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Content marketing : Then and now

Authored by Deepak Lamba, Chief Executive Officer, Worldwide Media

 We might all remember our days of struggle with technology a couple of decades ago. Whether it was trying to make a trunk call which meant practically screaming at your landline loud enough to wake the neighbourhood, or trying to wrap your head around this new thing called Facebook in the late 2000’s everything new started with a bit of a struggle and then went on to transform over the next few years and some are still evolving.



In the early 2000s, content marketing would mean just sponsored text, photos or posts that would direct consumers to a brand, survey or e-retailer. The 2010s brought in the social revolution - if something gets shared by the right influencer, it can go viral. 


The landscape of the practice is constantly changing. It doesn't look the same now as it did ten years ago, and in ten years it won't look the same as it does now. Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen content marketing evolve dramatically. In 2011, it felt like every company knew they “needed a blog,” but many had no idea why, or to what extent, or even how to set up calls to action and get people to subscribe. Now, rather than seeing content marketing as simply having a website and a blog, companies are looking at it as a comprehensive, long-term strategy that encompasses content, SEO, and public relations.

The last decade of content marketing can be defined in a few phases: Google’s ZMOT study that highlighted the need for sound Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the rise of social media that allowed users to consume content more passively on their preferred platforms, and video content, with 2010 becoming the decade that made YouTube central to the landscape of content marketing.

A big reason for this turning point? The realization that consumers often make decisions before directly interacting with a company. Today, the avenues have widened immensely. According to Statista, content marketing revenue surpassed $42 billion in 2019 and is still rising. 


What is interesting, and more important to understand, is that while content marketing involves the creation and sharing of videos, blogs, and social media posts, etc., it does not explicitly promote a brand. It is intended to just stimulate interest in its products or services. Most marketers and brand strategists agree that it definitely is one of the better ways a business can help shape its brand identity, generate interest from prospective buyers, and retain an engaged audience. 



     There is very little debate about the fact that for any business or brand to grow and build the correct audience, content marketing is essential. Increasing conversions, enhancing sales, creating leads, expanding an email list, are all much more onerous without it. Just like any other marketing practice, it is important to pay attention to upcoming trends. 

Repurposing content on various channels: As companies try to find new and creative ways to get in front of their audiences, we’ll see companies focusing less on creating new content and more on updating older content to build up its search rankings and to provide up-to-date, relevant insights without always having to put in the time and effort to create new content from scratch.

The publishing industry will continue to evolve its business model: More and more free content is being created each day, which makes it difficult for publishers to maintain a profit from their content. Companies will need to stay up to speed on what opportunities exist in the publishing space so they can get their content in front of their target audience, which might mean switching between paid and organic content opportunities or doing a mix of the two.

Marketers might find their inspiration in the entertainment industry: A lot of marketers have focused on the data around people having short attention spans. But bingeing entertainment has become commonplace. Instead of focusing on people’s attention spans, marketers should look at what can be learned from the entertainment industry by inspecting leads’ entry points on the website. For example, does the preview encourage leads to binge the content? People invest time when the topic interests them, so marketers have to make content so captivating that people can’t resist immersing themselves in it.


From the inception of content marketing to the present, the industry has never stayed stagnant. And that trend will only continue as we grow and as new technologies emerge. That’s why marketers have to stay agile and commit to being lifelong learners.


 DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it. 


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