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Is Content Marketing Dead? How Content Marketing Has Changed

In an essay written by Bill Gates in 1996, he popularized the idea that content is king. Subsequently, almost every other brand directed efforts toward churning out content. Today, over 20 years later, those brands and more are still producing different kinds of content. These include e-books, blog articles, videos, social media posts, and so on. These contents were created for several reasons, and the most common one is marketing.

Content marketing is just what it sounds like—using content as a marketing tool. With the evolution of customer dynamics, content marketing strategies have become important. This means content creation requires a strategic approach for marketing to be successful. While statistics show that content marketing is still driving sales, there is a notion that content marketing is dead. But before we address that, let us look at the history of content marketing.

The Evolution of Content Marketing

This is a brief breakdown of changes that have occurred since content marketing was first adopted. Content Marketing Institute has a more comprehensive history of content marketing. Let’s break it down from the 1900s.

Content Marketing in the 1900s

Pieces of content such as The Furrow by John Deere, the Michelin Guide, and Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin were used more than a hundred years ago as marketing tools. This tells you that content marketing is not a new thing. Then again, content marketing has not been static since. It has had its fair share of failures and successes. You will see this in the following years.

Content Marketing in the 60s and 70s

In the 60s and 70s, content evolved from print to mainstream with the adoption of radio and TV. Brands started buying airtime on TV and radio to reach prospects. Another thing that happened during this time was the personalization of content. For example, Tony the Tiger and Trix the Rabbit was used in adverts to get kids excited about cereal. These and more tactics were used to entertain and provide value while marketing products.

Content Marketing in the 90s

Fast forward to the 90’s when the internet and home gadgets were widely adopted, and marketing took another turn. The websites and email creation gave way for “modern” marketing, otherwise known as digital marketing. Brands started creating websites and sharing content for brand awareness. Similarly, newsletters are sent out to subscribers in a bid to promote products. This stage is regarded as the advent of web 1.0, which consisted mainly of websites on static pages.

Content Marketing from the 2000s to Date

Web 2.0 quickly replaced web 1.0. This new web-focused mainly on user-generated content that promoted interaction and engagement between users and website owners. This led to communities and wikis. Web 2.0, or social web, helped marketers learn more about their customers from this interaction. In turn, content marketers started using search engine optimization techniques to improve their marketing. Hence, social media and search engines became the standard content distribution channels.

Why Everyone Thinks Content Marketing Is Dead

How Content Marketing Has Changed

The rapid changes that have taken place over the years have greatly influenced content marketing. Social media and generations have the highest share of this influence. Attention is hard to get nowadays. There is just too much content produced every day.

Content creators are suffering from exhaustion, and consumers are facing content overload and shock. Too much content is already out there to the extent that marketers find it hard to produce new content. Similarly, consumer decision-making is getting crippled by content overload. Issues like these have reduced engagement, which is one of the key metrics in content marketing. Besides, content has been watered down majorly due to poor strategies.

Another trend is that the messaging used to address the generation X, Y, and Z differs significantly. Content consumption between these generations varies greatly. This has forced content marketers to adapt to these changes to capture both generations. Failure to understand how to navigate these changes leads to the notion that content marketing is dead.

How to Win with Content Marketing in 2021

Even though content marketing seems to be ineffective compared to the way it used to be, there are still things you can do and drive action with content. Content marketing is not dead. However, it is the conventional content marketing techniques that are slowly dying.

Here are some ways you can optimize content marketing in 2021.

  • Use a content strategy. 

Producing content without a strategy will add to the content overload that is already bugging consumers.

  • Be genuine and authentic.

Your audience will appreciate it if you keep it plain and simple. Authenticity builds trust and loyalty.

  • Know your audience. 

Even the best content marketers will fail if they are marketing to the wrong audience.

  • Focus on providing free value first. 

The more the value you offer for free, the more likely a prospect is to buy from you.

  • SEO loves quality as much as quantity.

Producing a ton of blog articles works for keyword ranking. Quality content is equally required for good relationships with search engines.

  • Stay ahead of the curve. 

Brands that adopted content marketing in the early days were successful because they were fast in embracing change. Hop on the current trends and try out new things.


Everyone is sick of content, but it is in no way your fault. Since most content turned out to be sales pitches, consumers started getting overwhelmed and irritated. Competition in the business world has led to the creation of attention-seeking content. As such, there is not much communication found in content created nowadays. Brands experiencing low conversion rates are losing confidence in content creation as a marketing asset. The option left now is to re-strategize and change the mindset that content marketing is dead.

SwingPointMedia is a marketing company focused on using content marketing, such as written articles, video and podcasts, to attract their customers ideal audiences. This approach has proven to attract higher quality customers while simultaneously reducing the sales cycle by as much as 70%.
SwingPointMedia serves local businesses in Southern California and can be reached by calling 760-422-5176.
You are invited to also attend a free weekly presentation, providing you the tools and strategy to roll out your own content marketing program for your company, or see exactly what SwingPointMedia does for its clients to achieve success. It can be viewed live on SwingPointMedia’s YouTube channel, at 11 am pst.