August 25, 2016 by greatcontent
The Unique and Exciting Evolution of Content Marketing
Content, and the way that it has changed over the past 6 years, was the subject of a recent article by the Content Marketing Institute. We’re going to take a closer look at the ways in which content has evolved since 2010, with particular emphasis on what it means to us as marketers or content producers.
Content wasn’t really a thing back in the early 1990s and websites were often defined by badly written text that had little or no value for the reader. Roll forward 25 or so years, and it’s a very different story. Website content has replaced traditional marketing methods like newspaper and television advertising to an astonishing degree. No longer do companies rely on costly catalogue and mail shot campaigns to attract prospective customers, they can do so far more effectively with well written, relevant content.
Marketing content – what does it mean?
Let’s take a quick look at the basics. Content marketing is all about communication. It’s the art of reaching out to existing clients or prospective customers by providing them with interesting information. Rather than exhorting them to buy, you’re aiming to create interest in your service or product with content that is fresh, intelligent, interesting and, above all, compelling. Once you’ve attracted visitors to your website, the hope is that they will feel a sense of loyalty to your brand or service and reward you with their custom.
Changes in the way we market content
Just 6 years ago, CMWorld held its first industry focused event. An audience of 600 content marketers and professionals turned up to hear 45 speakers. The event was an unmitigated success – but this year’s conference will feature over 250 speakers and over 4,000 visitors are expected. Content as a commodity has evolved significantly since that first event. It’s the topic of a recent CMI article and CMWorld presenters were happy to share some of their views.
Margaret Magnarelli, the senior director of marketing and managing editor at leading job-search firm, Monster says that the chance to compete with established names like the Wall Street Journal and Buzz-Feed is one of the most exciting changes, and perhaps, one of the biggest. She points out that as companies are more aware of the value of content, traditional media has fallen out of favour and is struggling financially. Now, brands themselves have direct access to the same methods of distribution used by media companies. She says:
“That means we as content marketers have an amazing opportunity to compete with the likes of BuzzFeed and The New York Times, and whatever else is in our target customer’s news feeds.”
For us as content marketers, that gives us the chance to create valid content that challenges readers and invites them to explore further. With access to a far greater audience than we might have expected just 6 years ago, the importance of quality, well-placed content cannot be understated. Companies benefit too, they can add new and more relevant content as often as they wish – it’s inexpensive in comparison with traditional marketing methods and has a far greater impact.
Changes that can’t be ignored
One of the biggest changes in recent years has been in how large organisations and business view marketing. Now that we are aware of the role content plays as a driving force in the growth and development of businesses – that is quite apart from the sale of the product or services offered by the brand – demand for quality articles is increasing.
As Carla Johnson, marketing and customer experience strategist for Type A Communications points out:
“We’re seeing content marketing move from a marketing tactic to a marketing model and now to a business model. We need to be willing to look at the purpose of our work and the role that we have within our companies from a different perspective – one that’s business-driven first.”
In simple terms, the content itself is a good enough reason for a prospective customer to visit your website. They want to see what happens next, they are interested in the information you’re providing and they will return for the next instalment. A blog is one of the most popular ways to increase interest in your product, through regular articles that have little to do with sales but which reflect modern trends and interests.
Create interest in your content and you’ll be rewarded with customer loyalty to your brand or service.
More than just a catchy phrase
John Hall, the CEO and co-founder of Influence & Co, states that when the term ‘content marketing’ was coined a few years ago it was the buzzword du jour. Everyone was keen to try it. It’s so much more today and changes over the past 6 years have shown how effective content marketing really is. We know what works and what doesn’t. Gone are the irrelevant nonsense articles that were a by-product of the keyword stuffing trend. Now it’s all about original, well-researched content that has real value for the reader.
Some of the most exciting developments that we’ve seen over the past few years include the introduction of various tools and algorithms that allow us to see just how well the content we’ve created is doing. Google’s Panda algorithm made quality an essential element, and now Google Freshness allows webmasters to stay ahead of the game by rewarding businesses with a higher ranking for fresh, new, regularly updated content.
Now we can track content and see how successful it is for ourselves. John Hall is keen to underline the importance of this change and says that it undoubtedly ‘paves the way for marketers to understand all of content’s benefits’. It can be used to maximise the return of investment for the brand or company over various departments and today content marketing has evolved to encompass content recruiting, content training and more.
Today’s most appealing content is well-written, engaging and influential. Website managers now have access to a wide range of content options such as blogs and news articles and each can be easily updated.
In short, the most significant change in content marketing since 2010 is just how many brands are using it – though not always well. Content marketing works, and what was a little known secret 6 years ago is now common knowledge. Today, there is more competition than ever and webmasters are determined that their content will get the attention it deserves. One of the most effective ways to ensure that you stay ahead of your competitors is to create a unique selling point through creative, fresh and useful content. Blog posts, news articles or how-to features are just some of the ways in which you can create marketable content that is up to the minute and relevant. Evolved content is exciting content. Great content creates a unique and identifiable bond between you and your readers.
Written by Dianemc