There can be no denying that the pandemic sparked dramatic changes in the behaviour and informational needs of B2B consumers – and those changes have been driving content marketing trends and opportunities consistently skyward.
As the B2B community shifted online en-masse and how we do business got disrupted, key questions arose – how do we best reach potential clients? And how do we best reach the transaction on the other side of all this content and communication?
The broad answer is content marketing. In 2021, 43% of marketers experienced content marketing budget increases, and 66% expect to see it rise again in 2022.
Video, digital and real-world events, owned-media assets, and paid media are among the top areas of content marketing investment for the year ahead, according to CMI’s latest B2B Content Marketing report.
In this column, we’ll take a look at some of the specific content marketing trends most relevant to the construction industry and property sector.
1: The Demand For Quality, Relevance & Trustworthiness In Content
Anything that impacts on your company’s visibility in search results absolutely demands your attention. Google’s core updates, Page Experience and Core Web Vitals, and anti-spam initiatives continue to raise the bar for companies who want their content to be discoverable in search.
E-A-T – Google’s desire for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness in searchable content – is a mantra that will continue to weigh heavily on the minds of marketers through 2022.
The concept of E-A-T is a perpetual challenge in SEO, because it lacks a quantifiable metric and cannot be measured. For this reason, we expect it to be widely discussed and debated. We predict there will be an eye-watering number blogs about how to strategise for E-A-T and some of those blogs will contain conflicting advice. But we can tell you this now – focus on creating exceptional content. And the keyword there is “exceptional”.
With E-A-T, average content just won’t perform in any vertical where exceptional content is present – so be exceptional.
- Look to create exceptional content experiences with the integration of audio, video, text, graphics, AR/VR, and other interactive elements.
- Create content with your “dream” client or customer in mind – what does it take to win their business? Where does your credibility need to be to open that door?
- Focus on displaying empathy and building trust in every piece of content you create.
2: A Renewed & Intense Focus On Understanding Consumer Intent
What’s the intent behind the search?
If your construction company’s marketing and SEO strategy is hyper-focused on keywords and their performance then you are likely missing the opportunity to truly connect with their audience in meaningful ways as well as build your credibility.
Understanding not only what people are searching for but why is essential in planning and crafting content that speaks directly to that need.
Tap into real-time search insights for a deeper understanding of what motivates your prospects right now.
Work through your customer’s journey to find stopping points, content gaps, and other opportunities to create a more seamless experience.
Use topic, keyword, and competitive research to inform content that better meets each searcher’s intent.
3: The Need For More Intelligent, Data-driven Content Planning & Documentation
Smart marketers are moving beyond using last year’s (or even last month’s) performance insights as a roadmap going forward.
Today, there are more touchpoints and interactions than marketers can possibly track and analyse on their own.
Your content strategy for 2022 shouldn’t be set in stone come January 1. Rather, your strategy must include having people, processes, and tools in place to analyse and act on data to inform content the whole year through.
- Reevaluate the software you use to track your marketing with a sharp eye to inefficiencies and tools that don’t play well together.
- If you don’t yet have data-driven creatives in-house, now is the time to either work on upskilling or outsource to augment your team.
- Document workflows and processes that work, making your efforts repeatable and scalable.
4: The Fusion Of Formats – Such As Video, Audio, Graphics & Text
Think about the stories you enjoyed as a child. Which ones do you remember most vividly?
Chances are, your fondest memories are those stories you enjoyed in a variety of formats – it wasn’t just the book, but that it was read to you aloud that you remember.
Perhaps your favourite song was acted out in a children’s show, or came from a movie you particularly loved.
This fusion of content formats helps us connect more deeply with the story. When we not only read but also see, hear, or even smell and touch, our emotional reaction to the content is that much stronger.
- Look at every story and message you share and ask yourself, how could we augment this with media in another format?
- Apply an accessibility lens, as well – are there prospective customers out there who may not get this message because of the way we’re delivering it?
- Accept the fact you will have to outsource: no matter how big your marketing team at your construction company is, it’s unlikely you’ll have the skills in-house to deliver a well-written, data driven blog, with an engaging infographic, compelling video, and arresting photography.
5: The Proliferation Of Content Across Voice, Video, And Visuals Via Mobile & Social
You cannot rank your content if you’re not producing it. But focusing purely on content volume is a big mistake. So in 2022, challenge yourself and your team to really think about the ways your stories and information are being presented.
Could that article be a more compelling video? Would releasing an audio version help expand your audience?
On mobile and across social channels, consumers are craving interactive, short form, entertaining content. Will you give it to them?
- For each new piece of content you’re planning, consider the supplemental content assets you could use to engage your audience and expand your reach.
- Invest in the tools and talent you’ll need to branch out into new content types.
- If you aren’t sure which content formats or platforms are resonating with your audience, ask them! If you’re only looking at your own analytics data, you only know what already works and will never realize these untapped opportunities.
6: Further Alignment With SERPs & Google Guidelines
Convincing Google that your content is the best answer for a relevant query is no easy feat.
You can start by ensuring that you’re following Google’s guidelines.
But also be aware of the many opportunities you have to appear at the top of the search rankings, aside from the traditional blue link results.
Featured snippets, People Also Ask, video carousels, image results, Top Stories, and more all present opportunities to be seen.
- Analyze the SERPs where you want to appear and optimize content for the search result types that will get you there.
- Review and refresh your older content, optimizing for new ranking opportunities and types.
- Use the appropriate schema markup to help Google understand exactly what your content has to offer.