Is Content Marketing Obsolete Or Worse- Even Dead?
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NOVEMBER 2016

There’s a rumor going around that Content Marketing is dead. Well, quite a few years ago, I also heard that SEO was dead or at least was dying. But it’s still working side by side with content. It has yet to see its fading days. But as for Content Marketing, let’s not get too dramatic and say it has already been dead, buried, carried out to its resting place and has even grown a few shrubs on its tombstone.

Content marketing is not really gone although content creation experts will agree that many of the more effective techniques that were once used to boost sales or readership are no longer being used. One tactic comes to mind: Click-bait titles – Didn’t we all hate it when these scheming headlines made us click to find out 27 interesting uses of apple cider vinegar? This strategy has faded into oblivion especially since audiences have lost trust in them, including me.

Another dead tactic is the use of spammy articles that’s stuffed with more keywords and having the whole article not making any sense. This was a silly ranking strategy that didn’t give readers any real value and made us think: didn’t they wonder when it would get caught by Google?

But how can one say that it is dead or is dying when people see it as useful and effective as an inbound marketing activity. Marketers are creating more quality content and investing on content marketing now. With this much activity, how can one say that it is even terminally ill?

So what’s making it die?

What is actually killing content marketing is the deluge of content out there that’s being rolled in and out like a smooth 24/7 assembly line. Nowadays, everyone including their pets is doing one form of content marketing. Most of them, (including most pets), are not getting the anticipated success.

There are just too many blogs out there to see, to read, to click on, to test and eventually, to buy. Who has the time? We see brands left and right, near and far hounding us with offers and opportunities. But are the people biting? Is the content being picked up? In other words, is it going viral?

So with the dilemma of too many fish in the sea, the question now is, how can businesses make content marketing still work for them?

There are still ways to use content marketing and still be successful. Although the key now is to level up whatever working content marketing strategies these business are doing. It’s no longer enough to just blog about a certain product with great content. It takes promotion and not just any but the right kind of promotion to get it liked or shared – meaning it gets noticed.

Less is more, sometimes

Marketers need to focus more on the quality of their content rather than quantity. Sometimes, it’s better to put out a once a week post that’s well-written and worth reading rather than a high volume of posts for higher visibility and traffic. A good gauge is a 1,200 to 1,400 word high-quality post. And it’s not just all babble. Again, keywords here are “high” and “quality” – this means, well-researched, well thought of and of course, well-written. They don’t have to sound pretentious or profound with highfalutin words. At the same time, they shouldn’t sound like it was written for pre-schoolers either.

Another level up strategy could be the use of titles with exactly 7 words. It seems that having more or less than 7 words could make your content less shareable. Think seven words as the magic formula.

And speaking of shareable – the best time to put out your blog depends on what you want to happen with it.

  • For traffic – Monday 11 am EST
  • For comments – Saturday 9 am EST
  • For inbound links – Mondays and Thursday 7 am EST

Posts that are published on some of the more unpopular hours of the day seem to get the most social media engagements and social shares.

Another level up strategy is the use of paid social amplification. Imagine having over 48 thousand fans and followers or getting 12 thousand likes. These are all useless if you don’t have content marketing strategies to target a particular audience. We all know the power of social sharing. Paid content amplification is attracting the right kind of audience with your post. This is the first step in hopefully capturing readers and eventually buyers for your business. If these “new fans” share your content and help it go at least viral-like, then it has just been exposed a thousand-fold. This makes it a very effective marketing strategy.

CONTENT MARKETING TRENDS FOR 2017

There are some interesting content marketing trends that are hoping to catch on in 2017. Some of them could really give your blogs that needed boost.

  1. Native Advertisements – It’s naturally luring your audience with an ad. Users hate it when they see ads that blare out their sales pitches. It has to blend in well with the reader and keep the targeted audience with very useful content. Think of it as an ad-blocker’s nemesis. They won’t catch native ads.
  2. An assortment of media platforms – There will be a greater use of different types of media. Remember that all text is boring. Companies have now thought of ways to make user-experience more engaging and stimulating. Some of the more appealing ones are long and short videos, infographics, quizzes, pictures, calculators and even livestreaming videos.
  3. Going mobile – This has been a trend for many years now but it will still be a trend in 2017. Content that’s specifically designed for mobile will proliferate and it’s not just for shopping. And social media will have a greater role for companies which is why they have come up with tools to help with business expansion. Facebook has introduced Pages Insights and Audience Insights while Snapchat now has content for brand awareness.
  4. Emails and Newsletters – They are still crucial to reach a wider audience. What they contain in those emails and newsletters are their actual products and reaching out through these methods is still helpful for lead generation, especially for B2B and B2C companies.
  5. A well-told story – It is still the cement that holds all these social media, videos and other visuals together. The text of old has evolved into a well-oiled story-teller. Marketers will use the story form to tell about a great brand without the bragging and the promising and the pitching. But it will be quite difficult to keep your audience glued with today’s age of distraction.

“What is actually killing content marketing is the deluge of content out there that’s being rolled in and out like a smooth 24/7 assembly line. Nowadays, everyone including their pets is doing one form of content marketing. Most of them, (including most pets), are not getting the anticipated success.”

Dead or not – which is it?

Bottom line is, content is STILL king. And content marketing are his pages. It may be an old king but he’s definitely not grey. His pages just have to evolve into a more effective weapon. Like all armies, they have to be equipped with modern ammunition – one that’s explosive and all-consuming.

Content marketing has been time-tested since the early 20th century. It has been used to promote brands of yesteryears. It has unfolded even with the dawn of the digital age, proving once again that it is not just another popular fad.

And you say it’s the 21st century? That means content marketing will have to face challenges. But the bigger the challenge is, the more opportunity can come from it. If you think about it, it isn’t that far different from the days of hand-written flyers and town meeting product sharings or campfire storytelling than it is in the internet today.

What makes content king is in its ability to prioritize its audience first – nothing more nothing less. Remove that priority and things will start to die for content marketing. If you believe in your product and that your product is really good for many, then all you need is good, quality, well-meaning content. As long as you have something valuable and interesting to say, you will always have an audience waiting for you to spill out this information. There will always be a need for practical and helpful information and there will always be people hungry for this. As long as these two exist, content marketing will live for a very long time. It’s like what Ray Kinsella was told, “If you build it, they will come.” And come they did.

Looking for help with your content marketing strategy, or just a professional writer’s insight into creating new content for your website? We are here to help.

Annie Ianko

Content Happiness Advisor

Annie has 18 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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