If there’s one thing digital marketers love to do, it’s to say things are dead. Back in 2012, Fast Company declared blogging to be dead. (Newsflash: It’s not. It’s just…different.) In 2015, “Search Engine Journal” chronicled the many “deaths” of SEO up to that point. Then, in 2017, it published another article (by a different author, at least) titled “The Death of Organic Search (As We Know It).”
Content marketing has also gotten its fair share of the “Is it dead? It’s dead!” treatment. In many ways, it’s easy to see why marketers would want to publish articles proclaiming the death of content marketing. It gets people’s interest, for one thing. And it can help sell a product or service, for another.
But why do people think content marketing has kicked the proverbial bucket? Let’s take a look at some of the signs.
It’s a Victim of Its Own Success
You can’t deny that people are really jazzed about content marketing these days. The 2017 State of the Creator Economy study (SOCE) found that 94 percent of marketers had experience with content marketing, and that 70 percent of marketers had past-year experience with it.
The SOCE also revealed that the average consumer has 20 daily content marketing opportunities, as he or she reads more than 200 articles per month and visits nearly 400 websites monthly.
Another report, from Beckon, a marketing performance data platform, revealed that although the number of brands using content marketing increased by 300 percent from one year to the next, very little of that content had any actual effect.
A measly 5 percent of branded content is responsible for 90 percent of engagements. If marketers look out and see a sea of content, none of it really doing anything, it can be very discouraging. No wonder so many people are content to throw up their hands and say, “Welp, content marketing is dead! What’s next?”
Of course, it’s worth pointing out that only 5 percent of content has an impact because probably only 5 percent of content is worth anything. For every viral blog post or video there are dozens of copycats. It seems that whenever one publisher puts up a popular post, every other online publisher has some sort of copy up within a few hours.
That type of content is, in a word, worthless. No one wants to read the same story over and over again. They need original content.
Brands that use content marketing should also be using metrics to gauge how that content performs. If content is sinking like a rock and not getting shares, likes or other engagements, it’s best to go back to the drawing board and think of more original, engaging material.
It’s Hard to Connect
Another trend that’s caused people to panic about the death of content marketing is the decline in organic reach on social media platforms. Brands are complaining that even though their follower and fan numbers are up, the number of clicks and likes they get on posts has fallen, in some cases precipitously.
Look, algorithms are gonna change. It’s what they do. Everyone panicked back in 2011 when Google released Panda, but we’re all still here (for the most part).
Changes in the algorithms of Facebook, etc., do make it more difficult for brands to connect with fans organically. But that doesn’t mean content marketing is dead.
It just means that brands need to change their tactics, trying things ranging from partnering with influencers to share content to using the paid ad options available on social networks. It might be frustrating that you can’t just write a blog post or make a video, share it on Facebook and watch the likes roll in, but as Bob Dylan once said, the times, they are a changin’.