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The Evolution of Content: The Past 10 Years of Direct Marketing, Part 5

July 30, 2013 By Heather Fletcher
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[Editor's Note: This is the fifth article in an eight-part, weekly series.]

Marketers and content creators who are still standing after the Internet burst into their lives are probably glass-is-half-full types. They're the ones who call the new channel an "opportunity" and maybe even "a challenge," but say so with excitement in their voices. They're the ones who were happy when blogging became mainstream, Craigslist emerged as the place to list classified ads, and smartphones took over every method of communication except audible conversations.

Here's what I mean by "glass is half-full" advertisers and story creators: If you think of content pouring like water into the Internet, it's easier to imagine how the landing liquid can be simultaneously disrupted and sustained in the channel. With all the sloshing around, some water is going to stay in the bucket—let's call that traditional media—and some will splash out into different channels other than the Web. Chances are, a main stream will form, with runnels off to the side that move forward and a few still pools that eventually evaporate.

Where I'm going with this is simple: Disturbed water seeks its own level. When content pours into a new channel, it goes in several directions. Some content stays faithful to its original format—advertisers promote their brands, journalists write long-form articles and public relations professionals try to unite the two. Independent bloggers emerge, media companies begin blogging, companies start blogging. About 10 years ago, all three started blogging for each other or hosting content for each other. In the meantime, videos, emails, social networking sites, photo-hosting sites, aggregators, content farms and on and on were seemingly being treated equally by search engines.

Possibly the only relatively intact content channels for direct marketers were DRTV and direct-response radio. But even those felt the impact of the Internet.

Everyone was learning what to do in this new channel. The old model clearly didn't work in the new channel—several unemployed journalists can tell you so.

 

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