Content marketing is not new, but the way in which the pieces fit together is ever evolving.

While the basics of quality content will never change, the strategies, vehicles, presentation and consumer interactions with content are an ever-evolving animal.

Here are some of the most recent trends that content marketers will want to make note of:

1. Even the Big Boys Know: Content is Mandatory

Even the largest, best known brands have taken notice: Content marketing is no longer just for those who find advertising too expensive.

  • More than half of all marketers say that they have replaced other aspects of marketing with content marketing, and have shifted their budgets to invest more in this area.
  • More than 90 percent of all marketers now rely heavily on content as a marketing strategy.2. Strategy Equals Sales

    Marketing pros report that creating a clear, organized plan for content marketing, including target audience, problem to be solved for that audience, directly-related sales goals for the organization providing the content, and method of delivery, all help predict success of a content marketing program.

  • Content should not be viewed simply as a perk for customers.
  • Content is a sales tool, embedded in high-quality editorial products.3. Social Media is Queen Bee

    Content may be king, but it must be promoted and shared in order to be of any value to the organization providing it.

  • The number one way to promote content is through social media.
  • Social media is the most effective way to get a marketing message to a lot of users in a short period of time.4. Diversity Rules

    E-Newsletters trump Blogging. Despite complaints about spamming and inbox overload, done correctly, e-newsletters generate business. Some 80 percent of successful marketers are using it, compared with the 70 percent who are writing blogs. This could change tomorrow, however, especially as new platforms emerge and new trends take hold. For that reason, diversity is key.

  • Those who provide content across multiple streams have the most profitable and sustainable returns.
    High quality journalism, creative marketing and goal-oriented, innovative strategy make for a powerful content marketing campaign.

    5. Trends and Targets Get Noticed

    Keeping an eye on what’s hot and what’s not, which issues are most important to people and what products people are buying most, can be extremely important.

  • Marketers who tie their own organization’s products and services into topics that are trending, come out on top.6. Google Likes Google +

    Google may not admit it, but this leading search engine favors those who use Google Plus most. Is anyone surprised?

  • A highly active and visible Google Plus account appears to go a long way for content visibility on Google’s search engine.7. Everyone Needs a Content Director

    Despite oodles of junk content out there, the best companies are taking a stand, producing the kind of top-quality content that readers demand.

    Gone are the days when content was just an after-thought that staff members handle in their spare time.

  • A designated content director and team make for solid, successful content marketing.
  • Someone needs to have content marketing as their primary responsibility. This person should be a creative leader, in charge of planning, assigning and monitoring all content, and the professional team who creates and executes it.8. Professional Journalists Are in Demand

    Writing requires both skill and talent, as well as experience. Farming content out to anyone who is not (first and foremost) a writer can be a big mistake.

  • Using experts in a particular field can be powerful, so long as they can write exceptionally well, or their work is professionally edited.
  • Alternatively, professional journalists can interview those experts to produce stellar content.
  • Journalists are the best bet for top-notch content. Through the nature of their training, they are adept at research, and able to distinguish between unreliable sources and those that are well-respected and evidence based.9. A Little Marketing Savvy Goes a Long Way

    Writers should also have a little marketing savvy.

  • Although writers don’t have to have SEO and SEM experience, they need to have a basic understanding of the principles so that a story can be optimized without sounding canned and contrived or otherwise sacrificing quality.
  • Last but not least, to have value, content must contain new information, or new interpretations or presentations of existing information.Recycling content that already exists all over the Web does not provide much value and may backfire. Journalists are the original content creators, rather than content regurgitators.

    10. Interactive, Shareable and Mobile Work Together

    Static information sites are losing favor.

  • Successful sites allow users to customize their experience, integrate the information into apps, access and synchronize the site on iPads, tablets, phones and computers.
  • Content must be easy to navigate and easy to share.11. SEO Gets Real

    In the past, people stuffed key words. Now, many content mills churn out automated articles that contain key phrases but are often nonsensical or very poorly written, but this type of content only harms a company in the long run, and is on its way out.

    Google’s new technology focuses heavily on content, and is much more able to distinguish real content and context.

  • The quality of an organization’s content will be a determining factor in how successful content marketing will be.Content is here to stay, but it exists en masse out there. Those who take it seriously and plan accordingly will reap the greatest benefits of content marketing.