Content is King – Of all the over used phrases in our industry, no other disheartens me quite like Content is King.

It’s not that I don’t believe this statement to be true; I myself am a strong purveyor of content marketing and know first-hand how fruitful this strategy can be. But for me, the phrase promotes a false idea, which in turn creates unrealistic expectations that is both damaging for clients and our industry as a whole.

A Brief History of Content Marketing

The words “Content is King” were first written by Bill Gates back in 1996, however, the SEO and digital marketing community really jumped on it back in early 2011 when Google rolled out Panda – an algorithm designed to filter out thin, weak and manipulative content.  Panda stopped a lot of SEO’s in their tracks. Strategies that had proven fruitful had, pretty much, overnight become obsolete, risky and damaging.

A new approach was needed and content marketing filled that void.

Now, like most new ideas and concepts in our industry, SEO quickly jumped on this new approach and soon everyone was trying their hand at content marketing; adopting it as the pillar of their strategy. Content marketing was an overnight success and soon became flavour of the month - but it didn’t take long for the taste to sour.

Fast forward to present day, it’s 2015, the year Marty McFly ventured into, yet still I see the words Content is King being flung around as if the very mention of it is a comforting testament to the fact that you know what you’re doing. But the truth is it doesn’t seem like a lot of people know what they are doing.

The Future of Content Marketing

2015 is going to see Google, harder than ever, crack down on thin, weak, regurgitated content. I for one rejoice at this fact, I think we may have covered every “Top this and that” post possible and if we try flog the “SEO is Dead” horse one more time I think Matt Cutts might simply switch Google off. This type of content has been exhausted; it adds very little, if not no value and quite frankly it’s polluting the internet – and Google has taken note.

As SEO’s and marketers, we need to get creative with our content; think outside the box, be innovators, be unique, be bold, take risks and push our industry forward. But there is no point doing any of that if we don’t focus on one vital principle – our audience.

And so I propose a new motto to live by:

“Your Audience is Your Real King”

Ok it’s a working title, I’ll grant you that, but before the critics sharpen their pencils, let me explain.

Why do we write or produce content?

Who we you write it for?

What do we look for in return?

Do you even ask these questions? Or are you simply creating stuff, publishing it and leaving it up to hope to return you some results?

To succeed in the content marketing game in 2015 these are not only questions you will need to ask yourself, but questions you will need to base your entire content strategy around.

When you think of your audience do you think of one collective group of people that share an interest in your product or service? Or do you break that audience into groups; groups defined by age, gender, location, relationship status, hobbies, interests, needs, requirements, behaviour…..the list goes on. Do these groups form other groups that share common connections? Have you explored ways to segment your audience into these groups so that you can directly target them with your content?

These are all questions you should be asking yourself if you are hoping to succeed with content marketing in 2015. I will be exploring this further in future blog posts, but for now, I hope I have given you some food for thought.