What Are Content Marketing Best Practices in 2023?
Content marketing stays the driving force of your business success online. As its main goal is growing interest in your company, you cannot skip it from your daily routine.
Yet, there is nothing more permanent than changes and updates in content marketing.
Keeping up with the latest trends is the only way to make your marketing campaigns successful. But where do you even start?
There are lots of respected companies, like Semrush, Statista, Backlinko and others, that conduct content marketing research. So, we studied the latest data and insights they shared to give you the best content marketing practices you should know in 2023. Moreover, they will help you enter 2024 strongly and steadily.
4 main content marketing trends
Everything develops. Google never fails to roll out new rules or guidelines. Internet users, in turn, become more knowledgeable and demanding. So, how does your content marketing cover all that?
We decided to talk about the main trends you should be aware of.
1. Understand your customers’ needs and values
We’ve multiply mentioned that a people-first approach becomes a must for effective content marketing. And Kyle Byers, Director of Organic Search at Semrush, thinks exactly the same.
That’s how he describes their work on Semrush's blog.
- Understanding the reasons behind each search (their search intent).
- Getting to the point, faster.
- Helping readers achieve their goals.
And that’s an awesome formula, to be honest! If you know your audience, you can assume their needs with a higher probability. This way, you can guess what they will be looking for (the search intent).
You can use Google Keyword Planner, Answer the Public, and similar tools to know what people want to find.
Also, match your content with the title tag. Tell readers what they need to know. Do not flood your articles with unnecessary information just to keep up with the recommended content length.
It’s a cool idea to give a short brief with the key points you are going to cover in the article at the very beginning. This way, you make it easier for users to navigate your content.
Also, Kyle advises you to deepen your knowledge about the audience. Be able to understand their:
- paint points,
You can visit forums, see X threads, check Reddit discussions, check topics at conferences, etc., to get a clue.
Of course, there’s a lot of data to take into account. Gladly, there are special AI-enabled tools that will help you gather and structure users’ data. In the end, you can make more detailed profiles and personalize content better.
2. Balancing ranking and click-through rates
Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media Studios CMO and co-founder, thinks that:
The biggest trend has everything to do with click-through rates.
The point is that even if you grow ranks for your site, it might not always demonstrate high CTR. The worst case is that your title tag is not optimized and doesn’t grab readers’ attention. (If that’s the case, check how to write worthy title tags.)
Yet, Google has introduced various changes to the search pages during the last few years. That’s why users can get the required information without clicking on your site’s link via:
- Featured snippets,
- Featured media/maps,
- Knowledge panels,
- Frequently asked questions, etc.
Nevertheless, providing information in this format is still essential (to be more clear - optimizing content for featured snippets). That helps you grow your brand recognition.
Moreover, there are some other cases that can help you drive traffic to your site. According to the expert, guest posting can be your way out when receiving high-quality referral traffic. So, pick respected sites from your industry to place guest posts there.
via Backlinko (Organic Click-Through Statistics)
Though Crestodina puts emphasis on CTR only, we still consider online ranking as a vital success element. Backlinko shares the following data regarding rank and CTR connection:
- 27.6% is the average CTR of the first result in Google’s organic search results,
- The first organic result has 10x more chances to get a click compared to the tenth result,
- 2.8% is the CTR growth when moving up one spot in the search results (usually applies to fifth and higher positions).
As you can see, getting higher on SERP mostly influences your CTR positively. That’s why we advise you to balance online ranking and CTR optimization in 2023 and 2024.
3. Content quality improvement
Content and its quality matter regardless of your business size and its industry.
That’s why it’s vital to allocate time, budget, and effort for content creation and optimization. In fact, Semrush shares that
- 77% of very successful marketers plan to increase the 2023 content marketing budget,
- 79% of very successful marketers place over 10% of the total marketing budget on content,
- 66% of very successful marketers have more than four specialists in the content team,
- 53% of very successful marketers plan to grow their content team in 2023.
Also, you need to ensure you and your content team are aware of the latest Google novelties. That’s why pay attention to Google’s helpful content update.
Here are some brief outtakes:
- The helpful content system generates a signal to make sure people see original, unique, and useful content,
- The system goal is to better reward content where users feel they've had a satisfying experience,
- The system identifies if people-first content is helpful and related to the query,
- Check your content if you see a drop in traffic, and refer to Google’s guide on how to create helpful, reliable, and people-first content,
- Google’s qualifier runs constantly to evaluate and reward helpful content from new or existing sites.
Besides, Margarita Loktionova, Content Marketing Lead at Semrush, advises to share real-life experiences from your brands or its customers. Now, customers seek authenticity alongside helpfulness, expertise, and answering their questions.
Also, she points out that it’s essential to stick to the brand’s tone of voice. This way, your content should represent your values, address the challenges your audience has, and stay consistent across all channels.
And we do agree with these statements. Once again, Google enhanced E-A-T, adding an extra E, so now it’s E-E-A-T.
At the moment, the famous creators’ rule is transcripted as expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Putting experience into E-A-T allows Google to evaluate and show content that includes real-life experiences from brands or people who are experts in certain fields. The new “E” is especially important for topics that require informational quality.
So, when you create content in 2023 and 2024, remember to make it people-first, provide expertise, share experiences, and ensure it’s helpful.
4. Buying your online presence (or online growth)
This nonconventional content marketing prediction is from renowned expert Joe Pulizzi. (If you don’t know who he is, are you even in marketing?)
What Joe recommends is using acquisitions as your target marketing growth strategy.
He suggests employing this approach based on his experience in B2B publishing. Half of the dedicated activities involved acquisitions to reach a target audience.
So, rather than attempting to attract people via newly launched content, Pulizzi and the team have bought blogs, podcasts, newsletters with well-established following.
Yet, he rarely saw this approach in marketing, even though he named this formula really successful. Nevertheless, as the content niche grows, brands have more chances to buy blogs with engaged readers. That allows companies to reach relevant audiences much faster.
He sets the next examples:
- L’Oreal bought a content site called makeup com.
- Salesforce purchased CMO Club.
- Hubspot purchased the Hustle.
But the list goes on, of course.
This approach will probably apply better to brands with big to huge budgets. It will be somewhat taught to buy another company if you are a startup or a new business.
Content marketing result evaluation
It’s essential to measure your content marketing effort. And it’s awesome that more and more content marketers understand it.
Surely, you need to have a documented content marketing strategy to be able to evaluate results later. 66% of professionals had one in 2023 (and that’s 9% more compared to last year).
Thanks to this, marketers understand what tactics were successful.
For instance, 45% of professionals reported that researching and adding related keywords in addition to the primary keywords allowed blogs to rank higher. Addressing users’ questions and adding visuals were the second and third most important growth factors.
via Semrush State of Content Marketing 2023
Also, marketers agreed that videos and written content engaged the most users. As such, use:
- 43% of content marketing specialists said short-form videos perform the best,
- 33% of professionals reported that company/product videos and success story videos about customers showed great results,
- short-form articles, success stories, and long-form blog posts performed the best.
Based on content marketing result evaluation, marketers share the following factors that led to success:
- 47% researching the audience,
- 46% SEO,
- 45% publishing more content, increasing posting frequency,
- 44% improving content quality and value,
- 42% updating and repurposing existing content.
Respectively, result evaluation correlates with the shared trends by experts. As such, knowing your audience allows you to create better and more effective content.
Overall, content marketers feel serious about auditing their efforts. Here’s how often specialists conduct the audits.
via Semrush State of Content Marketing 2023
The majority of professionals check on their content, strategy, and performance quite often. We consider it smart and logical. Taking into account that Google often drops various updates, it’s vital to comply with the existing rules.
Read also Top 5 Content Audit Tools to Try in 2023
Top-class organic content creation
Organic content brings better ROI. So, in 2023 and 2024, focus on this type of content.
Gladly, Semrush did a huge research in its State of Content Marketing 2023. And we are going to share some key findings from it.
Turns out some article types are more widespread than others and bring better results. As a matter of fact,
- Everything You Need To Know,
- Top + Number,
kinds of blog posts receive more average unique pageviews. Thus, the gap between Comparison and Top + Number content is palpable.
It’s also interesting even though Everything You Need To Know and Comparison articles produce the most pageviews; they are not really common. So, you can have a chance to stand out from competitors and attract more organic traffic to your website.
There are also six main factors that allot the article’s success (in terms of organic views):
- Original research,
- H-tag structure,
- User-focused structure,
- Constant updates,
- Awesome reader experience,
- Quality trumps quantity.
Also, we’ve mentioned that visual marketing is vital nowadays. And Semrush study confirms this. As a matter of fact, articles with 7+ images get the most:
- unique pageviews,
Yet, only 5% of the 500,000 articles reviewed in the research have over seven pictures. This data is your sign to employ more visuals in your blog posts - five to seven (or even up) images can improve your content’s performance.
Also, don’t forget that readability also impacts content success. This way, if you work in any industry except scientific or related to it, do not overcomplicate your texts.
The study finds that the highest performing content is:
- 33% fairly easy to read,
- 33% standard to read.
Use tools like Grammarly, Hemingway App, or Flesch Reading Ease. Each service will give a transcript of your content.
While quality is more important than content length, your article still shouldn’t be too short. Long-form content still tends to bring better organic results.
via Semrush State of Content Marketing 2023
As such, it’s better to produce 1,000+ words blog posts. By the way, we’ve made a study about content length and suggest you take a look at it.
As you can see, there are more chances and opportunities to attract more traffic thanks to smart content marketing.
Various pieces of research show that content should be people-centered, qualitative, expert, and show real-life experiences. That will allow you to rank better, gain new readers, and establish your brand.
Some unconventional marketing approaches can help you develop your content marketing.
If you are not ready to test something unusual, put emphasis on content class, its length, readability, expertness, and helpfulness.
Read Adsy's blog to stay aware of the latest content marketing trends and insights and get handy tips each week.