In 2014, everything that has already changed about SEO will make the content marketing landscape completely different. As a marketer, how are you going to stay ahead of the game and execute a great content marketing strategy? Here’s our guide to content marketing success in 2014.
1. Make Content Relevant and Useful
If you’ve learned anything about content marketing this year, it’s that the new search engine algorithms add a twist to the adage that content is king. Instead, that becomes “relevant, useful content is king”. The search engines have changed how they assess relevance with the integration of semantic search, which is more about delivering what users mean than what they actually type. It takes into account location, interests, social signals and content tags to deliver results that are better and better tuned to the users’ intention in searching. As a marketer, you’ll hear a lot more about user intent in 2014, so it’s time to get ready.
2. Make Content Entertaining
You want to know the way to get attention? Make people laugh. Remember the Old Spice Man commercial? That went viral and spawned some knock-offs and responses. It’s the kind of content people share and it’s why branded entertainment will be even bigger in 2014. According to Social Jumpstart, 63% of online users visited social networking sites in 2013 and an even higher percentage of Americans do the same. Brand marketers will need to leverage social discovery sites and keep on top of memes and trends in order to offer their audiences something that really tickles their funny bone and encourages them to share.
3. Plan for SEO Friendly Content
Returning to the question of SEO, in 2014 content marketers will use structured data to help search engines identify content that is relevant to users. Understanding and using micro-formats and rich snippets to improve the search engine positioning of the content you produce will be a crucial skill. Mobile SEO will be a huge part of web optimization as the number of mobile device users continues to grow. The bottom line: SEO in 2014 won’t be about keywords, but about creating content that meets users’ needs and tagging it appropriately so it shows up when they search.
4. Let Analytics Help You Not Drive You
If you have been using analytics reports to track keywords and respond to what you find, forget about it. That data is gone for good from Google Analytics reports, but there’s still a lot of useful information you can extract. For a start, you can easily see how your content is performing on social sites by checking the built in social reports. You can check to see if the content people are visiting reveals anything about their main interests as a guide to future content production efforts. And you can watch the growth of mobile users – because there will be more of them next year – and ensure that you are meeting their needs.
5. Make It Responsive
We can’t say it often enough. The future of content marketing is mobile. We’re not the only ones to think so. As we’ve mentioned before the big tech companies are banking on mobile and Google has released several reports showing what people are using their mobile devices for now and what’s likely to happen in the near future. In 2014, making your content mobile adapted won’t just be “nice to have”; it will be a key competitive differentiator for content marketing success.
6. Include Long Form Content in Your Content Mix
Another development this year has been the increased importance of long form content and that’s likely to remain important in 2014. It’s not a big stretch to think that if users search for brief information on a particular topic they might want to find out more. That’s where long form content comes in. On the web, Google is featuring in-depth articles in search results. And the data shows that detailed content does very well for many content producers. Sure, audiences sometimes want a quick fix but that doesn’t mean it’s all they want. Integrating what Jay Baer calls “bricks” into your content mix along with the “feathers” of social media updates will give you a well rounded content strategy which will appeal to all your readers.
7. Make It Holistic
On that note, it’s important to address your audience with a wide range of content types. Yes, blog posts on mobile adapted websites are essential. But sometimes your audience wants information they can take away and read in their own time and at leisure. That’s where content such as white papers and customer magazines have a big role to play in gaining attention.
To recap, in 2014 content marketers will have to create relevant, useful and entertaining content that’s mobile friendly and tagged for semantic search. And the content mix will have to include long form content in addition to other content types. Get this right and 2014 will be a roaring success.