Content is king - always has been, always will be.
For anyone who create it, content has always been a high-value proposition to engage, entertain and educate. But as social media emerged on the scene, content seemed to take a back seat to 140-character tweets and short updates on Facebook.
It meant that blogs and traditional content such as newspaper and magazine articles were relegated to the sidelines because they weren't as sexy, glamorous or, frankly, easy.
For those us who believe content has plenty of value, the "micro" world of social media was somewhat discouraging because it suggested the nature of content was going in a direction that had more to do with quantity than quality.
Amid this landscape, it is encouraging to see the rise of content marketing as a way to bring content back into the spotlight. As brands look to connect and engage with consumers during all parts of the sale process (before, during and after), the value and role of content is being rediscovered and re-embraced.
So why is content taking centre stage again?
Perhaps the biggest reason is content provides brand with an opportunity to differentiate themselves in a world where the tools (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) are free and so user-friendly, which makes easier than ever to create a lot of digital noise.
If most brands have the tool, it creates a level playing field, which means simply updating a Facebook Page no provide a competitive edge. This is where the ability to create engaging, valuable and entertainment content comes into play.
Brands that are able to see content as a marketing engine can establish a competitive edge by delivering relevant and interesting content to target audiences that want more than a flurry of tweets or updates to meet their needs.
Whether it's a blog, whitepaper, video, case study, Webinar, podcast or Web site, content can be an effective way to attract customers and, as important, keep them in the fold as repeat buyers and evangelists.
The challenge facing many brands is how to successfully embrace content marketing in a way that is align with their strategic goals, available resources and target audiences. It is a process that takes work but for brands that can determine how to make content work them, there are significant opportunities to carve out a competitive edge