The Imminent Ubiquity of Content Marketing: What Happens Next?

Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi explores a really interesting question in one of his more recent blog posts: Once all brands have started embracing content marketing, what happens next?

Ah, the great old question of what comes next.

We certainly all asked it a few decades ago when the world was first introduced to the mobile phone. And while bulky and hefty, we quickly watched as it paved the way for the dominance of smartphones, apps and the BYOD revolution. Fast forward to today and the competition for your consumer-ready hands is fierce.

More recently, we all asked that question as we witnessed firsthand as a socially awkward, albeit brilliant, kid found the largest social network to date—Facebook. In just nine short years Facebook has not only gone public but has been the genesis behind countless social networks from Tumblr to Twitter to Pinterest to LinkedIn.

Now, in 2013, a time when 91 percent of B2B marketers leverage content marketing strategies—from social media to blogging to infographics to white papers to video production—we, along with Mr. Pulizzi, find ourselves asking the same question. And the truth is, the content marketing landscape is going to have to change quite a bit.

As Pulizzi explains, “Every piece of content marketing research, in both the B2B and B2C sectors, finds that approximately nine in 10 marketers employ some form of content marketing. This means that content marketing strategies that were quite effective in the recent past will need to be changed.”

He couldn’t be more right.

Think about your first friend who had a blog and spent countless hours documenting the importance of marrying a healthy exercise regimen with responsible dietary choices. You watched her rock the health coach industry as she pioneered a blog—becoming one of the first in the space to share tips and tricks typically only afforded to consumers who can fork over money for dieticians, nutritionists and personal trainers.

Now, think about the first time you saw an incredibly powerful Facebook cover photo from your favorite brand. Perhaps it pulled at your heart strings. Or maybe it made you laugh. But these days, with so many companies charging forward with creative banner ads, that feeling you got that first time is hard to capture over and over again, right?

The fact is that the day in which 10 out of 10 companies embrace content marketing will be a challenging day for your company. It means you need to reinvent the wheel; you need to figure out what makes your stakeholders tick; you need to determine how you will set yourself apart from the competition.

You need to figure out the optimal way to tell your story all over again.

Your customers may be loyal but they are still unique individuals at the end of the day, capable of changing their minds rapidly and searching for where the grass is greener.

As a marketer your job is to do two things:

  1. Keep your target market
  2. Expand your reach

Content marketing can help you accomplish both. Instead of being afraid of the day in which every single one of your competitors has a killer blog, a robust social media platform and a comprehensive integrated marketing campaign, rise to the occasion. Become a strategist again. Put on that creative thinking hat. Don the wardrobe of a consummate brand advisor. Take some time to refocus, identifying your content marketing objectives (keep in mind only 10 percent of business have a specific strategy right now), honing in on your core audience and their specific needs, and pinpointing original, unique avenues to take to tell your story.

“What’s next” is already on it’s way. Now’s the time to make sure you won’t have any “what ifs” down the road.


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