It took me a while to get my head around blockchain, as there are so many complex explanations on how it works. But luckily, I found something that sums it up quite nicely and a very neat video from The New York Times on cryptocurrency.
So, in a nutshell everything is done online and instead of tangible money, crypto codes are created so that people can invest, trade and sell with a long string of numbers within the online world. When you purchase or exchange with blockchain you are essentially securing a transaction without any traditional process. No logging into a bank account that is password protected, carrying out activity on social-media networks or any liaison with a data company that may be trying to retrieve your details.
The most obvious industry disrupted by blockchain is finance, but there are many others on the cards, including content marketing.
As content marketers we write, edit and publish the best content we can possibly produce. But will this change thanks to blockchain and will the quality be compromised as it becomes difficult to regulate?
Blockchain changing content
Most content agencies currently work with freelance writers, producers and possibly editors to make sure that client briefs are filled and quality content is produced. But in the future the marketing middleman could be cut out as content creators may connect with publishers directly. Freelancers could also exchange value propositions with one another in an online portal where smart contracts are signed and sent directly to the client.
According to Christoph Burgdorfer, Tech Director of This Place, “Blockchain technology will enable creators of content to capture the value from each piece more efficiently. Examples of such concepts are Steem.io and yoyow.org which enable users to earn value bearing tokens such as cryptocurrency for blog posts, social posts, comments and so on. This may encourage more people to get into content creation, which, if connected properly to marketing, provides potential to a vast array of new business models yet to be explored.”
There are already organisations popping up that are testing a new model. Take Socialmedia.market for example – an online portal simplifying transactions between businesses and influencers.
How we consume and who we trust
There is a lot of control over how and where content is consumed, because of brand affiliation and media control. But if you took this away and allowed consumers to pay for content directly from the publisher, without dealing with a media company, this would change.
Blockchain will also enable closer relationships between newsrooms and their audiences as there will be a protocol that is monitored by regulators.
Authenticity and quality
Arthur Falls has a background in journalism, content marketing and media production, and has produced several popular blockchain-centric podcasts, most notably Beyond Bitcoin, The Ether Review, and The Third Web. He suggests that blockchain will help bring back quality journalism or limit the amount of fake news we are exposed to.
“In the simplest of descriptions, blockchain is powerful because it gives us a way to represent global truth. We can expect to see this used to trace the original source of media, ideas, and popular phraseology. This will increase the value of original content and reward quality and timeliness over strong distribution.”
However, does the rise of blockchain mean the internet will become cluttered with promotional content?
“When it comes to cryptocurrency payments, there are fewer regulations, less control over who pays whom, and bigger anonymity. It means, it’ll be easier for content creators, whether marketers or journalists, to receive payments directly from brands they’re covering in their stories,” says Krista Krumina from Truesix.
Brands will probably have more access to their audience as data is collated through third-party sites. This may mean that content creators will be able to reach a more targeted audience.
Jessica Oram, content and PR manager at Maxwell Scott, says that “Consumer trust is especially important within the luxury sector. Blockchain can aid content marketers to fulfil consumer needs. Validating ad spend and legitimising influencer content are just a few ways in which it can be used to support marketing. Making authenticity and transparency some of the most important factors when marketing a product or service – something that is bound to appeal to the consumer and provide them with a higher level of experience.”
It’s probably too early to tell what will happen to the content marketing world and how everything crypto will affect it. But it’s worth keeping an eye out for changes and being ready to get onboard with a new form of disruption.
*All persons interviewed in this post volunteered and were not paid.