May 3, 2016
Content Marketing: Dead or Alive?
In the fickle world of modern marketing, it seems that every few months the hottest trend becomes “totally dead.” Day to day, conference to conference, social network to social network, the only constant is change. So it is with content marketing—once the hottest thing, now branded as “dead” by some. Is it mostly dead? Slightly alive? Or just evolving?
A few years ago, content marketing exploded, and everyone became a “content marketing expert.” Content marketing shops and agencies popped up on every corner like pizza shops. The core of content marketing—telling stories to connect with potential customers—remains intact. It remains a powerful way to connect. So what’s making industry analysts say it’s dead? Here’s a few factors behind its hypothetical one-foot-in-the-grave.
Mark Schaefer dubbed it “content shock.” Anyone who’s ever sat down to write what they thought was an original blog post can identify with this phenomenon. Content overload, content saturation. “Pay to play” is becoming the name of the game, and rising above the noise is getting harder and harder.
Everybody’s a publisher
Whether or not it’s actually heard, it’s easy to gain a voice. Just snag a blog, a microphone, a video camera, a Facebook instant article, and you’re a publisher. Put “content marketing expert” on your blog’s “about” page, and you’re an expert. While the true experts naturally rise above, the noise isn’t getting any softer.
Endorsement doesn’t equal storytelling
While many influencer marketing and branded content strategies tell stories beautifully, there are still some that merely put a product in a celebrity’s hands and claim the term content marketing.
Big on content, low on value
Believe it or not, keyword-stuffing still happens, and people still try to game the ranking system. Though Google’s parade of Penguins and Pandas have effectively squelched those attempts at scamming the algorithm, they still happen, and even by those claiming to be experts. So for the average consumer or prospect, sifting through the low-value content to find the good stuff can be tough.
But enough Debbie Downer. What about the positives that show content marketing (in the sense of great storytelling) is alive and well?
The surge of interactive
Interactive marketing is undergoing a renaissance, a blooming of personalized content meant to cut through the vanilla noise and tell a brilliant story. From user-generated content, polls, and interactive video, interactive content marketing has taken the reins from traditional content marketing and is forging marketing’s next generation.
Moving pictures keep moving
Video is taking over the internet. Recent stats from Cisco say by 2019, 80% of Internet traffic will be video. And with video’s continued rise comes creative, innovative use of video in marketing campaigns. Add live streaming, 360 video to the mix, and the recently-blossoming world of VR, and the sky’s the limit. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth?
Quality content still rules
Semantic search solidified Google’s reminder to the marketing world that quality content based on the searching user’s habits will still win, every time. Writing with your audience’s intention in mind (not the algorithm) is still the best way to be heard. That fact alone should reaffirm the fact that as great storytelling lives on, so does content marketing.
Great content marketing is great storytelling, and it’s very much alive and well. Content marketing hasn’t retired, it’s just re-treaded. It’s adapting to the ever-changing world around it. Here’s to the next generation of quality storytelling!
Tell Us What You Think
Do you think content marketing is dead? Alive? Mostly dead? Slightly alive? What do you think will be the next trend in content marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments.