2021: A Year of Success and Hope for Content Marketers, Despite the Challenges
As I’ve settled in to 2021, my 2020 experiences will occasionally still infiltrate my thoughts. The past year was one marked by chaos and disruption spanning work, families, and day-to-day life: 2020 was a year few of us will ever forget. Despite the challenges, we’ve also seen resiliency, creativity, and innovation at a time when it’s needed most.
In a world where in-person business largely came to a halt, our customers inspired us in 2020 with the myriad ways they were inspired to create and distribute content using Issuu. Some of our customers shared COVID-19 research, health services, and more critical information at the pandemic’s onset. Others like the NAACP told stories about diversity, hope, and challenging the status quo. Nonprofits like Miry’s List fundraised for refugees during a pandemic. Local organizations and media outlets published and distributed voters guides in the U.S. And marketers and salespeople rose to the occasion, keeping business going, despite the fact that “normal” ways of working were turned upside down.
What’s in store for 2021? Here are our Top 10 predictions:
The digital martech toolkit will grow—and become increasingly integrated.
In past years, marketers and salespeople have had their creativity held back by spending too much energy hacking together the processes and tools needed for content marketing. Martech companies need to free them to focus on creativity by integrating directly with other solutions in the creation, distribution, and measurement tech stack. For example, we recently improved users’ ability to connect Issuu to their Dropbox accounts, making all of their creative files ready for publishing, sharing, and promoting. On the output end, Issuu allows marketers to transform one set of brand-approved content into the right set of assets so that it can be consumed on social networks, embedded in emails, distributed through tools like Mailchimp, Hootsuite, and Hubspot, and more.
Motion graphics and video will be everywhere, even more than before.
As of May 2019, roughly 500 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube alone every minute. There’s a good reason for the increase in video. When people can’t interact in person, they need to rely on moving visuals to educate, entertain, and tell stories. Motion graphics and video are effective at communicating a lot of information in a short amount of time. That’s why content creators and marketers everywhere are embracing the idea of motion graphics, social stories, GIFs, and video to maintain the interest of the ever-shortening attention span of Internet users.
Evergreen content: long form lives forever.
Evergreen content never goes out of style, and it won’t in 2021. It’s typically not about trends; instead, it is in-depth, foundational content with a lifespan of years. Long-form content continues to thrive, augmenting and supporting quick turnaround content that drives social engagement. That’s because audiences will always search on topics like “How to start a business with no capital,” or “10 Ways to Use Customer Marketing to Tell Your Story.”
Remixing content for different channels.
Content marketing is no longer limited to websites and blogs created with a focus on SEO. Today, it’s about getting content out to a wide variety of channels: Shopify, Pinterest, Instagram, emails, mobile, and so on. In 2021, organizations will turn to platforms that enable them to create content once, upload it, remix it, and distribute it to customers digitally, wherever they are.
The rise of the side-hustle: sales of digital content will increase.
When stay-at-home orders went into place around the world, content creators who normally sold print publications needed a seamless way to sell their content online. Between March and September 2020, sales of digital publication units via Issuu increased 841 percent, increasing revenue opportunities for those writers and publishers. The trend toward selling digital content as a way to increase revenue or provide a secondary income stream will continue in 2021.
The growing role of the business storyteller.
While storytelling is mostly associated with entertainment, education, and culture, it also plays a major role in business, especially in the remote world. In 2021, we’ll see the core concepts of storytelling even more widely used to develop brands, sell products and services, and more.
More first-time publishers and content marketers.
The number of first-time creators on Issuu tripled last year as content creators expanded their content marketing to improve customer communications and increase employee engagement during these uncertain times. The total number of new content pieces published also increased 160 percent, a trajectory that will only increase in 2021.
Marketing remotely: more events go digital.
Events and tradeshows will continue to go virtual in 2021, driving an increase in virtual show guides and sponsors’ marketing collateral hosted through Issuu. Corporate content marketers will continue to look for ways to make their previously printed event content digitally available, event-driven or otherwise.
More social channels = new ways to connect and market.
Just when you think Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have the social network landscape sewed up, TikTok, Twitch, and others appear on the scene and capture new audiences. There will be even more social channels with unique twists in 2021, providing marketers with new ways to connect with and market to their audiences.
The migration from neighborhood shops to digital.
Everyone knows the pandemic has been devastating for neighborhood shops, but digital content marketing will continue to help them recover in 2021. Whether posting menus for online ordering and takeout or conducting virtual craft fairs and lookbooks for their goods sold online, neighborhood shops will innovate using digital strategies even more in 2021.
A final thought
All of us are still grappling with a lot of uncertainty as we move into 2021, but I’m inspired by what I’m seeing: our customers—whether they’re salespeople, marketing professionals, entrepreneurs or writers—are continuing to improve and adapt their content strategies to ensure they succeed. We’re looking forward to seeing all of the inspiring and innovative ways they evolve their efforts in 2021.
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