Looking back over 2013 is a good way to build a better business plan for 2014. You can learn from your strengths and weaknesses and decide on a clear path to either recreate or avoid what you have done in the past. Just make sure you continue to improve your content marketing campaigns as this is one trend we will see continue, year after year.
Below are some predictions of what 2014 holds for businesses, SEO and content marketing:
What's Next for Content Marketing and SEO? This doesn't mean that it's all plain sailing however, and looking forwards, this increased focus on content will provide new challenges as more businesses invest in the area. Competition for those lucrative top spots in organic search results, is likely to increase further as more and more businesses adopt a content focused strategy. More competition in paid search too, means that budgets will need to increase in order to support the higher bids necessary to maintain visibility.
As social media reaches full maturity, so the techniques being used to build and grow communities will need to be revised and sharpened in order to rise above the hubbub.
When it comes to social media, in order to rise above the high level of noise generated by increased adoption, boosting visibility will become even more crucial. Paid advertising, for example promoted posts and Facebook ads, will become increasingly necessary in order to reach customers. This means that companies who choose not to invest in this area and SMEs who simply don't have the resources, will gradually loose out to competitors with deeper pockets.
2014 – The Year of Big Brands or Creative Guerrilla Marketers? The concern is that smaller businesses will loose out to big brands, who are more easily able to pay for greater visibility across social media. Organic activities will fail to reach a wide enough audience (Facebook story bump is a prime example of this) and will instead be buried under an avalanche of paid advertising and ‘popular' content.
In a recent straw poll, content marketers agreed that greater competition will be a major challenge in 2014. Not convinced? Econsultancy.com recently reported that Google has been testing huge banner ads at the top of their search results page. This has the effect of pushing all other content way down the page giving unrivaled visibility to the brands big enough to be able to afford such exposure. Whilst I should stress that at the time of writing, these banner ads are just be trialed and are not widely available as an advertising option, their future introduction looks highly probable.
Is it Possible to Stand Out Without Paid Advertising? – Branding will become ever more important as businesses need to stand out from the competition. Smaller businesses whose activities are not currently strategically driven, will need to up their game in terms of both understanding and conveying their USPs and they will also need to get smart about how they measure their success and how they devise actionable insights.
Investing in branding and content marketing isn't optional, it's critical in order to maintain online visibility.
Marketing Insights for 2014:
- Greater competition as the volume of content being published and promoted online continues to increase, making paid search more necessary
- Increased need to differentiate, making branding all important
- Increasingly necessary to pay for social media advertising alongside existing organic activities
- Social media continues to be an important communications with Increased adoption of Pinterest, particularly for online retailers and increased business adoption of YouTube
- Responsive design will become even more widespread as the use of mobile devices for browsing the internet continues to increase
- Greater use of location based marketing, primarily Google Places/Google+ local
- Smarter metrics necessary in order to obtain clearer insights and more accurately measure ROI
- Strategically driven activities will become ever more widespread as social media reaches maturity
- Creativity, agility and innovation will become more important in helping marketers to grab and hold the attention of their audiences
A lot of these trends were relevant last year as well but this year they will become imperative for success instead of just a good option.
What other trends do you feel we will not only see in 2014 but will make it or break it form some businesses?