From net neutrality to Sputnik – content marketing trends

Net neutrality repeal matters … a lot

We gave you a cheeky taster of the latest net neutrality developments in last week’s editionNet neutrality

However, the implications of this potential shift are so epic, we’ve decided to come back for a bigger bite of the cherry.

So, without further ado, let’s get stuck in to this heady debate.

What is net neutrality?

In the simplest possible terms, net neutrality is an idea (widely enshrined in law) that ensures we all use the ‘same’ internet.

To guarantee this, several countries have put rules in place to prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from penalising web users for visiting certain sites ahead of others.

Without net neutrality, ISPs could charge you to visit specific websites, or slow down page-load speeds to the extent that a site becomes almost unusable.

Companies would most likely be charged a fee for preferential site promotion from ISPs. However, commentators have posited that ISPs could hypothetically penalise brands who offer commercial competition, or even prioritise brands aligned with their political ideals.

Countries place varying degrees of importance on net neutrality. The UK has moderate net neutrality rules. However, comparatively high levels of competition make it harder for ISPs to set the agenda.

For the time being, the US has some of the strictest net neutrality laws in the world. But, Trump is no fan. So, he has appointed a lawyer employed by one of the US’ biggest ISPs as head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the body that governs net neutrality legislation.

Trump sees him as a safe pair of hands to get these rules repealed when the FCC votes in a few weeks’ time. And, once the US goes, you can be relatively sure the UK won’t be far behind.

How could net neutrality repeal negatively impact content marketers?

Your mind is no doubt buzzing with the potential implications for content marketers. But, here’s the long and short of it:

  • Value of content to the end-user will no longer be the ranking metric that’ll take you to the top
  • Wealthy brands will get more exposure due to their willingness to pay alone
  • Less well-off brands will have to settle for competing in a second tier of websites
  • Most brands will end up with less online visibility than they had previously
  • User experience will decline due to additional payments and slow page-load speeds
  • The lack of a level playing field will make industries less competitive overall

Goliaths of the internet – Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Reddit and the like – joined forces for a day of protest back in July. But, if anything, this repeal looks even more likely to pass today.

The best advice we can give for content marketers? Just watch this space and keep trying to do what you do best as darn well as you can.

Big brand movements suggest 2018 will be a good year for content marketers

It’s almost December and everyone’s predicting what’s going to happen in 2018.

Forbes – never shy of a good trends piece – reckons 2018 will be a year of high-value, engaging content creation.

Its article predicts brands will focus less on salesy guff and more on entertaining and/or useful resources that aren’t necessarily related to your core product or service.

While we (and others) have pushed this idea for many a year, it’s nice to see the likes of Forbes catching on. But, what’s changed? Well, the article points to two indicators:

  • Apple’s billion-dollar investment in original streaming content
  • PepsiCo’s new content creation studio in New York

So, next year, burn off the post-Christmas lethargy with a flurry of content marketing. According to Forbes, you’ll be in seriously high demand.

Spotted in the news…

Google parent organisation Alphabet has opted to de-rank certain Russian-owned news sites in response to allegations of election meddling.

Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik – both controlled largely by the Kremlin – are the targets of Google’s discontent. Commentators have accused these publications (among many others) of interfering in last year’s US presidential election and the Brexit referendum by spreading misinformation online. Meanwhile, RT and Sputnik have labelled the move as ‘censorship’.

This only goes to show the extent to which Google fulfils the role of arbitrator in the digital world. And, if you’re to get it to look on you favourably, ensuring absolute accuracy in your content is clearly the way to go!