Content marketing has been around for as long as the consumer internet has, but perhaps unlike any other year, 2012 felt like a definitive, elephant in the room, here I am, stop ignoring me, breakthrough period. People who never spoke of it before, at least not in public, began talking and writing about it. Marketing conferences, professional consultants, digital agencies, and top marketing blogs, many of which rarely mentioned content marketing a couple years ago, began putting increased emphasis on the topic in 2012.
OK, but are we better off?
Maybe. It depends where you look. There are some organizations and people who are doing excellent work (42Floors, Treehouse, and Buffer, are all standouts in my book), but such examples are still the exception rather than the norm. When it comes to producing quality content: webinars, blog posts, ebooks, informative landing pages; many of us our still wandering around in the dark. Not to discredit those who are at minimum at least making some type of an attempt, overall however most of us can still significantly step up our game a notch or two.
Content 1st, Marketing 2nd.
When it comes the outlook for content marketing in 2013, I’m an optimist. The glass is half full, it’s a new year, and I’d like to see everyone succeed, however I know everything worth while takes work. The biggest challenge ahead I believe, is the actual content itself, never mind the marketing of said content. In the spring of 2011, right after Panda, the folks at Google published a post outlining what makes a high quality site a high quality site. Among the questions for site owners were:
Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
How much quality control is done on content?
If this doesn’t dispel any and all doubts about creating valuable content, nothing else likely will. The best advice in 2013 for site owners, SEOs, or really anyone who wants more traffic, is to invest time and resource into web copy that resonates with people. Fortunately or unfortunately, the jig is up on other routes. Eventually content quality will have to be addressed. If 2012 wasn’t the year, 2013 makes for a great time to start.
P.S. Not sure where to start? Here’s some recommended reading.