The advent of content marketing has marked a paradigm shift for how brands do business. It allows the enterprise to go beyond adding economic value and add intellectual assets to the ecosystem of knowledge. This year alone, brands will spend $118.4 billion on content marketing.  For brands, publishing content means balancing long-term brand value while engaging their audience on what might be a shorter-term basis for short term performance metrics. But they can succeed in the long-term with a thoughtful content strategy that ties back their content to brand identity. Brands are taking their publishing mandate seriously, luring journalists from big-name publications like Wired and USA Today to run their editorial operations. But their challenge is to keep the bottom line in mind while telling stories that will enrich and enlighten readers.

The increasing number of channels for content has made brands revisit their tactics and thus their agency relationships, with many brands choosing to move content expertise in-house and closer to the corporate HQ. This year’s Content Marketing World conference will bring together content marketers to address some of these challenges and opportunities, and we’ll be among them.

As a sequel to our 2014 report The Content Marketing Revolution, we have tackled the dramatic shifts that have come about since then. In this report co-authored with our Marketplace Partner, Visually, we explore the landscape of content marketing, right from the economics of attention, the shift in content consumption patterns to an increasingly mobile-driven, socially connected experience, to how to align marketing priorities and strategy with these shifts.  

Some of the highlights from the report are below.

1. Attention isn’t shrinking, it’s being refocused: The majority of time spent consuming digital media is, unsurprisingly, on mobile screens. This shift has made people more selective about the brands they interact with and when: and consequently, has forced brands to be more thoughtful about creating content for mobile.

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2. Brands are claiming market share from traditional publishers: Social media has become an almost natural extension of most Internet users’ online behavior. People increasingly use these platforms to get their news and entertainment and to make purchase decisions. Brands are adding to the conversation with content that is becoming more and more indistinguishable from traditional journalism, setting a new bar for quality content in a consumer-first format.

3. Privacy wins: In the age of the smartphone, people are gravitating toward more private forms of communication: and brands are following them there. Social networks are unbundling their messaging apps from their platforms, and allowing users many of the functionalities of the entire network within the messaging platform.

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4. Consumers are an asset to content creation: The rise of user-generated content has brought a new creator into the arena: the consumer. With 400 million photos uploaded to Facebook and Instagram collectively everyday, consumers are curating their own content ecosystems. The rise of image-sharing apps like Instagram and Snapchat are testament to the power of user-generated content.

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5. Maximum distribution means maximum discovery: Creating good content isn’t as hard as making sure that content is seen by the most people possible. A comprehensive distribution strategy is central to ensuring brand discovery, and the proliferation of channels gives brands an even wider playing field.

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The mandate for reimagined content is not an easy one, and it requires shifts in budget and strategy. Those brands that do this well will succeed in building a brand that has salience and adds value to its customers’ lives and to the vast global ecosystem of information.

Read the full report for an in-depth look into how the changing field for content marketing has led to marketers reimagining their roles and rethinking priorities.