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Four Things to Change in Your Digital Content Marketing Strategy in 2021

15th Dec 2020 –

Digital marketing is one of the most exciting industries to be in. There’s always something changing, so you feel motivated to research, try new tactics and play with new tools.

What’s changing for 2021?

Here are a few digital content marketing tactics to adopt in 2021 and beyond:

1. Stop Stressing Over Keywords

Keyword optimization has long been the fundamental step in any content creation strategy.

Identifying search queries that your target customers tend to type in search boxes is still a good exercise. You need to know how your target audience is researching relevant topics as well as which problems they are trying to solve.

Focusing on those exact match keywords is no longer that important though, for two reasons:

  • Google no longer uses exact-match keywords to identify those pages that need to rank high
  • Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs) are much more than organic results these days.

If you search for something like [winter trails], you’ll notice that an overwhelming amount of SERPs don’t even have [trails] mentioned on the search snippets as Google understands that people searching for something like this are curious to research nearby hiking places.

digital content marketing strategy 2021 search query example

And if you search for something like [winter hiking], you’ll notice so much going on on top of the page that you’ll find it hard to locate regular organic black-and-blue results:

digital content marketing strategy 2021 search query results

So instead of stressing over those particular keywords:

  • Focus on creating comprehensive content that includes related questions and concepts. It is also a good idea to utilize AI-driven topic research tools (like Atomic Reach and others) to empower your topic research.
  • Create diverse content formats (videos, q&a, infographics or any other types of visual content, etc.) to appear in all those extra search elements

Tools like InVideo make it easy to create videos for each article you publish. The tool offers a handy “Text to Video” feature allowing you to copy-paste your text to be turned into a cool video with captions, background music (you can sync your own voiceover if you want), and relevant images.

digital content marketing strategy 2021 video creation

2. Instead, Optimize for Customer Journeys

While some marketers would tell you to always select and use your keywords, smarter marketers would also suggest identifying search intent behind each keyword.

A search intent reflects what a user intends to do when typing each search query. There are generally three groups of search intent:

  • informational (a user is merely researching a topic),
  • commercial (a user intends to buy) and
  • navigational (a user wants to go to a particular website).

Well, while optimizing for search intent is probably a smart idea, it is also a bit too generic and outdated in 2021.

Buying and searching behaviors have got much more complicated than that. Many searches are being done while in the middle of a task or on the go. Today’s web user is a multi-tasker juggling multiple browser tabs and even different devices at the same time.

So instead of focusing on individual keywords and possible search intent behind each one, optimize for particular customer journeys (i.e. what your target customer was doing before searching and where they will be more interested to head afterward).

Your target search result page (i.e. the one you want your page to appear on) will give you lots of clues of possible customer journeys and micro-intents. If you search for something like [grow tomatoes], you’ll notice that people searching for this are likely to

  • Want to watch a video
  • Buy gardening supplies
  • Find answers to some beginner-focused questions.
digital content marketing strategy 2021 SERP elements

Overall, while there are multiple possible micro-intents here (buying specific supplies, reading instructions, watching videos, etc.), one thing is clear from looking at this SERP: people who search for this phrase tend to be beginner tomato growers or those who are willing to start.

If you search for something more specific, like [hydroponic tomato grow light], you will get a Google local pack which is a strong indicator that people tend to buy something when searching for this phrase.

digital content marketing strategy 2021 Google local pack

Apart from Google SERPs, semantic analysis tools like Text Optimizer will help you identify all kinds of possible buying journeys to target.

digital content marketing strategy 2021 semantic analysis

3. Prioritize in-Content Customer Engagement

Google is working a lot on providing their users with the best possible user experience. This refers both to their own SERPs as well as to the pages they return in response to each search quality.

From the recent “Intrusive Interstitials” update to the upcoming page experience algorithm roll-out, Google has time and again shown that they wanted their users to be satisfied with the pages that are being served to them.

Content-based pages are no exception.

You want your content to be engaging for those search visitors to be willing to continue to interact with your website instead of leaving right away.

2021 will be the year of user experience prioritization. Is your content strategy ready for that?

There are several ways content can contribute to the overall on-site user experience. Consider focusing on the following tactics:

  • Content structure should be well defined through subheadings. Everything you learned in school on using heading and subheadings to create well-structured essays will turn handy here. Use H2/H3 subheadings to introduce new sections of your content and make your content easier to read through to the part that may be what people were looking for.
  • Consider using an on-page table of contents allowing readers to jump to your content sections that interest them most. This will make your readers’ attention easier to hold.
  • Give your content readers something to take home or play with right away. Offer free downloads, step-by-step instructions they can click through or even videos they can play right away. Anything that engages your readers is a good idea.
  • Avoid intrusive marketing that would interrupt your content readers’ interaction with the site. Turning readers into leads is a valid goal but intrusive marketing practices may drive your site visitors away and you don’t want that to happen.
  • Personalize your in-content CTAs and the further journey through your site. Once any visitor seems to be interested in a particular content piece, customize their experience by showing related products or offerings related CTAs. You can do that by creating separate campaigns inside Finteza. The tool offers powerful remarketing features allowing you to define which CTAs or creatives a user will see based on how they engaged with a particular page:
digital content marketing strategy 2021 personalize content

4. Create Interactive Content

Since content engagement becomes a priority, creating interactive content is a must. While the previous two decades were all about creating visual content, it is all about interactive assets now.

It is not a new concept. We’ve been talking about content gamification (i.e. giving your readers something to play with) for many years now. The only difference is that we have many more advanced tools now that let content creators do more with gamifying their readers’ experiences.

A few of my favorite examples include:

  • Create interactive calculators with Calculoid
  • Set up and embed interactive maps with Map Me
  • Gamify your CTAs or opt-in forms by allowing your readers to win a discount (there’s a quick plugin for that)
digital content marketing strategy 2021 interactive content

Conclusion

It is safe to say that we are all ready for 2020 to be over, so getting prepared for 2021 tends to be a pleasant task. I hope the tools and ideas above will give you some fresh ideas to work on!

Originally published December 15, 2020 - Updated December 21, 2020

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