By Eric Olsen, Fasturtle
Content marketing (CM) is king in 2014. Whether you know it or not, you probably are already doing some sorts of content marketing.
Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers.
Rather than focusing on selling, content marketing is about simply communicating with customers and prospects. The idea is to inspire business and loyalty from buyers by delivering consistent, ongoing valuable information.
Basically, its No. 1 focus is building the relationship between you and your customer and prospects. Not selling.
Types of content marketing outlets:
• Blog posts
• Guest blog posts
• Email newsletters
• PowerPoint presentations
• Standard videos (such as YouTube)
• Micro-videos (Vine, etc.)
• Social media posts (Facebook, Google+,
• Live presentations (seminars, etc.)
• White papers
Where is content marketing headed in 2014?
Almost 60 percent of businesses are already using some sort of content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy. Some of the easiest forms to get started are social media posts, blog posts and email marketing.
The biggest issue we see with our clients is the inability to create a content marketing strategic plan and stick with it.
1. Definition of content marketing and its role
Throughout 2014, I believe small businesses will be able to explain what content marketing is, and how they can utilize the various outlets to gain market share and increase brand awareness. HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report says, “Companies that clearly define marketing and sales roles in relation to content marketing experience significantly lower customer acquisition costs than those without marketing/sales agreements.”
2. With a plan comes power
Companies that continue to post information for posting sake will see their value decrease in the eyes of their customers and will also see a loss in followers. With a strategic plan in content marketing, businesses continue to see an increase in followers and influencers reporting and re-tweeting information.
3. Mobile Content Marketing will separate you from your competition.
In late 2013 I wrote about the importance of mobile marketing; here we are again. With the prediction that mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop usage within the next two years, not incorporating mobile into a solid content strategy is no longer an option. Google’s recent rollout of its new algorithm, “Hummingbird,” along with the complete revocation of keyword data from Google Analytics, reinforce this prediction.
Creating content that can be read on your mobile device will become increasingly important, which means mobile-friendly formatting; use bullet points, shorter and actionable blog posts; engage your end-user, and considering which devices your audience will be using to access your content; check your Google analytics.
4. Automating the content marketing process will fail
With the increased importance of content marketing, companies will look to automate the process while trying to remove much of the labor-intensive aspects of CM. While there are ways to automate some aspects of CM like scheduling your blogs out for weeks or using HootSuite to schedule future social media posts, any other attempt to automate your content will result in bad branding and result in poor content quality decreasing your website search engine score and will also turn away customers rather than increase your industry expertise. The strength of content marketing resides largely in its personal and customer-focused approach.
5. Google+ and the Continued Rise of the Google Factor
According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers are using social media to promote content more frequently than they did in 2012.
Google + has put its sites on Facebook traffic and audience. It is leveraging its Search Engine traffic and utilization to increase its importance in the social media front. Especially in B2B settings; if you are a business that views your search engine rankings as an important aspect of your overall marketing efforts, then Google is banking on you joining the Google+ army.
At Fasturtle, we expect we’ll see it become an even more important tool for content dissemination and social sharing. This is largely due to its importance in Google Author Rank and Authorship, which I predict will be two of the dominant trends within the SEO industry by the end of 2014.
During 2014, if you have not implemented a strong content marketing strategic plan, you will see a drastic decline in your Google presence. This is due to the recent Google algorithm changes and removal of keyword data from Google Analytics, which clearly illustrate Google’s desire to bring an end to old-school SEO efforts and necessitate content marketing strategies.
Businesses will need to increase their investment in content marketing; blogging, social media posts, newsletters, etc. As a result, many roadblocks to creating and implementing content marketing strategies will continue to decline as decision-makers more fully understand the importance of content marketing to reaching their business goals.
Where do you see content marketing going in 2014? Do you agree businesses need to invest in CM? Do you have an Internet marketing related question? Please send it to email@example.com and I will try to answer it in the coming months.
Eric Olsen founded Fasturtle, an award-winning digital marketing firm, in 2000 providing business owners with strategic digital marketing solutions. Olsen has successfully started, acquired or partnered with multiple marketing firms. He is a Constant Contact endorsed presenter on search engine marketing, email marketing and website usability standards. Contact: Fasturtle HQ – 480-348-0467; www.facebook.com/Fasturtle; Twitter @fasturtle or @ericsolsen.