2014 the year of content marketingWelcome back, everyone! We hope you had a good Christmas and the Prosecco-flavoured mist has all but cleared from New Year. For our sins, Southerly is now poised to head into a massive 12 months for content marketing as solid standards of practice replace theories.

Crucially, 2014 is shaping up to be the year that true business stories are told and real value is upheld. Businesses are becoming more creative with their content, and content marketing needs and budgets will increase significantly.

The Google Hummingbird update is in full effect. As such the pressures of old search engine optimisation (SEO) practices are giving way to more meaningful, valuable content that addresses specific customer needs and how they search online. Meanwhile, this will eat away at fickle, cursory content that serves only to generate likes and shares but has no ultimate effect on user experience or the ability of a business website to convert a visitor into a lead. This does not only mean value for customers, but also value for the marketers.

Google+ may see further emergence as Google Authorship plays an important SEO role in boosting rankings. Indeed, last year Authorship was cited by former CEO Eric Schmidt himself as a key influencer.

The ever-increasing pressure on optimising for mobile will also play an important part in how content marketing practices are strategised. Mainly, more and more consideration is being given to how we see data online. In other words, it is not a fixed screen that we predominantly view, but a stream of data constantly flowing in front of our eyes.

The state of play in content marketing is being seen by most to be moving from the experimental approaches into robust industry-wide strategies that deliver value and actionable results. 2014 will be the year to invest wisely in a quality, creative content marketing strategy that keeps you playing in the big leagues.