The spotlight on content marketing shone brighter than ever in 2013. That enhanced focus is deserved, but before it reaches inboxes, blogs, and social networks, that content must be given life. But no matter how air tight your marketing strategy seems, you will only get so fair if your material is lacking to begin with. The content creation game is changing before our eyes, and in order to flourish in 2014, marketers will need to adapt with it.
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Think Beyond Text
When content comes to mind, some instantly think of words. Copy. Text. While this type of information certainly qualifies, content is much more than text. In recent times, people have shown to be far more partial to information they can consume without having to process large, boring blocks of words.
It’s the kind of information that goes beyond words to tap into a range of human emotions. Rather than focusing solely on clever copy and advertising pitches, marketers need to start investing energy into creating content that engages audiences and drives them to take action.
If it’s one category of content that is making more noise than others, it would have to be the visual variety. Visual content comes in a range of formats. Images represent what is arguably the most common format. Whether it’s standing alone or accentuating a blog post, images have a way making people stop and pay attention.
In the YouTube era, video reigns as the hottest form of content the digital channel has ever seen. Research shows that video is one of the top content marketing tactics available and produces significantly better retention with viewers than text.
This visual content thing is massively expansive, and marketers would be wise to take advantage of this diverse landscape. Use image-friendly sites like Instagram and Pinterest to share photos of the team in action. Create a YouTube channel with regular video updates so viewers have something to come back to.
Use infographics to present scores of information in a package that is easy for your audience to consume. When you go to create your content, think of what visual cues you can add to increase its appeal.
Realize That Length Matters
For years, one of the most spirited debates in the SEO community has been centered on the length of content. Should your material – the articles, blogs, and product descriptions – lean towards being shorter or longer? The correct answer has always been whatever length is required to get your point across to your audience. But if we’re talking SEO and content marketing in general, then longer may actually be the better option.
One of my favorite blog posts these days is over on QuickSprout. It’s a piece by entrepreneur Neil Patel that examines content’s impact on rankings and conversions. The post looked at a research effort by serpIQanalyzed, which found that Google tends to favor longer content by ranking it higher in the search results. This was correlated with research showing that blogs and text-rich sites attract more links.
Finally, Patel looked three tests conducted by Marketing Experiments, which found that longer copy was better at converting than shorter copy.
Should you start making sure that all your social media posts and product descriptions meet a certain word count? No, but in 2014, it would be smart to start taking advantage of longer form content opportunities when they are presented. Even when you’re blending in those visual aids, there is still a lot of power in the written word, so get into the habit of complementing those images, videos, and infographics with a healthy helping of text.
Create Strong Content
Constantly rolling out 2000-word blog posts and uploading photos with 1000-word descriptions is not going to guarantee better rankings, traffic, and conversions. It’s not all about how much you say, as much it is what you say and how you say it. Instead of trying to spike the word count, focus on writing the best content you possibly can. Make it a priority to deliver high-quality stuff people can actually put to good use.
The more valuable your information, the better chance you have of increasing your search visibility and boosting conversions.
Content is going to be a huge deal in 2014. Companies big and small are allocating budgets and devising strategies to ensure they can make the most of it in this new year. Marketing it is critical, but never forget the importance production plays in the process.
Author Bio: Francis Santos is the Marketing Manager for BenchmarkEmail. He graduated from Cal State Long Beach and holds a degree in Journalism. In addition, he is also the executive editor for separate popular news blogs. Follow him on Twitter: @emailfrancis.