Evolution and current state of content marketing – latest trends, strategies, and more

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Content is king concept

What is the first thought that comes to you when you hear the term “content marketing”? People who do not work in marketing or the digital marketing space have not understood the true meaning of content marketing. We do not blame them since content marketing is a very broad subject to pin down. That said, it is important to understand that the concept of content marketing has been around for quite some time now. It is also essential to understand the evolution of content marketing over the years. 

Do you know that John Deere was the first company to deploy content marketing when it released a magazine called “The Furrow” for farmers in 1895? Since then, many companies have proactively adopted content marketing for a myriad of reasons. 

What was once a unique and novel marketing strategy in the 20th century, has now evolved into a must-have marketing tactic for almost all companies. Although evolution in content marketing has taken place, its key elements remain the same. 

In this article, we will inspect the evolution of content marketing over the past century and also understand the current state of this amazing marketing technique in 2022. 

Without further ado, let’s begin. 

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What exactly is content marketing?

Content marketing and blogging concept image

Before we explore how content marketing has evolved, let’s understand what exactly we mean by content marketing. 

So, what is content marketing?

Content marketing is a marketing strategy which involves a great amount of planning, creative thinking, audience segmentation, and know-how of where, when, and to whom your content should be distributed. 

The ultimate aim is to identify the target audience and ensure your brand connects with them. So why has content marketing become so important?

Why is content marketing so important today?

Let’s turn back time and go back to the early 2010s. Back in the day, if someone told you that social media marketing would become as huge as it is today, you would probably dismiss them right away. Even if you were to believe them, it would be hard to convince you that a cohort of social media influencers and YouTubers would take over your social media screens someday. 

Mobile marketing, especially social media marketing has become one of the most popular marketing avenues for both – B2B and B2C brands. Today, around 6.64 billion people use smartphones, which is a whopping 83% of the total population on earth [1]. We believe many companies saw this coming and equipped themselves to stay ahead of the curve. But how is social media marketing related to content marketing?

Everything we see on social media as images, GIFs, memes, videos, Instagram reels, YouTube Shorts, and so on is nothing but some form of content. 

Gone are the days when your target audience consumes content via traditional blogs, press releases, and articles. While these mediums are still relevant today, customers are accessing a large chunk of content through websites, news applications, and social media platforms.  

This is exactly why niche marketing has become so critical for brands to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. Establishing brand loyalty has become tougher than ever before because of the arrival of new-age content marketing tactics. 

The average attention span of users today is just 8 seconds! [2] You can imagine how challenging it has become for marketers to grab the attention of their audience. Besides, consumer behaviour has also seen a paradigm shift, as more and more consumers demand brands to provide specific content that is relevant to their niche. 

Let’s take Facebook for example. The platform which was an instant hit among millennials does not appeal to the Gen Z population in the same way. Platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram have garnered immense momentum in recent years and are touted to speed past Facebook in the upcoming years. That said, at present, Facebook continues to enjoy the lead in terms of global users, which is exactly why brands should not ignore this social media giant and continue to publish content to interact with their audience. 

Has content marketing become an out-and-out number game?

Dashboard to assess the content marketing engagement

One cannot help but wonder if today’s content marketing landscape is a hectic quest of attaining high engagement. If you ask any marketer what are they looking to achieve with their content marketing efforts, the answer is likely to be unanimous – high engagement, leading to higher sales. 

How can we forget the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer behaviour? For instance, let’s explore the gigantic rise of TikTok over the past couple of years. 

TikTok is a social media platform that enables users to create, market, and engage with short-form audio and music content. The application was downloaded a whopping 315 million times in the first quarter of 2020, setting a record for the highest number of downloads in one quarter. This comes when the pandemic had not yet swooped the entire world. 

We can attribute the meteoric rise of TikTok to content that appeals to a certain section of the audience. Since the start of the pandemic, TikTok has become one of the most popular platforms to connect with all types of audiences. 

Every successful brand needs to stay abreast with the latest content marketing trends to thrive, and Chipotle did exactly that. Let’s see how. The company strategically used TikTok as part of its content marketing plan to engage with its audience. 

According to QSR, Chipotle’s #GuacDance competition “received 250,000 video entries throughout the six-day challenge” and was “TikTok’s highest-performing branded challenge in the U.S.” We believe this is exactly the engagement modern-day content marketers long for. 

Chipotle used TikTok to post content after exploring various channels to find out what people were saying and where they were talking. The company consciously hires a diverse workforce that includes people of all ages to stay afloat with the current and latest trends in content marketing. 

Content marketing trends ruling the marketing world

We have seen how content marketing has evolved and become one of the most underrated, yet powerful marketing tools. Now, is a good time to discover the latest content marketing trends and what the future holds in store for us. 

  • All eyeballs on video content

A social media influencer recording a video

We have well and truly entered an era where video content is ruling the roost. Remember what we said about the average attention span of humans earlier in the article? This is one of the main reasons why video content has become increasingly popular compared to written content such as blogs, and so forth. 

Here are some interesting numbers that are a testament to the fact that video marketing has become an integral part of content marketing. inVideo states that on average, people spend around 100 minutes each day consuming video content [3]. A HubSpot report from 2018 said that around 54% of customers would like to see their favourite brands and businesses create more video content [4]

Now, let’s look at the return on investment (ROI). 

A whopping 87% of video marketers are satisfied with the ROI their video marketing campaigns have given them. Furthermore, over 93% of marketers believe that video content is an integral part of their content marketing strategy [5]

Video content will thrive in the content marketing future. High ROI, increasing consumer interest in video content, and short attention spans are the key factors that are likely to drive this wave in the future. 

  • Marketers to focus more on marketing campaigns optimized for mobile 

Did you know that approximately 61% of Google searches took place on mobile in 2021? [6], and the trend is likely to continue over the next decade. This is exactly why it is very important to develop a website that is optimized for mobile devices, making all your SEO efforts worth the effort. This goes without saying that we should also optimize every type of content for mobile screens. 

Smartphone users should have no trouble navigating blogs. It would also be very helpful if your audience could watch videos that are easily available on mobile devices. Your mobile resources must be equally effective for customers and potential clients as your desktop ones.

This move toward mobile will also open up new options through new forms of media. Virtual and augmented reality, as well as other innovative mobile technologies, will play a meaningful role in shaping the future of content marketing.

  • Customer-centric and personalized content 

Google’s algorithm aims to provide the most useful and relevant content to a user when they search for something online. According to Google, the first search result for a certain keyword is the one that has all the key information related to that keyword. 

The focus of content marketing is shifting away from product promotion and gradually leaning toward audience enrichment. If this change in the tide is accurate, content marketing will continue to develop and become more concentrated on the customer.

  • Content optimization will be prioritized

We know that creating new content from scratch is time-consuming and requires a great amount of effort. However, what if we tell you there is a way around this problem?

Hold your horses, it is not as straightforward as you think. Current trends suggest content marketers are noticing the importance of historical optimization. It means that content that has already been published is revamped with fresh data and trends to add value. In short, instead of starting from scratch, you are producing new content without investing a lot of time and resources in it. 

Brands need to create an effective optimization strategy to stay ahead of the curve. Content optimization will lay the foundations for consistent ranking on search engines and stamping authority in the SERPs.

Future of content marketing – a proactive approach to winning customers 

The content marketing evolution is interesting, and we see no reason why it would stop in the future. That said, brands need to leverage the benefits of content marketing and use it as a tool to connect with their customers. Besides, brands should also seek innovative ways to encourage customers to create content for them. 

In the future, content marketing will largely rely on digital platforms and other avenues that do not even exist yet. Brands that are aiming for the sky with content marketing should turn to a multichannel approach and keep up with the latest content marketing trends.  

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For similar articles related to content marketing, continue reading iTMunch!

Feature Image Source: Image by rawpixel.com

Image 1 Source: Image by rawpixel.com

Image 2 Source: Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Image 3 Source: Image by rawpixel.com

Sources:

[1] Turner. A (2022) “December 2022 Mobile User Statistics: Discover the Number of Phones in The World & Smartphone Penetration by Country or Region” Bankmycell [Accessed in December 2022]

[2] (2022) “User Attention Span: the Biggest Challenge for Marketers [2022]” DevriX [Accessed in December 2022]

[3] Sarika (2022) “135 Video Marketing Statistics You Can’t Ignore in 2022” invideo [Accessed in December 2022]

[6] (2022) “Mobile share of organic search engine visits in the United States from 3rd quarter 2013 to 4th quarter 2021” Statista [Accessed in December 2022]

 

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Karandeep is a technical content writer based out of Pune, a city in India that is also known as the Oxford of the East. His journey with writing started in 2014 when he decided to try his luck in a gaming startup as a Content Developer. Since then, he has written on a wide range of topics within the gaming and the tech space. Apart from his love for gaming, Karandeep is keeping tabs on the hottest trends in the tech industry. After completing his Bachelors in Business Administration (BBA) from Symbiosis International University, Pune, he worked as an intern in an NGO that focused on urban development.
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