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Four key content trends to pay attention to in 2020

By Will Stevens - December 13, 2019

There’s a reason why an increasing number of brands, small to big, invest in great content to educate, guide and delight their audience. It’s because content marketing works and it’s key to growing a successful business.

But it’s not enough to understand that if you want consumers to give you the time of day, you need to add value to their lives.

To stay ahead of the game, you also need to know the current and future content marketing trends that will help get your business the attention, revenue and results you’re hoping to achieve in the coming year.

So, without further ado, let’s look at the four key trends your small business can’t afford to ignore in 2020.

1. User-generated content

While we now use smartphones and tablets to browse and shop online, the Internet hasn’t completely changed how we shop. If you think about it, we still look to our friends, family, and others for validation before we buy.

Simply put: the word-of-mouth concept isn’t dead. On the contrary, it’s critical to persuading potential customers to trust to take that next step and buy from you.

That’s what makes social proof and user-generated content (UGC) key to boosting sales and growing a successful business in 2020 and beyond.

In fact, an analysis of 200,000 ecommerce sites and 163 million orders across all industries found that visitors who look at user-generated content convert 161% more than people who don’t.

Why? Because when you have people talking about your business online and sharing and tagging your products and brand in their photos, videos and reviews, you can be sure that it’ll impact other people’s buying decisions more than any ad you create.

So, for 2020, you need to observe your audience in detail and figure out what inspires them to share content. Then use that information to entice them to create user-generated content for you.

The benefits aren’t just a boost in visibility and sales. You’ll also save time and resources since it’s your audience who’ll be creating the content for you and giving you ideas on how to attract and turn more prospects into customers.

The easiest thing you can do to get started is to encourage your current customers to share their experience with you – whether by tagging you in one of their posts on social media or by writing a review online.

How? Run contests, give out discounts and find creative ways to persuade them to talk about your business online.

2. Video

If you’ve been paying attention to what your competitors and other brands across all industries share online, you’ll have noticed the focus on video content and visual storytelling.

Facebook Stories, Snapchat, Instagram Stories – they’re all widely used by both users and brands, and their popularity stands proof that video wasn’t just a trend in 2019, but that it’s here to stay, in 2020 and most likely beyond.

So if you want to engage your customers and attract new ones in 2020, make sure to give video a try, if you haven’t already.

The great thing about it is that the options are substantial. Beyond stories on Instagram and Facebook, you can also create lots of other types of video content to educate and entertain your audience. Think: interviews, behind the scenes, product tutorials and reviews, and customer testimonials.

Here are a few resources to help get you started with video content:

3. Voice search

Voice search is also on the rise. And it’s no surprise, considering the increasing number of people who invest and enjoy using voice-controlled devices and services such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Amazon Echo.

What does this trend mean for your business?

It means that if you want to stay ahead of the competition and rank high in Google’s search results, you’ll need to optimise your content accordingly. That means using long-tail keywords that mimic natural language queries from your target audience.

In other words, you’ll need to make sure that your content is not only written in plain everyday English but also that it incorporates the words that your audience would say or the questions they’d ask out loud, and not the ones they’d type.

Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Make a list with the most frequently asked questions that you get from customers via email, chat, phone or social media. Then optimise your web pages and blog posts to incorporate these long-tail, conversational queries.
  • Give clear and relevant answers to popular questions in your industry. This can increase your chances of showing up at the top of the search engine results pages when users search for an answer to a question.

Also read this post to learn more about voice search and how to properly optimise your content for conversational search.

4. Conversational content marketing using chatbots

When it comes to providing speedy answers, support and recommendations to customers, chatbots are clear winners in 2020.

This State of Chatbots report reveals a few of the key benefits of using chatbots to improve customers’ online experience. And the best thing is that they’re not just working for millennials but for all users, regardless of age.

So, not only do chatbots enable 24×7 access to information, they also enable meaningful conversations and purposeful responses. That is if it’s done right and the conversation sounds human, and not robotic.

If you need some ideas on how to use chatbots to provide a great customer experience, the report also includes a few use cases you might find interesting:

Want to give it a try? Read this post to find out more about chatbots and determine whether they’re the right option for your small business.

If you decide they are, start simple by learning how to create a Facebook Messenger chatbot for your small business. Then use it to answer your customer questions, offer product recommendations and discounts, and quickly solve complaints.

Wrapping up

We can only predict and speculate on what will rule the content marketing industry next year. UGC, video and visual storytelling, voice search and conversational content marketing with chatbots have a high chance of reigning in 2020.

But what will always win is quality, purposeful content. It’s businesses that understand and prioritise their customers’ need for guidance, help, information and entertainment that will find success in 2020 and beyond. And not just with their audience but with Google, too.