During the last few years, it’s become popular to say content marketing is either dying or dead.
This usually stems from a case study showing content marketing is suddenly yielding a lower return-on-investment than usual.
Ignoring the hyperbolic nature of these kinds of statements for a second, it’s worth having a discussion about the current state of content marketing and how it relates to the world of communicators.
Let’s face facts: The industry has changed.
The modern consumer made sure of that.
The focus on brand information has been replaced by an emphasis on peer recommendations.
Expansive campaigns have been traded in for conversations.
There’s no going back to the way things were.
But with a strong understanding of the content marketing landscape and a willingness to update those strategies, communicators can find their rhythm again when it comes to content marketing.
And who knows?
With any luck, they might even end up in a better place than they started.
Respect that Content Amplification Has Changed
There was a time, not too long ago, where most people’s attention was focused in just a few places.
Becoming an authority was difficult, and because of that, you were at the mercy of a few platforms.
Sure, you’d have a massive advantage if you managed to be featured on one of them.
But your chances of actually gaining that exposure weren’t great.
Since then, with the shift in digital marketing, there are few of those massive high-traffic, intensely authoritative platforms left.
The easiest way to imagine it is that, instead of four people in a football field having megaphones, everyone has one.
You may not have access to the insane promotional power Forbes did several years ago, but you do have something just as valuable: The ability to create and promote your content over a variety of different platforms.
If that reporter just isn’t interested in your pitch, you can re-work it and publish your own content on your own site.
These days, it’s not about whether or not you have a celebrity endorsement.
What draws people in and captivates them is the kind of content you’ve created.
Blogs, infographics, newsletters…whatever you choose to do, just make sure it’s good enough to be shareable.
The Tools for Distribution Have Changed
The tools PR professionals use for distribution have changed, too.
It may not be the trendiest issue to address, but SEO is still massively relevant in the world of digital media.
The only issue is, like most things in the ever-changing digital media landscape, SEO has changed dramatically throughout the years.
Gone are the days of keyword-stuffing and questionable black-hat marketing practices.
The evolution of the modern consumer paired with Google’s in-depth algorithms put a stop to that.
If you’re not familiar with SEO’s new look, it’d be easy to say SEO is dead.
The early 2000s, link-farming version of SEO is long dead, yes.
But paying attention to those ranking signals still matters.
It doesn’t end there, of course.
Social Media Distribution Changes the Game
Distribution through social media has changed the way communicators need to think about marketing strategies.
For starters, you should be willing to take advantage of your social media profiles.
Be ready to leverage that high quality content of yours into attention.
Which can actually be pretty straightforward, if you know what to focus on.
Make sure to use this social space to nurture relationships with other industry authorities and influencers.
Then promote your own content to get the attention of journalists that can help you spread your message.
While we’re on the topic of social, it’s important to recognize the importance of ads and their effectiveness as a distribution tool.
But don’t take our word for it.
The Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 benchmark report found more than 50 percent of B2B marketing professionals were using social ads and promoted posts to distribute content.
This is the place to invest in paid ads.
Valuable Content Marketing is Rewarded
This is worth mentioning simply for the fact that most people seem to forget about mentioning it.
The reality of the digital marketing industry today is that when everyone is loud at once, it’s no easy feat to stand out.
Actually creating something that speaks to people is going to the determining factor here.
There’s just no space for average content at the top anymore.
This should be great news for communicators everywhere.
If you think your content is top-notch, this is your chance to prove it.
The modern consumer has zero patience for average content.
And even if they decide to read your blog post, the only way to consistently get them to share the content is ensure it’s highly engaging.
Building shareable content might sound like an ordeal, but the reality of shareability comes down to two factors.
First, did they find it entertaining?
Second, did they find it valuable?
If the answer is yes to either of these, you’ve created valuable content and it’s only a matter of time before you’re rewarded.
In today’s digital marketing world, valuable content is the pillar on which all content marketing efforts are built on.
Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer
People get mad, even at your business.
Even if you try your absolute hardest to ensure every person you do business with is satisfied, you’ll likely still end up with a few people looking to share their negative experience on social media.
And in a world where peer recommendations are massively important, it doesn’t take many negative reviews to compromise your reputation.
If your strategy is to just ignore any negativity and pretend it doesn’t exist, you’re setting yourself up for a PR nightmare.
Instead of doing that, ensure you’re prepared for the worst.
Take the time to train your team to diffuse these kinds of situations before they become PR disasters.
Believe it or not, content can have a massive role to play here.
You can use content creation as an opportunity to educate your team.
Teach them how to facilitate better experiences with your clients.
In turn, this reduces the chances of being the subject of a negative review online.
The world of PR is slowly coming to terms with the way content marketing has changed.
The sooner you’re able to adapt to these changes in the industry, the sooner your company can take advantage of the new strategies available to communicators.