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5 Big Content Trends for 2020

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In 2020, content marketing and SEO are going to be hitting some awesome high notes.

We’re careening toward a bright future of more useful, helpful, technically amazing content that aligns with user habits, preferences, and search needs.

Content is getting better because we’re getting smarter about how we strategize, research, create, and publish it.

Content marketing as a whole is no longer a type of marketing experiment, but a proven strategy that can work wonders for any brand.

With that exciting news in hand, what’s next for 2020? Let’s dive in.

1. Next-Level Visuals in Content

Visual-forward platforms will continue to be trendy in 2020.

From entertainment to communication, people are going all-in on the power of dynamic or interactive imagery.

Among the next generation of soon-to-be-adults, visual social media reigns supreme.

Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat are the most popular platforms where teens hang out, according to Pew Research.

For adults, YouTube is the most-used platform, topping even Facebook.

To this end, visuals in content are going to get more interesting in 2020.

For instance, did you know you can create your own augmented reality (AR) filters and lenses for Snapchat? (There are even creators you can hire to do it for you.)

5 Big Content Trends for 2020

Another trend: Creating your own GIFs from video clips via Giphy.

Instead of pulling a reaction GIF from your favorite movie, TV show, or character, now you can GIF yourself.

5 Big Content Trends for 2020

The possibilities are endless.

In 2020, we’ll definitely see more marketers taking advantage of dynamic, custom, branded imagery for their content.

2. Video Content & Visual Storytelling

In 2019, video was a big deal.

With the popularity of YouTube, dynamic imagery, and AR, it’s no wonder video content and visual storytelling will continue to rise in 2020.

  • For example, in 2018, 85% of internet users in the U.S. watched video content monthly on any of their devices.
  • Another 56% of 25-34-year-olds and 54% of 35-44-year-olds want to see more video content from brands they support, according to a HubSpot survey of over 3,000 consumers.

5 Big Content Trends for 2020

Plus, video is the type of content 62% of consumers say they consume thoroughly. That means they pay attention more than their mind wanders off.

5 Big Content Trends for 2020

What does this all mean for marketers? As consumer habits and preferences continually move to video content, we have to keep up or get left in the dust.

Of course, what sets apart successful video content from the stuff that gets five total views is the quality of the storytelling. You have to be able to engage readers through any medium, including video.

If you can tell great stories, you’re halfway there.

3. Upping Your E-A-T

In August 2019, Google published a blog on Webmaster Central with reminders about its core updates and what to do about them.

5 Big Content Trends for 2020

Specifically, the blog recommended an action a lot of us have already been doing:

Reading/understanding the Search Quality Rater Guidelines and E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness).

5 Big Content Trends for 2020

The fact that Google specifically pointed to this resource and singled out E-A-T is a huge hint. We all need to be focused on proving expertise, authority, and trust in our content.

That applies to both websites as entities representing a specific brand or organization, and individual authors writing content on those websites.

How do you prove your E-A-T?

  • By earning links or mentions from other authority websites.
  • By providing E-A-T information on your site, including a bio and credentials on your about page and author pages.
  • Linking out to authoritative sources for supporting stats, data, and facts in content.
  • Updating your site and content regularly with relevant, accurate, current information.

On top of that, your content must be exceptional. Well-crafted, user-beneficial, purposeful content backed by E-A-T can’t lose. (More on that in point #4.)

P.S. For deeper reading on E-A-T, this article by Marie Haynes is a must-see.

4. Better, More Purposeful Content Than Ever Before

Continuing from 2019 trends, the need for stellar, purposeful content isn’t stopping as we head into 2020.

More and more creators and marketers understand the need for content of the highest quality:

  • 90% of the most successful content marketers put their audience’s information needs first over their promotional message, according to Content Marketing Institute’s B2B report.
  • The content marketing area where spending increased the most from 2018-2019 was content creation.

5 Big Content Trends for 2020

Marketers are understanding you need better content to win in the SERPs and with readers.

In fact, ranking for competitive key terms will only get harder when everyone is bringing their A-game.

That means we’ll see the following in 2020 from brands of all sizes:

  • A better understanding of what the target audience needs from search results for a given keyword.
  • Better writing tailored to audiences, with consistency for the brand’s tone and style.
  • Better research, including more current stats and data from reputable sources.
  • More depth and deep exploration of topics.
  • Better visuals, such as branded imagery, infographics, and custom blog images.

Although it’s going to be harder to rank, more people will be creating better content. That means fewer of us will be adding to the crap content garbage heap. I call that a win.

5. Ultra-Targeted, Customer-First Content

Prioritizing the customer’s informational needs above sales messages was one of the determining factors for successful marketers in 2018-2019, as we already saw from CMI’s 2019 B2B report.

90% of the most successful said they do this.

5 Big Content Trends for 2020

They understand that trust-building with audiences begins with offering guidance, help, information, or entertainment without a catch.

More than that, the very best content that hits the user’s needs in the bullseye is the type that will rank #1 with Google.

This will be a trend in 2020, too, because it works.

How do you find out what your unique audience needs from your content?

Research.

Asking questions. Engaging with the community. Discovering who they are.

Once you know them intimately, you can create content that speaks to them on a deeper level. In a nutshell, that’s ultra-targeted content.

It puts the audience first – in some cases, the niche-niche audience. It nails their user search intent. It serves a purpose and fulfills an information need.

That’s the kind of content Google is prioritizing now, and it’s what we need to focus on for the future.

The Future of Content Is Here

Content’s future has arrived, and it has never looked so good.

More marketers than ever are prioritizing quality and the customer’s information needs over sales messages. We’re focused on building trust and authority with authenticity, not sales tricks.

On top of that, visual media is going in startlingly new and exciting directions. The possibilities for integration with content are crazy-good.

In 2020, watch for innovative marketers to push the boundaries of content creation.

Look for ultra-targeted content, more commitment to a customer-first approach, and overall, better content flooding the scene.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.

MARKETING

SEO Recap: ChatGPT – Moz

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SEO Recap: ChatGPT - Moz

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

We’re back with another SEO recap with Tom Capper! As you’ve probably noticed, ChatGPT has taken the search world by storm. But does GPT-3 mean the end of SEO as we know it, or are there ways to incorporate the AI model into our daily work?

Tom tries to tackle this question by demonstrating how he plans to use ChatGPT, along with other natural language processing systems, in his own work.

Be sure to check out the commentary on ChatGPT from our other Moz subject matter experts, Dr. Pete Meyers and Miriam Ellis:

Video Transcription

Hello, I’m Tom Capper from Moz, and today I want to talk about how I’m going to use ChatGPT and NLP, natural language processing apps in general in my day-to-day SEO tasks. This has been a big topic recently. I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about this. Some people saying SEO is dead. This is the beginning of the end. As always, I think that’s maybe a bit too dramatic, but there are some big ways that this can be useful and that this will affect SEOs in their industry I think.

The first question I want to ask is, “Can we use this instead of Google? Are people going to start using NLP-powered assistants instead of search engines in a big way?”

So just being meta here, I asked ChatGPT to write a song about Google’s search results being ruined by an influx of AI content. This is obviously something that Google themselves is really concerned about, right? They talked about it with the helpful content update. Now I think the fact that we can be concerned about AI content ruining search results suggests there might be some problem with an AI-powered search engine, right?

No, AI powered is maybe the wrong term because, obviously, Google themselves are at some degree AI powered, but I mean pure, AI-written results. So for example, I stole this from a tweet and I’ve credited the account below, but if you ask it, “What is the fastest marine mammal,” the fastest marine mammal is the peregrine falcon. That is not a mammal.

Then it mentions the sailfish, which is not a mammal, and marlin, which is not a mammal. This is a particularly bad result. Whereas if I google this, great, that is an example of a fast mammal. We’re at least on the right track. Similarly, if I’m looking for a specific article on a specific web page, I’ve searched Atlantic article about the declining quality of search results, and even though clearly, if you look at the other information that it surfaces, clearly this has consumed some kind of selection of web pages, it’s refusing to acknowledge that here.

Whereas obviously, if I google that, very easy. I can find what I’m looking for straightaway. So yeah, maybe I’m not going to just replace Google with ChatGPT just yet. What about writing copy though? What about I’m fed up of having to manually write blog posts about content that I want to rank for or that I think my audience want to hear about?

So I’m just going to outsource it to a robot. Well, here’s an example. “Write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO.” Now, at first glance, this looks okay. But actually, when you look a little bit closer, it’s a bluff. It’s vapid. It doesn’t really use any concrete examples.

It doesn’t really read the room. It doesn’t talk about sort of how our industry might be affected more broadly. It just uses some quick tactical examples. It’s not the worst article you could find. I’m sure if you pulled a teenager off the street who knew nothing about this and asked them to write about it, they would probably produce something worse than this.

But on the other hand, if you saw an article on the Moz blog or on another industry credible source, you’d expect something better than this. So yeah, I don’t think that we’re going to be using ChatGPT as our copywriter right away, but there may be some nuance, which I’ll get to in just a bit. What about writing descriptions though?

I thought this was pretty good. “Write a meta description for my Moz blog post about SEO predictions in 2023.” Now I could do a lot better with the query here. I could tell it what my post is going to be about for starters so that it could write a more specific description. But this is already quite good. It’s the right length for a meta description. It covers the bases.

It’s inviting people to click. It makes it sound exciting. This is pretty good. Now you’d obviously want a human to review these for the factual issues we talked about before. But I think a human plus the AI is going to be more effective here than just the human or at least more time efficient. So that’s a potential use case.

What about ideating copy? So I said that the pure ChatGPT written blog post wasn’t great. But one thing I could do is get it to give me a list of subtopics or subheadings that I might want to include in my own post. So here, although it is not the best blog post in the world, it has covered some topics that I might not have thought about.

So I might want to include those in my own post. So instead of asking it “write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO,” I could say, “Write a bullet point list of ways NLP might affect SEO.” Then I could steal some of those, if I hadn’t thought of them myself, as potential topics that my own ideation had missed. Similarly you could use that as a copywriter’s brief or something like that, again in addition to human participation.

My favorite use case so far though is coding. So personally, I’m not a developer by trade, but often, like many SEOs, I have to interact with SQL, with JavaScript, with Excel, and these kinds of things. That often results in a lot of googling from first principles for someone less experienced in those areas.

Even experienced coders often find themselves falling back to Stack Overflow and this kind of thing. So here’s an example. “Write an SQL query that extracts all the rows from table2 where column A also exists as a row in table1.” So that’s quite complex. I’ve not really made an effort to make that query very easy to understand, but the result is actually pretty good.

It’s a working piece of SQL with an explanation below. This is much quicker than me figuring this out from first principles, and I can take that myself and work it into something good. So again, this is AI plus human rather than just AI or just human being the most effective. I could get a lot of value out of this, and I definitely will. I think in the future, rather than starting by going to Stack Overflow or googling something where I hope to see a Stack Overflow result, I think I would start just by asking here and then work from there.

That’s all. So that’s how I think I’m going to be using ChatGPT in my day-to-day SEO tasks. I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned. Let me know. Thanks.

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

The definition of a whitepaper varies heavily from industry to industry, which can be a little confusing for marketers looking to create one for their business.

The old-school definition comes from politics, where it means a legislative document explaining and supporting a particular political solution.

(more…)

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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.

The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.

Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.

In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.

Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.

The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.


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About the author

Kim Davis

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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