Beyond content marketing: What’s the next phase?

Increasing reader trust, gamification, and reams of audience data will probably transform the way brands communicate with customers.

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My friend Mitch Joel has also been pondering this topic. In a post titled “The Content Crash,” Mitch states that the field has simply “become a pumping ground for a marketing message. Very few (companies) are thinking about utilitarianism marketing and even fewer are thinking about the overall experience.”

Content is advertising?

Here is the line in Mitch’s post that stung me: “It is my belief that content is the new advertising.”

Wait a minute. People hate advertising. Does this mean that people are increasingly hating our content, too?

Advertising is a paid interruption in an otherwise pleasant stream of content. Is content becoming an unpleasant interruption in our lives, too? With this native advertising trend of craftily embedding paid messages in “free” content, are the lines hopelessly blurred so that content marketing is suspicious and meaningless? Are content marketers the new snake oil shills?

Mitch contends that for content—sponsored or otherwise—to work, it must be exceedingly useful. What does that mean? How do we deliver the signal instead of the noise in such a crowded space?

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