When you look back on content marketing in review, 2013 is definitely an eventful year. There were a lot of things happening that brought plenty of changes to the field. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most significant ones that shook content marketing this year.
The year of relevant content
Continuing from the last few years, search engines have come up with significant changes in their search algorithms to further enhance their functionality. Google, in particular, unveiled the Hummingbird update in September which will now be encrypting all keyword searches. And as pointed out by Corey Eridon, this makes it more difficult for content marketers, as they now have to go without keyword data for their efforts. On the plus side, this move has also made it harder for unscrupulous marketers who pad their site with high ranking keywords regardless of whether or not these are relevant to their actual content.
Indeed, this year saw an even greater emphasis on the creation of truly relevant and informative content. As shown by the studies made by the Content Marketing Institute, for instance, revealed that this year, more than 61% of marketers now opt to use information-laden content to target consumers who also prefer to look for more detailed explanations before making a purchase.
Social content on the rise
Continuing our look at content marketing in review, 2013 also has social media sites becoming a major avenue for marketers. Facebook took the lead and introduced Graph Search, enabling users to search for specific content within the site. Many content marketers were delighted to hear the news, as not only will their content be more visible, the function now also gives them the opportunity to search for more information on their target audience’s posting habits, favourite links, and other interests, allowing for the creation of more focused content.
The social media giant also implemented clickable hashtags. Maggie Hibma explains how this becomes an indispensable tool for many marketers:
“From a usage standpoint, there are dual benefits: First, marketers can add more context to their posts with hashtags, giving readers an instant overview of the topic at hand. Conversely, hashtags allow marketers to better understand the entire conversation about a topic, which can help them create content that really resonates with those interested.”
On the other hand, Twitter, the social media site that popularized the use of hashtags, had its own important developments that many content marketers eagerly anticipated. With that change, images now appear directly on users’ feeds, unlike before where only a link to the image is posted. This means that marketers’ content will be seen more immediately and the audience won’t be turned off by links anymore.
What to look forward to in content marketing
Of course, with 2013 about to close in a few days, the next question in many content marketers’ minds is what’s in store for next year. One of the biggest predictions for next year, as pointed out by Shafqat Islam, is that content and content marketing will now be its own department. At present, content marketing falls directly under overall online marketing efforts. Content marketing being treated as its own department presents more flexibility in dealing with issues particular to the field.
A spin-off prediction of this one is that the increased importance given to content marketing will also have an increased expectation placed on the department for returns. Indeed, as shown by content marketing statistics, 2013 has already seen a significant increase in the returns generated by content marketing. While this has some content marketers worried, many actually see this as a challenge to further prove the reliability of the field in promoting brands.
Overall, for content marketing in review, 2013 has been a very eventful year. And with the year about to close, many are now eagerly awaiting the challenges set for next year.