12 Content Marketing Trends That Will Continue in 2024
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12 Content Marketing Trends That Will Continue in 2024

Branko Kral

Written by Branko KralIn collaboration with Semrush

Content marketing in 2024 – Blog post image

Sharing authentic, first-hand experiences is the cornerstone of high-quality content.

Especially with the AI surge where everyone can publish generic blog posts.

For example, at Backlinko, we prioritize experience-based content and get over 635,000 monthly organic visitors.

Backlinko – Organic visitors

In its latest search engine updates, Google tells us content should come from human experience and be helpful.

But this is one of many ways to increase your traffic.

So, what’s hot in content marketing in 2024?

Read on to learn about where content marketing is going this year and how to take advantage.

Quick shout-out: Thank you to Brian Dean for sharing his insights and contributing to this piece.

1. Use AI to Scale Your Content Instead of Completely Replacing the Human

AI isn’t going to replace the whole content production. The role of AI is to scale and improve, not to come up with the original insight that hasn’t been shared before.

Any AI writing tool bases its output on the information that’s already out there on the internet, which is other blogs.

But for your content to work for you, you have to stand out. And the best way to stand out is by sharing expert insights. AI is not an expert, meaning it can’t give you unique, experience-based opinions.

Even Jasper, which is an AI writing tool, hired a bunch of freelance writers because they knew even internally that AI can’t just pump out content. We need to have humans in the mix.

That’s because producing content takes much more than just pumping out text. For content to be valuable for readers, it needs a proper strategy, in-depth research, first-hand experience in the industry, and a human to put it all together in a way that’s relatable to readers.

As much as many business owners could benefit from relying on AI for their content, we’re not there yet.

Ever since ChatGPT and other AI writing tools came out, people have been talking about it stealing content writers’ jobs.

The truth is, the person who uses AI well might take a content writer’s job, not AI alone.

Let’s take a look at how you can leverage AI to scale your content production process without solely relying on it.

How to Use AI to Create Content Faster

So, what’s the best way to use AI?

Here are some favorites:

  • Semrush Content Shake: Use it to save time on finding relevant statistics about the topic you’re writing about. You can then review the facts and data this tool shows you and use the ones that make the most sense for your article.
    Semrush – ContentShake
    Semrush Content Shake helps you find relevant facts and data to include in your content.
  • Frase: Use it to speed up your brief creation process. With Frase, you can either generate outlines using AI or select headings from top-ranking articles. You can also use Frase to optimize your content with semantically relevant keywords.
    Frase helps you create quick outlines based on content that’s already ranking on the first page of SERP.
  • Otter: Use it to transcribe and structure interviews with subject matter experts (SMEs). If you want to quickly find specific topics discussed, you can ask Otter to pull it out for you. For example, Otter AI can gather information about a particular topic discussed during different parts of the interview.
    Otter transcribes meetings for you, and its AI chat helps you structure the insights throughout the meeting or summarize what was discussed.

Note that we only recommend using AI to generate top-level outlines. The kind that is like a skeleton—that sets the foundation that is flexible enough to modify later on.

With your expertise, you can elaborate on the details and add insights and depth only a human can offer.

Or you can give the outlines to writers or subject matter experts so they can build on them.

Remember, if you rely too much on AI, you risk missing out on some valuable points that you may know only based on your experience.

And first-hand experience is exactly what Google algorithms look out for in high quality.

This leads us to the next content marketing trend you should follow in 2024.

2. Prioritize Sharing First-Hand Experience

People love to hear about other people’s experiences.

That’s why Reddit remains to be a popular platform. Ahem, and let’s acknowledge Reddit’s deal with Google.

Semrush – Reddit overview

To satisfy users and hinder the process of AI-generated content flooding the internet, Google updated its EEAT guidelines in December 2022, emphasizing expertise.

And the way to show expertise is to share content that’s based on first-hand experiences.

Think about it. Experts can provide a unique perspective from doing or experiencing something in the industry compared to someone without that expertise.

Now, if you want to get organic traffic from your blog, you need to prioritize content that’s based on first-hand experiences.

It makes your content more insightful and relatable for readers. This, in turn, signals search engines like Google that your content is valuable, pushing its rankings higher.

How to Implement First-hand Experience in Your Content

Documenting what you’re already doing is the best way to implement experience-based content.

So, think about:

  • What challenges did you overcome?
  • How did you achieve something your audience can also be interested in achieving?
  • What are some unique experiences you had along the way?

Then shape your content around those experiences.

For example, Brian Dean wrote an article sharing how to get more website traffic based on his experience increasing Backlinko’s traffic. Two sentences into the post, he shares a screenshot of Backlinko’s traffic for proof (similar to how this post started).

Backlinko – More blog traffic post intro

Another example is Italo Mendonca sharing alternative data use cases in the investment process.

Both of these articles share the same methodology: they help readers by sharing specific real-life experiences of people who are ahead in their journey compared to the readers.

Now, you may not have expertise in all areas you’re writing about.

In that case, you can interview the people with that specific experience and base your article on their insights.

Or encourage guest posts.

If you’re not familiar with guest posting, it’s the practice of getting other people to contribute to your blog.

So when you don’t have experience on the topic, it makes sense to reach out to experts in that niche and have them share their insights with your readers.

The only challenge we have is finding that person with that first-hand experience who can also write that’s always the hard part.

It’s not the same as “I use this to lose weight,” or “I use this to make a chicken dish better,” but experts should know the specific industry, and they can bring a unique perspective, even if it’s not firsthand in a sense.

3. Publish “Be The Source” Content

In 2024, backlinks are still one of the top ranking factors.

So if you want to get more links, traffic, and shares from your content marketing, then give “Be The Source” content a try this year.

But what is “Be The Source” content?

“The Source” posts are research-backed pieces of content that contain new, interesting data.

Data that bloggers and journalists can cite in their articles.

It’s the original information (studies and stats) that is so useful and unique that your industry and big publishers will want to link to you.

How to “Be the Source”

In this section, we’ll walk you through the lessons we’ve picked up from publishing A TON of “Be The Source” posts over the last few years.

Choose the right topic for your “Be The Source” content

There are two ways you can find winning topics for “Be The Source” posts.

First, you can build on a proven topic.

For example, take our large-scale organic CTR analysis.

Why did we decide to go with the topic: “organic CTR”?

Because that was a topic that people in the SEO space were already SUPER interested in. In fact, this ancient visual (from AOL!) was still getting cited left and right.

AOL click data
An old AOL data about CTR analysis.

So we knew that an updated version of that data would work well. Which it did.

Google CTR stats – Backlinks and referring domains
Results shortly after publishing Backlinko’s organic CTR analysis.

You can also hop on a new, emerging topic.

In fact, that’s what we did with the Google Lens ranking factors study that we published in 2020.

This was the first in-depth look at Google Lens rankings.

Which helped that content stand out. And bring in a ton of traffic in its first week.

Visual search ranking factors – Traffic
Our research on Google Lens ranking factors brought Backlinko more than 11,600 unique pageviews in its first week.

Focus on validity

When it comes to “Be The Source” content, there’s one big catch to keep in mind:

If you want people to take your research seriously, your data has to be 100% valid.

Publishing flawed results or misleading findings can hurt your reputation.

You can prove the validity of your study by sharing your methodology and citing reputable sources.

Visualize your findings

Visuals help your “Be The Source Content” for two main reasons:

First, they make your data easier to understand.

Take a stat like “The average Time to First Byte (TTFB) of a voice search result was .54 seconds (vs. the worldwide average of 2.1 seconds).”

It’s really hard to visualize something like that.

But a visual like this makes it easy:

Time to first byte
A visual explaining technical data.

Second, visuals give other bloggers something to embed into their posts. Which can lead to contextual backlinks, like this:

SearchEngineJournal backlink
Other bloggers may embed your visuals and link it back to your site.

Promote with a press release

This is more of an optional step.

But if your data uncovered something interesting or surprising, a press release can help get your post in front of journalists who cover that topic.

Here’s an example of a press release that we published in 2020 to help get the word out about one of our “Be The Source” posts.benef

Backlinko press release
Promote your study results with a press release.

4. Invest in Establishing Authority in Your Area of Expertise

Establishing yourself as an authority in your area of expertise enhances the credibility of your content and aligns with Google’s preference for content created by knowledgeable and reputable individuals.

It’s like giving your content a face and a story. In turn, this boosts content’s trustworthiness and relevance in the eyes of users and search engines.

It’s especially important now when there’s a lot of AI-generated content out there.

And search engines like Google are facing a new challenge: distinguishing between high and low-quality content.

The challenge is real.

We’ve seen cases like Sports Illustrated, where credible sites created fake writer profiles and published a bunch of AI-generated articles.

Sports Illustrated – AI generated writers

This issue forces search engines to reevaluate their criteria for ranking content.

Here’s the thing. When content is linked to a recognized author with relevant experience and knowledge, it gains an extra layer of trust and authority.

How to Establish Authority

Here are some actionable tips to establish your authority:

  • Showcase your expertise through content: Share your knowledge through different forms of content like blog posts, case studies, social media posts, videos, etc. Make sure your content addresses your audience’s pain points and provides valuable solutions and insights.
  • Build a personal brand: Beyond just creating content, work on building your personal brand. This includes having a consistent voice, providing value, and networking proactively on social media.
  • Create a strong author profile: Your author profile is an important part of your personal brand. It should highlight your qualifications, experience, and areas of expertise but also be personable. A well-crafted profile can help you build trust with your audience and search engines.
  • Collaborate with other experts: Partner with other authorities in your field for joint content projects, webinars, or podcasts. This helps you introduce yourself to an established audience and get authoritative backlinks.
  • Invest in professional development: Attend workshops, conferences, seminars, and courses to further enhance your skills and knowledge. This keeps you at the forefront of your field and adds to your credentials.

The challenge we have is finding that person with that first-hand experience who can also write.

5. Leverage Community Contributions

Community contributions boost content’s credibility and depth. They tap into the collective expertise and experiences of a diverse group.

Benefits of community contribution in content

So, involving community members or industry experts adds authenticity and trustworthiness to your content.

Plus, co-promoting means your content can reach an established audience of your industry experts.

Leveraging community contributions involves co-creating and co-promoting content with industry experts or users.

How to Leverage Community Content

Let’s take a look at the ways you can use community content:

  • Invite industry experts to share insights: Collaborate with experts in your field to create content. Their insights add credibility and depth by providing first-hand experiences.
  • Host Q&A sessions: Organize Q&A sessions with experts or influential figures in your industry. You can do this through webinars, live streams, or interviews.
  • Create collaborative projects: Develop projects where multiple contributors can add their expertise. This could be a collaborative blog posts, a research paper, a webinar, or an industry-related guide.
  • Leverage user-generated content (UGC): Encourage your audience to contribute their experiences or ideas. This can be through comments, guest posts, or social media interactions. We’ll talk more about this in the next section.

Whether it’s expert contribution or UGC, make sure to give proper credit when you use their content. Promote their work on your platforms as part of the collaboration.

People are appending searches with Reddit. And I do the same thing. Because people want human perspective. They don’t want SEO trash content.

6. Double Down on User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content is when users or customers create and share content about your brand or product. It may include reviews, images, videos, or social media posts, which you can then use in your marketing efforts.

Many young people now turn to platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube instead of traditional search engines like Google to find information.

Especially when they’re looking for local restaurant recommendations or how-to guides.

And they prioritize content that comes from other customers, such as unboxing, reviews, and lifestyle videos featuring your product.

Think about it, UGC has two main benefits:

  • Since the users are creating content for you, you get to speed up the content generation process
  • Since the creators have already used your product or service, you get authentic content that your audience can relate to

How to Double Down on UGC

You may think that people will just create content around your product, service, or location on their own.

While it can happen, that’s not always the case.

You need to be proactive. Here’s how:

  • Encourage and showcase customer reviews and testimonials: These are powerful forms of UGC that provide social proof and build trust. Amazon’s Creator-Generated Content Program is a great example of this. It empowers any creator to produce and share content about products sold on Amazon. These creators usually share unboxing videos, reviews, tutorials, and lifestyle photos featuring Amazon products to help potential buyers make more informed purchasing decisions.
  • Create hashtag campaigns on social media: Encourage your audience to be creative or share their experiences related to your brand using a specific hashtag.For example, Apple encourages users to share iPhone photos with the hashtag #ShotoniPhone. Then they feature the best shots on their Instagram page and credit the author. By showcasing the quality of photos you can shoot on an iPhone, this campaign helps users see its value.
    Instagram – Apple – #shotoniphone
    Apple encourages users to share the photos they take using their iPhones and add hashtag #ShotoniPhone. The company picks the best shots and uses them on its Instagram page while crediting the author.
  • Host contests or challenges: Engage your audience by hosting contests or challenges that prompt them to create content related to your brand.
  • Collaborate with content creators: Whether it’s an influencer or a content creator with no following, these people can help you get creative, high-quality content.
  • Feature UGC content on your platforms: Once you get them, share user posts, videos, or stories that mention your brand on your own social media channels and website.

7. Repurpose Your Content on Different Platforms

Repurposing content is a great way to scale up your content marketing without starting over every time you want to create a post for a new format.

This is why content repurposing is a hot content marketing trend right now.

But people’s standards for content have gone up A LOT over the last few years.

That said, simply copy-pasting a section from your blog post and publishing it on social media doesn’t cut it anymore.

You can’t just read an article into a microphone and call it a day, either.

Let’s see how to repurpose your content instead:

How to Repurpose Your Content

  • Match the content to each format: Ideas, concepts, and examples from the original content needs to be perfectly adapted to the new format. For instance, when repurposing a blog post for a YouTube video, it’s important to add elements like a relatable story at the beginning, use strategies that work well for the video, and rewrite parts to make sense in the new format.For example, the online news publishing “The Know” frequently repurposes their positive news articles into digestible, engaging Instagram Reels.
    The Know – Instagram reel

    People who come across “The Know’s” content on Instagram and are interested in learning more are likely to visit their website and join their newsletter.

    And regardless of your business type, you can aim the same.

  • Reuse specific steps and tips: You don’t have to repurpose an entire piece of content. Instead, take the best sections from an existing piece of content and reuse them elsewhere. This approach lets you highlight specific, valuable parts of your content in different formats or platforms.Let’s take a look at how Semrush repurposed its marketing process guide into an Instagram carousel.
    Instagram – Semrush carousel

    As you can see, Semrush turned a lengthy, in-depth guide to marketing processes into an easily digestible step-by-step process. And they recommend using Semrush to execute the process.

    So people who saw the value Semrush provided in this quick Instagram guide can visit their website to learn more and ideally try Semrush’s tools.

8. Jump on Emerging Topics

Jumping on emerging topics BEFORE they take off is a great way for your content to stand out.

It’s about catching the wave right as it starts to form, giving your brand a head start in discussions, and gaining more exposure.

The question is: how do you find growing trends that are about to take off?

And when you find one, what should you do next?

Well, that’s exactly what we plan to cover next.

How to Jump on Emerging Topics

Google Trends related queries

Google Trends is GREAT for confirming if a keyword is growing or shrinking.

Google Trends – Pea protein
Check if a keyword is growing or shrinking with Google Trends.

Or comparing two trends against each other:

Google Trends – Comparation
Comparing two trends against each other with Google Trends.

But it’s not that great at bubbling up trending topics that you don’t already know about.

That is unless you check out the “Related queries” section.

Here’s how it works:

First, search for a keyword that you think might be trending up.

Then, check out the “Related queries” list at the bottom of the page.

Pea protein – Related queries
Check Related Queries section in Google Trends to find trending topics.

This is Google’s way of showing you terms that are starting to blow up.

Very helpful.

Exploding Topics

Google Trends’s related queries are helpful and all.

But again, it really only shows you topics that you already know about.

Which is why we recommend Exploding Topics.

Exploding Topics scans the internet for terms that are starting to blow up. And, if the trend is a real trend (and not just a fad), we add it to our growing database.

Exploding Topics – AI logo generator
Exploding Topics scans the internet to find terms that are starting to blow up. And if the trend is a real trend, we add it to our growing database.

Create epic content around that topic

Once you find an emerging topic, what’s next?

You can create a video. Or a list post. Or a guide.

The exact format doesn’t matter all that much.

The important thing is that you produce something SUPER comprehensive.

Because the topic is so new, your content will instantly become THE go-to resource on that topic.

(Assuming that it’s good 😀)

For example, we published this guide to Google’s core web vitals.

This wasn’t only the best guide to core web vitals out there. It was the ONLY guide.

Which is why it brings in so much traffic every month.

Core web vitals – Monthly sessions
We created content on a trending topic. People found it as a go-to guide and it still brings in a lot of traffic every month.

9. Improve Content Design and User Experience

User experience (UX) is directly linked to user signals, which are now a crucial part of SEO strategies.

Google’s algorithms consider site speed, ease of navigation, and user interaction when ranking websites.

And if your site loads fast, answers users’ queries, and is easy to navigate, people are going to stay on your site and interact with it. They’re also more likely to visit other pages of your site.

Good content design and UX

This ultimately signals Google algorithm that your website’s UX is great and that you provide value to people who visit it. And it rewards with decent rankings.

How to Improve Content Design and UX

Optimizing UX is about making your site as user-friendly as possible.

This includes:

  • Improving site speed
  • Being thoughtful about pop-up use
  • Designing an easy-to-navigate page layout
  • Making call-to-actions and monetization contextually relevant
  • Linking only to genuinely helpful content
  • Answering user intent early on in your content, not hiding important information at the bottom

If people are bouncing, I think Google is gonna double down on that as a way to prevent SERP from getting polluted with AI content, which is at super high risk.

10. Create Explainer Visuals

Custom explainer visuals, including videos and graphics like screenshots and custom diagrams, are essential in explaining complex concepts.

Short-form video content also remains highly popular. Videos frequently appear in featured snippets and on the first page of Google SERP.

This trend suggests that video content is a staple in content marketing that’s expected to stay in 2024 and beyond.

How to Leverage Explainer Visuals

To effectively use explainer visuals, focus on creating content that is informative, visually appealing, and engaging.

This includes:

  • Incorporating informative graphics in your articles: Create graphics that visually represent data or explain steps needed to do something complex.
  • Establishing YouTube presence: Given YouTube is one of the most popular video platforms in the world, it’s a great place to distribute your content. Plus, Google features YouTube videos on the first page of SERP.
    Google – Videos in SERP
    An example of Google featuring YouTube videos on the first page.
  • Focusing on short-form videos: YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok are also great platforms to distribute your explainer videos.For example, a bakery owner of “Brooki Bakehouse” frequently shares videos explaining her processes and sharing her baking-related tips. Considering the video got 2 million views, 290k likes, 28.5k saves, and 570 shares, sharing short-form videos is a great strategy for brand awareness.
    @brookibakehouse My best 10 baking tips from a bakery owner 🤫 The last one is a game changer! #bakingtips #bakeryowner #baking #fyp ♬ original sound – brooki

  • Embedding YouTube videos in your articles: This makes your article more engaging and is a great way to distribute your YouTube videos even further.If you have both a blog and a YouTube channel, embed your videos in your articles to help readers understand the topic even deeper and to increase your video views.Let’s take a look at how Notion embedded a YouTube video into its blog post about its new tool—the calendar.
    Notion – Introducing Notion calendar
    It engages the readers and gives them a chance to get a quick overview of the new feature using video. Plus, they get to distribute their YouTube channel through their blog so people who land on Notion’s blog through organic traffic can also discover its YouTube channel.

11. Continue Distributing Your Content via Email

In 2024, email marketing is shifting towards a relationship-building tactic, focusing on nurturing and maintaining connections with the audience.

This approach involves providing value through your emails, building trust, and encouraging interactions.

Some consider email marketing as an old-school approach. However, it’s still an important content marketing trend.

In fact, Litmus found that email marketing has a whopping 3,600% ROI (return on investment). That’s $36 for every $1 you spend on email marketing.

For example, Wandering Aimfully runs a coaching program launched entirely through email, without promoting it on social media. And they generated $226,000 in sales in two weeks with an email list of 11,000 people.

How to Grow Your Email List and Increase Engagement

While the basics of email marketing stayed the same, there are a few trending strategies to consider this year:

  • Personalization: Personalize your emails based on the subscriber’s purchase history, interests, and website behavior.
  • Segmentation: Divide your audience into groups based on shared characteristics and send them targeted emails that resonate with their needs.
  • Timing: Send emails at the right time. Use your existing data or A/B test to determine the optimal times for sending emails to your specific audience.
  • Interactive elements: Use polls, quizzes, GIFs, or product demos to keep your audience engaged and increase clicks.
  • Gamification: Encourage engagement and loyalty by giving subscribers points, badges, or exclusive offers through a gamified email experience.
    Grammarly email

12. Run Streamlined Content Operations

With the rise of generic AI content, the demand for high-quality content has increased.

So did the costs of production.

In fact, Superpath reports that the average content marketer earns 16.75% more in 2024 compared to 2023.

Content marketer average annual income
Content marketer’s average annual income from 2020 to 2024 – Superpath

Content ops are the way to tame it all.

Streamlined content operations refer to the structured and efficient management of content creation and distribution processes.

Streamlined content operations

And as content marketing matures, content ops has emerged as a distinct discipline with dedicated publications and senior positions.

Today’s content production and optimization rely on standardized and efficient workflows and team structures.

This is especially important for large-scale content platforms, where the complexity of content creation is higher.

How to Implement Streamlined Content Ops

Let’s break down how you can implement content operations:

  • First, set clear content objectives. What should your content achieve? Is it brand awareness or product sales? Email subscriptions?
  • Build your team, assign clear roles and responsibilities, encourage them to develop their skills, and invest in training.
  • Map your content creation process. The common practice is to start by creating a brief document that will guide the writer to create the content you need. Then the writer can create an outline based on the brief and fill it with content. Once you have the first draft, you can edit it to add more value to content, and when everything checks, publish it on your website. Finally, distribute your content using various channels like social media.
  • Adopt robust project management tools like Trello, Notion, and Google Drive to organize the tasks and projects.
  • Use tools like Slack and Zoom for effective team communication.
  • Incorporate specialized tools like Semrush apps, Frase, and Otter for content planning, writing, and SEO optimization.
  • Build a diverse team of editors, senior writers, content designers, SEOs, and a project manager.
  • Collaborate with subject matter experts and co-promoters for diverse content and distribution.
  • Keep optimizing and repurposing your content.

If you’re a small team or an individual who only hires help every now and then, still think about content production as something that runs on a structure.

Improve Your Content Marketing Efforts

Ready to start improving your content marketing efforts this year?

It’s time to put a strategy together and work on creating content that will provide real value to your audience and significantly increase your website traffic.

Check out our comprehensive SEO trends in 2024 article where we share our predictions regarding the future of SEO and give you actionable tips to get ahead of the competition.

Together with this article, it will give you a full understanding of everything you need to be doing in 2024 to get your content to rank on organic search results.