So, it’s already the last quarter of 2021, and I’m sure you’ve started at least thinking about your marketing plans for 2022. But what should we be focussing our efforts on? How have marketing trends changed, and what can we expect over the coming year?

I think it’s safe to say that the last couple of years have forced us to reconsider how we talk to our customers. We’ve all experienced shifts in the way we use tech and social media in particular, whether that’s meeting virtually, using AR to show people around, and even the way we sell stuff when we can’t welcome people to our premises personally.

Here are some content marketing trends to consider in 2022 and my thoughts on how they’ll feature in the landscape of branding and marketing next year…and beyond.

5 Content Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2022

1. User Generated Content

Basically, this is a method of marketing whereby people create the content – i.e. your customers. You’re getting your customers to advertise your products for you. Wondering how it works? Well, it’s pretty simple (and ingenious) really. 

Two of the easiest ways is to get users to review your products or to share/ reshare positive posts they’ve created about your products/brand on social media

Here’s an interesting fact: consumers are on average 2.4 times more likely to choose a product based on user-generated content than brand-created content. It’s like an instant recommendation from an independent person – and that is so very powerful.

If you can showcase and share posts from other people, who are shining a light on your products on your own social channels, then you really can’t lose.

If your nervous about including user generated content into your marketing, a great brand to follow is Specsavers who is a big fan of user generated content. Here is an example of how Specsavers is promoting their glasses, using photos taken by customers:

Source: @specsavers

2. Brand Personality

People buy from people. OK, that might sound like a huge cliché, but there really is some truth to it.

The way we buy has changed; it’s become much more personal. If you can speak to your ideal audience as a real person rather than a brand, then your customers will feel like they have a more positive relationship with you and will trust that you’re being honest with them. By gaining their trust in this way, they’re more likely to want to buy from you.

3. Audience Ownership

We’ve all come to normalise the use of online content marketing, mainly through social media. It has a lot of positives; it’s simple to use, everyone else uses it, and it’s free. Reaching an audience of potentially thousands with just a quick 2-minute post seems like the ideal way to sell your stuff, right?

There are some very big downsides to using social media, mainly if you’re relying on it as your biggest content outlet. Aside from the fact that it’s oversaturated, the reach is continuously decreasing and changing due to system algorithms, and you have to spend a heck of a lot of time making sure you’re posting the right stuff at the right time to the right people. And, something that many business owners don’t even think much about is this: you don’t own your social media audience.

Brands are already catching on to this, and so in 2022, you can expect to see much more focus on email content marketing, where businesses can ensure that they’re putting all of their efforts into the people who have opted to hear from them. Uber is an example of a brand that focuses heavily on email marketing to promote its services. Here is an example I recently received:

Source: Uber Eats

4. Storytelling

This one kind of harks back to the relationship-building I mentioned earlier. People are done with being sold to. They want to learn about the personality behind the brand, and they want it in a way they can relate to. 

Tell your story. Give your audience something they can get emotional about, be that happy, excited, lustful, sad. Give them a memorable story, and they’ll come to you when they’re in a position to buy.

AirBnB’s Made possible by Hosts is an example of how video can be used to bring a service-based offering to live:

Source: AirBnB – YouTube

5. Augmented Reality (AR)

It’s an idea that’s been around for a while, but it’s been pushed to the forefront a little bit faster since lockdown.

The idea behind AR is that customers can see your product ‘virtually’ and explore things via smart devices before paying for the real thing.

We’ve seen both property agents and car showrooms introduce AR with amazing success – it’s now possible to do a house viewing from wherever you are.

It’s likely that we’ll see more and more brands using this emerging tech in 2022. Along with that, there are already marketing people/agencies out there specialising in AR marketing solely for e-comms and other types of business.

In theory, your customers can see what your product looks like, whether that’s seeing how a pair of glasses will suit their face, what sofas and soft furnishing will look like inside their homes, or what style of apparel will best suit their shape.

No longer the stuff of science fiction, Augmented Reality will soon be commonplace.

Roundup of 2022 Content Marketing Trends

In 2022, content marketing will become a lot more personal. Consumers want that human connection; it’s no longer enough to sell. The future of content marketing is based on relationship building and using the best of the tech we know to learn to trust the brands we buy from.

To learn more about content marketing, download my free eBook ‘Content Marketing for Busy Business Owners‘.