Content marketing is regarded as one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and customer engagement so it’s no surprise that more and more businesses are bringing it into their marketing strategies. In fact, according to a Curata, 71% of marketers plan to increase their content marketing throughout 2014.

Despite this large growth, there are many companies who do not realise the difference between “doing” content marketing and “doing” it right. Many are still stuck in the old content marketing ways of keyword stuffing and bulk backlink purchasing. Unfortunately, these techniques just won’t cut it anymore so let’s walk through the do’s and don’ts of content marketing in 2014.

DO embrace the rise of visual content

Nowadays, consumers are faced with more messages than ever before. In order to break through the informational clutter, marketers need to focus on creating impactful stories for their audience. One way to do this is through graphics such as interactive images and infographics.

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There are a plethora of tools available to help create visual content. A personal favourite of mine is Thinglink – a platform that allows users to develop interactive images through clickable tags and links. The images are easily shareable and embeddable to social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and are a lot of fun to play around with.

Another visual option that more and more companies are opting for are infographics. We have found that infographics can be particularly beneficial for business niches such as law or finance because they help break down complex ideas, into small, digestible pieces of information, which might otherwise be difficult for consumers to understand in a written context.

DO encourage social sharing of your content

Content marketing shouldn’t just revolve around building “follow” links to your site. It should also be about getting your brands name known in the social community. This means posting content regularly on your social accounts and responding to the comments users make on your social pages and posts.

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A tip for social sharing is to make sure you include some graphic driven posts every so often. According to new Twitter data, Tweets that include photos or video links are retweeted at a much higher rate than those with text alone.

DON’T blog for quantity over quality

Marketers need to create content that pulls readers to their website and social media accounts. To do this, we need to make sure that every piece of content, whether it be a blog post, an infographic, or video, is original and of high quality. Poor quality content leads to bad branding and will simply turn customers away.

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In saying that, it is important to put in the time and effort to ensure posts are not too short. Longer articles seem to have a higher perceived value due to the extra effort that would have been needed to write the long post. A longer post also leads to more time on site – that is, of course, if the content is interesting enough to keep the reader engaged.

DON’T submit content to irrelevant websites

Since the recent Matt Cutts statement outlining the decay of guest blogging, it is now more important that ever before to build content on relevant websites. As Cutts emphasised, links are supposed to “be” natural and should not just “appear” natural.

This means it is important to spend the time and energy finding relevant, high quality sites even if that means getting less links than you had first planned. To gain these links, marketers need to think outside the box. Instead of constantly submitting written content, it’s time to get creative. Gaining links on relevant websites through product reviews, sponsorship donations, or competitions hosted by bloggers are just a few suggestions.

In 2014, businesses need to get smarter about content creation and link building. Content marketing is no longer king. Nowadays QUALITY content marketing is king.

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What are your content marketing strategies for the year ahead? Contact us today to have a chat about how we can help you.