Does Content Marketing Have A Future?

    There’s been lots of chatter on the web lately about this. With all the hype around content marketing over the past few years, you might be wondering how long it can last. And even if it does, what will content marketing look like in the future?

    With the growing strength of social media engagement, will blogging become irrelevant? Is there already an overload of information out there? Does anyone even read quality content any more, or is it just for the purpose of indexing in search? 

    Ok, if it’s any consolation, you aren’t the only one asking the question. Here are the main trends that seem to be moving to the top:

    Trend #1: Independent Content Brands

    The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) recently held a webinar on the future of the industry, and one of the primary insights from audience participation was that of creating a content “brand” that’s separate from your product or service. By doing so, you build up a reputation as a thought leader in the field and create trust with your target market.

    How to do this:

    • Focus on publishing only the highest quality content to drive subscriptions to your material.

    • Make sure everything you post provides value and helps your audience, rather than pitching your product.

    • Think of your content arm as a publisher. Then focus on being the best publisher of information in your industry that you can.

    In fact, in some cases it’s prudent to publish commentary that promotes a different course of action than using your product or service!

    Trend #2: It’s Impact that Counts

    Forget the debate around short, snackable content versus long-form content. In the past, we’ve heard both arguments, but what seems to be the future is the impact. Short content is great for creating a buzz, but long-form, quality content is what drives relationships. Long-form has more impact, delivers more bang for the proverbial buck and—bonus!—works better for search because you can pack more keywords into it without “stuffing” it.

    How to do this:

    • Focus on raising awareness and driving engagement with short content.

    • Use long-form content to offer value-adds and promote behavioral changes that result in sales.

    By turning your content into valuable information instead of marketing, you’ll fill the need for reliable sources of advice.

    Trend #3: Quality Content Reigns Supreme

    It’s all about quality. No surprise there, but with the deluge of information coming at users from every angle, the way to differentiate yours is to create quality content that stands out from the rest.

    How to do this:

    • Don’t compete for attention by making your content “noisier” than the rest.

    • Focus on running a tight content ship; reduce the quantity and improve the quality.

    Whether you publish text, images or video, make sure it’s the best you can produce. Spend extra time ensuring that it’s error-free, optimized and makes use of best Internet practices.

    Trend #4: Focus on Niche Instead of Reach

    Following the theme of quality content instead of quantity, an overwhelmingly popular prediction is that niche material will dominate. By focusing on reaching the right consumers instead of numbers, you’ll get higher engagement (ergo: better impact), and drive value better.

    How to do this:

    • Define your ideal customer very clearly.

    • Segment your target marketing into narrow, specific groups.

    • Create detailed personas for each segment, and focus on one only for each piece of content you publish.

    Speak directly to your niche market in language it understands to create rapport with your readers.

    Trend #5: Interactivity is Key

    The days of one-way, “push” marketing are over. Inbound marketing is built on interactivity, and even quality content needs to be accessible for the user. Even video, which is big news in 2014, is still a one-directional method of communication. This means it’s only as successful as the degree of interactivity that follows it. For your content marketing to survive the changing climate, you need to build interactivity into your team’s deliverables.

    How to do this:

    • Conduct marketing research to help identify what drives your target consumer’s behavior.

    • Take account of the right time, mode and context to present your material so it fulfills the right need, at the right time, in the right consumer’s life.

    Don’t despair – all the time and money you’ve spent on content marketing isn’t about to be wasted. As long as you can remain agile in your marketing and embrace the trends in a timely way, you’ll have a market for quality content for a long time to come.

    Topics: agency content solutions - content marketing for agencies - content marketing

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