Content Marketing: Doing It Right in 2014

February 28th, 2014 by Search Influence Alumni

Feb14You might have heard the buzz: content marketing is not only here to stay, it’s critical for business success in 2014. The Internet noise is getting louder every day, and discoverability is becoming a greater challenge as the data streams expand with chatter from websites, blogs, and social media.

If you’re looking to capture an audience online, you need an effective content marketing strategy in place.

Why Content Marketing is Key

Backlinks, keywords, and automated social tools just aren’t going to cut it anymore. Part of the reason is an increasingly Internet-savvy consumer base that can sort the authentic from the spammy at a glance—and the rest is due to major shifts in search engine algorithms, particularly Google.

Google Hummingbird, the search engine giant’s most recent algorithm update, is all about promoting quality content and pushing it to the top of search engine results. In a definitive acknowledgment of the sharp increase in mobile search, Hummingbird aims to provide results that reflect the way people talk—delivering a conversational and contextual experience, rather than treating searches as keyword strings.

In order to improve your search engine rankings, you need content that informs, answers questions, and adds value.

Mistakes that Hold Your Content Marketing Back

In order to get content marketing right, there are certain objectives you have to accomplish. Your content marketing should attract, engage, expand, and ultimately convert your audience.

Some of the common mistakes that prevent content marketing from reaching those objectives include:

  • Producing in a vacuum. If your marketing department handles all of the content generation, from conception to execution, they’re eventually going to sound stale. Consider soliciting content ideas from other departments, working with a freelance copywriter, or seeking guest bloggers.
  • Publishing static content. To engage your audience, you need to win them over. This means providing something more than dry facts or market-speak—and giving readers a way to respond with thoughts of their own. Value quality over quantity, and produce content that informs, intrigues, and entertains. Make sure you’re always responding to comments and questions from readers.
  • Sharing on the wrong channels. When it comes to social media, a lot of companies have decided that more is more—and thinned out their efforts in order to reach as many social platforms as possible. This dilutes your brand and wastes your time. Most businesses can’t go wrong with Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. As for the rest, experiment: keep what works, toss the rest.
  • Failing to analyze results. Content marketing is useless to your organization without analytics. You need to know what, where, and how your marketing efforts are working—where visitors are coming from, why they stay (or leave), and whether they come back.

So What’s the Right Way?

The real secret to effective content marketing in 2014 is quality. But what is “quality,” and how can you produce it?

Quality content starts with defining your audience. Who are you creating this content for, and what do they want or need? What engages them? Find out as much as you can about your target audience—where they are online, what they respond to, even what they don’t like.

When you move to the content creation phase, keep your target audience in mind. This includes the format of your content, whether your audience prefers text, images, video, interactive apps, or some combination of media. Finally, post your content on the channels your target market is most likely to frequent.

The Internet changes, but content marketing remains one of the most effective strategies for online marketing success. Make 2014 the year you embrace content marketing done right.

What’s working for you? Let us know in the comments!

Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.