissa Fach

Dec 23, 20206 min read
Content Marketing

2021 is just around the corner, so we asked our community, and guest Megan Leap, about their thoughts on future content marketing trends, current predictions, outdated strategies, changing approaches, and the new challenges content marketers are worried about. 

Our #SEMrushchat was full of information, recommendations, things to avoid, and experienced insights any marketer can learn from. So check out the responses below, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments. Perhaps there are some upcoming challenges

If you have particular topics in mind and you want to know more about related trends in real-time, check out the Topic Research Tool. Just enter a query and you will get related queries and sub-topics with the current headlines and a breakdown of questions people are asking: 

topic research tool data

Megan Leap — "Another trend is user-generated content. 85% of consumers find UGC more influential than brand content!"

Marianne Sweeny — "Read up on how search engines are determining customer intent. It is well past keyword volume stats over time. Marry user metrics with GSC with your experience as a thought-processing human for key insights into behavior."

Bernie Fussenegger — "Some of the trends that will take better shape around content marketing is better use of data for more relevant and personalized experiences. We have seen some, but not even close to being there."

Stevie Howard — "I think this is misleading. Trends ALWAYS depend on your audience. However, I do think visual tech (AR, VR) is starting to take flight. But, I don't think these should be your key focus. Not everyone is able to absorb this content. Keep variety in mind."

BrandExtract — "Along with the growing utilization of voice search and machine learning, the need for web accessibility will also become more and more apparent. We've already seen this with Dominos, GDPR, and the California Consumer Privacy Act."

Mark Gustafson — "Video & Podcasts with consistent CTAs growing their email lists! Go for less competitive channels and build your OWN platform. Stop trusting non-owned channels will produce the same results forever."

Jake Fisher — "More zero-click searches. More interactive content (especially video content). Continued emphasis on higher credibility as a ranking signal. Better indexing of emojis. (Just kidding... mostly)."

Content Resources: 

What outdated content marketing approaches and strategies should you ditch today to not fail in the future?

Megan Leap — "Creating content for content's sake -- just because you think you need to publish new content -- without a goal or strategy in place."

Dawn Anderson — "Stop pruning and start improving. Learn to archive systematically like librarians or curators."

Lead Forensics — "Not using visuals, content that is too long, and pumping out content for the sake of pumping out content."

Alexis Katherine — "SEO content strategies based on keywords instead of user intent/need. Google has been beyond this for years, but too many marketers haven’t caught up yet."

Marianne Sweeny — "Keywords are content. Keywords are 'breadcrumbs', a collection representations of what/how customers look for information that they want to do what they need. Content is the end result of human added context."

Itamar Blauer — "Content that isn't backed up by data and doesn't provide new insights to topics. We've seen hundreds of posts that cover the same things. Ditch the regurgitated rubbish and find newer angles or things to write about."

Additional Reading: 

If a certain content marketing strategy or approach has consistently worked for your business in the past, why change it and try something new?

Megan Leap — "In terms of SEO, there are so many new opportunities to seize, like featured snippets, voice search. etc. They change fast so it's important to evolve your digital content strategy."

Simon Cox — "Don’t change it! Test iterations of it for when it starts to fail."

SMITH Y — "Depends how saturated that approach has become. Are competitors just copying your approach now? Is the approach driving diminishing returns? Key to measure the efforts to ensure they really are working as well as before. Could become a smaller part of the strategy"

Tod Cordill — "A #marketing tactic that worked yesterday might not work today. Always be testing. Don't stop what's working, just keep trying to continually improve it. And don't keep chasing bright shiny objects. #DontJustDoStuff"

Twenty Two Kittens — "I think it's important to stay current. You can iterate without abandonment."

Brian Kato — "Simply put, 'you don't know what you don't know.' While tried-and-true methods should be continued to be leveraged, new methods may prove to be more effective and useful."

Check out our recent research — The Anatomy of Top Performing Articles: Successful vs. Invisible Content – SEMrush Study

top performing articles infographic

What new challenges will be keeping content marketers up at night in 2021 that have not existed before?

Megan Leap — "Another common challenge is just the confidence and understanding that a team's digital strategy is on the right track. There are so many options and opportunities. Many marketers -- even at large companies -- are not confident that they are on the right path for success."

Simon Cox — " Content creators are going to have to learn about their subject a lot more to ensure they have the quality needed to keep evergreening content. All the easy fruit has been picked already."

Diana Richardson — "Limited resources. This is nothing new, but with all the ways ALL the different types of content need to be researched, created, distributed, tracked, etc, etc. it's difficult to do without a full team. I'm already tired just thinking about it."

Lead Forensics — "The SEO aspect of voice search, just thinking about keywords being used in terms of speech. Making sure content is engaging and relevant to your industry."

Debi Norton — "IMO, a challenging that I am seeing with the #SEO industry is the DIFFERENTIATION between those of us who have worked in the industry for years VS. the SEO Guru who just finished an online course. None of us, know it all. But some of us, know more."

Fistbump Media — "Changes in how Google features content (zero-click searches), and what that means for user engagement for the brands. Also, continuing to find effective ways to keep (organic) social media engagement up."

Update: No one expected a pandemic and marketing had to shift massively to reach target audiences. How people bought and researched products, how they chose to hire companies, and how they had to shift on lockdowns changed everything.

In a different article, we asked 6 top marketing experts for input on content from an SEO Perspective, new strategies for  Content marketers, and tips for mobile, eCommerce and publishers, PR and social, and video.

Megan Leap — "To stay on top of current marketing trends, we dedicate about 5 hours or so per month to professional development and learning."

Maddie Clark — "Blogs, chats, news sites, etc. Always stay up-to-date in a way that works for u but it should be a daily habit. I personally listen to a marketing news brief on my Alexa as I get ready for work every morning but there's plenty of other ways."

Daniella Alscher — "Be the stupidest person in a room, and keep an eye on the smartest ones. Keeping an open mind and being willing to learn are all it takes to get a better hold of what's working and what isn't."

Bernie Fussenegger — "Networking and engaging on social. Conferences & Webinars. Newsletters. Engage with vendors/partners about their roadmaps. Twitter Chat rock." 

Brian Kato — "Surround yourself with exceptional marketers that are better than you. You'll learn a lot from them. Also, don't be afraid to fail. Not every marketing tactic will work or be effective. You have to be willing to take a chance and try."

BaerPM — "Follow industry experts and popular industry news outlets, talking with fellow marketing professionals is a great way to learn what's happening and get advice on doing it yourself!"

Check out How to Research Topics for Your Blog's Content Plan

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Melissa FachUS Personality of the Year 2017 Winner and die-hard Star Wars fan. Herder of cats. Non-cook. Find me on Twitter @SEOaware.