Pantone just announced its colors for 2021, and they are, Illuminating (bright yellow) and Ultimate Gray. Pantone’s color selections reflect the events and sentiments of the year, so for this year, the combination of colors represents practicality, warming, and optimism. Selecting a color of the year is something the company has done for over 20 years and its selections are thought to influence decisions in everything from fashion to product packaging to graphic design. With that announcement, it seems only fitting to review five content marketing trends, many of which will undoubtedly accompany and complement said Pantone colors. Twenty-twenty one will be about reinforcing what works and making the most of technology.

USER-GENERATED CONTENT

The people who write for your paid, earned, owned, and shared (PESO) properties aren’t the only ones who can and should be writing. At your fingertips, you have customers who are likely willing to put together a testimonial, some social media content, or a short video on a number of topics that resonate with your audiences. Customers can provide a different perspective and possibly offer more value than does a highly edited photo or vague explanation of a product or service. Scroll through TripAdvisor, and you’ll see that customer photos and descriptions can provide insight that the brands themselves don’t.

VIDEO

Video isn’t going away and for good reason. Over 5 billion videos a day are watched on YouTube and 100 million on Facebook. Why? It’s quick and effective. Users get the benefit of sight, sound, and context in just a few seconds. Additionally, it can increase website traffic, dwell time, click-throughs from email, and shares. You can create all types of videos for events, demos, how-tos, customer testimonials, and awareness. If the thought of creating a video is intimidating, do some research so that you can pick up a few pro pointers and then do some test runs with your phone or DSLR. It’s not as difficult as it seems, and it can be a lot of fun.

AI

Video isn’t going away and for good reason. Over 5 billion videos a day are watched on YouTube and 100 million on Facebook. Why? It’s quick and effective. Users get the benefit of sight, sound, and context in just a few seconds. Additionally, it can increase website traffic, dwell time, click-throughs from email, and shares. You can create all types of videos for events, demos, how-tos, customer testimonials, and awareness. If the thought of creating a video is intimidating, do some research so that you can pick up a few pro pointers and then do some test runs with your phone or DSLR. It’s not as difficult as it seems, and it can be a lot of fun.

AI

AI in and of itself makes marketing a lot easier. The data created by AI helps in building not only better marketing strategies, but also content strategies. AI can help inform which of your audiences likes what type of content, how they like to consume it, and what they are likely to do next. You can even use AI to write basic content through the power of natural language generation systems that write, well like a human, and with greater accuracy in what will resonate with readers. All of this utility is invaluable to a marketing team, so determine how you will most likely use it and then research some AI-powered tools. 

UX

good user experience should be akin to a great vacation house: Visitors feel comfortable there, it’s equipped with everything they need, and they’ll want to stay a while. A website that provides a good user experience is outfitted with a design that evokes an emotion, and has intuitive navigation and clear language so that visitors find what they need or can even veer of course a little to explore, trusting that they will be brought back to a familiar place. Thoughtful UX gives users the option to engage with content the way they want whether it be watching a video, engaging with some interactivity, filling out a form, chatting, or just hanging back and reading a little. People spend a lot of time online, so your website should be a welcoming place where they can stop by, find some cool stuff, and buy provisions for their journey.

REPURPOSED CONTENT

No doubt, your organization has put out content across channels for years now. Just because a piece has been used in video, for example, doesn’t mean it can’t be repurposed for other channels. Taking pieces of blog posts and turning them into social posts or expanding on some news as it relates to your company is what repurposing is all about. As a way to save some time, when you’re first creating that content, try to plan for how and where you might use it later. For example, when writing a blog post, write a few key sentences in a way that you can cut and paste for social or timestamp a video for good quotes and sounds bites. Saving interesting stats, timelines, or costs can make for an interesting infographic that can be updated periodically and used for stand-by content. A little more work up front, will save you a lot of time on the back-end.

If 2020 has pulled your organization in different directions, especially out of its comfort zone, don’t feel pressure to immediately jump on board with these trends. Take some time and choose one or two that you can master over the course of a few months and this time next year, you’ll have new skills that will be invaluable to your team and your organization.

With offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, Ca., New Target provides digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, web development, branding, website hosting, and creative services for prominent nonprofits, companies, and government.