A lot of your time in 2021 might have gone scratching your head over dilemmas such as — “What now?,” “How should I communicate with my audience?,” or “What should my marketing look like?”
However, with more people coming to terms with the new normal, businesses have also pivoted and adapted to the change. You should now chart a robust content marketing plan for 2022.
Here are four effective strategies that you can integrate into it:
1 – First Step Content Marketing: “Relevant” Content Remains Important
The mission of Google is “organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful.”
And the company has topped the American Customer Satisfaction Index every year since 2000 because of its relentless focus on providing relevant results to its users.
Despite Google launching its update to measure page experience and integrate it into search factors, relevant content reigns supreme. So serving that should remain your top priority.
To get started, use the on-page SEO report by Alexa. It evaluates the relevance of your content for a given search query returning actionable pointers like the ones below:
Also, try to gain a thorough understanding of your audience on top of it — provide relevant answers to their questions comprehensively and efficiently through your content.
Google, in its 2017 search quality guidelines, characterized four intents:
In many cases, it’s not sufficient to prove “relevance” at a page-level by targeting a single keyword.
Google uses sophisticated machine learning algorithms, specifically Hummingbird and RankBrain, to determine which websites should rank — and it calls for multiple pages on your website targeting a broad subject.
You can learn more about semantic search, but the broad idea is creating hubs of content. A standalone page about “habits” will find it difficult to earn authority and rank on the first page.
You’ll need to build “topical authority” by writing articles on good habits, bad habits, making habits stick, and about 15 to 20 other related subtopics. Just like James Clear does on his habits page.
Confused where to begin?
Dissect a competitor’s clusters with “Keyword Clusters” by Alexa. If you’re in the self-improvement niche, dissect a website like “JamesClear.com” with this tool.
You can also view the clusters of the website in a tabular format and view the keywords associated with individual clusters.
To have the best shot at ranking, writing relevant content for a single keyword no longer makes sense. You need to establish relevance at a page and domain level for your website.
2 – Create (Even) More Content Addressing The New Problems
Owing to the current state of the world, you might have already shifted events, training, and other branded experiences to the virtual realm — just like most US and UK marketers.
While everyone seeks respite from this situation next year, the truth is, things aren’t changing anytime soon. Anthropophobia, the fear of other people, is the most Googled phobia of 2020.
For a good part of 2022, expect plenty of people to continue having health and safety concerns with traveling and socializing in-person.
Most businesses will hence continue focusing on digital channels, and new customers will keep coming on the internet. But how can you be one of the few brands that welcome these new consumers?
Well, you’ve probably read tons of articles already on these subjects: remote work, work from home (WFH) productivity, apps and tools for WFH, webinar software for video conferencing, and the like.
You can consider researching and giving unique angles to these “same old subjects”, though.
For instance, when I plugged “work from home” on Google Trends, it showed the following related queries categorized under breakout — which means the search term grew by over 5000 percent in the past 12 months!
You can also use the Content Exploration Tool by Alexa to find subjects getting the most engagement on social media. Here are its results for the topic “work from home”:
Besides, remember that people are isolated and feeling lonely from being confined to their homes. They are focusing on their mental well-being and want more positive content.
Even Twitter found a more transparent conversation happening around the tabooed subject of mental health on its platform.
The state of affairs means mental health, work-life balance, and other related issues will continue to plague the world.
So survey your audience, empathize with their concerns, and keep integrating blog posts on these new problems into your editorial calendar.
3 – Engage in Content Partnerships
In the last ten years, blogging has formalized into content marketing. It generates traffic and leads for brands when done right.
But it turns out, most of the published content fails to earn any attention — a major chunk doesn’t get any links or social media shares.
Over 50% of Google searches now don’t result in a click. The search giant is competing head-on with publishers, and its monopoly in the market irks content marketers.
The median Facebook post reaches less than .1% of its followers — and all other prominent social media platforms also want to keep their visitors to themselves.
Marketers have adapted by using schema markup, optimizing their content for featured snippets, and relying on paid marketing.
But I want to talk about a couple of things you might see more often in 2022 in the third and fourth pointers.
The first one is content partnerships. It could also involve rounding up advice from influencers in your niche. But taking bites alone isn’t sufficient.
Doing the legwork of creating a narrative around them helps make the content digestible and useful for readers — and Databox does a great job at it.
They even conduct surveys and include such charts with original insights, which makes them more valuable.
The biggest proponent of such partnerships that I’ve seen is the “Reciprocal Content Marketing Group” by Survey Anyplace.
It’s a Facebook group where content creators of various brands collaborate and find opportunities where they can genuinely mention each other’s content.
4 – Personal Branding
The other way businesses are already adapting to competition — and will continue doing so — is through building their personal brands.
See, in the coming year, an existing recognition in a niche will become a stronger moat for content creators.
Google itself emphasized “experts” on topics in its quality raters guidelines, referring it under the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) rating of pages.
Here’s a graphic by The Creatives Hour that illustrates the concept:
So connecting with your audience and developing thought leadership could also help your search rankings.
Indeed, once you earn attention, launching your next project also becomes easier. Peep Laja, the founder of ConversionXL, touched 1000 sign ups through social media alone for his new company, Copytesting.
But remember that the quality of your ideas should reveal your expertise.
Isn’t it a turn off when someone pretends to be an authority by using buzzwords and industry jargon?
So share your successes and failures, document your journey, and don’t mind getting vulnerable occasionally.
Webinars, guest posts, and podcasting are also great tactics to build your authority and get your name out there. Matthew Barby from HubSpot shares a nice pyramid below to approach building brand:
Don’t feel comfortable writing?
I recommend podcasting as it’s a relatively lesser-crowded channel. You only need a professional-quality microphone and podcast hosting (Note: This is the only dofollow link I want to request in the article) software to get started with it.
When you can manage resources for video production, top it up with a YouTube channel. Multimedia content can create a memorable experience and make people more likely to come back to you!
In these times of uncertainty, responding appropriately is important to your brand image. For content marketers, it could mean getting the messaging right and attacking the right subjects in their articles.
Hopefully, the strategies I shared in this article have inspired you with new ideas to integrate into your content strategy.
Are there any other content tactics you’re going to try in 2022? Let me know in the comments below.