It's been a while now since you and content got together: the early days of hanging on each other's every word and falling asleep on the phone are over. You've settled in as a couple, and while content might annoy you with ever-increasing quality standards and an insistence on constantly hanging out with friends (it seems like they're always with social media!), you've still got a good thing.
To celebrate Valentine's Day, let's examine a couple of the top reasons marketers are still smitten with content as a way to connect with and engage their audience.
Marketers Still Use It
Content marketing is far from a neglected spouse. In its 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report on content marketing in North America, Content Marketing Institute reported that more B2B marketers than last year are using content marketing.
And it's not just this side of the globe: CMI's U.K. version of the same study showed an increase this year in the use of nearly every listed content marketing tactic. In Australia, almost 9 out of 10 marketers surveyed said they planned to create more content in 2016 than they did in 2015.
People Are Listening
The information age is in full swing. Living in a world of smartphones and free wifi means people have more opportunities than ever before to consume the content they enjoy. Pew reported this past December that about three out of every four Americans go online every day, with over 20% admitting that they go online "almost constantly."
As Internet access becomes more widespread in areas like Asia and South America, millions of people around the world will create social media accounts this year. The Internet's growing population will demand content to consume, which brings us to the next point…
There's a Lot Out There
Well-known author and marketing consultant consultant Mark Schaefer talks about an idea called "content shock," the point at which an overabundance of content causes a fundamental change in the way that we approach content marketing.
But wait – isn't this a bad thing for marketers? Schaefer concludes that it shifts the focus from content quality alone to both quality and distribution, and he is absolutely correct. What content shock also means is that there is now a huge opportunity for targeted content that adds value for the reader, viewer or listener in a unique way. The pond is deeper and there's more people fishing in it, but the fish are much bigger: the abundance of poor quality and irrelevant content means readers are more likely to latch on to the content they enjoy and the brands who create it.
The most important key to any relationship? It just has to work. In that regard, content is an amazing partner. Lenovo attributes 58% year-over-year revenue growth to content marketing. Brands like Mint and American Express have found great success publishing content that helps educate customers and prospects about topics they are interested in. It's a well-established fact at this point, but consumers simply respond better to being taught what they want to know, instead of getting a hard sell from a salesperson who doesn't know or care about their needs.
Of course, as is the case in any relationship, things change over time. While blogging might have been the apple of content's eye a few years ago, these days it appears video is the new hotness: Cisco projects that by 2019, 80% of content on the web will be streaming video.
So this week, pick up some flowers and a box of chocolates for your marketing team. Take your favorite blog writer out for a nice dinner (hint hint). Whatever you do, celebrate the unique bond between your brand and content: it looks like you crazy kids are gonna make it after all.
Raj Chander is a freelance writer and marketer based in Washington, D.C. and production manager at Audience Ops, a content marketing agency. He enjoys learning and writing about content marketing to help his clients achieve and sustain growth.