For years, content marketing has been the go-to marketing strategy for new startups. And for good reason. Content marketing is relatively cheap, especially when compared to traditional advertising strategies like print, radio, and TV ads. It’s accessible, since almost anyone can get started in the strategy with minimal experience. And best of all, it’s a prime strategy for long-term growth, capable of seeing compounding returns over the course of years.
But there’s a problem. Content marketing hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years or so. People are practicing the same tactics and following the same fundamentals they’ve practiced and followed for years. They’re still getting decent results, but how long could this continue to last?
The startup content marketing world is overdue for disruption – a massive changeup to rebuild content marketing from its very foundations. But why is this disruption so overdue and what could an overhaul look like?
Why Content Marketing Is in Need of an Overhaul
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest reasons why content marketing is in need of a major, ground-up overhaul:
- Saturation and competition. The first problem is saturation, and by extension, competition. One of the greatest advantages of content marketing has also become one of its greatest weaknesses: accessibility. Anyone with a few hours to spare can learn the fundamentals of writing great content, and you don’t need any fancy equipment or tools to publish it. With even the smallest budget and a limited amount of time, you can make your content available online. Over time, this has led to billions, if not trillions of articles posted on more than 600 million blogs and 1.7 billion websites. If you want a chance at standing out, you’ll need to choose a very specific niche to get started – and even then, you’ll likely be competing with hundreds to thousands of brands that have years-long head starts on you. This makes it both difficult to enter as a new content marketer and difficult to navigate as a consumer.
- Consumer familiarity. Speaking of consumers, consumer familiarity has also become a problem. One reason why content marketing became so popular for startups is because it served as an alternative to traditional advertising. Over the course of many years, consumers became fatigued by traditional ads; they don’t like being manipulated, and they don’t take traditional ad messaging as sincere. By contrast, content provides consumers with information, entertainment, and often a seemingly sincere desire to help. But because content marketing has been wielded by so many persuaders and manipulators, even online content is beginning to be treated with the same kind of skepticism as traditional ads.
- Automation and predictability. Content marketers have long been enthusiastic about the prospects of marketing automation – the ability to create and execute marketing strategies with minimal manual effort. And certainly, automation has a lot of benefits. However, the introduction of automation tends to make content much more predictable and much less engaging for consumers, especially if most companies are using the same tools in the same way. Additionally, because automation multiplies the amount of content being circulated for marketing purposes, it tends to complicate and intensify the other factors on this list.
- Minimal innovation. Let’s face it. Over the years, there has been minimal innovation in the field of content marketing. People are using video content more than they used to, and some of the tactics in fields like search engine optimization (SEO) have changed, but most of the fundamentals are the same. If we’re going to continue providing consumers with the best materials and leverage the best marketing approaches available, we need to be able to adapt.
Content marketing is primed for a major change. But what could that change look like? How could content marketing for startups evolve in the near future?
Mediums and Channels
One of the most promising areas of development is in an expansion of the mediums and channels available to content creators. Today, if you want to create content, you could write an article, develop a test or quiz, take photos, illustrate new designs, shoot video, or host a podcast – or try to blend a few of these mediums together.
But what about the future? Could we see a rise in the popularity of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)? Will new devices make it possible to interact with content in new ways, such as projecting it onto a wall? Will there be a future technology that can beam some forms of content directly into people’s heads? Some of these possibilities may seem overly futuristic, but they could be exactly the wave of disruption content marketing needs.
The format of content could also be a source of innovation. Today, most content falls into one of two overarching forms: short-form content, designed to be read or digested in a matter of minutes, and long-form content, exploring a subject or topic thoroughly over the course of hours.
But what about a different form of content altogether? Could we see a rise in popularity of ultra-short content, meant to provide users with immediate insights? Or what about an undercurrent of content, providing people with a steady stream of information throughout the day?
Content is already starting to evolve to become more interactive, so it makes sense that interactive content could become the next evolutionary form of content marketing overall. Interactive content has much greater potential for development; since it relies on an interaction with consumers, it can branch off in many different directions. It’s therefore more unique and harder to replicate, leading to more original and noteworthy content.
This content is also more appealing to individual readers and consumers, defeating the consumer familiarity problem. The only real issue is that interactive content currently exists in a limited number of forms (such as tests and quizzes) and creating it is often more difficult and time-consuming than creating its ordinary counterparts.
Content marketing currently has tremendous synergy with other marketing strategies; for example, it’s often a staple component of any search engine optimization (SEO) or social media marketing strategy. But we can innovate in the content marketing world by hybridizing it with other forms of marketing and advertising.
For example, we could blend content marketing and guerrilla marketing together for a much more aggressive, unexpected form of content presentation and consumption.
Pressure Factors to Consider
The future of content marketing depends on the amount of pressure it faces to evolve. If left uncontested and unchallenged, content marketing will never change.
Instead, we’ll only see a change based on the confluence of pressure from these areas:
- Channel pressure. If channels like Google make it harder for brands to benefit from content marketing, marketers will be forced to reinvent content marketing, innovate, or relinquish their content-derived traffic.
- Consumer pressure. As long as consumers are happy with your content, it will continue generating a return. If they become dissatisfied or demand something better, content transformation is practically a certainty.
- Competitive pressure. Perhaps most importantly, if your competitors transform their content strategies for the better, you must follow if you want to keep up – or innovate in your own way to gain an advantage.
It’s hard to say exactly how or when content marketing will undergo its next phase of evolution. And according to some experts, this may be the final form of content marketing; though it may change gradually to keep up with new trends and new technologies, it may never be radically different than it is today.
If you want to get the most value from your marketing strategy, your best bet is to diversify. Continue investing in your current line of content marketing tactics while also investing in novel experimental content marketing approaches – and don’t forget to invest in other marketing and advertising strategies as well.
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!