The History and Future of Content Marketing

Over the past decade or so, businesses have begun to incorporate a content marketing strategy to their website and social media platforms. Instead of just having a static, unchanging website, businesses have realized that, in order to get noticed and rank well on the search engine result pages, a website needs to have an effective content marketing strategy. An effective content marketing strategy will help your business gain authority, increase organic traffic, and build a relationship with you and your target audience. 

Content marketing strategies are not especially new, but it is important to understand how they began, how they evolved, and what we can expect for the future. Let’s take a close look at the evolution of content marketing.

The Progression of Content Marketing

In many ways, the story of web 2.0 is the story of what google has done on the internet. In 2011, Google performed a consequential study, entitled the Zero Moment of Truth. In this study, Google aimed to figure out how consumers buy products – what is that particular moment that leads up to a purchase. Google found that 88% of buyers do research before buying a product – the average consulting 10.4 sources before making a purchase. Google’s team also found that word of mouth had a huge impact on purchases. 

One of the biggest takeaways from the Zero Moment of Truth study was that SEO, search engine optimization, which was an unknown concept at the time, was a great way to get a website to rank higher on the search engine results page and thus get seen by more potential customers. 

When businesses learned about the importance of keyword research and the influence of SEO, they figured that they could just stuff as many keywords as they could on a page and, tada, they will now rank high on the result pages. Wrong. The algorithm that runs the results pages can actually detect when someone is ‘keyword stuffing’ and will not rank the website high based on that metric. 

By releasing the Zero Moment of Truth study to the public and how their algorithm works, Google was aiming to provide its users with an optimal experience and help them find the product that works best for them. However, there are other players to emerge on the content marketing scene – social media. 

The Rise of Social Media

As you might know, content marketing expands beyond Google and the search engine results page. Social media was to have a huge influence on content marketing. Social media introduced a new challenge for marketers to overcome: how to encourage engagement from passive viewers.

When a user is on Google and searching for a product or service, that user is on Google for a specific point. When a user is on social media, the user is passively on the platform; they are not looking for something specific. So how could a business find their way to passive users?

With social media, businesses now needed to create attractive and attention-grabbing content. Content that can be shared across social media platforms proved to be especially effective in gaining a business’ attention. Studies have shown that as of 2021, twice as many businesses use social media marketing instead of SEO and content marketing.

The Influence of Video

In recent years, video has ascended as a popular medium across social media platforms. Though the medium has been pioneered by young people – with YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat being the dominant video platforms – other generations are also getting in the mix. 

Though the medium does require some creativity and effort that other mediums do not, the video is extremely effective at captivating attention and communicating information. Many people would rather watch a 3-minute video than read a 300 word blog post or detailed infographic. In a video, you can condense a lot of information into a short clip. 

The Future of Content Marketing 

As we have already seen, the video will continue to spread its dominance over social media and the internet. The pandemic has helped accelerate many trends that we saw online – the prevalence of the video being one of them. If you have not experimented with TikTok and using video in your marketing strategies, take this as year as your time to test out the medium. Don’t be the last person to the party. See how your business can get an edge by marketing via video.

Optimize for Mobile is Essential

Many businesses have already begun to optimize their websites for mobile devices. But as most of us can already figure, the mobile device will continue to be even more and more of an asset in people’s everyday lives. Studies are finding that more than half of all internet searches come from mobile devices. Having a website that is optimized for mobile devices is vital to having a website that ranks high on the results pages.

In addition, you will want to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. All of your content, blogs, and drop-down menus should be easy to navigate on a mobile device. You do not want to lose out on customers because your website was too frustrating to use on a mobile device. All of the features that are available on the desktop version of your website need to be just as accessible on your mobile device. 

Create Customer-First Content

Many customers and users are turned off by cold and distant language. The content on your website should be easy enough for anyone to read and enjoy. Keep the content and language on your website light. You can do this by including some light humor, avoiding using too much jargon, and trying to imagine that you are reading your content out loud to your target audience. How do you think they will respond to the content on your site? Do you sound trustworthy or just another business trying to make a sale? Remember, in order to rank high on the results pages and increase organic traffic, you need to create meaningful and engaging content. 

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