If you’ve read anything about digital marketing in 2014 then the chances are you have heard someone mention content marketing. At one time just a buzzword, it seems content marketing is ready to take off in the new year.
So what is content marketing? Well, the simplest answer is that it is content that your company produces to attract potential business, increase brand awareness and trust in your brand. This can be achieved in many different ways, but the most popular seems to be through an in house blog, guest blogging and multimedia (podcasts, videos and all that jazz). What can we expect to see in 2014? For one it is the year content marketing will really define itself as a legitimate method of digital marketing; below is far from a definitive list of what trends we can expect to see, but it gives you a fair idea of the direction we are headed in.
There’s more to life than backlinks
Producing a guest submission for somebody else’s blog with a backlink back to your own site was, and for the time being is somewhat of a legitimate SEO tactic. However, Google’s new Panda and Penguin algorithm updates began punishing poor content, sites with a large array of outbound links. In other words, Google clamped down on cheap and easy methods of garnering links.
Link building like this was often seen as the bread and butter of content marketing, this is not strictly true. Yes, it is important to have both internal and outbound links on your site – Google will like to see this. However it is not the be all and end all, if your 2014 content marketing strategy relies very heavily on a link building campiagn it is highly likely that you will fall prey to Google’s next algorithm update. We need to move away from the thought that link-building is the only way forward. Content marketing should begin to be measured in conversion rates, engagement rates and even the more intangible brand awareness and brand authority. Look at the stats, Content+ found out that great content is one of the top 3 reasons people will follow a company on social media.
Producing content for the internet is unlike producing content for anywhere else, it can be hard to succeed if you’re not 100% sure what you are doing. Mistakes can be made, your company’s site can get punished by Google and there’s an uphill battle from there on in – it can be all very frustrating.
More and more companies are turning to companies like ours to help with their digital marketing needs. In 2014 we will see the same trend continue into content marketing. It’s no secret that content marketing will play major part of businesses digital marketing plans in 2014, as such larger and larger budgets are being specifically allocated to content marketing.
Many business do not have a strategic plan laid out looking at how best their content will work to increase brand awareness, trust and authority. Add to the fact that just under half of UK businesses already outsource their content marketing to a company with the know-how and the spending is set to increase in the new year. It is safe to assume many more companies will be turning to digital marketing professionals to devise a carry out a great content marketing strategy.
If you keep your finger on the pulse of digital marketing and SEO you will hear a lot about Hummingbird, Google’s new algorithm update. So, how will Hummingbird affect content marketing? That all depends, if you have a well laid out strategy, focussing on the long game rather than looking for quick returns then probably not a lot. This is because this new update, unlike Panda and Penguin, Hummingbird is not penalty-driven (breathe a sigh of relief).
However, their biggest update since 2001 is designed to cater for mobile browsing – which if we believe the signs will overtake desktop browsing in just two years. So make sure you have a plan for mobile browsing. This means quick load times, making sure your content will fit on iPhone screens and making sure all your links work on a mobile browser.
With this update Google are looking to reinforce the importance of quality content, this falls right in the remit of content marketing. Make sure all your content is engaging, user friendly and interesting. The more your content is bounced around the internet, the more authority Google will place on it thus increasing your brand awareness.
So in short, don’t panic about Google’s updates, move away from the school of thought that content marketing is all about getting links and consider turning to digital marketing professionals if you’re not sure of what to do.