Guest post by Gerald Brown

Vector internet marketing conceptContent marketing isn’t going anywhere. If anything, it’s going to become more integral to business marketing. The Content Marketing Institute notes that 58 percent of business-to-business marketers and 60 percent of business-to-consumer marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2014.

This budgetary expansion is being driven by trends that increase the value of the content itself. Looking ahead at the next year, businesses and products of all shapes sizes — from global consumer products like laptops down to your local clothing boutique — will be wise to leverage these market changes to improve exposure and sales quality. Here are the top trends that will change content marketing in 2014:

Conversational tones will proliferate

Using a conversational tone has long been embraced as an effective marketing style for connecting with consumers. But now there are even more tangible reasons to adopt this style in your marketing content. As SearchEngineLand notes, Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is a technical adjustment that accounts for the changing ways Internet users are searching for content online. In recent years, the construction of those search queries have grown more conversational in tone. Now, with voice-operated search queries on the rise, conversational queries have become the norm.

The Hummingbird algorithm is built to better understand the context of the question and to seek the most relevant pages in response. Over time, this will decrease the emphasis on keywords as a search tool and enable Google’s search engine to process a conversational question with greater accuracy.

Web pages will have to depend less on keyword strategy and keyword density to draw in traffic because the tonal context of the content will be better understood. It remains to be seen exactly what effect this has on search traffic for websites, but the overall intent is that, with a smarter algorithm reading content and connecting that content to relevant queries, quality content will be more important than ever before.

Measuring efforts in sales quality

The standard approach to online sales and lead generation has been to get more consumers to walk in your door to get more sales opportunities. Marketers are starting to realize that might not be the best approach. Quantity has its value, of course, but relevance matters, particularly when you’re spending money to build that Web traffic.

While 63 percent of business brands measure their success according to Web traffic, an unreliable stat that doesn’t indicate relevance or conversion rates, 54 percent now weigh the sales lead quality, according to KISSmetrics. Highly refined targeting, including the use of customer profiling, can winnow down your potential conversions to the most relevant consumers possible. The result is a higher conversion rate, increased sales and a greater revenue-to-marketing ratio.

Content mediums will continue to expand

Text-based content remains essential to businesses because of its indispensable role in SEO. Video and audio can’t be crawled by search engines the way text can, so companies focused on search engine optimization to build traffic and increase sales opportunities still need text as their staple form of content.

But consumers respond positively to a wide range of mediums, including video, podcasts, infographics and other types of Web-based content. In 2014, businesses will continue diversifying their content offerings to better accommodate consumer interests. More companies are using compelling images and content for video, social media and blogs. By doing so, their content offerings will appeal to a wider consumer base while displaying the company’s willingness to adapt and innovate. According to Business2Community, content innovation is an essential component of effective content marketing, and 2014 will be marked by greater urgency to make these adjustments.


Post provided by Gerald Brown, an avid content marketer, writer, and cyclist.