2015-14-May-Tablets.jpgA visitor recently came to the DNN offices and shared a short video that she had created. It featured a montage of photos from the office, set to music and categorized to different themes. It had a captivating introduction and a compelling close. My co-workers loved it.

The video was recorded and produced by my sixth grade daughter, using iMovie on her iPhone.

I never created a video as a youngster. In fact, I created my first video several years into my marketing career. To do so, I hired a video production company to source the video, edit it and create the finished product.

Today, kids can source video, edit, publish and share. All from their smartphones. These phones afford them a powerful, yet cost-effective tool to create and publish content. With this dynamic in mind, what will content marketing look like in the future?

I asked a few content marketing experts for their thoughts.

What Happens When Everyone Publishes Content?

Today’s smartphones have more power than the supercomputers of my youth (which were largely inaccessible to me). They also have free apps to aid the content creator: iMovie, Google plus, Pinterest, WordPress, Google Docs, Instagram and more.

If it’s hard for content to stand out today, just imagine when everyone is producing content. According to Jeanne Sachs (@jlsachs), co-founder and CRO of Blanchard Partners,

The best way to differentiate yourself is to be authentic. Each person is unique and has their own individual point of view.”

That’s a great point: the sum total of your experiences, expertise and insights are unique. So whether you’re a sixth grader or a professional content marketer, take advantage of your unique point of view. Todd Wheatland (@ToddWheatland), head of strategy at King Content, shared a similar thought:

Understand your audience, understand your unique viewpoint, and deliver value against that. It’s quality and consistency, not quantity and frequency.”

For Brian Honigman (@BrianHonigman), content marketing consultant and CEO of Honigman Media, the proliferation of easy-to-use content publishing tools raises the bar for everyone. On the one hand, your audience will have higher expectations. On the other hand, you’ll need to find better ways to distribute your content.

According to Honigman,

future marketers must work harder than ever to create content that’s actually interesting because people will expect more and more. They must be active on new channels and potentially more channels to disperse their content and join in on relevant conversations.”

Personal Brands Unleashed

Whether consciously or not, kids are building a personal brand via the content they publish and share. As they look to high school, college and beyond, they’ll want to more actively manage and develop that brand. Potential danger exists, if you ask Honigman:

Young people today have to be cautious about what they choose to share online since they are active across devices and networks at a much earlier age then previous generations.”

Wheatland, on the other hand, believes that the younger generation has learned from the mistakes of prior generations:

Unlike Generation Y, Generation Z is not embarrassing themselves, posting discoverable photos on public social channels. They’re often creating highly personalized, immediate, short-term content for micro audiences of known contacts.”

In fact, my daughter and her friends are careful about what they share online and do more private sharing than public sharing (e.g. privately sharing a Pinterest pin with a friend).

As brands look to ride the wave of content marketing, the emergence of personal brands could help surface rising content stars across the organization. According to Sachs,

Personal branding will make it easier for companies to uncover talent and leverage skillsets that may otherwise be hard to find. This generation will have even more opportunity to build their own businesses or easily move between companies.”

The Shifting Nature of Content Consumption

As consumers of content, what will the future hold for us? How will we make smart choices among an endless sea of content?

According to Wheatland, technology can provide part of the solution:

already, the primary way in which people discover content -- social channels -- is being served based on predictive algorithms. Technology is going to continue getting much, much better at reading the digital exhaust of everyone’s activity and serve ever more right-fit content.”

Brands can get in front of the content growth curve by co-creating content with their target audience. According to Sachs, “Brands will need to consider user-generated content from their audiences, because this generation likes to consume content from their peers. For instance, there are many YouTube stars that brands can leverage to create a stronger connection to this younger generation.”

A Promising Future

I’m already a voracious consumer of content. I enjoy just about everything: personal stories, blog posts, SlideShares, longform articles and white papers (some of them, at least). If a friend tells me of an interesting experience, I’ll say, “you should write about it.” So I’m looking forward to the day where even more content choices are available. Finding great content is like panning for gold: discovering a valuable nugget is well worth the time spent finding it.

And to that creator of the DNN offices video I say, “keep up the good work, kid!”

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Title image by  IntelFreePress