"February: traditionally the coldest month of the year and the time when most people are happy to grit their teeth, keep their head down and haul themselves through to March. But over the past couple of weeks, I've been surrounded by optimism and buoyancy, and there's a real cheerfulness about the industry.
Of course, content marketing has always exuded a certain feeling of positivity. There's been a sense of understated confidence that's coursed through the industry for at least a decade, with agencies producing top-quality content that's resonated throughout the entire media and marketing industries. But now, all that positivity and confidence has been proved more than justified, with ‘content' now the buzzword at every marketing conference and in the pages of all the trade journals.
At the start of the month, Marketing ran their annual customer publishing special - now the ‘Branded Content' special - which glowed with excitement about the medium. After an introduction that enthused about the industry's "multi-platform nature" and how "in this growing sector, bigger can mean better", the supplement reported on a roundtable discussion full of insight and vigour, before running a series of essays by some of the industry's leading lights. If you haven't already, I thoroughly recommend that you read it.
But it's not just Marketing that's getting excited about branded content. International giants such as Google and Coca-Cola are coming aboard, while the hundreds of big-name clients that have known the value of content for years, remain dedicated fans of the medium. As the trend of brands becoming content creators in their own right gathers pace, this will add to the success of content marketing - indeed, Mintel predicts that 2012 will see a 12% growth in this trend.
With so much unedited and uncontrolled content out there, brands are increasingly turning to our members to produce content that will build trust between customer and brand - a cornerstone of the content marketing industry. The most recent Edelman trust barometer shows that consumer trust in media sources is increasing, and most brands understand that building and maintaining that trust is vital if they are to thrive.
It seems that all the stars are aligning for content marketing: trust is valued more and content is seen as the ideal medium to build that trust. So over the next 11 months, you should see plenty of exciting developments in our industry, with clients demanding more from their agencies, and agencies giving more to their clients.
For now, wrap up warm and give yourself a smile. You deserve it."