We’ve known for a few years now that content marketing would be worth just over $400 billion in 2021. There was no stopping the revolution underway.
And if the research is to be believed, it’s going to grow another $269 billion or so by 2024, bringing the total worth to over $600 billion in 2024.
(Move over, content marketing unbelievers. Your time is gone.)
Content marketing has fundamentally changed the way we think about – and create – content online. How we do it today and how we did it ten years ago, when I began, is SO different.
Heck, even ideas that were best practices last year have gone the way of the dust bin.
We’re looking at a revolution on par with how Google changed the internet. 🤯
Why IS content marketing worth $400 billion?
A lot of people ask me that.
Here’s my best take on the phenomenon that is content marketing, and why it’s not going away any time soon.
Content Marketing Isn’t New
Content marketing isn’t new.
To claim that it’s some new, innovative concept taking the internet by storm is a little misleading. (That claim is also a good sign you’re looking at one of those shiny internet gurus who may or may not know what they’re talking about.)
Anyone worth their salt has been doing it for a long time. In fact, the earliest mentions of content marketing as we would recognize it crop up circa 2010 – well before we collectively figured out that keyword-stuffing was a bad idea.
So, what changed? As it turns out, there are three big reasons why content marketing became a $400 billion industry:
1. User Demands Make Most Online Advertising Obsolete
Are you using an adblocker? So are 25.8 percent of your peers. Some are even as going as far as adopting browsers like Brave, which automatically block ads, cookies, trackers, and other annoying little internet features.
It’s thinning out the advertisement herds, so to speak. The ones who are left standing are the ones whose ads don’t look like ads.
Such as those doing content marketing.
2. Customers Expect Useful Content
Half-baked content doesn’t cut it anymore. You must focus on producing the most useful, informative, and entertaining content out there.
For a while, we were focusing on this expectation by using the skyscraper method. Then, we focused on it by creating infographics and video content (because that’s what audiences want).
In 2021, we’ve completely done away with all the gimmicks. Now, you need to be an actual authority in your niche and demonstrate your expertise to build trust. (Yes, I’m referencing E-A-T.)
Which brings us to the fact that…
3. Google Expects Useful Content
If you know your SEO history, then you know a lot has changed in the last decade. Namely, Google isn’t going to put up with your thin content, your questionable citations, or the fact that you’re writing YMYL advice when you have no business to be doing so.
Google has a vested interest in serving up the best, most useful content it can find. If you don’t offer it? You aren’t getting to the top of the list.
Why Is Content Marketing So Profitable?
Content marketing is profitable because it breaks away from the old ways of doing things and ensures you’ll deliver fresh, engaging, helpful content to your readers.
If you’re doing it right, you’ll also position yourself as an industry authority without much extra effort.
Of course, those things are only part of the reason why content marketing is so profitable. Here are four reasons why it’s a $400 billion industry in 2021.
1. It’s Got a Crazy High ROI
Content marketing has the highest ROI of any digital marketing strategy. In general, it costs 62 percent less than traditional advertising and generates three times the leads. It also generates 19.7 percent more organic traffic than other forms of content – wow!
You can’t make those numbers up.
Content marketing accomplishes all of this because it does two big things:
- It puts your content directly in the way of customers who are already looking for your solutions.
- It sells your brand using your authority – it’s the soft sell rather than the hard one.
2. It’s Future-Proof
Keyword-stuffing content mills were a “get rich quick” scheme. They were also a “get kicked off Google quick” scheme.
For real. When’s the last time you read a Wikihow article?
In contrast, content marketing makes sure that your content not only remains useful but also relevant and serving your brand throughout its entire lifecycle.
3. It’s Cheaper than Other Digital Marketing Tactics
Unlike PPC or other ads, content marketing requires a significant upfront investment in terms of time and energy. You’ll need to put a lot of thought and effort into it.
After that? It practically runs itself.
Content marketing is so much cheaper than other digital marketing tactics because…
- It relies on organic traffic, which needs keywords … which are free to use.
- It doesn’t require expensive tools. Sure, you can use them if you like, but anyone can get started with content marketing using WordPress and Google’s free SEO tools.
4. There’s No Talking Without Walking
Lastly, content marketing is profitable because it’s impossible to fake. That’s because it’s an incredibly data-driven field. There isn’t a lot of room for guesswork.
To succeed as a content marketer, you must know what you’re doing. If you don’t, the metrics will eventually reflect that.
There are a lot of content marketers out there right now, and they’ve got varying ranges of expertise. If you’re worth your salt, you can command a premium because your efforts will prove profitable for your clients.
Grow Authority, Not Advertising Spend
It’s not hard to see why content marketing is worth $400 billion in 2021. It’s a customer-centric, future-proof, data-driven field that’s difficult – if not impossible – to fake. I’ve taken a quick look at what has changed online and why content marketing has become the key strategy for growing your brand online.
So, what’s the next step?
Make sure you can walk your talk, of course.
Sign up for the Content Strategy & Marketing Course now.