Did you know 27 million pieces of content are created and shared daily? This means there is pretty fierce competition for every bit of content out there, including your blog posts.
Here’s a question: do you still consider yourself a blogger? Or are you a content marketer? Because this is an important question, and I’ve got news for you: regardless of how and why you blog, you ARE a content marketer (even if you are only promoting your own work and not doing sponsored content). It’s time to get comfortable with that idea, and use it to your advantage.
Here are some blogging predictions for 2014.
#1: Mobile Friendly.
Is your site responsive (no, mine still isn’t, on my list for early 2014!)? It needs to be. In fact, when you are creating content for your blog you need to not only think about how your website works on mobile but how the content itself works on mobile. Are your pictures easy to view on a smartphone? Do your videos play easily on mobile devices? Is your content easy to scroll through without clicking on links and, alternatively, is it easy to click on links in your posts on mobile? These considerations will be critical, particularly as Google begins penalizing sites in search results for slow mobile loading speeds.
#2: Storytelling for better SEO.
Changes to search algorithms (specifically co-citation and semantic search) means storytelling needs to be more specific. Gone are the days of generic posts that highlight main points in a vague way; you need to saturate your stories with details in order to appear in search results. This doesn’t mean that you need to bare your soul (unless you’d like to do that) but it will be important to make your stories rich. After all, content is storytelling. Make your stories count.
#3: Content isn’t just text.
This one is hard for writers like me to learn, but content is driven by images and videos more than text these days. Visual content dominates in social media, and therefore drives traffic to your sites. If you aren’t using videos and images in your storytelling, 2014 is the year to start. It doesn’t have to all be slideshows and video blog posts, either, but if you aren’t incorporating visual content into your blog it is likely you will see readership continue to decline.
#4: Social media is still the sweet spot for content but it will look different.
Everyone is frustrated with Facebook. Teenagers are leaving it in droves, and the only rise in users is senior citizens. Social will further splinter and stratify in 2014 as social networks become specific to things like age, gender, and other preferences. But there is still no doubt that social drives traffic to websites and content everywhere, and it will continue to dominate your blog’s stats.
#5: Bloggers will be in demand as writers.
Over the last year I’ve personally experienced this; I get outreach emails from headhunters and prospective employers several times a week now. Content farms the bane of the existence of every freelance writer were dealt a fairly rough death blow this year by Google. There is no doubt that companies will be reaching out to those of us that write and understand SEO and social media in the coming year. Polish up your resumé and Linkedin profile if you’re hoping to get more freelance work and refresh your grammar too before you start sending out queries (something I need to do regularly myself).
#6: Bloggers will begin exploring conversion optimization.
This is a tricky one; “conversions” has typically applied only to websites that engage in e-commerce in some manner. Basically, a conversion is changing a shopper into a customer and conversion optimization is employed techniques that help that process happen. But as we bloggers do more content for cash we can expect to see brands that pay us thinking about conversions, whether it’s more Facebook likes, Google+ likes, or contest entries. And on a more personal note, as places like Facebook become less useful for promotion, bloggers may want to consider ways they can convert casual readers into subscribers and newsletter readers as well. Take some time to learn more about conversion optimization this year, you will need it.
Got additional thoughts about what’s up for blogging in 2014? Share in the comments!