4 (More) Signs Content Marketing is Mainstream

Every year, marketers like to prognosticate which marketing trend will experience a tipping point and become mainstream practice. But regardless of whether mobile, programmatic buying, content marketing or another topic has our rapt attention in 2014, it takes marketers time to apply these trends — ultimately proving or disproving the industry’s mainstream claims.

It can be argued that content marketing is already a well-established practice with one of the first examples of it dating back to 1895. In addition to its historic roots, here are four signs that show why content marketing is now mainstream.

1) From Test & Learn to Investing for Success: As more business to consumer (B2C) brands embrace content marketing, budgets to support their efforts are increasing. According to The Content Marketing Institute, more than half of B2C brands are increasing their investment in content marketing.

2) Content as Product: Simpler ways to explain any fast-evolving discipline are critical to help marketers embrace it and to sell it in to management. The analogy of content as a marketer’s product is one that’s taking shape and helps us get past the well-intended debate over various industry terms.

Extending the content as product analogy can also help to better define team roles. Content marketers have a broader role and bring the discipline of branding and positioning to the team. Content strategists are more focused, like a research and development team, optimizing the product and the process to make them more efficient and effective.

Working together with other disciplines, the content team ensures the scaled and sustained success of its product — one that will help the brand reach its broader business objectives.

3) Industry Landscape Evolving: From startups to mergers and acquisitions, companies are investing in content marketing capabilities to tap into the potential revenue. Just three examples include:

  • Content creation start up Contently raised $9 million in Series B funding;
  • Information technology giant Oracle purchased Compendium, a content distribution startup late last year;
  • BuzzFeed, The Atlantic and The Washington Post are just a handful of media properties that have spun off content creation agencies to work with brands, as their own journalists are going to work for brands building out their own newsrooms.

4) New Roles Drawing Talent: With all of this activity, it’s no surprise the demand for content marketing jobs is at an all-time high. Brands, agencies and publishers are pulling skill sets from any number of disciplines to capitalize on the opportunity, including digital, public relations and journalism. In fact, Forbes predicts the biggest marketing hire in 2014 will be director of content.

Content marketing will continue to be a hot topic in 2014 and beyond as more brands see the opportunity content provides them. But other buzzwords can compete for the title of 2014’s marketing zeitgeist. And as it’s seemingly been the year of mobile for at least three years, perhaps a new, uh, shiny-new trend may be in order?

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David Germano
David Germano

David is the VP of Content Marketing for Empower Media Marketing, and runs Empower's Content Marketing division, Magnetic Content Studios. For more than 14 years, David has been helping brands develop sustained content marketing strategies and operate like media to build their own audiences. David is often speaking on the topic, and is a guest contributor to Content Marketing Institute.