While trends articles continue to highlight bright, flashy new ideas in marketing, including virtual and augmented reality, for many brands the best bet for moving the needle in 2022 lies not in dramatic new tactics, but in making small adjustments to take what is already working to the next level.
For B2B companies, especially, adjusting to changes in content consumption habits, while maintaining a focus on the characteristics that lead audiences to develop a trust for your brand, just makes sense. With that in mind, we’ve identified three of the key trends being talked about that B2B marketers can quickly put to work this year:
Short-form video: Keep it concise
Marketers in all fields have come to recognize the power of video and the myriad forms it can take. According to HubSpot’s most recent marketing survey and trends report, more than 3 in 4 marketers are using video, and of those, 25 percent say it yields the greatest ROI of all their content marketing tactics.
We know that video can be used in many different ways: blog content, social media, webinars, embedded in emails, on landing pages and more. And while long-form videos, such as detailed video case studies and customer testimonials, are useful in providing a depth of information to leads, short-form video is on the top of the trends HubSpot is watching this year.
Why? It is easier and less expensive to create, and it keeps audiences engaged despite decreasing attention spans.
While not all businesses may need to have a presence on growing social media platforms that revolve around short-form videos, even Forbes says it pays to take inspiration from TikTok and Instagram Reels as you plan your 2022 marketing content.
Take to the audio waves
While video may have killed the radio star (culture reference for those under 40), audio content is on the rise again with the easy access of on-demand content such as podcasts. With a choice of topics that spans the breadth of human imagination, US consumers increased their podcast consumption by 25 percent between 2020 and 2021—a total of 15 billion hours of listening—making it a platform identified by Forbes as one to watch.
While the percentage of brands using podcasts in their content strategy is still quite small, the number is growing as listenership rises. According to Chartable, in 2021 there were at least 8,000 branded podcast feeds publicly available, a number they admit is likely undercounting the actual total. Business branded podcasts can range from lengthy shows with multiple guests to quick daily or weekly messages that keep your brand top-of-mind with frequent engaging commentary. (Teaser alert: Anyone interested in a “MarComm Minute”—60 seconds of marketing communications inspiration? Stay tuned to this blog!)
Podcasts do have limitations—since listeners may not be at a screen where they can click on an offer, they aren’t necessarily a powerful tool for conversions. But more than half of the marketers surveyed by HubSpot in 2021 say podcasts or other types of audio content are effective for engagement and brand awareness, and 80 percent of those using audio content planned to invest the same or more budget in 2022.
(Even if your brand isn’t up for creating its own podcast yet, your PR department should be searching the airways for quality podcasts in your industry that interview experts in the field and pitching your executives as guests. Ask me about the success we’ve had gaining thought leadership exposure for clients this way!)
SEO still matters
While it may seem odd to consider SEO a “trend,” HubSpot and Forbes both give a shout-out to the continued need to make it a foundation of the rest of your marketing content strategy. In fact, 61 percent of HubSpot’s survey respondents say improving SEO to grow their organic presence online is still their top inbound marketing priority.
Being found via search is still absolutely essential.
Effective SEO revolves around many small decisions about everything from page load speed to the frequency of updating a website and even how you name the images that appear on each individual webpage. But here are few key elements that CMOs and content managers should keep in mind as 2022 strategies are crafted and implemented.
The first is the power of a business blog. According to HubSpot’s survey, 48 percent of companies with a content marketing strategy have blogs, and the majority say they are effective. The impact on search is a big part of that effectiveness.
Blogging, when incorporated as a strategic element in content marketing, drives consistent website content growth. More web content means more opportunities to be found by providing useful, relevant information. Blogs also provide the perfect opportunity to follow the advice given by , Head of English SEO at HubSpot: “Businesses should look at a topic and say, ‘’ Then, they should plan sub-topics accordingly and look for opportunities to insert questions as headers.”
While her statement was focused, at least in part, on how to create content for the growing use of voice search, the same approach is useful in optimizing blog posts and other web content to be chosen as the featured snippets on search engine results pages.
Content isn’t the only factor in a successful SEO strategy. The last two years have led many businesses to rethink their websites and the user experience, along with the user signals that provide feedback to search engines. (Evidence: Our Website Audit Template is the most frequently download resource in our Inbound Marketing Learning Library.) It is essential during the website design process to pay attention to the details HubSpot identified in their trends report that impact SEO:
Optimize images and videos with alt text.
Optimize images for size and page download speeds.
Embed videos into web pages or blogs focused on the same keywords.
Whether creating content such as blog posts or redesigning a website to meet the current demands of users, SEO should be a foundational element, not an after-thought or something you bring in someone else to shoehorn into a project at the end.
While we often think of trends as being short-lived, when framed instead as being the ideas we need to incorporate into our marketing right now, you can see that many of the things we need to do right now are simply tweaks of the same strategies that have been successful in the past. That means that experience still matters. JONES has experience in the essentials of content creation—video, audio, blogging and web design—that can drive marketing and public relations results in 2022. If you are looking for a partner to help you make the adjustments and additions needed to take your strategy to the next level, let’s talk. Schedule a consultation with me today.