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The more things change, the more they stay the same. Content marketing is older than you probably think, with some of the earliest examples of it (John Deer, Jello) dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. While the content marketing industry has changed a lot since then, some things are the same. From the beginning, the best content marketing has sought to engage with its audience and solve a problem for them. But how content marketing reaches people and who is using it has evolved recently, even over the past year. Take a look at the current state of the content marketing industry, what’s changed, how it’s growing, and what you can expect in the future.

Content Marketing Industry Quick Stats

Changes In The Content Marketing Industry

Several aspects of the content marketing industry have changed in recent months, or will continue to evolve and change in the coming months and years. Those changes affect all aspects of the industry, from who’s creating the content to what type of content gets created.

The responsibilities of content marketers has evolved.

In the earlier days of digital content marketing (2010 and 2011), the people assumed out-of-work writers made the best content marketers. While that is true in some ways — writers can create great blog posts and website copy — it doesn’t take all aspects of content marketing under consideration.

Today, brands looking to hire a content marketing agency are focusing on strategy more than anything else. A content marketer needs to know the best ways to create content, sure, but also how to get that content out there and in front of the right people.

It’s all about that data.

Today’s content marketing is more data-driven than ever. That’s no surprise, as data can tell you a lot about your content. Is it working? Do people read or watch it? Who’s engaging with the content?

A 2014 study from Forrester found that marketers used just 12 percent of all the data available to them. Flash forward to 2017, and 80 percent of marketers are claiming that customer data is essential to their marketing efforts.

Marketers should choose quality over quantity.

Back in the day (again, 2011), content marketers had an attitude of publish or perish. The more content you could slap up, the better. That led to a lot of garbage and a lot of cranky customers and audiences.

Today, the industry is focusing on quality, but also on taking a more sustainable approach to content marketing. The two most important questions anyone in the content marketing industry can ask before putting together a strategy or creating any content are “so what?” and “why?”

Big brands are investing in content marketing.

Branded content isn’t new, but big brands like PepsiCo creating their own content creation studios is. As AdAge notes, this marks a shift from brands approaching marketing as an expense to brands approaching marketing as a way to generate income.

Audiences are turning into creators.

Although big-name influencers with thousands of followers were a thing for a few years, the focus has started to shift to micro-influencers. On the heels of that, brands are playing around with user-generated content (UGC) rather than content created by pros. Audiences trust UGC more than other forms of content.

Content is king.

OK, this isn’t anything new. People have been saying content is king since 1996. But it’s even more true today.

Without content marketing, you don’t have social media marketing. You also don’t have influencer marketing. And, you don’t have even have paid advertising.