Content Marketing 2014: What’s Out, and What’s In

It’s hard to believe, but content marketing as a term that describes modern strategies has only been in use for about five years. In that time, the field of content marketing has evolved considerably—and many of the methods that used to work no longer apply.

What is the landscape for the new wave of content marketing? One vital consideration is the sheer volume of content for audiences to choose from. According to data from the Content Marketing Institute, by 2010 the majority of B2B businesses—nine out of 10, or 90 percent—were using some form of content marketing, a number that rose to 93% in 2013. And for B2C business, eMarketer reports that 90 percent used content marketing in 2013, compared to 86 percent in 2012.


With all that noise out there, your company’s content marketing efforts need to stand out. Here’s a look at what is no longer working, and some of the new best practices for content marketing in 2014.

What’s Out: Focusing on Keywords and Company-Centric Content

In the “old” days of content marketing, there was almost a formula for increasing traffic and pushing websites to the top of search engine results. The amount of content mattered, as did the number of keywords in the content and backlinks to the site.

These strategies used to work:

  • Content churning: Companies published plenty of content loaded with links and keywords simply because it was what you were “supposed to” do. Often, this content was low on quality and high on search engine bait.
  • Keyword stuffing: Not so long ago, the strategy was “the more keywords, the merrier.”
  • Black-hat SEO: This was the process of seeding links to a website from as many other sites as possible, with no regard to relevance or quality. The number of backlinks was the only thing that mattered here.
  • Tooting the company horn: Early content marketing was often an endless parade of “me, me, me” from businesses that talked about nothing but their own products or services.

There are a few reasons these strategies no longer work. One, search engines—especially Google—are rewarding organic content and penalizing sites that rely on content volume, links, and keywords. And two, consumers’ eyes glaze over at promotional content—they want to be informed, not sold.

Basically, effective content marketing today is all about quality over quantity.

What’s in: Engaging, Informative, and Conversational

Successful companies are writing and publishing content with their audience in mind. This makes both consumers and search engines happy, because quality content is rising to the top of the heap.

Here’s what works in modern content marketing:

  • Answering questions: Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm has changed the way the search engine finds results to reflect the way people talk. When consumers search with Google, they aren’t putting in query language like “top restaurants Boston.” They’re asking questions like, “Where can I find a good burger in Boston?” Your content should answer the questions your audience would ask.
  • Adding value: No one wants to feel like they’re being marketed to. But if you can give consumers something they want—whether it’s information, entertainment, or education—they’ll view your business in a more favorable light, and be more likely to choose your products or services the next time they need them.
  • Getting social: Social media is an undeniable ingredient for successful content marketing. Once you get people excited about your content, they need to be able to share it quickly and conveniently with others. With a thriving social network, you also have the ability to reach more consumers, faster.

What are your content marketing plans for 2014?

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Megan Totka

Megan Totka is a freelance writer, business expert and consultant. She was the marketing & editorial director at for over a decade. As a business expert, she specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources, as well as providing business advice. She has significant experience with the topic of business marketing, and has spent several years exploring topics like copywriting, content marketing, list building, social media and any hot topics to help businesses run their business successfully.

11 thoughts on “Content Marketing 2014: What’s Out, and What’s In

  • Fantastic post Megan.

    I am very surprised that article posting is still used to much. Although that probably encompasses so much. I’d be curious as to what are the main ways they are posted, article directories sure don’t bring in the traffic like that use to.

    Course no surprise the social media is at the forefront. It’s only going to get bigger is seems.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed my post! 🙂

      I agree that social media is only going to get bigger and bigger. It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.

  • Interesting graph, although you missed out “Cake” as a lot of people have their time taken up with eating cake. Especially at Christmas.

    Anyway, I expect a heck of a lot of Snapchat and Google+ styled antics next year. No more infographics would be nice as they have really outstayed their welcome and get completely ignored these days. It’ll certainly be an entertaining year. Have a great Christmas everyone!

    • The popularity of infographics definitely made them more widely used this year. I still enjoy them but I do agree that you never want to much of one thing. And credit for the infographic in this article goes to MarketingProfs.

      Have a Happy Holiday as well! 🙂

  • Hi Megan,

    Just a few days to 2014 and the funny thing is I turn 23 exactly on Jan. 1 but what obviously ought to be achieved is making all my posts in 2014 to go viral!
    Thanks for this and do have a great weekend.

    • Happy Belated Birthday!!

      Good luck this year with making your posts go viral! 🙂

  • Hi Megan,
    In the infographic, I didn’t realize how high the Article Posting percentage was compared to how low video is. To me, that’s surprising, only because video is the wave of the future.
    The answering questions when people are looking for something makes perfect sense to me. I ask google questions all the time. 🙂

    Great article and I like the infographic, too.

  • The formula is pretty simple…create share-worthy content and you will get traffic. Create okay content that you could find anywhere else online with a quick Google search than you’ll get bad results.

    How much you put in is how much you get out!

    • Exactly! Besides, you want to stand out from the crowd, not blend in!

  • Social networking will forever effect content marketing. I do the Infographic use is very prevalent and could get old. However, it makes it easy to better understand what a person is trying to say. You have to add value and do it while being different than the rest of the pack.

  • Quality content always stand out , content being the king of blogging industry will never let us down in any updates …this article once again proved it right ..thanks for the share

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