Each new year in the world of content marketing is defined by change. Budgets shift. Audience expectations and habits evolve. New trends crop up. Technology advances. Fresh formats and platforms rise as stale predecessors fall.
We’re expected to not only keep an eye on these individual changes, but also understand how they all impact one another…and the success of our particular program. A bit of a tall order, isn’t it?
For our live session at Content Marketing World 2021 this year, we decided to make this endeavor a piece of cake. Based on the survey results of our audience of over 100,000 storytelling professionals, we’ve come back from the future to bring you a breakdown of what you can expect for content marketing in 2022.
You can access Matt McCue’s (VP, Content) full presentation — Content Marketing Predictions for 2022 (And How to Navigate Them) — as well as other CMWorld content gold by unlocking our CMWorld Content Library.
Budgets: We’re Going to Get Rich
One facet our survey respondents overwhelmingly agree upon is on budget outlook.
A whopping 67% of respondents report they expect their content marketing budgets to increase in 2022, while a mere 5% of survey respondents anticipate that their budgets will decrease in 2022.
This prediction is consistent with overall growth trends anticipated for marketing budgets in 2022.
According to IPG data via Ad Age, U.S. ad spend will “maintain a healthy clip of 12% growth in 2022, surpassing $300 billion for the first time with nearly all major industries returning to pre-COVID marketing budgets”.
- Prepare your organization. A forecasted increase in demand for content means more work heading your team’s way. Do the work needed now to allocate resources, become more efficient, and secure top-performing staff so you can hit the ground running when requests rise.
Formats: More of This, Less of That
It’s safe to say that podcasts will continue their steady rise in popularity throughout 2022, with 60% of respondents indicating they expect to see a lot more podcasts next year.
And if all of the gear up and feature enhancements from audio giants like Spotify is any indication, podcasts are a format we’ll continue to see accelerate well beyond 2022.
- Get in before the landscape becomes oversaturated. If you invest early in podcasting (like Square did via the “Talking Squarely” series we co-developed for the payments brand), you’ll have a chance to attract a solid listener base and become a fan favorite before everyone and their mother rolls in with a podcast and vies for precious listeners.
- Don’t jump on or off any bandwagons if that’s not the right move for your audience. Objectively assess these findings against your niche audience’s preferences, your program, and your industry. (See grain of salt below.)
Take It With a Grain of Salt:
Nearly half (49%) of our survey respondents anticipate they’ll see a lot less whitepapers next year. As audience attention spans grow shorter and users become increasingly interested in content they can consume while multitasking, seeing less of whitepapers and more of things like podcasts and webinars is a high probability.
But as discussed on the heels of our live Tweets from our CMWorld session, remember that format preferences can greatly fluctuate between niches.
Join the conversation. Follow @thestudio_ID.
If you’re in an industry like tech where facts, figures, and detail are paramount to your readers’ decision-making process, whitepapers might just be your top-performing format in 2022 and beyond.
It all comes down to knowing your niche. Learn to listen to your audience and ask yourself: what’s the best format to tell this particular story that also aligns with the kinds of formats my audience prefers?
And on the other side of that coin, don’t be afraid to test new formats with your audience. Just because they’ve historically gravitated toward whitepapers doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be receptive to something like a podcast, especially in a space where that format is novel and new.
- Consider piloting a handful of short audio clips to accompany a major piece of content on social media. It’s a low-risk way to gauge if your audience is open to audio content in general before you commit to a full podcast.
Access our full predictions presentation by unlocking our CMWorld Content Library.
Biggest Recurring Challenge: Demonstrating ROI
27% of survey respondents report demonstrating ROI is the biggest recurring challenge facing their program. No major surprises there — demonstrating ROI has long been the white whale of the content marketing industry.
What is shocking to find is that 30% of respondents report that their boss has no real clue what they do.
- Implement a brand-to-demand approach. This cohesive strategy not only allows you to create content that’s more compelling and impactful, it also allows you to take the longview in terms of measurement and ROI.
With a research-backed, consistent strategy to work off of and a fresh approach to navigating ROI, you’ll be able to demystify exactly what it is you do, and prove the value that you and your brand-to-demand program bring to your organization.
To get started, access our definitive guide on brand-to-demand marketing via our Content Library.
2022 will be upon us before we know it. Armed with these predictions and the know-how you need to navigate them, you’ll be ready to lead your organization into what promises to be a wildly successful year for content marketers.
For additional insights for the year ahead, access our complete CMWorld predictions presentation — and a host of other content gold — by unlocking our Content Library.