19 Jan 2023 News Social media Strategy Writing

What does content marketing look like in 2023? 

2023 in balloons

Content marketing is a broad term. In some cases, it’s used to describe any type of online content that is intended to increase brand awareness and drive sales. But, in other cases, it can be something as simple as a blog post or video. Content marketing has been around since the early days of the internet and continues to grow at an exponential rate every year.

This growth doesn’t show any sign of slowing down either – in fact, some experts predict that content creation will double again by 2028 with the content marketing industry growing from £300bn to £700bn. 

Content marketing will continue its growth trends into 2023 and beyond 

We see more organisations wanting to create better content – a mantra of ours, and one that I believe is perfectly achievable with the right help and guidance. It’s for sound business reasoning: content marketing is a fantastic way to reach your audience, build relationships with them and create a community of people who are interested in what you have to say. 

With such a variety of different content types to create, content marketing is here to stay. So, what do I think it looks like in 2023? 

Short-form video content dominates social media 

You’ve seen it everywhere. Short-form visual content dominates social media these days. Ask yourself what format of content you consume more of on social media in your personal life. With TikTok, Instagram and Facebook Reels, and YouTube Shorts, there’s no shortage of platforms where short-form video is present. 

Attention spans are shrinking. The dopamine hit from watching a short is instant. You often see content from people you were not necessarily aware of, which is exciting in itself. Some of the content is outstanding in its production. 

What sort of content do we tend to see in short-form video? 

  • Personal stories 
  • Comedy 
  • Demonstrations 
  • Education 
  • Shopping – with tags, some livestreaming for this 
  • Positivity 
  • Business stories 

The content possibilities are endless – it’s the format that’s important here. The ability for someone to stitch/remix, comment and share, makes short-form video a must- do format for your content marketing strategy in 2023. 

According to HubSpot, consumers are relying on videos from brands when making purchasing decisions. A business looking to be strategic, therefore, will give its audience what it wants. 

TikTok becomes a mainstream advertising platform 

The Chinese tech company ByteDance, which owns TikTok (and other social networks like Douyin), has already made significant investments into expanding its advertising offerings. In 2019, they opened up the platform to brands and media companies with the goal of making it a more viable option for advertisers. 

They’re going for ad budgets hard. The FT reports that TikTok is pursuing a strategy of undercutting other social media ad platforms to try to grow this side of their business. From the work we do with TikTok advertising, and the proactive approach they take with companies like LikeMind Media, this sounds about right. It makes sense: if TikTok is where the attention is, now is the time to monetise that. 

I think we’ll see more companies look at TikTok’s advertising platform. The functionality is like other platforms, so the learning curve is relatively short – it’s the creative that’s different. 

The idea of an influencer will change 

Influencers will be more than just individuals with large followings. Influencers already include niche experts, industry leaders and brands themselves. 

Niche experts are often overlooked as “micro-influencers” but they can be just as powerful for specific audiences. For example, an influencer who shares their knowledge on how to make the perfect steak recipe may not have millions of followers – but if you’re a hardcore grilling enthusiast looking for new recipes, that may be all you need. 

When algorithms focus on presenting the best content, most relevant to the individual user, the content itself becomes much more important than the person presenting it. 

Brands will be able to tap into real-time user-generated content opportunities and amplify them with paid advertising efforts. This could be a combination of real customers (it’s a great idea to tell your customers that you’d love them to create content with your product, or about your service) and content creators, to whom you send your product and ask them to create content on your behalf that you can then use.  

This latter option is a fledgling industry, but one that is already here. It offers an effective way of creating a variety of content, with a diverse range of people involved in your campaign. 

Branded subscription services deliver exclusive content to paying customers on a regular basis 

Branded subscription services (like Patreon, Substack, even Medium) are a terrific way to keep your audience engaged and loyal. These services deliver exclusive content, a lot of which is tailored around the interests of subscribers. This means you can give them a more personal experience and build familiarity with the brand. 

It’s also worth noting that these kinds of paid subscriptions aren’t exactly new; they’re just digital versions of what magazines and mail-based newsletters have been doing for years. For example, Oprah Winfrey launched her own magazine in 2000 (O, The Oprah Magazine), which became one of the most successful US magazines ever with more than 3 million copies sold monthly at its peak circulation rate in 2005 – a far cry from its current circulation rate of 1 million per month (but still quite impressive). 

During the last year, particularly with the launch of LinkedIn newsletters, and with concern over Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, there has been a rush to build audiences elsewhere. Monetising the process also makes sense. I expect this to grow in 2023. 

Podcasting continues to grow in popularity 

There seems to be no slow down in the growth of podcasting. Since the start of the pandemic, more people have realised that it doesn’t take a huge investment to start recording. With free hosting platforms such as Anchor, the costs of starting a podcast are incredibly low. 

The increase in the use of video in podcasting is probably where we’ll see most development for those that already have a podcast. Of course, this increases the effort and resources needed to run the podcast, but it also increases the overall quality of the final product. On that basis, I expect to see more video podcasts in 2023. 

AI (Artificial Intelligence) will develop further, and people will dive right in 

With tools like ChatGPT exploding over the Christmas and New Year period, it’s tempting to think that the days of human-created content are numbered. It’s certainly an interesting time, but I don’t feel it’s too much of a threat at this stage. 

The new skill to utilise AI successfully looks to be in the quality of input you enter into any tool. People are muddling through this now, and the tools will develop because of the data users input. For now, though, most AI tools can’t replicate the emotion that a human puts into content creation – whether creating a graphic, a video, or a written article. That means, the human-written piece will perform better, connecting with the audience. 

The future of content marketing is bright 

These are just some ideas of where I see content marketing going this year. From working in content for many years, one thing I can guarantee is that we’ll see unexpected change, too. I’ve always found that it’s important to keep an ear to the ground, see what people are doing and develop our own strategies as a result. 

Keep up to date with the latest thinking by reading more articles in the Learning Lounge, written by our content experts. If you don’t want to miss anything, then sign up to our learning letter, delivered monthly. 

If you want direct help in putting together a content strategy for your business, please get in touch with us – we’ll be delighted to push your organisation forward. 

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