Content Marketing

4 Skills You’ll Need to Survive the Future of Content Marketing

In the early 2010s when I first began working in this industry, the “next big thing” for the future of content marketing was custom tabs for Facebook fan pages. These snazzily designed mini landing pages featured everything from contest details to crafty CTAs for drumming up leads and conversions.

But it turned out this feature was more of a flash-in-the-pan fad than a lasting phase. Custom tabs moved to the back burner within a year or so.

In the decade-plus since, I’ve witnessed a series of similar fits and starts in the content and social media sectors: the infamous “pivot to video” of 2015, the fall of the third-party cookie, the rise of TikTok, the… let’s call it “tumult” of Twitter. I’ve also seen how abrupt algorithmic changes and regulatory roller coasters can test even the most competent content marketers’ abilities to pivot and problem-solve.

My point? There are relatively few constants in content marketing—except that core pillars of your strategy can go sideways faster than you can say “shadow banned.”

But that’s not to say it’s impossible to plan ahead for your content career. In fact, being prepared for the unexpected is a critical part of success in this industry. Below are a few tips to help you prepare for the future of content marketing—whatever it may have in store.

Learn to Work Alongside AI

In 2023, everyone’s talking about the latest shiny toy in tech: generative AI. This new and rapidly evolving technology promises to change the future of content marketing — as well as the very foundations of how people find information on the internet.

In fact, Google recently announced the upcoming release of Search Generative Experience (SGE), which has major implications for the future of SEO. Although there are still a lot of unknowns about how SGE will fit into larger content marketing strategy, understanding the basics of generative AI will help give you a leg up.

Below are just a few ways content marketers can begin working with generative AI platforms like ChatGPT, Jasper, or AutoGPT today:

You can gain knowledge of AI-powered tools and prompt engineering by subscribing to expert Substacks, listening to podcasts about generative AI, and perusing publications like Towards AI on Medium. Hubspot also offers a comprehensive list of prompts for ChatGPT for content marketers.

Stay on Top of Emerging Industries and Niches

In such a dynamic landscape, staying abreast of emerging industries and niche markets is crucial. Consumer behaviors and preferences are constantly shifting, presenting new opportunities for the future of content marketing on an almost daily basis.

Keeping a finger on the pulse of emerging industries like sustainable fashion, climate tech, HealthTech, and more can help you uncover niche markets with untapped potential. By identifying and understanding these trends early on, you can position yourself as an expert and proactively adapt your content strategies to cater to evolving audience needs.

For ideas about what the next “next big thing” is, I personally like Morning Brew and Trends by The Hustle—both are excellent resources.

Develop a Knowledge Bank of Many Different Content Formats

Today’s audiences consume content across myriad platforms and mediums, including podcasts, YouTube videos, TikToks, long-form written content, short-form listicles, mobile websites, landing pages, and much, much more.

You don’t need to become an expert in all of these formats — that’s where hiring knowledgeable freelancers comes in — but by knowing the basics of each, you can effectively engage with different audience segments. Invest time in learning the most important lingo for each format (e.g., B-roll in video or EQ in podcasting). This lets you have informed conversations with any freelancers or third parties you may work with to produce new types of content.

You’ll also want to get a handle on each format’s unique strengths, use cases, and predictions for how they might impact the future of content marketing. Use tools like OneNote or Google Sheets to organize your learnings into a quick reference guide.

Prioritize Adaptability and Continuous Learning

Stay agile by embracing a growth mindset and actively seeking opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills. Attend industry conferences, participate in online courses, join professional communities, and network with fellow content marketers both on and offline.

Perhaps the most important piece of advice for staying a step ahead of the future of content marketing? Stay curious. Ultimately, this is your greatest asset in an industry where the only constant is change.

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Image by Iryna Vladymyrova

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