It baffles me… B2B businesses spend on average 30% of the marketing budget on content marketing. A flood of statistics show that 58% of marketers will increase their budget in 2014, even though only 42% find their efforts successful.
So, where are we getting it wrong?
What can be done in 2014 to prevent the run-of-the-mill content factories from churning out digital debris?
Probably the hardest step is the first one. As a marketer I have fallen into the trap of creating customer personas, developing a strategic plan, assessing marketing automation tools and neatly executing task driven excel sheets. If you’re about to fall down that rabbit hole, hit the pause button now!
Stretch beyond the cubicle. Scan the digital sphere like a giraffe from the tree tops.
Why bother? Well, another blog post, e-newsletter or video may meet your manager’s checklist, but sometime in 2014 management will lose patience, especially after tracking conversion rates.
Follow the money trail, especially the one from Mountain View
You might want to ask; who is responsible for the digital content transformation, and why? How come most SEO strategies are not working as well as they used to? And why most social media posts, even videos, reach mediocre results?
New Google ranking tactics are partly to blame.
Digital nectar for the elusive hummingbird
Each month, on average, 8.5 of the top 10 will change their Google ranking. Why? Because Google wants to link searchers’ intent with what they’re actually looking for. They want to connect millions of search requests seeking quality content, that lack keywords. So the mountain people figured; if they could build an infrastructure round these search streams, they could help searchers find what they want; help their customers reach better advertising results and help themselves to more revenue. Incidentally, Google’s new platform is appropriately called Hummingbird.
In 2014 thou shalt stop ignoring Google+
Google+, Shmoogle+… Why bother, when the world of Social Media gravitated round Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? Well, no more… A new Google+ toolset will help to boost brand positioning by exploiting Serp real estate opportunities.
Premium content in the right place at the right time will rake rewards
Strong keyword signals simply won’t work anymore; neither will Social Media spins that churn out shallow posts padded with key phrases. Premium content written or designed in the right context that adheres to Google’s new guidelines will realize rankings and better CTR (Click Through Rates). Content optimization solutions such as Sitecore, Optimove and Outbrain are digital candy for big brand and e-commerce sites seeking better, more measurable results.
Thinking like a brand again
2014 signals the growth of internal branding. The era of hiring inexperienced social media and SEO novices is over. Organizations will need to strengthen their own team’s skills and if needed, outsource for high quality content. Brands that can afford it, will invest in multi-content platforms that integrate owned, earned and paid media to grow more targeted distribution. Native advertising and mobile advertising will continue to surge. Ads designed smartly for mobile could generate interesting metrics, despite size and functionality limitations.
Companies investing in brand journalism will need to build better content factories.
Innovative brands have been ditching the news makers to become the news makers. Already big brands such as Southwest airlines, American Express, and TopShop have been establishing their own editorial channels. The flip side is that some brand content is not only competing against other companies, but the brand’s own eco-sphere, even their own customers. To avoid digital debacles, branded content will need to be more personalized and measurable.
Content will need to be more visual and more useful.
People are visual. Visual stands out. It resonates in ways that words cannot. Effective how-to-videos, eye-catching Slideshares and Snapchats are some examples of attention grabbing visual content formats that will trump in 2014, as long as they have SEO link-backs. Short form video will continue to rise. Short form video is easy to consume and can even be shared on Pinterest. The concept of video blogging or “vlogging” continues to grow as an industry.
Now the only real enemy is time.