The Year of Our Lord 2014 – 5774 if you follow the Jewish calendar – is half over. It’s the depth of summer in the United States, with the hottest times still ahead. There are only a few short months before the new year arrives, and already professionals in the SEO and Internet Marketing fields are looking to the next year. What will 2015 have in store for us?
Content marketing has become the central pillar of SEO in 2014, and it’s going to stay important. Google is, of course, constantly moving to keep ahead of the game, penalizing the sites that abuse their privilege and promoting the sites that produce value for their users. The problem that will grow increasingly obvious in the coming year is that content marketing will no longer be optional. It will be the fundamental baseline a site must meet to have a chance at success. The sites that will truly succeed will be the ones that get proactive with detailed analytics, gaining an intimate knowledge of their users and how best to please them.
Facebook marketers are increasingly encountering a lowered organic reach on posts, but this issue isn’t central to Facebook. There’s so much content that the average reader experiences content shock, as coined by <_NAME_>. One of the big problems in 2015 will be how to connect the readers who want to see your content with your content itself. Marketers may also run into the increasingly widespread issue of duplication. As Google says, just how many articles about how to shine shoes do we really need?
As a side effect of the lowered organic reach to be had through social sites, it’s going to be more and more essential to pay for additional reach. With money on the line, 2015 will require deep analysis and mathematical calculations to determine the best ROI for every social post. This will involve a lot of testing of different types, depths and frequencies of content.
With the issue of too much content coming to the fore, 2015 may see the beginnings of a trend away from the value of content itself. Everyone has content. How can your business make itself unique without relying on value in blog posts? Gamification of social and commercial interaction may be one way. There may also be a shift to dial back on lengthy blog posts and cut directly to customer interaction through social media.
Video content is increasingly easy to produce and it’s growing increasingly lucrative for the businesses that leverage it. Podcasts and other strictly audio content is finding its role as well. There may be the inklings of a trend in 2015 towards these styles of content to supplement blog posts. If new technologies debut to further ease the way for multimedia content, plain blog posts may begin to go the way of print. This may tie into advancing tech for mobile platforms, that make video more convenient.
The next new trend for timeliness is getting increasingly up to the minute. Reacting to current events on a week-long delay is going to be more and more difficult to leverage for growth. Instant updates, fast videos, commentary so quick it’s almost out before the events happen; this is where customer satisfaction will come from in the coming years. We’re living in an age of constant connections and omnipresent mobile devices; using those devices to respond to users at the drop of a hat is going to win loyalty all around.
Wearable tech is in its infancy, but it has the most technologically savvy and fluidly evolving ecosystem ever seen in history to use to grow. It may not be surprising to see the mobile device become a stepping stone to a future of wearable tech. Everything from the Pebble watch to the Google Glass will be looked at as the faltering steps of a toddler while the tech trend learns to run. Bloggers will need to figure out a way to interact with wearable tech in a fast, quick to display way.
Another side effect of the omnipresent need to produce content, quality will become more and more important. It’s already important now, but as the average standard rises, so too will the requirements of excellence. Some blogs will dial back on the number of posts they create, to give themselves more time to dig deep into quality. Other blogs will stress quality and keep up the volume.
China, India and the rest of the non-English Europe and Asia are largely growing markets. Most businesses are not capable of taking advantage of these markets, but those who can will find a lush field with low competition, for a time. Domestic competitors will have the home field advantage, but there will be a few success stories of economic victory in China in 2015.
Ignoring the social implications of recent court decisions, one trend that’s already picking up in 2014 is personifying a brand. Businesses can’t afford to be corporate entities with faceless drones slaving to produce products. Users can’t engage with that kind of entity. Rather, they need a person – even if that person uses the company name – to relate to. A personality, a public face, will grow more essential in the coming year.
It’s mostly the case now, but more and more as the year progresses, promotional language will be demoted in the eyes of readers. When they type a question into Google, they want to know the answer, not how to buy your product and how to then use it to find the answer. If you offer a product, and your competitor offers an answer, the reader isn’t going to stay on your site for long.
Facebook may be the last great macrocommunity on the Internet. Every day, new communities are launching within microniches that appeal to small segments of the population. In the coming year, these microcommunities will become a great source for customer engagement and marketing. A blog about post-50 fitness won’t need to find a place on Facebook to shout into the crowd and hope to attract interested users; instead, it will be able to find a community of those exact people to market to. 2015 and beyond will be about identifying these communities and leveraging them.