The evolution of content marketing

6 minutes

We're in a transformative period of content marketing. The landscape is rapidly evo...

We're in a transformative period of content marketing. The landscape is rapidly evolving, driven by advances in technology and changes in consumer expectations. To prepare for this new future of content, we brought together senior content leaders – from Heads of Content through to Creative Directors – to discuss its evolution over the past few years. 

Looking ahead to the future of content marketing, the biggest challenge identified was how to continue creating quality content while balancing the implementation of new technology. 

Keep reading for key takeaways on: 

  • How has content marketing evolved? 
  • 2024 content trends 
  • The role of AI in content marketing 
  • The future of AI in content 


How has content marketing evolved? 


First, we explored where we’ve come from, the history of content marketing and how it’s evolved over recent years. 

The image contains a quote stating, "The fundamentals of content marketing haven't really changed a great deal, but the technology clearly has, and the audience has also evolved." It is attributed to a source named 3Search, from a piece titled 'The evolution of content marketing.' The text is styled in a simple, modern font and centered on a plain background, focusing solely on the message.

Some notable changes include:  

  • Prioritising content marketing: Content is no longer a “nice to have” skill set. More businesses are investing in content, with employers sharing that content roles are the third most in-demand this year. 
  • Moving away from written content: Many of our speakers began their careers in journalism, moving into marketing as a Content Writer. Now, content creators must focus on broader forms of digital content, especially video. 
  • Print to digital: When print was the main form of content marketing, teams had to be very strategic about what was published. In this digital age, there’s no limit to the content you can create. 
  • SEO changes: Search engine optimisation has emphasised producing content that can perform technically. With algorithms updating regularly, the functionality of content strategies and production has evolved. 
  • Artificial intelligence: AI is actively changing content strategies. Content teams are being told “to do more with less”, so many are exploring the opportunities that AI presents. 


2024 content trends 


Turning attentions to the present, our Content Leaders shared and discussed the current trends they’re seeing in content marketing. These included: 

  1. Content fatigue 
  2. Authenticity and value 
  3. Community-driven content 


Content fatigue 

With organisations competing for potential customers’ attention, there’s an increased interest in search engine optimisation (SEO) across every industryFor businesses to be at the top of search results, they’re growing their content marketing efforts. 

Plus, the introduction of AI has certainly sped up content production. Blog posts, social media posts and videos can all be created with a click of a button, resulting in a pressure to produce more. 

As a result, every brand has become its own media publisher.” This has created content fatigue, with consumers questioning whether they need so many sources of information. 


Authenticity and value 

To combat this fatigue, build trust and attract new customers, the Content Leaders shared the importance of publishing valuable content. 

The image features a quote stating, "We need to make every piece of content genuinely worth it. If it's not valuable, don't publish it." This statement is sourced from 3Search, from an article titled 'The evolution of content marketing.' The text is presented in a modern, bold font against a plain background, emphasizing the message's importance and directness.

Google has also noticed this shift in audience sentiment and have changed their algorithms to prioritise authenticity. AI content is de-prioritised to ensure that value is at the core of all content, encouraging brands to focus on thought leadership pieces.  

Ultimately, content marketing teams should focus on quality over quantity in 2024. One attendee suggested taking an “old-fashioned” approach, employing the thinking that was necessary in the age of print media to ensure value in your content. 


Community-driven content 

Continuing this discussion, the Content Leaders in the room questioned the value placed on SEO. They suggested that creating shareable content is more important. They argued that community is key to success in the content world. Creating white papers or blog posts that people want to share amongst their peers should be the ultimate goal.  

To achieve this, it’s important to be agile in the content you’re producing. The digital world requires Content Strategists to trial new formats of media. To drive engagementDigital Marketers should combine their knowledge of the target audience with what performs well on different social media platforms. 


The role of AI in content marketing 


We're at a pivotal point in the evolution of the content sector. Artificial intelligence tools are quickly changing how marketers produce content in the short and long term. While much is still unknown about AI, the key piece of advice shared is to start exploring the tech now to avoid being left behind. 

Here's how Content Leaders are using it in their roles now: 

  • First drafts: Tools, such as ChatGPT and Sudowrite, support with the creation of initial drafts. They break down complex content into digestible summaries as a strong foundation for refinement. 
  • Research: AI tools can quickly deliver the data you’re searching for, citing where it sourced the information. 

Not sure which AI tools you should introduce into your team? Check out our blog which lists recommendations from leading marketers. 


Pitfalls of AI 

Artificial intelligence is still in the early stages of development. Flaws in the tools means that it’s crucial for all outputs are monitored and edited for accuracy and quality.  

Below are some of the dangers highlighted: 

  • Language: While AI-generated content can be a good starting point, it requires human editing to match a brand’s tone of voice. The language produced can often feel immatureoverly formal or lacking emotion. 
  • Bias: With training, AI models can become biased. This lack of diversity can lead to a narrow perspective in AI content. 
  • Accuracy: Known as “hallucinating”, AI tools sometimes generate inaccurate information 


Marketing leaders must manage AI 

One key concern shared by many of the Content Leaders was the impact of AI on their teams. Some business leaders have suggested that by introducing artificial intelligence, they can downsize their marketing departments. 

On the other hand, Marketing Leaders are arguing that they still need resource to use these tools efficiently. This is especially true whilst in the early stages of AI development. 

To manage stakeholder expectations, it’s increasingly important for all Marketing Leaders to take ownership of AI. Marketers should stay up to date with any advances, develop strategies around them and feedback to stakeholders. 

The image displays the quote: "It’s up to us to understand what these tools are, where the limitations are, what can go wrong and where they can actually end up being damaging or potentially even more time consuming." This is attributed to a source named 3Search, from an article titled 'The evolution of content marketing.' The text is arranged in a clean, straightforward font, set against a minimalistic background to ensure the focus remains on the quote's content.


The future of AI in content 


So where is this all heading? While many are approaching AI with caution, it certainly has a place in our future. The Content Leaders in the room shared some of their predictions for the next stages of AI content. 


Wide-spread adoption of AI 

New research has revealed that just 2% of the British public are using ChatGPT, suggesting that a widespread uptake is yet to be seen.  

However, businesses are actively researching the opportunities presented by creating their own artificial intelligence tools. The commercialisation of AI will embed the tools into daily life. This will result in more, high-quality artificial intelligence tools, as well as changes in consumer behaviour. 


Content consumption 

AI search engines, such as Perplexity, are changing how users browse the internet. Many are choosing to use AI-powered search engines over the traditional Google or Bing. These usually uncontested powerhouses are playing catch-up when it comes to AI. 

This means that the way that consumers interact with your content is due to change forever. The Content Leaders predicted that AI will exclusively be reading content and distilling the information for consumers. As a result, brands will become more distant from their audiences, forcing them to find new ways to create successful content once again. 


Changing skill sets 

The evolution that AI is facilitating will change content job descriptions.  

At present, AI tools are undertaking basic tasks that are usually associated with entry-level roles. This has left many concerned about the younger generation entering the workforce for the first time.  

The Content Leaders in the room shared that training must evolve to future-proof the younger generation’s careers. It's time to move away from the mundane, administrative tasks and giving them the opportunity to upskill in these new technologies. 

The image displays the quote: "Our role is to help the younger generation to pivot and continue advancing their careers." This statement is sourced from 3Search, from an article titled 'The evolution of content marketing.' The text is presented in a bold, modern font and is set against a clean, unembellished background to emphasize the message of mentorship and career guidance.


A big thank you to our content community 


We want to thank all of the Content Leaders who joined us on June 5th to share their thoughts and ideas with one another. It was a truly successful event. 

If you’d like to hear about future 3Search Events, register your interest below. 



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For support in growing your content marketing team for the future, be sure to get in touch with 3Search. We aim to deliver the best recruitment experience you will ever have! 

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