They made fun of my electric blue, yellow, and white shoes in 7th grade 🤣. I was the "weird" introverted kid that didn't really fit into any one place. Back then, the black and white Puma shoes with the zig-zag velcro strap were popular. But I thought my shoes were cool because I liked them. There was no peer pressure forcing the decision onto me.
It's funny though because even when it comes to content I’ve also never been a fan of chasing trendy things that are in one day and out the next. Keeping up appearances is exhausting and soul-sucking. I'd rather focus on what I enjoy. Whoever likes it likes it, whoever doesn't doesn't - and that's it, no biggie.
Can you relate?
Why I’m Not a Fan of Chasing Trends
One of my biggest pet peeves of trends are the superficial reports that give you useless fluff like:
Grainy gradients are so in in 2021 (tbh I do like these lol)
Mood board/Collage-style posts are in
Retro vibes are making a comeback
Random TikTok dances to master (but will no longer be "in" by the time you post so you'll get called a "boomer" by 12 year olds for being late lol)
None of that cutesy #aesthetic stuff (alone) is going to make much or any impact in terms of moving the needle for the things that matter (hitting your KPIs, building community, and focusing on evergreen content and best practices that have a longer lifespan). Not every trend is for you. If it contextually makes sense for your brand, do it. If not, then don't.
If you’re a one-person show or have a small team, you can’t afford to waste time on trend chasing in hopes of going viral. Especially if you're new, the goal is to make evergreen content and with time being able to pinpoint what factors define "quality content" for your brand.
Which now brings me to...
5 Content Trends I Believe Are Here To Stay
Before I start - some of these things aren’t necessarily new. But they are things I think are underrated and deserve more attention.
1. Value-Driven & Highly-Intimate Community Spaces
Our inboxes and feeds are inundated with crappy content to sift through. So much so, that we’d rather support our favorite creators for access to exclusive content (paid newsletters, Patreon, courses with community aspects) rather than dig for it within all the crap. More intimate and community oriented spaces where participants actually become part of the content will continue to pop up. Think - Clubhouse or interactive virtual conferences where participants can actually join the conversation. Especially now, during the pandemic, people crave connection more than ever.
2. Marketing Design as a Skill: Acquire It or Hire For It
We have to work harder to stop the scroll. Understanding the things behind achieving this are key. Anyone who wants to compete in crowded content platforms will eventually have to develop marketing design as a skill or hire/outsource for it. There are many marketers and many graphic designers but not enough marketing designers. Few understand the fundamentals of both well enough to successfully merge the two.What is marketing design? Well, to better understand it, let's visualize the problem when you only have one or the other.
Marketing alone CAN grab attention with its words and strategies. But sometimes it’s poorly visually organized and gets ignored.
Design alone with no knowledge may look beautiful but doesn't necessarily inspire action or connection.
But when the two merge, the product is smarter visuals that perform well.
Let's look at Canva, the graphic design tool for beginners. Not every Canva template is a smart design for content platforms. But Canva is popular because it reduces the barrier to entry for making good designs. And in the last year, the keyword "Canva" has seen a 51% increase in growth likely due to more businesses having to go digital. Good design matters.
3. Master Storytelling or Be Ignored.
It's not enough to just spit facts. Anyone can dig up a fact. It's how you share it that captures not only the attention but the trust and hearts of people. Content that takes long to get to the point or fails to grab and retain attention is ignored.
Personally, I don't believe we have a short attention span problem. There is just so much information that our brains have become highly selective. Our brains have to make split-second decisions to filter out what’s not worth our time. Kill the filler words and for the love of God stop leading videos and first lines of captions with "hey guys" or "happy Monday!". Use those first few characters and intro sentences wisely 😜
In fact, I'm a huge believer that becoming a better content and copywriter will transfer into making you a better video creator and communicator in life as well. Think of it as each line you write or say has to motivate people to move on to the next one and the next one and the one after that.
4. Video Content is NOT Optional
There’s only so much you can achieve hiding behind graphics. Yes you CAN grow without video. But you can grow more AND build a more intimate connection if you embrace video content. I don’t usually push a specific format unless its video. I’m just a major believer in showing face and giving people a sense of who you are. And you don’t have to be a personal brand to get personal. Even a small, mid-size, or large company have people that make up the brand. Kill the stock photos and whiteboard animations - put REAL people from your company in your web and social content.
5. Mental Health + Social Media Are Trying to Get Married.
Since The Social Dilemma came out on Netflix, more people are aware of the effects of social, psychological manipulation, and just how much noise is out there. We crave control. And in this case it means no longer allowing ourselves to BE the product by being more conscious and intentional of the choices we make. More people will post less but higher quality content and focus on fewer but genuine interactions. For Example:
this newsletter/blog is me being more intentional.
I'm extremely selective because I'm highly protective of my energy and mental health. I follow only like 75 or less people because who and how many people I follow will inevitably have an effect on whether or not I feel overstimulated in a day. If I'm going to be inundated with knowledge it better be good stuff and not someones butt selfie with a bible verse in the caption or 10 consecutive posts of "the new algorithm" lol
Here's a popular one - say no more often. It's hard but worth it to focus on the people and things you do want to build a relationship with.
In Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, I learned about Dunbar's Number and why humans can only really keep up with no more than 150 relationships (on average). In fact, here's an interesting excerpt from an article about this.
"But 150 alone doesn’t tell the whole story. Other numbers are nested within the social brain hypothesis too.
According to the theory, the tightest circle has just five people – loved ones. That’s followed by successive layers of 15 (good friends), 50 (friends), 150 (meaningful contacts), 500 (acquaintances) and 1500 (people you can recognise). People migrate in and out of these layers, but the idea is that space has to be carved out for any new entrants.
Extroverts tend to have a larger network and spread themselves more thinly across their friends, while introverts concentrate on a smaller pool of “thick” contacts."
I'm curious. Which of the 5 things that I've covered today would you like me to share more tips and thoughts on?