Content Marketing Grows Up: My 2016 Prediction

Content Marketing Grows Up: My 2016 Prediction

Content Marketing wakes up one morning in a place it doesn’t recognize, and tries to piece together what happened last night… and all the previous nights, too.

(Because, if it’s being honest, last night wasn’t an occasional bender—it had become a lifestyle.)

It takes a hard look at itself and wonders with a measure of regret: “How did I end up here?”

Everyone said Content Marketing had such potential.

Everyone said it was the hope for the future that would save marketing from itself.

Everyone said Content was the very thing that would align storytellers, artists, writers, technologists, and analysts.

Everyone said they’d all work together to create marketing that doesn’t feel like marketing.

The Content Marketing champions toiling and sweating in marketing departments worldwide stuck out their necks for Content Marketing, too. They believed in it, and they convinced their bosses and clients to believe, too.

Everyone said they’d create marketing that people actually wanted.

So what happened to all that? The promise? The hope? The plan?

In the harsh morning light of 2016, Content Marketing realized that somewhere along the way… it got lost. It got distracted.

Content Marketing admitted to itself that it had been impulsive and immature and short-sighted and (sometimes) lazy.

Content spent its parents’ money on crazy experimental things that may or may not have been good choices. It prized quantity over quality. It boasted too much about itself, instead of considering what its audience needed. It couldn’t exactly explain what its Snapchat strategy was doing for its B2B brand. It didn’t say No.

Content was letting people down. But, more important, it wasn’t fulfilling its true promise and real potential.

And right then and there—still lying in a strange bed, full of regret for the advertising it tried to pass off as “storytelling,” for the content farms, and especially for the 3 AM taco —Content Marketing grows up.

Just like that, Content exits its exuberant college years.

Maturity comes when you stop making excuses and starting making changes, Content Marketing thinks (and also makes a mental note to re-Pin that on its “Content Inspiration” Pinterest board).

Content Marketing decides to be a little more strategic and real: That means getting the necessary planning, processes, frameworks, creativity, and metrics in place to legitimize itself.

It’s time for Content to be taken seriously. We’ve got this.

Grown-up doesn’t mean boring and staid, though. Quite the opposite, because Content Marketing still has the heart of a storyteller, the soul of an artist, and the playful spark of spontaneity.

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing,” as George Bernard Shaw said. (Or was that Ann Landers? Content Marketing’s brain is still a little fuzzy from the… was it tequila?)


So the stories that 2016’s Content Marketing tells are certainly more strategic. Its processes and metrics are locked in.

But so is creativity and craft. In 2016, Content Marketing tells bigger stories with a braver focus and a bolder voice.

“Onward,” Content Marketing thinks, as it leaves the place it doesn’t recognize, closing the door behind it extra firmly, to underscore the metaphor.

It steps out to the street, ready to take on 2016.

But first: PANCAKES! Because no one can work on an empty stomach. Not even Content.

everybodywrites-squareRead more about telling bigger, bolder stories and non-boring marketing writing in the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.

Pick up a copy or 2 (or 20) at Amazon or the book peddler of your choice.


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(Read more from guest author Ann Handley at Ann Handley – Content Marketing Keynote Speaker and Best-Selling Author)

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