In the era of “fake news” and “click-bait” articles, creating great content remains one of the most effective ways to engage and interact with a customer base.

Much like a battle-hardened ally, quality content – despite a few scratches and scars –  is here to stay. It has been around for well over a 100 years, and has changed significantly from the early days of publications like John Deere’s lifestyle magazine.

Truth be told, content marketing has been growing, and with the introduction of mobile technology, it may just be getting started. Especially as the ways in which consumers get their information continues to evolve.

Times are changing

From old school pamphlets and posters to boundary-breaking tablets and cell phones, the development of technology has undoubtedly opened new avenues for people to digest content. Local news has turned global with the help of the internet. Smaller publications are now able to get the scoop on international events through social media. And, with the ability to publish online using the click of a button their content is now available for anyone to absorb.

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The rise of the internet has also lowered the barriers to entry for many amateur content creators. Technology has paved the way for an explosion in the number of smaller publications, such as blogs and niche sites. They can operate on a shoestring budget but are often able to steal people away from more prominent brands. This is because they offer information targeted at particular consumer interests or ideas. Smaller content providers are often more agile in their operations. They can post up-to-date articles quicker than their larger rivals, aiding in their appeal to readers.

Recently, however, big-name news brands like The Straits TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and other stalwarts of the industry have seen surges in popularity. People are looking up to quality publications to sturdy the ship after the recent tidal wave of “fake news” and “click-bait”. The content landscape continues to reshape as the industry tries to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the consumer.

Social media disruptors

Gone are the days of the paperboy hastily delivering the family’s favourite newspaper on his morning round. In recent times, publication loyalty has unfortunately begun to erode somewhat. 

The introduction of social media and other online content platforms has disrupted the traditional media industry. This is mainly due to the growth of “white-labelled content” where news is shared on social media platforms. This leads to people consuming the content without noticing the publication or its purpose, but rather the group or people who shared it.

The erosion of brand identity is complicated and also detrimental to consumers on the whole. People are becoming increasingly unable to verify the reliability of the sources that they are receiving. Social media has also promoted the growth of echo chambers. These groups serve to contribute to the confirmation bias rather than delivering factual and reliable content.

Unfortunately, the practice of sharing low quality “click-bait” articles on social media has led to a race to the bottom. Consequentially, smaller publications are having to turn to minimal effort writing to try and compete for a share of advertising revenue.

Writing winning content

Although at times social media may have become the go-to medium to spread fake news, all is not lost. Technology has transformed the user experience and helped fuel the growth of many brands. It has also helped content developers reach millions of people and truly make an impact.

The tide is indeed changing, and consumers are becoming far more aware. They are once more looking for higher quality publications that source and write verified material. We are finally seeing “fake news” being combatted using fact-checking tools to verify the accuracy and reliability of the content.

Content creators are adopting a more tailored approach after beginning to understand that readers want reliable writing on relevant and important topics. This has lead to an increase in high-quality articles by publications that have their customers interests at heart.

The sharing of information has never been easier. As people are finally becoming more aware of great content, their expectations are growing. This is helping to promote the development of ever-improving content. The recent disruptions in the industry are an excellent chance for content creators to show that good content is king.

This article first appeared under the title The evolution of how consumers digest content and was written by Terng Shing Chen, CEO of SYNC PR.

About the author

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Terng Shing is the Founder and CEO of SYNC PR, a PR and content marketing startup that uses technology to reduce time wasting and administrative tasks in delivering results. Based in Singapore, Terng Shing has been focused on helping startups and SMEs build their brand story through media and content.

His experience includes a decade of work in PR and communications agencies, managing top-tier fortune 500 companies to the leading startups in Southeast Asia. Terng Shing has a passion for innovative communications and is convinced that PR is the next great industry to see positive disruption.