19 January 2023

6 Major Content Marketing Trends for 2023

From short-form video and evergreen content to ChatGPT-3, Web 3.0 and NFTs, here's what you need to know about the biggest digital marketing trends predicted for 2023.
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If you’re in the process of planning your marketing strategy for the year ahead, you’ll most likely be deciding what content you’ll create. It’s no easy task and one that makes most marketers, designers and copywriters (myself included!) break into a sweat.

Because… how do you create scroll-stopping social content when consumers are inundated with posts from their favourite brands? What should you be doing to improve the SEO and user experience of your website to guide customers on the next step in their journey? And ultimately, what are the emerging technologies and content marketing trends in 2023? Are they really worth harnessing for your business?

These are all questions I’ll be answering. From short-form video and evergreen content to ChatGPT-3, Web 3.0 and NFTs, I’ve researched some of 2023’s biggest digital marketing trends so you don’t have to. At the end of each section, I give a TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) summary that includes helpful tips for your content marketing strategy. 

1. Short-form video: Cater to time and attention short consumers 

Recent trends in marketing to audiences with short-form video content will continue well into 2023. Google defines short-form videos as under 10 minutes and long-form over 10 minutes. They’ve found that 59% of Gen Z use short-form video apps to discover things they want to watch longer versions of. These apps include TikTok, the Reels feature of Instagram and YouTube shorts. But how have these become so popular so quickly?

I’m currently reading the book Stolen Focus by Johann Hari, in which he describes that we live in a world where ‘sustained and deep focus is extremely hard for us all, and you have to swim upstream to achieve it.’ Here are some statistics that got me thinking:

  • The average American touches their phone 2,617 times every 24 hours.
  • The more information that’s put out into the world, the less time people can focus on any individual piece of it.
  • The faster you try to make people process information, or focus on switching between tasks, the less they will learn or remember.

In the marketing world, we can think of this as how brands have to fight for the attention of consumers, who are overloaded with content and are rapidly forgetting what they’ve just consumed. Keep in mind that consumers regularly stream videos across different screen sizes, watch videos differing in length and engage with a whole range of creators.

It’s the job of marketers to understand behavioural psychology and implement a strategy so a brand is remembered.

Through video contenting marketing, brands can create content that’s simple, interesting and useful. A bank could create a 30–second video explaining the difference between a Help To Buy and Lifetime ISA, a beauty brand could market their new eyeliner with a how-to video from an influencer, a gym could film a light-hearted, behind the scenes video to show their personality and sense of community. 

TL;DR: Video content marketing trends are here to stay. By regularly distributing short-form videos like TikToks and Reels, you can target your audience with relevant content and build brand awareness. Brainstorm ideas for videos and how you can keep your audience engaged. Could you have a series of videos on a particular topic? Could you create a long video and split it into separate shorts? After deciding your strategy, does your business have a day of bulk filming video content?

2. Above-the-fold content: Improve your user experience and satisfy search intent

When looking at the user experience and content of a website, one of the first things to consider is the above-the-fold messaging. This refers to the content you see on a webpage before you’re required to scroll down further. The term goes back to print journalism, where the upper half of a newspaper or tabloid featured the most important story or photograph.

Website designers, copywriters and content marketers have to consider what messages are placed above the fold and where they want to direct the user to next. You should never assume the web visitor already knows your unique selling point, but you don’t want to patronise or over-explain to them either. 

This is where great copywriting and design come in, helping you educate and persuade your target audience in order to motivate them to take the next step on their customer journey. You’ll want to A/B test what design makes better user experience content for your audience. 

A word of warning – don’t feel you have to place your call to action (CTA) above the fold. If visitors have a clear intent to convert, or are uncertain but familiar with your product, an above-the-fold CTA such as ‘order now’ makes sense. 

But what about visitors who are uncertain of their intent? They could be new to your business, your proposition could be complex and they don’t know the immediate benefit that your product or service has to them. 

In this case, you should offer a more in-depth explanation of why your CTA should be acted upon. Alternatively, you could have an above-the-fold CTA that redirects users to an educational page, such as About Us or Services.

TL;DR: Above-the-fold marketing should be at the top of your user experience website checklist. Ask yourself Is my message clear? Does the content satisfy the user’s search intent? The CTA should be placed where the visitor is most likely to convert. An above-the-fold sales CTA makes sense for customers who are closer to purchasing from you, whereas a CTA geared towards brand awareness and education will help consumers learn more about your products or services.

3. ChatGPT-3: Leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and automated content 

Artificial intelligence in digital marketing is rapidly becoming the norm and one of the latest tools taking the industry by storm is ChatGTP. 

This is a soon-to-be-charged-for large language model that exists as a way of prompting an AI to solve a question or prompt in a human-like manner. Based on your search term, question or information provided, ChatGPT will give a detailed response. This eliminates the need to read through different websites on Google’s search engine results page (SERP), as ChatGPT does this for you.

The tool broke records during its launch in November 2022 with one million users signed up within five days – beating Netflix, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Ryan Reynolds has already enlisted ChatGPT to write ads for his company Mint Mobile.

According to ChatGPT Pro, some potential uses of ChatGPT for content creation include:

  • Generating responses as customer service chatbots
  • Answering questions in online forms
  • Creating personalised content for social media posts 

If we consider Chat GPT for copywriting and content writing, here are some uses:

  • Text generation
  • Language translation
  • Text summarisation
  • Sentiment analysis

Away from the world of content marketing, Chat GPT could one day be used by:

  • Lawyers looking to find loopholes in legal documents
  • Doctors diagnosing patients 
  • Developers debugging and writing code blocks

But how useful is AI for writing copy that’s interesting and easy to understand? This was discussed at the Copywriting Conference 2021 by Eric Drass, an artist and experimenter with emerging technologies.

Eric showed us creative straplines, poetry and even a book generated by GPT-2, the original version of GPT-3. He summarised that GPT 2 could pick up a style of writing and produce plausible text with real-world references. However, GPT 2 couldn’t understand whether what it was writing was true or not. So, it could not only fool us with convincing albeit meaningless text, but GPT 2 could churn out lies too.

Eric likened the role of an AI content writer to AI assisted chess. Typically, the human who uses AI plays better than either the humans or AI chess players alone. So, by working together with AI, you get a hybrid that’s more powerful than each of the individuals.

An AI copywriting assistant can be used to generate ideas from seed text, conduct research and generally do the time-consuming tasks that we don’t want to do. Personally, I can see the possibility of AI helping me to build a stronger outline of my copy before I begin writing, one where I have all my research collated and I know exactly what keywords I’m writing for. 

However, where AI falls short is its absence of creativity, empathy and experience. It may be ‘artificially’ intelligent, but it can’t replace the human mind. Consumers know when they’re being sold to, when brand is being false and when content is being pushed out for the sake of a keyword strategy or content calendar. 

From the research I’ve done, I don’t believe an AI could write truly authentic and original content on its own. Some businesses will try to rely on AI as a ‘quick win’ but will lose in the long run. By treating AI as a content mill, it’ll churn out volumes of quantity over quality. 

TL;DR: AI will only continue to grow, but it’s not going to replace copywriters any time soon. We should be looking to harness artificial intelligence in marketing strategy to find patterns in data and build stronger creative briefs and copy outlines. AI content generation can also help move processes along, for example, if we’re feeling creatively blocked, out of ideas or distracted from the task at hand.

4: Evergreen content: Get more from historical content by updating it

Creating original content is demanding; it requires time, creativity and money that many marketers would prefer to put towards their paid client work. The solution is what’s known as evergreen content, which refers to content that is continually relevant and stays fresh to readers over a long period of time. 

In Gotch SEO’s video of 5 SEO predictions for 2023, founder of the award-winning Backlinko blog, Brian Dean, said he’s noticing more brands updating their historical content, rather than reinventing the wheel and constantly churning out new content. He explained that this different approach of repurposing and keeping content fresh could involve updating a website page or blog with the latest research, statistics or screenshots. That way, when someone lands on your content, it’s one of the most up-to-date pieces on the internet.

So for your business’ marketing, have a look at your pre-existing content and see if it can be updated, repackaged or reshared into something brand new. To me, the first logical step would be to look at how the content is ranking and see if you can update it with keywords to help the user fulfil their search intent.

On LinkedIn, you could reshare a blog as a carousel, breaking up your key points into easy-to-read, bite size chunks. If you’re considering experimenting with TikTok and Reels, why not film a 30-second video explaining one of the key ideas from your blog post? 

TL;DR: Before you plan all the new content you’ll create for your business, look at the assets you already have. Ask yourself, can I update this with new information? Can I improve the SEO of this piece? Can I repurpose my content across other channels or content formats, such as video?

5. Web 3.0: Use NFTs to give customers greater control of their data and deliver new experiences

As one of the major content marketing trends in 2022, the Web 3.0 market size is expected to reach $81 billion by 2030.

If you’re new to Web 3.0 marketing or wondering what is Web 3.0, think of it as a vision of the future internet. 

Web 3.0 aims to give users greater control of their data by replacing intermediary digital platforms, such as databases, with peer-to-peer exchanges. One way this happens is by using non fungible tokens (NFTs). While many artists have used NFTs to sell their paintings online, there are a wide range of ways brands can use tokens to interact with their audience.

In essence, token based engagement is where the consumer owns a token to be in control of their data. When you share your email with a brand, that’s known as first party data. Then when you follow the brand on social media, your data is available to third parties. Owning a token involves ‘zero party data’, so you’re stopping your data being stored and monetised across thousands of databases.

It’s not just about data; NFTs can be used to create new experiences for customers, by providing:

  • Exclusive access to events
  • Early access to content
  • Access to special offers or discounts

As an example, YSL beauty released a collection of 10,000 free social tokens offering access to ongoing brand initiatives.

According to a L’Oréal China spokesperson: “In 2023, we will continue to open the door to new beauty frontiers — including the Web 3.0/Metaverse — to reinvent beauty experiences…catering to the next generation of consumers, their ‘digital cravings’ and aspirations.” 

If the thought of the Metaverse leaves you wanting more, you’ll be pleased to hear that brands will be looking to use NFTs in connection with the physical product, rather than assets that just exist within the digital space. This comes from Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel, CEO of web3 solutions platform, Arianee, who have launched digital product passports for luxury watch brands Breitling and IWC Schaffhausen.

TL;DR: Brands will use Web 3.0 and the Metaverse to target their audiences with more meaningful content, initiatives and experiences. In exchange for a token, consumers will have the reassurance of knowing what data they’re giving away and who to, what they’re paying for and what they’re receiving in return.

6. Search engine optimisation (SEO): Know the environment you want to rank in

Educational, SEO-optimised content is one of the major B2B and B2C content marketing trends I’ve noticed in the last few years. It will only continue to grow this year according to Hubspot, who found that 88% of marketers who have an SEO strategy will increase or maintain their investment in 2023.

Nowadays, brands want to focus on capturing search engine result page (SERP) ‘real estate’, which they can do by having more rankings on page 1 of Google. It’s no longer just trying to rank on page one. If you can bag the featured snippet, you’ll be catapulted to the top of the SERP. Have useful video content for the search term? You could also be featured in the video results listed below the featured snippet and before any organic listings.

If there’s a featured snippet and video results before the organic listings, the chances are that even if you achieve positions one to three, you’ll be below the fold on the user’s device. If there are paid ads related to a product, there will also be an ad block above the fold, further pushing your content down. So, even if you write keyword-rich, creative copy that Google puts on page one of its SERP, you need to be realistic and expect a low click through rate (CTR)

My takeaway from this is to research the particular environment you’re looking to rank in. Before you’re tempted by tools such as AHREFS and SEMRush, look at the search engine results page yourself and see what Google is showing. What are the main content types? What keywords are being used in the title tag and meta description? What are the overall messages of the copy on these pages, and how are they structured? 

You’ll also want to look at Google’s topical relevance – this is the content under ‘Similar keywords’ or ‘people have also searched for’.

Then, look to build your core asset, and five to 10 other assets to support this. YouTube is a valuable brand building tool and with Shorts, you can film quick pieces of content.

TL;DR: Even if you rank on page one of Google, your content isn’t guaranteed to be seen by consumers or clicked on, especially if it’s below the fold. One of the top trends in content marketing for 2023 will be brands taking up more search engine ‘real estate’ with their main content piece and then five to 10 other supporting pieces. Bonus exposure if you can bag the featured snippet and get YouTube videos listed too.

So, what is the future of content marketing?

Personally, I think now is the time for brands to consider how they can make their content as meaningful as possible. Consumers can see when a brand is virtue signalling or jumping on the back of a trend, so off-the-cuff, last-minute posting just doesn’t cut it anymore. Brands should go back to basics, deciding what are their core values, what causes do they support, and ultimately how can they be a part of their customer’s life beyond the purchase decision. Brands need to think of themselves less as a company, and more like humans marketing to other humans.

Emerging technologies in marketing are always slightly intimidating – I know I don’t want a robot coming for my job or clients anytime soon! But, I try to see all the new innovations and brand trends as exciting. If it’s a grey January day and I don’t feel particularly creative when I wake up, I can at least know that AI such as ChatGPT-3 can get me started with prompts and ideas. Then before I know it, I’ll be in the rhythm of writing.

Whether you’re looking for B2C or B2B content marketing trends, it looks like video is only going to continue to grow, alongside SEO content. Start by looking at your existing content, decide what you can repurpose, and then begin to think about creating something new. If you’re growing a following from nothing, or are intimidated by content strategy, remember that we all have to start somewhere. As one of my favourite writers, Liz Gilbert says, ‘Done is better than perfect.’

Need a copywriter for your next project, or know someone who does? Send me a message and let’s get the ball rolling. Or, if you liked this blog and want to discuss other content trends, send me a tweet.

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