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The future of marketing; predictions and trends for 2021

Kirsty1st December 2020

It’s fair to say that marketing, and our approach to marketing, has been dramatically altered over the past year. With the COVID-19 pandemic catching us all off guard, amidst various ethical and political ongoings, it’s interesting to theorize how the events of 2020 will affect the marketing industry in 2021.

We asked a few of our favorite marketing pros for their thoughts and opinions on where we’re headed for the year of 2021 with reference to trends, essential tips for next year, key marketing advice, as well as which channels and technologies to look out for.

So without further ado, we’d like to offer a special thanks to all who contributed to what is sure to be essential advice as we approach January 2021. Let’s get into it...

Our experts

  • Andy Lambert
  • Simon Bates
  • Meg Sullivan Staknis
  • Catherine Maskell
  • Rob John
  • Dan Knowlton
  • Sophie Clark
  • Mari Smith
  • Lenka Koppová
  • James Sandbrook
  • Joe Glover
  • Harry Dry
  • Paul Ince
  • Vanessa Daly

Andy headshot

Andy Lambert, Co-Founder and Director of Growth at ContentCal

Personal 'Brand' becoming integral to a content marketing strategy. The evolution of content marketing outside of the marketing team, involving others in the creation process. Content and commerce will become more intrinsically linked.

The growth of e-commerce. Forecasted to grow 10% over the next 5 years, the social channels will be increasingly pushing towards social commerce. The opportunity for brands will be to re-think how they can package propositions to be purchased directly on social channels.

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

The buy-in from a leadership team. Your content strategy is fast becoming your go-to-market strategy. For that reason, business leaders need to take the opportunity afforded through content marketing seriously.

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

Channels that answer people's questions will continue to grow; YouTube, Reddit, Quora, Facebook Groups and Pinterest come to mind here. These platforms offer users utility and a resource for learning. They also offer marketers an unrivaled way to understand what's happening in the market such as the questions being asked and the challenges being faced. They also offer brands a fantastic way to weave themselves into the narrative of the market.

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Understand who you are targeting and be focused on it. Be clear about 'what you want to be known for'. A great way of doing this is through the creation of content themes that can be  built into a clear, practical plan; a plan you can commit to and be consistent with.

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

A tool to facilitate co-creation, a tool to plan and organize all content across multiple channels and align the activity to objectives, and a tool to ensure everyone across the businesses understands what's happening.

Simon headshot

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Note: Looking to get started on your social media strategy for 2021? Book in for your free social media strategy session and we'll show you how to analyze competitors, devise your content themes, and more.

Simon Bates, Co-Founder and Content Director at Touchpaper

Storytelling tech (away from pdf), text-heavy video, and dynamic content (1-1 marketing).

Podcasts (for those with a large email audience), refreshing the best existing content, and visual data for storytelling.

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

How to remain creative and joined up when the team is apart. Understanding how the audience consumes content differently while WFH.

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

Facebook will finally clean up its act and find a way of determining value beyond clickbait headlines and provocative / bubble-oriented headlines.

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Start and end with the audience. What do they need/desire? How are they engaging with your content? If you're not spending a decent amount of time speaking to the customer and your sales team, you're not putting yourself in a position to win.

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

Short-form video generator (e.g. Lumen5). Keyword planning (AHRefs, Moz, etc). Data visualisation software.

Meg headshot

Meg Sullivan Staknis, Managing Director at Imprint

Content that combines different media. Content that's accurate and fact-checked as credibility is more important than ever. Extraneous production processes aren't coming back - agile and easy continue apace.

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

Strong brands lead meaningful conversations - content is key to that.

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

It depends on your audience; mobile and social platforms like LinkedIn for B2B and video platforms like YouTube and TikTok for DTC because everyone wants to watch and interact.

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Make sure your content is optimized for search engine pick-up.

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

Google, LinkedIn, and interactive video.

Catherine Headshot

Catherine Maskell, Founder at TPD Marketing

An increase in IGTV for series content, filters, and story sharing.

Filters, IGTV, Stories

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

Brand purpose

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

Instagram - everyone is bored of everything else

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Engage your employees in your content

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

Apps, phones, games consoles

Rob headshot

Rob John, Membership Director at The Content Marketing Association

There will be a greater focus on audience engagement due to slower sales cycles. Businesses will need to think more about the 'where'. 'Where' will this content be consumed? For example, podcasts on the commute. If people aren't commuting, where will they find our content? Businesses will need to offer more practical advice and a genuine offering of knowledge. A little like the Burger King, make your own Whopper recipe. I think more of this is needed in 2021.

Helping the consumer. I really think that brands will need to show worth at a time they can't push sales.

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

Agility; having a plan but being able to adapt or change path slightly at a moment's notice. Especially, if we look back at the last nine months. Gov announcements can change plans within days. This rarely used to happen pre-covid

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

Instagram, because, well... it's Instagram!

Pinterest too. It’s an incredibly underused platform. It's simple to use for the average user, but incredibly hard to get to grips with (from a large number of people I speak to). If they can make it easier, it'll win!

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Consistency but keep a conversation with the audience open. Find out what they like/dislike, and what they're looking for. Remember that although COVID is terrible, it's creating/has created a time of change, whether that's in people’s habits or thought-process. Now's a great time to get into your audience's good books

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

As more of us use strong design, it's not good enough to have sub-standard imagery. Tools such as Adobe/Canva will be critical.

Zoom is critical to all, but provides a great opportunity to have webinars with an audience that may not have been keen on it before (especially B2C). I'm a subscriber to Nat Geo and they offer some great virtual events!

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Note: Now is the perfect time to start planning for 2021 Book in for your free social media strategy session now and we'll show you how to create the perfect social media strategy that'll bring real results.

Dan headshot

Dan Knowlton, Co-Founder and CMO at Knowlton

More focus on content that can be produced whilst working from home e.g. podcast interviews via zoom. More 'raw' user-generated content e.g. customer unboxings etc. Social media platforms that focus on 'fun' & 'positivity' will rise to the top (like TikTok).

LinkedIn Stories will evolve its features and functionality to get close to where Instagram Stories is now. Most live video on social platforms will continue to be low-quality content. Podcasting will continue to grow.

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

Different levels of content that are mapped to the decision-making process of the consumer. A heavy focus on how you will get eyeballs on your content (this is often an afterthought).

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

Digital channels, especially social media. Why? because more and more of our time/attention is being spent on these channels, especially due to the pandemic.

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Take at least a whole day out of your business to develop your content strategy. Start by detailing exactly who it is you are trying to target. Research to find out which platforms they spend their time on. Learn how to use those platforms effectively (Google it). Map out the different levels of content you will produce on the platform (awareness, consideration & purchase). Create an action plan outlining all of the actions you need to take to effectively plan, produce & distribute the content on the chosen platform(s). Schedule all of these actions in your calendar. Learn what works and what doesn't. Do more of what works and spend 20% of your time testing completely new approaches/channels. Take over the world.

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

Social media platforms. Video editing software e.g. Adobe Premiere Pro. Sales funnel & CRM management software e.g. Hubspot.

Sophie Clark

Sophie Clark, Marketing lead - UK & Nordics at Talkwalker

Old school formats for content (e.g., newsletters and podcasts) will continue to grow in popularity as people look to cut through the noise and access curated content tailored to their interests.

COVID-19 has emphasised the need for brands to create more meaningful connections with their audiences, so we'll see an increase in customer-centric content over sales-led content.

Audiences, particularly Gen Z & Alpha, are much more socially and politically aware, so we'll see more content that taps into this growing sentiment for change and brand responsibility.

The creation of UGC via platforms such as TikTok and Koji really exploded during the pandemic, as people were stuck at home and looking for entertainment. I see this trend continuing into 2021 as people use this sort of content as a way of expressing themselves.

2020 also saw a real awakening of many to social and political challenges, from racial inequality to climate change. These are challenges that are unlikely to go away in 2021, so we'll see consumers demand that brands who want their business become part of the solution, rather than contributing to the problem.

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

Brands will need to really listen and connect with their audiences in a genuine and meaningful way. The focus for brands should be on understanding the content their customers actually want and need, rather than pushing their own agendas. We see that people are already beginning to look for more curated content, so if a brand can't provide what they need, they'll just go elsewhere.

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

I think the main social media platforms - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube - will still dominate, but will evolve to compete with rapidly growing newcomers like TikTok. Video content really took off in 2020 thanks, in part, to channels like TikTok, so I think video-based platforms will continue to grow in strength.

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

It's an old saying, but more relevant than ever: the customer is king (or queen)! You need to fully understand your target audience, and focus on producing content that truly resonates with them. This needs to be done in an authentic way though, so any content you put out there must align with your brand message. If not, your audience won't believe it.

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

Social listening tools will, of course, be crucial in helping to understand your audience; the conversations they're having, the topics they're interested in etc. Hand in hand with social listening is SEO; once you know what topics resonate with your audience, you need to make sure you can cut through the noise. And finally, any technology that helps you create content which provides a more human connection; video, audio etc. will be critical in 2021.

Mari headshot

Mari Smith, Facebook Marketing Expert, Social Media Influencer, Speaker + Author

Video, especially live streaming, micro content (Stories, Reels and more), and virtual events (including Facebook’s new Paid Online Events).

Groups. Use of Facebook Groups to build community. I’m seeing more and more SaaS companies, for example, focus on building highly active peer support groups consisting mostly of paying subscribers but also including prospects.

Messaging. Now that the Instagram API is opening up for businesses to connect with their audiences via Messenger, we’ll see a rise in chatbots for pre- and post- sales support.

Shopping. Mobile commerce will grow significantly in 2021, especially on Facebook and Instagram, and definitely when real-time shopping while livestreaming becomes more widely available on both apps.

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

Empathy. In all types of content, but particularly video. This has been an exceedingly challenging year across the globe for all of us. Those businesses that can truly humanize their online presence will win the day. It’s all P2P: people to people. Strive to craft emotionally intelligent videos, graphics, podcasts and blog posts that tell a story people can really relate to.

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp combined. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is more determined than ever to forge ahead with interoperability plans and bake his company’s big four apps together. This is showing up now with Facebook/Instagram Shops where customers can also check out in Facebook Messenger, or soon in Instagram Direct, or eventually in WhatsApp.

We’ll also see the continued rise of TikTok and likely competitors such as Triller. Some small apps may come and go. We could see a growing demand for more private channels and/or apps that don’t vet content as much as mainstream ones do. By the end of 2021, it’s quite feasible that a whole new app will have sprung up with a big splash.

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Keep your eyes on the prize, no matter what. That means, laser focus on your OWN goals for your own business. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted and detracted from what’s important to you. For example, I teach a simple three-part model to my clients and students that is evergreen. It works no matter what the app du jour is, and no matter what changes are happening on the social media landscape, especially Facebook which is constantly changing.

The model is: Content + Engagement + Conversion = Results. Rinse. Repeat.

So, stay focused on the apps that work for your market. And never forget that third component of the model: conversion. I see a lot of marketers miss out on generating leads and asking for the sale.

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

Live streaming will be critical – both hardware and software. It's crucial to ensure your broadcasts are professional and good quality.

Video tools will also be important – allowing for the ability to create excellent video content in all formats and lengths at scale. I’m a big fan of Wave, InVideo and Boosted*.

Community management tools are also something to look into in 2021– using effective systems and apps to ensure you don’t miss responding to conversations. Facebook’s combined inbox these days works fine. Or, my team and I use ManyChat and Agorapulse*.

*Disclosure: I am a Brand Ambassador for these companies.

Lenka headshot

Lenka Koppová, Social Media Marketing Consultant at

Lenka Koppova Social Media

2020 has been a very interesting year when it comes to content marketing and I’m really excited to see where 2021 will take us!

With the growing popularity of platforms like TikTok and an increasing focus of major social networks on offering similar features on their channels, I think that 2021 content marketing will be driven by creative short-form video, TikTok and Reels, real-time, raw, personal video such as Stories, and on-platform content (using storytelling and visual side decks).

At the beginning of 2020, marketing experts have predicted that this year will be driven by video content, but no one could guess how true this would turn out to be. Video, be it short-form videos like Stories or TikToks or long-form live streams, webinars and online workshops have become an irreplaceable part of our daily lives (as well as a big part of our marketing efforts).

If you’re ‘not doing video’ in 2020, you’re missing out. I know that video isn’t for everyone, but if you can, definitely give it a try. But even if you don’t feel like starting with video marketing just yet, you can explore new opportunities by leveraging your design, craft, typography or storytelling skills.

Another 2020 trend that I believe will still be relevant in 2021 is personalisation and focus on less scalable, more meaningful 1-2-1 communication between brands and customers.

Be it via email marketing, on social media channels or in private messages. Taking the time to listen, get to know your prospects and customers and design a customised content for them will be the key to success, in my opinion. It can be a video reply on Twitter, voice message on Instagram or LinkedIn or hosting small group chats via Messenger Rooms for your Group members.

One last trend that was highlighted this year and will still be very much ‘on trend’ next year is the focus on communities. From FB Groups, group chats, private forums, fans or followers of a particular hashtag, building strong communities around your business and your purpose won’t go anywhere in 2021. We all need to feel like we belong, find our tribe and be part of a supportive community, to help us manage the roller coaster of emotion and challenges.

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

I think that in 2021 it’ll be even more important than ever before to have a plan! It’ll be the combination of both strategic planning and reactive content creation, that will have the most impact.

With a plan in place, you’ll understand your goals and you’ll have a clear framework to guide you. That will allow you to create content faster and react to the latest trends as well as to have more fun with your content. Tap into your hidden creativity and create better-performing content!

Especially for small businesses, personal storytelling will be powerful to help you connect with your prospects and help you build strong communities around your brand. But even big brands will have to stop hiding behind their logo and start showing more of their personal, authentic, human side.

When it comes to executing your content plan, I believe that the combination of speed and unique creativity will bring you explosive results!

With all platforms focusing on short-form content in one form or the other, there are fewer barriers to getting started and have fun with your content than ever before.

It might be raw and unpolished, but the creativity and speed of creation on platforms like TikTok or Instagram Reels or Stories will shake the content marketing scene quite a bit. Creators on these channels understand the power of infotainment and are providing short-form, fast-paced videos that are timely, relevant and highly engaging.

We all will need to step up outside of our comfort zone and start doing content differently. I don’t think that website content such as blog posts or downloadable whitepapers shouldn’t be part of your content strategy in 2021, but I believe we should pay more attention to creating high-quality, branded ‘on platform’ content (meaning content that lives on individual platforms without trying to take the person away to your website/mailing list/YouTube).

All the platforms are giving us tools to do so, from new features like Reels, Stories to Instagram Guides or LinkedIn PDF/slide share, we have more options than ever to be creative with our content and engage our prospects on individual platforms.

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

In 2020 it became clearer that platforms who are really specific about their purpose and their ideal audience are spending their development time wisely and are providing their users with useful tools - are growing much faster than other platforms.

I think that Instagram and LinkedIn will continue to grow pretty fast in 2021, as well as Facebook Groups and TikTok will stay very popular. All these channels have a clear demographic and support specific purposes of its users.

Instagram with a never-ending flow of new features, stickers, shopping options, content tools and much more is making it clear that they’re here to help businesses and creators to utilise the platform to the max. They’re reacting fast to the current changes and help people to stay visible and continue to market their businesses. And that's what users want!

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Focus!

Especially if you’re a solopreneur or have a small team, focus your efforts and get familiar with 1 or 2 platforms really well. I’d recommend investing some time and resources into learning all the ins and out of one primary platform and getting a better understanding of all its functionalities really well.

With new features, algorithm changes and/or software updated coming at us faster than ever, it’s pretty much impossible to stay on the top of all of them. But all the social media platforms require you to use all (as many as you can) of its features, to really get the best results!

That’s why my key advice is to focus! Focus on one platform, focus on your niche, focus on one type of content and really hone your skills in this area.

You can still spend some time experimenting with new channels and content ideas, but make sure you’ve covered your bases first!

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

I don’t think it matters what particular technology you’re using, as long as it does what you need it to do. It needs to be efficient and save you time, money, effort or ideally all three.

From my experience, there are two types of technologies that help us get greater results from content marketing.

The first one is a content planning and scheduling tool, like ContentCal, where we can map out our strategy, implement it, use it for ideation, creation, planning, scheduling, publishing and monitoring and measuring as well as team collaboration. All in one!

The second type of technology are tools that help us with creativity, content creation and repurposing. Be it a simple graphic design tool like Canva where we can quickly create on stand-out on-brand visuals (and simple animations too) or video captioning software like Quicc that helps us with quickly finishing our videos with on-brand captions. Content creation tools like these are a must-have.

I’m a big fan of all the above-mentioned tools in particular because they always innovate, they are always bringing more groundbreaking features to make their technologies even more helpful and practical for content and social media marketers like myself!

James headshot

James Sandbrook, Founder of This is Human + Co-Founder of The Marketing Meetup

I think the Humanising of content is going to be big as I believe people are already showing more compassion during and post-pandemic. I think this will manifest in a more open style of content creation sharing behind the scenes.

Linkedin will also continue to grow in popularity as more options to create content for b2b brands evolve. I see more using LI Stories for example.

I think brands will talk about their wider purpose, their impact on the environment and they will ensure greater inclusivity in general. Content will be far more considered as society reflects more about its actions and impact, so brands will mirror that sentiment.

Short-form storytelling with Stories across all platforms

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

Showing empathy to what feels like a very fragile world. If we miraculously cure COVID or have a huge breakthrough, I believe there will be a great hunger and enthusiasm for getting life going again which brands could really capitalise on.

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

Linkedin is evolving to be a much better storytelling platform. As a result people will come back to follow those journeys. TikTok is also sure to dominate; the speed at which it is evolving and growing offers many opportunities for brands that aren't currently sure how to use it or what to do. And finally, YouTube as it remains invaluable as a search resource. Also with YT Originals, it is already becoming a default place to be entertained as well as educated.

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Listen to your audience. Talk to them, not at them. If you understand the needs and desires of your clients and can create content that entertains or adds value. If you back this up with exceptional brand experiences, you'll win.

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

Content Management System that can handle lots of conversations not just posts.

Editing software for video. The easier the better for many.

Joe headshot

Joe Glover, Founder of The Marketing Meetup, Co-Host of Humans Come First & The Marketing Meetup Podcast

I think we'll see a humanising of brands through personal profiles. Linkedin is a prime example where things are human first - indeed, company profiles barely work in comparison to personal ones.

Secondly, content will be faster. This is in response to the times as much as anything. We're all having to move quicker, and I don't think content will be any different.

Finally, I wouldn't be surprised to see a greater push on 'how to' content as opposed to larger picture discussion. As people are moving so fast, they're looking to know what to do, rather than how to think about it

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

Effort is the great leveller. It's easy to produce content - it's hard to produce content people want and like.For that reason, I think gile, grit, and determination will count as much as any tech based solution!

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

LinkedIn I think has won 2021. Descript for creating short videos is a new, shiny tool in my life too, which could up both blog and video content to a whole new level.

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

It's not about short or long-term thinking, it's about doing both. Know how you're going to qualify success, and then make sure everyone is aligned.

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

Descript, Linkedin, ContentCal

Harry headshot

Harry Dry, Founder at Marketing Examples

Twitter threads, more Instagram carousel posts, more longform newsletters.

Twitter threads, Instagram carousel, longform newsletters. Essentially put the value on the platform itself!

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

Being selective. Not posting bad content is as important as posting good content.

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

Same old. Same old... Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc... Also I think Indie Hackers will have another big year.

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Give value on the platform that the user is already using.

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

Veed for videos, Sketch for good design and a very basic graph of Google Analytics. That's all you need.

Paul headshot

Paul Ince, Director at LikeMind Media, Founder of MarketEd Live

Podcasts will increase in popularity - but delivering content that is original will increasingly be a challenge.

Live streaming will finally start to look more professional as people get used to consuming remotely - those that will succeed will be those that consider the audience experience.

Stories will be the dominant feed in Instagram, will feel awkward on LinkedIn

Sadly, I feel the deterioration of the beautifully crafted Instagram post will continue, making it just another platform that has a mishmash of promotional, aggrandising guff.

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

Listening to changes in public mood. We'll still be in the grips of the pandemic for at least several months, if not all of 2021. Things can change in an instant. Throw in the likely fallout from the US election and people are really going to need to think carefully about what they produce.

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

Instagram. It's clearly where all Facebook's money is going. But, more specifically, assuming the current crisis means more people shop online, Instagram Shops will push it further ahead.

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Be prepared to flex. Brands need to have what I call 'marketing plasticity': the ability to adapt their message and delivery method to meet the current mood. Tone of voice is critical, but it has to be genuine and believable.

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

The internet is critical so don't take it for granted!

The Facebook Ads platform will also be important as businesses as likely to be beholden to random rules and AI tehy develop. Understanding what this means for you, and whether you should participate in it will make a difference.

AR won't be mainstream, but in a world where you can't necessarily go and touch/try something, finding a way for a customer to interact with your brand can be helpful.

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Note: Looking for a little guidance on how to implement this advice in your strategy for 2021? Book in for your free social media strategy session and we'll run through the strategy creating process, step by step.

Vanessa headshot

Vanessa Daly, Head of Marketing at Third Light

AI powered content creation will trend. As demand for content increases dramatically, there will be further integration of AI and machine learning to help speed up content creation, such as video and blog posts.

With more marketers looking to build long term trust with their audiences, creation of user generated content will increase both in the B2B and B2B sectors. For example, video testimonials from customers created using mobile devices, without the need of professional equipment.

Investment in conversational marketing tools will increase, as more marketers look to create a more human and personalised experience with their audiences at scale.

Video content creation will continue to accelerate, both for personal brands and business brands. Professional social networks like LinkedIn will continue to grow exponentially to meet the increasing demand for content and sharing of ideas with peers. Networking virtually will remain a standard way to meet other professionals, and dynamic new features will enable a more interactive experience.

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

Having a content strategy that has your brand values at the heart of it, ensuring that your copywriting for storytelling is clear, concise, and connecting with your target audience. Whether you work in B2B or B2C, in our evolved digital world it will be essential that marketers create a content strategy for their organisations that’s built around creating human-centred content, to help build trust and gain new customers.

Which channels will dominate in 2021 and why?

Due to limited opportunities for face-to-face networking and demand for professional advice and educational content increasing, LinkedIn usage will be even stronger in 2021.

Social media video channels like TikTok will make a stronger appearance in the business world in 2021, as demand for authentic user generated content increases.

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

Step up to the new ways by using tools and channels available to create content while also being agile and staying true to your brand values. Provide truly authentic and valuable content that resonates with your audience.

What three technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

AI content creation tools that will speed up how marketers and other contributors within an organisation create and post content.

Collaboration tools that seamlessly integrate with existing apps will allow content marketers to create, share and publish content quicker.

More sophisticated data-driven tools are needed to help marketers create more personalised content for their audiences

Want the summary?

Here’s a round-up of everything our marketing experts said in response to our questions.

  • Personal brand becoming integral to strategy
  • The evolution of content marketing outside of the marketing team
  • Content and commerce becoming more intrinsically linked
  • Storytelling tech
  • Text-heavy video
  • Dynamic content
  • Content that combines different media
  • Content that’s accurate and fact-checked
  • A focus on audience engagement
  • More thinking about ‘where’ content will be consumed
  • Practical advice and genuine knowledge offerings
  • More focus on content that can be produced while WFH
  • More raw user-generated content
  • Social media platforms focusing on fun and positivity will rise in popularity
  • Old school formats (such as podcasts and newsletters) will grow in popularity
  • Increase in customer-centric content (over sales-led content)
  • More content that taps into growing sentiment for change and brand responsibility
  • Video, especially live streaming
  • Micro-content such as Stories
  • Virtual events
  • Humanizing of content
  • The growth of LinkedIn + LinkedIn Stories
  • Brands will talk more about their wider purpose and impact and will include more inclusivity
  • More ‘How-to’ content
  • More longform newsletters
  • More Twitter threads
  • More podcasts
  • More Stories
  • AI powered content creation
  • More investment in conversational marketing tools

What do you think will be essential for a content marketing strategy in 2021?

  • The buy-in from a leadership team
  • Ability to remain creative and united when the team is apart
  • Ability to understand how the audience consumed content differently while WFH
  • Strong brands lead meaningful conversations so remember that content is key
  • Brand purpose
  • Agility
  • Putting a heavier focus on how you are getting eyeballs to your content
  • Understanding the content customers actually want and need rather than pushing own agenda
  • Empathy
  • Have a plan and stick to it
  • Use personal storytelling
  • Execute your plan with speed and creativity
  • Step outside of your comfort zone
  • Be selective with your content choices
  • Listen to changes in public mood
  • Put your brand values at the heart of your content strategy

Which channels will dominate in 2021?

  • Channels that answer people’s questions
  • Youtube
  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Facebook Groups
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • TikTok
  • Instagram
  • All digital channels
  • WhatsApp

What one key piece of advice would you offer someone that will help them improve their results in 2021?

  • Understand how you are targeting and stayed focused on them
  • Be clear on what you want your brand to be known for
  • Focus on what your audience actually wants and needs
  • Optimize your content for search engines
  • Engage employees in your content
  • Stay consistent but keep a conversation with the audience open
  • Take your time when developing your content strategy
  • Really listen to and connect with your audience
  • Keep your eyes on the prize!
  • Think about the short-term and long-term
  • Give value on the platform the user is already using
  • Be prepared to flex
  • Try new tools and channels
  • Provide authentic and valuable content

What technologies will be critical for content marketers in 2021?

  • Tools to facilitate co-creation
  • Tools to plan and organize content across multiple channels
  • Short-form video generators like Lumen5
  • Keyword planning tools
  • Data visualization software
  • Interactive video tools
  • Zoom
  • Sales funnel and CRM management software such as Hubspot
  • Social listening tools
  • Any technology that helps you create content to provide a more human connection (video + audio)
  • Tools for live streaming
  • Wave
  • InVideo
  • Boosted
  • Community management tools
  • Scheduling tools like ContentCal
  • Video captioning software like Quicc
  • Graphic design tools like Canva or Adobe
  • Content management systems
  • Video editing software
  • Descript
  • LinkedIn
  • Veed
  • Sketch
  • Google Analytics
  • The internet!
  • AR
  • Facebook Ads Manager
  • AI content creation tools
  • Collaborate tools that integrate with existing apps
  • More sophisticated data-driven tools

Starting to plan your social media strategy for 2021? Book in for a free social media strategy session where we’ll show you how to analyze competitors, develop content themes, and more.


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