Skip to content

Shifting Gears: A Look at the Content Marketing Industry in 2022 [Sponsored]

Sponsored by Semrush

The new year is well underway. Marketing directors have laid out their plans, and their content machines are revving back into action. But what new trends might 2022 have in store for our industry?

For Semrush’s annual State of Content Marketing Global Report, we looked at the data, analyzing more than 500k blog posts and 200k tweets, interviewing experts, and surveying more than 1,500 marketing professionals from all across the world.

Ninety-seven percent of respondents say content forms part of their marketing strategy. As we dug into their additional answers and insights, we saw indications of some big changes on the horizon. Below, we look at a few of the highlights from this research and what they might mean for your content marketing initiatives in the upcoming year.

Top survey highlights

Nearly all 1,500 respondents use content as part of their strategy, but a significant number (42%) are just getting started with content marketing. In contrast, only 19% feel they have a mature content marketing system in place. With such a high concentration of content marketing newbies dipping their toes in the water, it’s clear the industry is still experiencing considerable growth.

Here are some additional points we found interesting:

There’s still progress to be made: Of our respondents, 91% said that content marketing was successful to some degree. We analyzed this to mean that content marketing is here to stay, and it’s becoming more effective and sophisticated. However, with only 19% reporting that their content efforts are extremely successful, there is still a long way to go.

91% of marketing pros surveyed by @Semrush achieved success with their content marketing in 2021. Explore the highlights to find out what worked and what didn’t! #Sponsored Share on X

Content is heavily concentrated on the early stages of the customer journey: The top three goals marketers pursue with their content are:

  1. Increase brand awareness: 45%
  2. Attract more traffic to our website: 37%
  3. Generate leads: 36%

When it comes to success, 78% of respondents that achieved their goals have a documented content marketing strategy. Compare that to companies that fell short of their aims – 81% percent of them do not have a documented content strategy – and our advice here is clear: Define your goals, write your content plans down, and then activate them!

Other reported factors contributing to success include running content audits, investing in paid promotions, and growing the content team.

Quality matters: Marketers in our survey also say that content quality is the primary driver behind organic ranking success, followed by the volume of content output. The benefits of creating high-quality content hold true for other desirable content marketing outcomes, as well.

Perhaps these are not huge revelations, but they certainly underscore the importance of writing well and providing value to your audience. Of course, creating quality content means more than simply writing good copy. It’s also about considering the informational needs of your customers as you are planning your content initiatives. Ensure that each content piece answers the right questions, creates a good user experience, and provides actionable value.

Insights from content marketing experts

We also spoke to a number of content marketing industry experts who gave us their perspective on what works well, and what’s not working anymore. Here are some of the highlights from these interviews:

Humanize your content: Henneke Duistermaat, the founder of Enchanting Marketing, says originality is super important if you want to get noticed: Do the same as everyone else and you’ll just camouflage yourself. At the same time, she says that you should weave original stories into your content and treat your output like a personal conversation with your reader. Making your content human-relatable and personally relevant to the people you want to consume it will help you stand out from the competition in 2022.

Follow the buyers: Along the same lines, Kathryn Strachan, owner and managing director at Copy House, emphasizes the importance of creating a human connection through your B2B content, as well. She points out that these customers will want different information at different stages of their buying journey. This means you should map each piece of content to the marketing funnel before you write it to ensure that you’re addressing their most pressing needs and answering the questions they have at that precise time.

Use creativity to spark a connection: KoMarketing senior director of digital marketing Casie Gillette asserts that telling a story with your content is important across all formats and channels. Like Henneke, Casie says that good storytelling means understanding and connecting with your audience. Her major takeaway is that creativity is key, whether you’re promoting a product, creating an ad, or writing a blog post.

Measure for clicks: Andy Crestodina, co-founder and CMO at Orbit Media Studios, Inc., says ranking isn’t the most important SEO metric to track, it’s clicks and the click-through rates. And once you have people on your page, you need to be memorable and engaging – that’s what will drive brand awareness and long-term success.

Go heavy on new video formats: Adam Connell, Founder of Blogging Wizard and Startup Bonsai, says that short-form videos are going to stay engaging throughout 2022 and could be an important way to drive growth. He mentions the wealth of video-sharing platforms available, including TikTok, Instagram Reels, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories – as well as Pinterest Idea Pins, YouTube Shorts, and more.

Keep a sharp eye on what’s working: Michael Brenner from Marketing Insider Group says it’s time to focus on content audits. These, he says, will help you discover what already delivers results. Part of this means also looking for opportunities to improve the content you already have in the bank.

Expect opportunities to open up: Liraz Postan, international SEO, speaker, and founder of Liraz Postan LTD, commented on signs that more small businesses are investing in content marketing, which may mean more open positions for talented content marketers in the coming year.

About Semrush

Semrush is a leading online visibility management SaaS platform that enables businesses globally to run search engine optimization, pay-per-click, content, social media, and competitive research campaigns and gets measurable results from online marketing. Semrush offers insights and solutions for companies to build, manage, and measure campaigns across various marketing channels. Semrush, with over 79,000 paying customers, is headquartered in Boston and has offices in Philadelphia, Dallas, Prague, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, and Limassol.