My Take on the Top Four Content Trends for 2023

Most years, I review industry leaders and gather their thoughts for a blog on content trends. Outside of the hand-wringing about AI, however, most “trends” I’ve read about are tactical, not strategic. Like seeds on a dandelion puff, they will disappear before the first winter snow.

Instead, here are content trends for 2023 that I think have staying power.

Content trend 1: AI as an indispensable tool, not a job thief

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

I don’t know if AI qualifies as a content trend for 2023 but I’d be remiss if I didn’t address it.

Spreadsheets. The internet. Smartphones. Cryptocurrency. Web 3. 

Once upon a time, each of these was billed as either the best thing since indoor plumbing or as the end of society as we know it. Other than the internet, I’m not so sure. 

Generative artificial intelligence, while a wonderful tool, is not the threat to jobs that some would have us believe. Large language models are fabulous tools for any writer; I rely on Chat GPT and Claude.ai for help with basic writing tasks. But these are just tools, like grammar checkers, thesauruses, and spelling checkers. None of these have put editors out of work; AI isn’t going to replace writers any time soon.

My take

Few technologies end up being used the way inventors originally imagined. While you can do really nifty things with spreadsheets, they haven’t put accountants and bookkeepers out of work–far from it.

Setting aside the serious ethical and moral concerns for a moment, technical issues like hallucinations mean human-authored writing will be needed for a long time to come. If you’ve read any AI-generated content lately, you’ll know what I mean.

Content trend 2: Empathy is a balm for the soul

This may not sound like a content trend for 2023–or any other year–but bear with me.

The human race has been through a lot since the 21st century opened its doors for business. We face increasingly severe global challenges like climate catastrophes, political and social upheaval, and pandemics. Many national economies have been flipped upside down at least twice in the last nearly quarter century. The largest European land war since World War II continues with no end in sight. And, as I write this, a new war has exploded in the Mideast.

We could all use a break.

My take

None of us can fix these problems single-handedly, but each of us can do just a little bit.

A small kindness goes a long way. I’ve noticed how warmly my fellow morning walkers respond to a smile and a nod. And that people in cashier lines seem more willing to chat. It feels like we’re all looking for connection and reassurance from each other.

I’m taking a gentler approach to writing, being a little more playful and a lot more sympathetic to the audience. I’m avoiding fear-based content and leaning into positive messages. 

I’m also making the time to check in with clients, partners, and team members regularly, to smile more, and to make small kindnesses a part of my day. If nothing else, it makes me happy.

Content trend 3: Not to repeat myself, but quality over quantity

This may not be a content trend for 2023–it may apply across time. I’ve written about it a lot.

I googled “how many videos are uploaded to YouTube.” The results vary, but you’ll get the gist–a lot!

  • “3.7 million videos uploaded daily.”
  • “On average, more than 150,0000 (sic) new videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute, adding up to around 330,000 hours of video content based on an average video length of 4.4 minutes.”
  • “720,000 hours of video are uploaded every day to YouTube.”
Image by Alyssa McIntyre from Pixabay

And this is just YouTube! I didn’t enquire about email, podcasts, blogs, white papers, or webinars.

My take

Never mind the unworkable math; we’re drowning in content. Enough already. Besides, I’ve got better things to do than create content all day long. 

Thoughtful marketers pursue two strategies:

  • Repurposing existing content.
  • Creating quality content, not volume.

I’d rather be known for my writing chops than my ability to vomit up a word count. 

Content trend 4: Attention to inclusion and accessibility

Finally, my last content trend for 2023. I find myself relying more and more on accessibility features on my own devices. But when I’m out and about, it’s another story. Badly written signage, poorly designed user interfaces, and fiddly widgets drive me crazy.

My current pet peeve: wait staff who present a heavy hand-held terminal with a small screen to review and pay the tab. More than one of those things has ended up in my tiramisu. And it always seems to come with the assumption that age means technological stupidity.

I have Parkinson’s disease. Sometimes I can’t hold things, and touch screens don’t always work well for me. (I am not proud of the time I told a high school that my master’s degree in computer science was older than his mother.)

My take

Thank heavens designers and content creators are paying more attention to the needs of neurodiverse audiences. Little things like colors, font size and style, and mobility options make all the difference for those of us with challenges. 

As I age, I increasingly appreciate these thoughtful little touches that make a website or device easier to use. I like seeing other old geezers like me navigating the world with the help of–not in spite of–technology.

The Top Four Content Trends for 2022

The good news: digital content trends for 2022 are evolving. While some things haven’t changed (I’m looking at you, videos and podcasts), new trends are in the wind. 

  • The metaverse and augmented reality will challenge marketers.
  • Try a little tenderness.
  • My job may be going away. 

Wait, what?

Back to the future with videos and podcasts? Maybe.

Driven by increasingly powerful devices and the availability of more bandwidth, videos and podcasts are evolving from “nice to have” to “need it now.” However, increasing competition means marketers can no longer rely on the rough charm of a do-it-yourself recording. To stand out, you need high production values and professional polish.

My take on videos and podcasts

 Videos and podcasts have value only if your audience thinks they do. If you’re not sure whether either will appeal, ask a couple of your best customers. Before you invest in Hollywood-quality content, set appropriate goals to help you determine whether you’ll see any return on your investment.

Is artificial intelligence replacing copywriters? Not so fast.

The buzziest content trend in 2022 may be AI replacing content creators. Computer-generated copy has been used to produce routine content like financial news and sports scores for some time. More advanced writing tools like Google Docs and Grammarly employ AI with what I will kindly call mixed results.

My take on AI

Good writers don’t have to worry yet. I for one would be delighted to hand off mundane assignments to an AI so I can focus on the fun stuff.

Augmented reality and the metaverse are coming. Some day.

Augmented reality has been around for a while; the concept of a metaverse is at least 30 years old. How these technologies will play out in the coming years is tough to know. Clearly, there’s a lot of work still to be done, standards to sort out and a platform war to be won by the incumbents.

My take on AR and the ‘verse

Savvy marketers who know their audiences should keep an eye out and be willing to experiment with different platforms.  I expect acceptance to depend somewhat on age and level of comfort with technology. But don’t assume you won’t find older people in the Metaverse. What a great way to lead a whole new life!

Begin with empathy

The 21st century is an uncomfortable place so far. Wars, politics and disasters driven by climate change have dominated the news. Covid is wearing us down. Crime is up–or it seems like it thanks to clickbait headlines that grab attention. It’s draining. Given this backdrop, content that demonstrates empathy and understanding is going to win every time. 

My take on a tough subject

We all share the same desires: a roof over our heads, safety, good health and food on the table. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge our common humanity. I challenge you to stop blaming the other, doomscrolling and wishcasting. This isn’t time for messaging rooted in fear. Let your content reflect empathy and understanding for your audience.

Not sure what to do?

There are dozens of content trends for 2022; some are a bigger deal than others. If you’re not sure what’s worth paying attention to and what you can ignore, let’s connect.

The Survey Says: Blog Content Strategies That Work

Have you read the 2021 Orbit Media survey on blog content strategies? Orbit Media has conducted this annual survey for nearly a decade so they have enough data to identify trends. This year’s results show some interesting shifts but the data supports my perspective: good writing wins out over SEO every time.

My Take-Aways

  • Blogging is most successful when you have a well thought out blog content strategy, know what metrics are important to you, then track them.
  • Wondering whether blogging is worth the work? The answer is indisputably yes. Seventy-seven percent of the 1,067 survey respondents agree blogging drives results; 20% say it delivers strong marketing results.
  • How-to blogs are the most common yet least read format. Content round-ups are much less popular with bloggers but much more appealing to readers. Good news: round-ups are easy to write once you have a process in place. (For a great example of content round-up, see NextDraft by Dave Pell.)
  • Blog length isn’t as important as content relevance and (ahem) good writing. The survey found the average blog runs a bit more than 1,400 words. That’s not a magic number that guarantees success; blog length should be driven by the content.

In sum, have a content strategy; implement it with well-written text that your audience cares about. If you need inspiration, curate content from relevant sources.

Don’t Let Blog Content Strategies Scare You

Creating a realistic blog content strategy that works for you takes a bit of thought. However, once in place, you’ll find it cuts down on the effort of creating a blog on a regular basis. I wrote a blog on this that will get you started. If you need more help, let me know.

Content Trends for 2021

I’ve noticed some interesting content trends in 2021. Some are driven by the economic uncertainties businesses are facing, However, one thing stands out: good writing gets the reader’s attention.

More Focus on the Bottom of the Content Funnel

Instead of casting a wide content net to attract any lead, some of my clients are only looking for  qualified prospects. It’s a smart tactic that saves them time and money–and they realize revenue more quickly. They use content rich in descriptions of features, benefits and the details someone would want to know as they research alternatives. 

My thought: smart. It’s an approach that lends itself to re-purposing evergreen content, especially when you have a solid understanding of your audience. 

@CreateHERStock, Nappy.co

Improving the Content Experience

One of my pet peeves is searching for something on my smartphone and then seeing the content blocked by all manner of interruptions. Pop-ups request my email address every time I return to a landing page. Videos start playing, eating up limited public bandwidth. Or I see two short lines of text then have to click “read more,” only to have to wade through even more pop-ups and panels. When I finally get to the content, it’s long-winded and takes forever to get to the point–if it ever does.

Designers and copywriters are starting to pay attention. One of the most positive content trends I’ve noticed in 2021 is these annoying interruptions are less common. Savvy copywriters are driving users to a product or service landing page for in-depth interactions. Content is segmented and organized so it’s easy to read with less intrusive calls to action. 

My thought: long overdue. 

More Focus on Shorter Pieces of High-Quality Content

Businesses are paying more attention to the customer journey. They’re delivering relevant content in shorter bites (though you can still find plenty of Top 10 Lists and Ultimate Guides). Writing is tighter; headers are less bombastic. Content is tightly focused on a single topic. 

My thought: I’m all for anything that encourages good content. WIth apologies to fans of James Michener, we need more Earnest Hemingway–at least on websites.

The Most Unsurprising Content Trend for 2021: SEO Is Still Important

This 2021 content trend would have ranked on any list once Google launched. Big businesses have the budget clout to pay for the obvious keywords. Savvy smaller and niche businesses have learned how to leverage long tail keywords (descriptive phrases)  to beat out the behemoths they compete against. 

My thought: the search phrase “near me” is a blessing for small businesses because it helps local customers find you. Just make sure you complete your Google Business profile so the search engines can include you in local results.

How Can I Help?

Need some help writing a blog? Don’t know whether you should worry about SEO? Just want to bounce some ideas around? Drop me a line or give me a call; I’d be happy to help.