How often do you find yourself in a situation where you have to choose the best strategy for further action?
This happens to us from time to time. We sincerely believe that a successful content marketing strategy should be backed by data. Data can support any decision you make and minimize the trial and error method in your strategy.
Having data and a desire to analyze content marketing trends, we at SEMrush conducted research covering the most popular topics, hashtags, and questions, and the most searched keywords in the content marketing industry. We also identified the top content marketing influencers that you can follow and learn best practices from.
We hope this data will help you to:
- Find out which types of content perform best to use them in your Twitter business account.
- See the direction in which the content marketing industry is moving and what is now being actively discussed in the content marketing community.
We went over hundreds of thousands of 2020 Google search queries related to content marketing to collect this data. We analyzed more than 600,000 tweets in English that contained the #ContentMarketing hashtag and were posted between January and September 2020.
We compared the results with research we conducted in 2019 to keep track of how content marketing trends are changing. Here are the results of our research.
***This research was conducted as part of the Global State of Content Marketing Report 2020. The report is designed to help content marketers worldwide gain a better understanding of the industry and draw more relevant conclusions for their strategies. Check out the full report to get more insights.***
Strategy is the core of content marketing
Strategy is the most discussed content marketing related topic on Twitter at 34% of the analyzed tweets, a 5% increase compared with the previous year.
It is also the leading search query by a significant margin. In 2020, the volume of the keyword ‘content marketing strategy’ grew by one-third compared to 2019. In addition, the #marketingstrategy hashtag takes the 12th position in trending hashtags related to content marketing, while it wasn’t in the top 20 a year ago.
Another interesting observation is that if we look at the top questions people ask, we’ll see that they don’t just want to know what a content marketing strategy is but also how to develop one. So, people already understand the benefits of a strategic approach and find ways to build and implement it.
It’s no surprise that strategy is the third most required skill in the content marketing industry. A well-defined content strategy allows you to understand how to create the right content — valuable and relevant — for your audience and distribute it through the channels that are right for them.
“Consumers are becoming more intelligent and sophisticated. Brands should stop creating content for the sake of creating content or to gain organic traffic. It isn’t beneficial to you or your brand, prospects, or clients. It’s easy to get caught up in the race to produce as much content as possible to drive traffic to your site. What use is the traffic if it’s not backed by a strategy beneficial to the brand?
Be intentional with your content strategy. Optimize and emphasize user-generated content experiences to win the content marketing game. Consider focusing on where your audiences are online and serve them with personalized content that resonates with their pain points.”
Data-driven strategies are in demand
How do you prove that your strategy is working? To measure its effectiveness. “How to measure content marketing success” is the 9th most popular question about content marketing, and #analytics is the 10th most popular hashtag, followed by #bigdata in 14th place.
In 2020, the discussion of analytics significantly grew in popularity compared to 2019 – from 7% to 24%. And unlike 2019, it’s also on the list of the top 20 most discussed topics related to content marketing.
Content marketing is an integral part of digital marketing
#DigitalMarketing turned out to be the top-ranking hashtag used in content marketing related tweets both years — 71% of the analyzed tweets, while #Marketing takes second place. This data shows us that content marketing has the strongest association with digital marketing, while traditional offline marketing is giving up ground.
With the Internet growing and developing, users have become more independent and demanding at the same time. Hard-sell advertising doesn’t work anymore — statistics show that 25.8% of US internet users block ads on their devices. One of the best ways to interact with customers on the web is to create high-quality and appealing content for your audience, and this is why digital is so closely connected with content marketing.
The main advantage of digital marketing over offline marketing is its ability to measure results more effectively, track performance at each step of your campaign, and analyze the customer journey to understand what they like most and how you can improve their experience.
“With an increasing number of privacy regulations and social media algorithm changes, content marketing has escalated to a primary opportunity for marketers. Why? Audience building.
Direct, one-to-one relationships with our customers is key, which is possible by consistently delivering valuable content experiences.
I believe that in the next few years enterprises will finally take content marketing seriously (not just as a hobby) and you’ll see increasing budgetary movement toward content marketing strategies.”
Content marketing relies heavily on SEO/organic traffic
On Twitter, “strategy” is closely followed by SEO. SEO remains one of the hottest topics in content marketing; it is the third most popular hashtag and the second most popular topic discussed in tweets.
In 2020, the popularity of SEO connected to content marketing increased significantly compared to 2019:
- The topic of SEO was discussed almost twice as much (from 10% to 18%).
- The popularity of the #seo hashtag increased from 36% to 62%.
In search, SEO and content marketing also go hand in hand — the question “What is content marketing in SEO” is among the most asked on Google (holding position No. 7). Also, the keyword “SEO content marketing” is highly sought after, with an average monthly search volume of 1900 (however, it has stayed the same for two years).
SEO remains an integral part of content marketing. Interest in the topic continues to grow as the search engines introduce more and more complicated algorithms designed to select and deliver top quality content to the user. On the other hand, content creators are putting more and more effort into standing out in the sea of information and catching the user’s attention.
Social media is the top content distribution channel
#SMM and #socialmedia are the 5th and 7th most popular hashtags; social media is the third most discussed topic, and ‘social media content marketing’ is a popular query (20th).
Content marketing is closely connected to social media, as social networks are the perfect place to create a dialogue with your audience and distribute your content. But that’s not enough. To make your content marketing work and build a unique brand perception, you must align your overall objectives with your social media strategy.
In 2020, the popularity of social media remains relatively the same as 2019. Content ideas are the 7th most popular topic at 3%, which is one position lower than the previous year. We can say that content marketers continue discussing new ideas right on Twitter. This can still be a great source to boost your creativity and engage with your audience.
Growth hacking gains pace quickly
#GrowthHacking is an excellent example of a hashtag associated with a brand. The content marketing community widely uses this hashtag on Twitter – it moved up from 10th position to 4th in the list of most popular hashtags, increasing its demand from 16% to 44%. At the same time, Jonathan Aufray, CEO of @GrowthHackers, is one of the most popular social media influencers.
The popularity of growth hacking related hashtags may mean that content marketing is used as one of the approaches to growth hacking. Growth hacking is one of the most effective marketing strategies to quickly grow startup companies and other businesses.
Startups are also interested in content marketing. #Startup can be found in 25% of topics and is the 8th most popular topic. Using content marketing, startups and other companies can gain up to 55% more visitors to their sites and five times more leads, while it costs 62% less than traditional marketing.
“Content continues to be at the forefront of marketers’ minds, but it’s becoming increasingly hard to get heard above the noise. We’ll start to see much longer form content being the norm, i.e., 2500+ word articles with more calls to action as well as more gated content.
Marketers will have to be much more creative with promoting their content and look at alternative ways to drive engagement and traffic. It’s time to really put the reader first now and ensure that content provides value, educates, inspires, and compels their audience to take action. Fluffy content won’t cut it anymore.”
Visual content drives attention
The vast majority (89%) of tweets we analyzed contained visuals, and 20% of these featured infographics. In 2020, visual content was used more in tweets compared to 2019, and it’s the 12th most discussed topic. Additionally, “what is visual content marketing” is the 11th most popular question people ask about content marketing.
A good image can tell more than several pages of text since the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Images also encourage sharing and are easy to create, so we can expect a further rise in visuals in the future.
Content tools and services are in demand
“Tools” is the 4th most discussed topic in the tweets about content marketing, the 6th most popular topics searched on Google, and “content marketing tools” is the 14th most popular query. Along with these, “content marketing agency” is the 2nd most popular query, and “content marketing services” is the 7th. In 2020,, content marketers started to search for tools more than they had in 2019.
This may indicate several scenarios:
- Following the growing demand, businesses are going beyond in-house teams’ capabilities and leverage a wide range of solutions for content creation, distribution, and monitoring.
- Content marketers pay special attention to finding and using handy tools in their daily routine. Our study shows that artificial intelligence appeared in 12% of hashtags and 3% of topics. Applied to content, these can help you connect and engage with your audience in a completely new way, using customization and personalization. So, marketers who want to keep pace with the modern world are looking to put the latest innovations to use.
To help marketers, we have the SEMrush Content Marketing Platform, which covers every step of your content marketing workflow. Using it, you can find plenty of topic ideas, write and optimize your content, manage your editorial plan, measure the impact and analyze your content performance in one place.
“For 2020 and beyond, understand how the Seismic Content Marketing Shift has changed the playing field across businesses. This Seismic Shift consists of three key elements that first emerged in 2H2019. They are:
- Need to respond to voice-first device use. Provide answers to full questions.
- Access to small data across the organization matched with external purchase-intent data. It’s powered by AI.
- Create and maintain sustainable content due to content saturation. As a result, new competitors and disrupters emerge regardless of category. (Hat tip: Theodore Levitt’s Marketing Myopia).”
Content marketing helps drive more sales
In 2020, the topic ‘sales’ became more popular, and #sales entered the top hashtags. Such topics as ‘ads,’ and ‘monetization’ also appeared among the top. This means that content marketing is increasingly associated not only with attracting traffic but also with generating payments.
We can say that content marketing is considered as an essential tool for working with users at all stages of the marketing funnel. According to our research on how to make the content marketing funnel efficient, encouraging users to move through it is one of the most challenging tasks when building a funnel.
The vast majority (87%) of our respondents guide their prospects through different stages of the buyer journey using content. To help your audience convert into buyers, you should create and implement content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, from brand awareness to purchase decisions.
Top 3 Industry Experts on Twitter
Content marketing is a powerful community with its well-known experts. So, if you want to keep a finger on the industry’s pulse, here are the names of a few of those who set the standards.
1. @NealSchaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives.
Neal is a founder of the PDCA Social, a digital and social media marketing agency. For over 10 years, Neal has been deep in the world of social media, teaching at three universities, speaking at conferences, and hosting the Maximize Your Social Influence podcast.
He is also the author of four books on social media, including “The Age of influence: The Power of Influencers to Elevate your Brand”.
2. @BenKamauDigital, social media and content marketing expert, founder of Ben Kamau Digital.
Ben Kamau helps businesses to succeed through content marketing, creates various types of content to boost traffic and generate more leads, and shares his knowledge of social media and content marketing using Twitter.
3. @MikeSchiemer is a results-driven digital marketing, social selling, SEO, and content creation professional.
Mike Schiemer currently specializes in blogger outreach and link building for search engine optimization. He’s also a social media influencer with 250,000+ followers and 20,000,000+ website views in 200+ countries.
He has provided social media and content marketing for 100’s of companies, including Nissan, Allstate Insurance, American Express, Intuit, Reebok, GNC, Uno’s, and others.
Mike Schiemer is a frugal entrepreneur who has built four different profitable 6-figure businesses with less than $10,000 total spent.
We collected all the tweets (more than 600,000) posted between January and September 2020 with the hashtag #ContentMarketing. Only tweets in English were taken into account.
For this study, we selected the most popular tweets with 20+ retweets and analyzed them to find the following data:
- The most popular hashtags used with #ContentMarketing;
- The most popular topics discussed in these tweets (our machine learning algorithm identified the topics);
- The use of visual content (presence or absence);
- The top content marketing influencers on Twitter.
To find the top influencers, we analyzed the accounts that posted the most retweeted organic posts (20+ retweets) with #ContentMarketing and who had the largest number of subscribers. We also took into account the number of likes and the number of publications ranked as top-performing tweets.
As for the Google queries analysis, we collected the keywords from searches related to content marketing (keyword) in English (worldwide) between January and September 2020. We then counted the average monthly search volume for each keyword to list the top search queries and top questions asked on Google.
The Content in the Infographics
Top 20 Hashtags Used with #ContentMarketing
- #digitalmarketing – 71%
- #marketing – 64%
- #seo – 62%
- #growthhacking – 44%
- #smm – 40%
- #business – 37%
- #socialmedia – 33%
- #onlinemarketing – 27%
- #startup – 25%
- #analytics – 24%
- #socialmediamarketing – 21%
- #marketingstrategy – 16%
- #content – 14%
- #bigdata – 14%
- #sales – 14%
- #marketingtips – 13%
- #entreprenuer – 12%
- #inboundmarketing – 12%
- #ai – 12%
- #affiliatemarketing – 10%
Top 20 Topics Discussed with #ContentMarketing
- strategy – 34%
- SEO – 18%
- social media – 10%
- tools – 4%
- trends – 3%
- AI – 3%
- content ideas – 3%
- startup – 3%
- blogging – 2%
- ads – 2%
- health – 2%
- visual content – 2%
- influencers – 1%
- monetization – 1%
- sales – 1%
- video marketing – 1%
- analytics – 1%
- content formats – 1%
- statistics – 1%
- travel – 1%
Links and Visual Content Usage in Tweets
- 88.27% – static images
- 14% – infographics
- 3% – video
- 1% – gifs
- 32% – no visuals
- Tweets with links – 72%
- Tweets without links – 28%
Top 20 Content Marketing Influencers on Twitter
Top 10 Topics Searched on Google 2020
- Visual content
- Social media
Top 20 Google Search Queries Related to Content Marketing 2020
(Keyword – Avg. monthly searches)
- content marketing strategy – 9,900
- content marketing agency – 5,400
- content marketing examples – 5,400
- content marketing institute – 5,400
- content marketing definition – 3,600
- content marketing plan – 3,600
- content marketing services – 2,900
- digital content marketing – 2,900
- b2b content marketing – 2,400
- content marketing manager – 2,400
- seo content marketing – 1,900
- types of content marketing – 1,900
- content marketing jobs – 1,600
- content marketing tools – 1,600
- content strategy example – 1,600
- content advertising – 1,300
- content marketing blog – 1,300
- content marketing companies – 1,300
- content marketing funnel – 1,300
- social media content marketing – 1,300
Top 20 Questions about Content Marketing Asked on Google 2020
- what is content marketing
- why is content marketing important
- what is content marketing strategy
- how to content marketing
- how to develop a content marketing strategy
- how to write content marketing
- what is content marketing in seo
- what is b2b content marketing
- how to measure content marketing success
- what does content marketing mean
- what is visual content marketing
- how much do content marketers make
- how to create content for affiliate marketing
- what is content syndication in digital marketing
- what is interactive content marketing
- what makes good content marketing
- how content marketing helps
- how content marketing is changing the game
- how to create a content marketing calendar
- how to get started with content marketing
A great marketing strategy can’t be built on bare assumptions, especially when it comes to content. To keep pace with the industry, content marketers constantly monitor a variety of channels seeking trending topics and hot news.
We hope this report will make it easier for you to build your content marketing strategy for the next year. Don’t forget that this study is just one part of the Global State of Content Marketing Report 2020.