Content isn’t going anywhere, but the content marketing trend may be disappearing much quicker than we think. This trend movement more to do with marketers failing to deliver results with general content than the role branded content has on the Internet.
The B2B marketing crowd is moving beyond the content marketing trend and adapting account based marketing. Advertising crowds are adapting real time and programmatic marketing. Both the account-based and programmatic trends use content, but with much more precise data-oriented methods.
And traditional social media and PR types, while using content more for thought leadership and media relations, are seeing greater gains in the influencer marketing realm. This is probably an obvious development as PR has always been better about creating third-party or earned media coverage rather than creating content.
I agree with Mark Schaefer that there is an increasing exponential glut of content being created by many parties online. The increasing content glut makes it hard for good content to be discovered. But to be fair, most corporate content is not good.
Marketers and PR types have been abusive, chumming the Internet with articles, memes and other content forms to draw inbound traffic. As a result, content has been thrown against all the public walls across the Internet. People turn away from boring content. They don’t trust it, and see through its veneer of “usefulness.”
This happened because most communicators lack the ability and/or the discipline to incorporate data intelligence — e.g. information about what their audiences care about — and create well crafted customized content. The result is a perception that the content marketing trend is waning.
To be clear, content marketing didn’t fail. The marketing and PR industry did. So we’re starting to move on to a new series of trends and buzzwords. And I fully expect the industry to beat those horses into the ground, too.
Content itself will remain and continue its growth online, but instead of being the hot “strategic” touchpoint of digital marketing, it becomes more of a role player. Perhaps that’s better anyway. Like public social media, you can have too much of a good thing.
You could literally say content is everything. But in the end, it is the customer relationships that matter. Content is a means to communicate, and is subservient to that ultimate barometer: Does it help or harm relationships?
What do you think?