By Solomon Thimothy, founder of Clickx

Content marketing can be a concept many fail to understand -- and it’s not surprising why. The definition and expectations surrounding content marketing seem to be always changing. 

In the early days of content marketing, it seemed like just a fancy word for blogging. However, content marketing actually encompasses much more -- especially today. Audiences are all over the place online. They’re connecting on social media, visiting your website and reading your emails. In order to ensure you’re reaching them wherever they may be, you need to be up to date on what content marketing looks like now

But where you’re posting content isn’t the only thing that has changed. The kinds of content you should be sharing are also much different. Although people are still reading blog posts and articles, they’re looking to engage in a number of different ways. From podcasts to webinars, it’s important to have a diverse set of content that keeps audiences interested and engaged for more than just a few moments. 

To develop a content marketing strategy that is available at the right time, place, and in the right location, you need to understand where content marketing is, where it has been and where it’s going. 

The Dynamic World of Content Marketing

Content marketing is always changing because the way we interact online is always changing. Different social media platforms become popular with different groups, and we learn to expect certain types of content from companies and brands. 

For example, the audience using Facebook has changed over the past few years. Younger audiences are turning to different platforms to connect with friends and family. While you might share a link to an article on Facebook, that same content isn’t going to perform well on Instagram or Snapchat. 

Users have a wider range of options when it comes to content, which means content marketing needs to expand to fit all those individual needs. A brand can’t get away with just writing blog posts. Instead, they need videos, webinars, podcasts and more. 

Preparing for The Future of Content Marketing

It’s hard to know exactly where content marketing is going in the future. After all, it depends on audience preferences and will likely look different for each organization depending on who they are trying to target. 

However, there are a few things to consider when creating content for your audience. 

1. Think of the individual on the go. 

Our customers and clients are busy people, so they want content they can fit into their busy schedules. But this doesn’t necessarily mean shorter pieces. Instead, it means content types that are conducive with a busy lifestyle. 

Podcasts, for example, are perfect for a long commute or busy day. Your audience can listen during a workout, while they get ready for the day or on their lunch break. This means they don’t have to choose between listening to your content or going about their routine.

2. Don’t discredit long-form content.

Our attention spans are short, but that doesn’t mean audiences aren’t interested in longer pieces of content. In fact, as more organizations go for short video clips or quick Twitter posts, a truly comprehensive piece can feel refreshing. 

Think of the context before creating a piece or sharing a post. Sure, a 5,000-word blog post may not be the best idea, but that could make the perfect length for an ebook. Use a mix of lengths to keep your audience’s interest. 

3. Create with your audience in mind. 

Many people look at a content marketing strategy as a pathway to SEO. While SEO and content marketing often go hand in hand, you don’t want to create your strategy with an algorithm in mind. 

Focus on your customer. Create content they will find interesting and want to engage with -- even if it doesn’t necessarily align with proposed SEO best practices. When you create content that is a hit with your target audience, it will get noticed. 

Conclusion

Content marketing will continue to change. New fads will develop and audience preferences will shift. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to stay on top of these changes to ensure your content marketing plan is always relevant. 

Stay in tune with your audience to keep developing content they’re interested in. When you focus on the individuals who are actually going to use and engage with your content, you can easily navigate the ever-changing world of content marketing.

Solomon Thimothy is the founder of Clickx, a marketing intelligence platform that helps businesses and agencies with marketing attribution.

Published on: Aug 29, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.