10 Ideas about the Future of Content Marketing

future of content marketing

A few weeks ago, I saw a blog post titled “The Future of Content Marketing” But it wasn’t, really.

It had obvious forecasts like “people will use more video.” That’s like saying, “In the future people will like dogs.”

So I challenged myself to think this through. In two years, we will not recognize the field of marketing. The transformation is happening before our eyes and I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s next, specifically about the future of content marketing.

It would be useless to think about what’s coming five years down the road. The change is too rapid and there are too many wildcards! But how about two years? I think that is within reach for me. Let’s dream a little about the near future of content marketing and riff on 10 ideas.

1. Robo content

AI-generated content is here. It’s good enough to create videos, movie scripts, and poetry. It is certainly good enough to create a blog post or a tweet. Resistance is futile. My friends are already doing it (I am not. This is really me, I promise).

The fact that AI bots will generate endless amounts of content will profoundly impact content marketing because it will obviously usher in a whole new phase of …

2. Content Shock, Part 2

In 2014 I forecast that content marketing would not be a sustainable strategy for many businesses when the content density in a niche or industry reaches over-saturation. It’s basic economics. When the competition increases, it will cost more to win and earn meaningful attention in a noisy world. Some businesses will drop out. That’s the simple version.

While this idea was regarded as controversial at the time, I don’t think any rational person would disagree that my assessment was correct. It is excruciatingly difficult to stand out today, especially if we are trying to win an SEO game.

If you thought content density is a big hurdle now, what will the future of content marketing look like when bots start generating streams of endless material? By the way, Google has “outlawed” AI content, declaring it spam … but the bots will ultimately win. Google won’t be able to keep up with this rapidly-expanding technology.

AI will also contribute to another content marketing crisis called …

3. Deep fakes

Today, simple, inexpensive technology exists to create realistic videos of people doing and saying anything. This deep fake technology is advancing faster than the world’s ability to detect it.

This presents nothing short of an existential crisis for the media, politicians, celebrities, and any content marketer. The Future Today Institute recently projected that deep fake technology has an 80 percent probability of enabling disastrous consequences. The danger is that harmful fake content will go viral and disrupt society before anybody knows it’s fake.

Imagine the creative agency from hell where talented storytellers work on deep fakes that will disrupt the world in dangerous ways and control the thought of a population. This is dictator’s dream playbook.

On a micro level, this could be targeted at any of us. Businesses and individuals really have just one way to fight back. It’s …

4. The personal brand

What does content marketing have to do with your personal brand?


In this perilous environment, our only hope is to create an uncompromising brand of trust. The only remedy is to establish and maintain an effective digital base of trust so people know what to believe.

Creating an effective online presence as a trusted authority solves three key content marketing problems:

  1. If we can’t win at SEO like we used to, we can earn attention through content that expresses our authority. Topical authority will replace keyword research as the primary content marketing strategy.
  2. When bots and deep fakes flood the world with garbage, your verified and trusted brand can establish a beacon of authority. All marketing is based on trust and we are in a world where trust is falling off a cliff. We will look to real people for assurance.
  3. Increasingly, people don’t trust companies, ads, and brands, but they do trust each other. The personal brand IS the brand. Just ask Tesla.

Authority will be everything in the future. Even Google is rewarding content that establishes E-A-T (Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness).

Start working on this now. A proven place to start is my book KNOWN or my personal branding master class. This is a particularly important strategy for company executives, not just entrepreneurs, creators, and small business owners!

Next, let’s look at where this content will be showing up …

5. The metaverse and beyond

I recently wrote a post projecting who would be the early adopters of the metaverse and this will be driven by young people who prefer their online lives to their real ones. This suggests a whole host of real-world societal problems, but let’s stick to content.

Traditional content platforms like blogs, videos, and podcasts won’t go away, but growth will flatten and eventually begin to decline in the next two years as more people consume content in the metaverse.

For a content creator, here is the primary benefit of the metaverse: It breaks through algorithmic “bubbles.” Facebook, YouTube, and Google limit your worldview. The content that is exposed to you is based on your established preferences, friends, location, etc. Consumers are literally held in a content bubble.

The metaverse can break that bubble. If you offer cool new experiences, especially if you’re first and unique, consumers will give you a chance out of curiosity and the opportunity to try something new.

However, you won’t need the metaverse to engage customers. Even traditional content needs to become more …

6. Interactive

Here’s something that puzzles me. The technology exists to make content that is spectacular, interactive, and exciting. Why aren’t companies using it?

It’s possible to make the format of the content as fun and conversational as the content itself. The gold standard for interactive storytelling might be The New York Times. They lead the way in combining video, audio, maps, text, polls, and more to create immersive stories. If a newspaper can do it, why can’t a brand? If you really want to stand out today, make your content immersive and interactive.

Here are three examples that I like:

Winning in this world of the metaverse and interactivity will require …

7. New skills

An effective content marketer today has to be highly creative, connected to their audience, and skilled when it comes to engagement and distribution. That won’t change. But we’ll need to adapt and learn some new skills in the future.

The major shift is the move from providing information to immersive experiences and community.

This suggests a need for new talents. Creating experiences requires more than storytelling. It needs a collaborative effort like what we see in video games. There will probably be a talent shift from the gaming industry to agencies and corporate storytelling, at least I hope so because it needs to happen!

The other skillset shift will be around community, one of the most over-hyped words in social media today. True community is not an audience or a list of customers. It is an engaged group of like-minded people moving toward a shared interest or purpose. In a world longing for connection and belonging, the opportunity to create community through content will be paramount. If you have a true community, that IS your marketing.

But we won’t have to do it alone …

8. Co-creation

A trend I see gathering steam everywhere is content co-creation. Fabio Tambosi, formerly with adidas, told me that a brand is “a canvas to amplify customer voices.” How does this play out in a practical way?

We are seeing brand fans creating ads, art, and video content. In a way, the contributions of influencers are co-creation.

In theory, the technology of Web3 will put a jetpack on co-created content efforts. In fact, there will be co-created communities and even businesses. I’m not 100 percent sold on this as a trend within our two-year horizon but maybe in year three or four. The hurdle is the adoption of the technology. There has been rapid adoption among a small and energized minority but I think the real transformation may come through …

9. Creators and tokenized economies

You may know that I launched a creator token through the Rally.io platform called $RISE (as in RISE above the noise!). This is a grand experiment and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve had a ringside seat to observe “the sausage being made” but I do have faith in its ultimate direction.

There is a lot of noise around Web3, creator tokens, and NFTs. It can be confusing and overwhelming. But I think the main marketing strategy is to view this trend as a way to help people belong, connect and interact with your content in a new way.

  • For example, fans who hold my tokens have exclusive access to engage with me while I record The Marketing Companion podcast.
  • I have set up a Discord server where people can discuss my content, and theirs. We will be co-creating. Members of the community are showing up on each other’s podcasts, etc.
  • People in my community are offering $RISE coin rewards for help in content creation and promotion.
  • I have proposed a new book project through my $RISE community that will enable an inside view of the process and even collaboration.

Although these ideas are new, there is an overwhelming amount of Web3 money and effort being devoted to fast-tracking these innovations. In the next two years, tokenized creator communities will begin to transform content collaboration, creation, and distribution.

PS If you want to join my learning community, just get a username from Rally.io, send it to me in an email and I’ll send you some $RISE tokens to get started.

10. New channels

A viral tweet of Gen Zers saying that “TikTok is their Google” has gained more than 125,000 retweets and likes. As the new go-to social media app, TikTok doesn’t just take space in our minds as an app for entertainment but for inspiration and education as well.

TikTok is significant and its growth rate is unprecedented. It will keep getting bigger. So, what will be next?

Social media is fracturing along demographic lines. Facebook is only growing through 55 and older. Snapchat is sort of the place for Millennials and TikTok is the home for Gen Z (in general). I think in the next two years Gen Alpha will look up at their older siblings and think “Nah. We need our own place.”

The next big channel will be driven by Gen Alpha and will also be video-oriented. It might be a little past the two-year horizon, but I think that’s where the innovation might occur.

Also, I look for high growth in Discord. This started out as a backchannel for gamers but has become the de facto community network for Web3. It’s quirky and difficult but eventually, the functionality will meet the needs of its growing fan base.

What about Twitter, a primary distribution channel for content? Honestly, whether Twitter changes hands or not, I don’t foresee major disruptions. If Twitter was easy to fix, it would have been fixed. As somebody who has been on the platform since the early days, it is actually better in terms of spam bots than in past years.

For any social media channel, the task of sorting through porn, violence, threats, and lies is intensely complex. All the social media channels will face regulatory issues in the next few years.

Final thoughts on the future of content marketing

For the last 10 years, most content creators have been in a groove, chunking out the same blog posts, podcasts, and videos every week. Unfortunately, almost all of this content is “average” or even below average against the expectations of today’s consumers. The AI bots can do a fine job creating “average” content, so these creators will need to pivot based on some of the ideas in this post.

The best content makes you think or feel deeply. It will be human (most likely) and probably driven by somebody with an established personal brand that we trust.

“Feeling” content comes from a sense of awe. To make people feel “awe,” you need to touch an internal chord that is deep and unique. That’s why experiences will be so important to the future of content marketing. The stories will be expansive and immersive.

The word I keep thinking about when I consider the future of content marketing is “audacious.” It will have to be spectacular to stand out. I don’t think bots can do that. Yet.

This is a long-ish post and yet I’m only brushing the surface of the future of content marketing. Chances are I missed something. What’s on your mind?

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is the author of some of the world’s bestselling digital marketing books and is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Follow Mark on TwitterLinkedInYouTube, and Instagram. Discover his $RISE create community.

Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com

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