With the release of Drupal 8, the core blocks system is now a powerful publishing system for content in sidebars or landing pages. Blocks have types, fields, revisions and many other benefits now that they are full Entities. If you are a coder, you'll be happy to know that these block types can also be created and extended using OOP techniques.
If you still use Drupal 7, have no fear! The Drupal 8 Block improvements are largely a port of the Bean module (Block Entities Aren't Nodes). Many of the techniques outlined in this session will be applicable to Drupal 7 with Beans.