Content Is Still King, But It’s Evolving: Here’s How


New and old marketers alike recognize the phrase “content is king,” but it’s naive to suggest that “content” means the same thing it used to, back when the phrase initially rose to prominence. Content is still king, for the most part, but it is evolving.


How is it evolving and how should your business adapt?


The Enduring Value of Content


It’s not hard to see why content still holds such a privileged position in the world of marketing. Content has the potential to provide information, entertainment, or both to consumers, and since consumers will always need information and entertainment, they will always need content to consume. On top of that, content is a huge umbrella term; written online articles, full-length printed books, social media posts, YouTube videos, feature films, podcasts, and commercial jingles are all technically forms of content.


Most content strategies hold as a primary goal the desire to naturally attract people to a specific destination, with a secondary goal of getting them to take a specific action, like filling out a form or making a purchase. Content is still one of the best tools to accomplish this, and it’s practically necessary as a foundational element for strategies like SEO and social media marketing.


Accordingly, content isn’t likely to die anytime soon – and it’s likely to keep its throne for a long, long time.


Evolutionary Pressure


That said, content is evolving, and it’s evolving in response to multiple forms of evolutionary pressure:


· Tech. Today, in the United States, more than 85 percent of online traffic comes from mobile devices. A decade ago, mobile traffic was more of a novelty than anything else. Similarly, vertical videos used to be mocked and ridiculed for being an inferior format – now they’re perfectly normal. New technologies, and the way we use them, are changing how we interact with content.


· Competition. Lots of brands jumped on the content marketing bandwagon, and it’s hard to blame them. But unfortunately, the field has become overwhelmed with competition, even in relatively obscure niches. It’s increasingly hard to find blue ocean opportunities when millions of people are producing similar content to yours.


· Consumer trends. Finally, consumer trends are also shaping evolutionary pressure. Lower attention spans, limited tolerance for obvious forms of content marketing, and other changes are forcing content creators to evolve.


Key Ways That Content Is Evolving


These are some of the most important ways that content is evolving in the modern era:


· Targeting. In response to the overwhelming amount of competition, more content creators are trying to stand out and increase their likelihood of success by targeting narrower niches. In other words, they’re reducing the overall size of their target audience in exchange for increasing the relevance and uniqueness of their content. This is a viable, and arguably necessary strategy, especially if you’re first starting out.


· Visuals. People don’t like to read anymore. At least, not generally. Why would you read thousands of words when you can watch a simple, 10-minute video? And wouldn’t you prefer to have your long form articles punctuated by occasional graphs, charts, photos, and other visuals? Visual content is in and written content is declining in popularity.


· Polish/quality. Another approach to mitigating competition is improving the polish and quality of your finished materials. Quality matters more than quantity, so if you’re not investing in professional grade content, you’re quickly going to fall behind your more committed rivals.


· Length. Length has always been a tricky topic in the realm of content marketing, and now it’s even more confusing. While long form, in-depth content can be incredibly valuable, most people prefer and more regularly consume shorter, punchier pieces of content. Even longer videos are now broken up by quick, jumpy edits to keep viewer’s eyes glued to the screen.


· Platforms. A diversity of mainstream platform options has made it hard to find success managing an independent blog hosted on your website. Instead, content creators are leaning heavily into major social media platforms to promote their best work.



· Engagement. Interactive and engaging forms of content have skyrocketed in popularity, for understandable reasons. People like to feel immersed and involved in the content they consume. Even simple maneuvers, like opening the comment section and directly involving yourself in conversations with your fans, can help you find success with modern content.


Survival of the Most Adaptable


If you’re already capable of producing good content, that’s great. But if you want to carry your company’s PR and marketing strategies into the future, you also need to be adaptable. The content world is already evolving at incredible speeds, and those speeds may accelerate faster in the future. The content creators most capable of adapting to new technologies, new trends, and competition are the ones most likely to succeed.