Most businesses nowadays invest in content marketing. And the truth is, the amount of resources they pour into producing and distributing content isn’t insignificant.
According to a recent survey from Semrush, 49% of small businesses spend between $1,000 and $5,000 on content marketing per month, while one quarter spends upwards of the $5,000 mark. Those are huge numbers. And some of those sums represent a significant portion of these brands’ total marketing budgets.
But the issue with heavily investing in content is that high ROI isn’t guaranteed. At least not unless you’re doing your best to keep up with the latest trends. So, if you want to maximize your chances of producing attention-grabbing and conversion-inspiring content in 2024, here are the trends to embrace, along with some examples of how to do it right.
The Use of AI Will Become More Refined
After the release of ChatGPT in late November 2022, AI-created content suddenly began popping up everywhere.
While generative AI brought novelty and excitement at first, it soon turned out that letting artificial intelligence take over content creation wasn’t always the best idea — especially not from an SEO point of view.
With this development, marketers started doing one of two things. Either they gave up on AI, returning to the old days of doing things “by hand.” Or, they recognized the potential of AI tools when used as a support mechanism for content creation and distribution.
In 2024, expect AI use in content marketing to become more refined.
For one, it will continue to be a supportive tool in production. A survey from October 2023 studying how B2B marketers used generative AI revealed that:
- 51% utilize it for brainstorming new topics.
- 45% use it to research headlines and keywords.
- 45% employ AI to write first drafts.
- 23% use AI to create content outlines. And;
- 20% use AI for its ability to proofread texts.
In practice, content like this will work particularly well for short-form blog posts, like the 5 Types of Hazardous Waste guide from eTraining. By using generative AI tools to determine the main points of the article and then employing your team’s expertise to deliver valuable information, advice, and instructions regarding these points, you can create next-level written content. It will attract web visitors and hugely help in positioning your brand as an industry expert.
The alternative way to employ AI in content marketing in 2024 will be to present your leads with personalized content that perfectly caters to their needs.
By analyzing user behavior data, AI can generate personalized content or product recommendations that will appeal to your target audience, thus maximizing engagement. More importantly, this use of AI will allow you to keep web visitors on your site for longer. That improves their chances of finding a solution that fits their needs and establishes your brand’s reputation as a business that proactively works to solve user pain points. For an excellent example of how a brand does this, check out the Sephora website, where visitors can take a quiz to receive product and instruction recommendations based on their goals and preferences.
Social Media as a Search Engine
The second content marketing trend for 2024 you need to be aware of is the rise of social media as a search engine.
According to research, consumers are increasingly starting their product searches on TikTok and Instagram. In fact, data shows that somewhere between 40% and 51% of Gen Z and Millennials start their buying journeys on these platforms. This fact alone proves just how essential it is for your business to invest in attractive social media content.
One of the easiest ways to jump on this trend is to repurpose existing video content for social media. This will minimize the cost of content production and, more importantly, allow your business to leverage the fact that video is in high demand. After all, 89% of consumers want to see more video from brands in 2024.
The Ordinary does a spectacular job with this trend on TikTok, where it produces original short-form video content to answer common user questions about some of its products. If possible, try to recreate a similar tactic for your brand. Use it to promote your solutions as well as to answer your audience’s questions and guide them in the right direction toward solving their pain points.
Original Resources Will Make a Comeback
In 2023, the most popular content marketing trend was producing AI-generated resources. And while it worked wonderfully to help marketers put out more resources without having to spend additional time on the production process, the thing with AI is that it doesn’t conduct original research. It merely collects available data to present readers with an overview (which is often inaccurate) of the available information.
In 2024, marketers looking to capture the attention and trust of their audiences will have to do away with such practices. And one of the content marketing formats that could allow them to reach their goals could be original content.
By using your content marketing budget to produce valuable resources that give your audience something authentic, original, and innovative, you can effectively position your business as the best place for viable solutions.
There are numerous ways to include such original resources in your content marketing strategy — regardless of your preferred distribution channels.
For example, templates and self-service tools like the meal planning templates from Ultimate Meal Plans allow you to present your audience with value without putting any sales pressure on them. And even though choosing this type of format may not lead to an instant conversion, it does maximize your chances of capturing high-quality leads and gives you the opportunity to gently nurture them into loyal customers.
Similarly, you can conduct and publish the results of your original research. For inspiration, check out Digestive Warrior. You’ll see that this article contains an in-depth resource on Histamines that combines the available knowledge from Western medicine, the founder’s personal experiences, and practices from alternative healing practices. The result is an in-depth guide on tackling inflammation, both from a medicine-based approach and one that encompasses the patient’s entire lifestyle.
Interactive Content Will Grow in Popularity
Another prediction for 2024 is that interactive resources will rise in popularity (and demand). And with the imminent release of several much-awaited VR headsets announced for release this year, consumers’ yearning for next-level experiences isn’t a big surprise. Plus, interactive content has been growing in popularity all of last year as well, generating 2x more conversions and 5x more views than its static counterparts.
With this in mind, consider whether there are any interactive formats you can embrace in 2024 to ensure your target audience gets the best possible experience when browsing your website.
Remember, including interactive tools in your content strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. Even something as simple as the Watts, Volts, Amps Calculator page on Shop Solar does a spectacular job of helping web visitors gain insights and value in a faster and more user-friendly way than if they had to read through several pages of written content.
Transparency Will Become Non-Negotiable
Finally, as you explore the content marketing trends for 2024, keep in mind that the upcoming year might require you to adapt the way you approach the content production process — at least from a trust-building point of view.
The latest research shows that there are two entities the majority of consumers trust in 2024. These include scientists and their peers. And, when buyers feel uncertain about a topic, they’re more likely to accept the opinions of their friends and family than those of experts. That shows just how cautious people have become with their information sources.
In terms of investing in high-performing content, this piece of information is essential. It shows that the way to earn people’s trust (and convince them to convert as a result) is to practice transparent communication at all times.
On your company’s blog, this can mean a couple of things.
On the one hand, if you’re creating content for the evaluation and purchase stages of the sales funnel, it might be a good idea to present your readership with a more inclusive overview of available options. If you look at the Smash overview of the Top 10 SBA Loan Investors, you’ll see that the brand mentions several of its competitors. You see, Smash understands that its services can’t be the best possible choice for all web visitors (and that customer satisfaction hugely depends on helping prospects choose the best option for their needs).
On the other hand, being transparent with your audience could also require you to inform web visitors of why your business is giving them free advice. For instance, if you check out the Tom’s Guide Must-Play PS5 Games article, you’ll see a transparency notice at the top of the page that calls readers’ attention to the fact that the business may earn an affiliate commission when people purchase items from the supplied links.
Furthermore, you can even apply these principles to your lead-capture elements. Again, being open about what your audience can expect from your brand is a great way to build a trusting, mutually beneficial relationship that will last a long time. And if that means telling newsletter subscribers how many emails they can expect to receive from you — like StartupResources does at the bottom of its Best Amazon Repricer Tools blog post — then that’s a small concession to make in order to earn your audience’s confidence.
There you have it: some of the biggest content marketing trends for 2024. As you can see, most of these practices show how important it will be for brands to prioritize content quality and user value and practice transparency in the upcoming period.
Of course, if you feel like your business needs to go in a different direction, don’t be afraid to experiment with different formats and strategies. After all, you know your audience the best. So trust your gut (and your customer research) and go with whatever works best for your business and your clients.