Content marketing draws many similarities to the early days of oil mining.

Once, farmers could stumble upon riches with a misplaced strike of a pick. Now, the mining industry is guided by only the most sophisticated equipment and is relegated to some of the most extreme locations on the planet – all for the sake of the last remaining pockets of our natural reserves. The easy oil is indeed exhausted.

Like oil, the easy content marketing is a whisper of the past.

The time of gushers

Content marketing emerged with no shortage of demand. We regularly wrote 200 blog posts per month for some clients, and they reaped the successes they sought.  Keywords were to be claimed for those that published the most.

We could do no wrong.

We would write, and write, and write, and write. No human ever read our content, but robots did, and robots were all that mattered. They rewarded our torrential flood of content with the keyword rankings that clients licked their lips over.

Like any successful industry without adequate competition or market correction, virtually all newcomers are prosperous. Our world was all high-fives and wide-smiled cheersing of drinks. Times were good.

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Then the market crashed.

Competition and correction

Easy money attracts competition like moths to a flame. This is a story that has been told throughout history, and it very much sings the song of “supply and demand.”

Content marketing was a technique that could be easily replicated with similar results. This is the definition of a risky product and market. With a low barrier to entry and guaranteed high returns, everyone and their grandparents started selling content.

Adding to the increased competition, Google tightened its belt on us. Or more accurately, Google cut our belt off and let our pants fall limply to the ground. What used to be a surefire technique for success withered into a dried-up weed. Worse than a weed, our technique had become poisonous, now causing more detriment than success to a client’s bottom line.

Without delving into the fundamentals of supply and demand, we can all guess what happened next.

Working with the correction

The easy oil has been tapped. All that remains is the hard-to-get oil reserved for only the most ambitious and resourceful of explorers.

Content marketing was no flash in the pan fad.

As long as we use language to communicate, there will be a need for using that language to search for things. Therefore, our market has certainly not died. It’s matured, and we are all groaning under the strain of its growing pains.

Amateur hour is over.

The barrier to entry has become high, leaving newcomers floundering or pursuing other opportunities while attrition is running its course. The market is currently sorting through the casualties and survivors.

The content marketer of the future

It takes a new brand of cunning to be successful in this maturing market.

The enduring content marketer won’t romanticize over what used to be, and she definitely doesn’t hope for a return to form.

Rather, she embraces change with open arms and an open mind. The content marketer of the future is going to have a short memory and will be highly adaptable to the fluid nature of our new reality. We will be defined by constant change.

Success will be found by the hardest workers, the ingenious and the relentless – there’s no room for anyone else.

So put on your work boots or else languish in the past.

Jeff is the AVP of Marketing for Brafton's marketing team. He specializes in SEO research and testing. In his personal time, he is a woodworker and jogger. He hosts a podcast that can be found below: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/above-the-fold-by-brafton/id1413932916