Marketing in 2014: Trends We’d Like to See

It’s June, almost halfway through 2014, and many pundits and experts are updating their marketing predictions for the year. Instead, I am going to issue my wish list forcontent marketing. I have no idea if any of these things will come true, but I hope they do.

A Return to Accuracy Over Speed
I used to write for these things called newspapers. They were big hardcopy versions of the previous day’s news, weather, sports and classified ads. They had creases in the paper, and people would spend hours trying to fold the paper back against itself so they could reduce its physical size and read it more easily. Anyway, this was before news was available instantly and all the news outlets were competing to be first. Instead, news outlets competed to be most accurate and most insightful. We’re not going back there. We’re all too dependent on knowing things now, now, now because we have no attention span. And I get it: They can always update their content later and become right, but once they weren’t first, they can never go back and become first. Still, the pursuit of accuracy is a mark of integrity, and I would like to see it matter again.

Recapturing Personal Space
Part of me likes the merging of professional and personal presence in social media. I can post to virtually any channel whether it be something professional like content marketing or a personal interest like theoretical physics. And I like that it enables people to get a better idea of the professionals they’re dealing with so they can better gauge integrity and work ethic. Here’s where I don’t like it: Say I’m applying for a job. Despite my credentials, my potential employer could go on my Facebook account, see my interest in theoretical physics and evolutionary biology, and not hire me because my interest in science goes against his religious beliefs. My current employer couldn’t fire me for it, but a hiring manager doesn’t need to give a reason to not hire you.

Wear Those White Hats
I know white hat SEO is a moving target with the new Google Hummingbird algorithm and new advertising rules for Facebook and Twitter. Still, there is a right way to do things in SEO as in life – above board and honestly. Don’t try to game the system or otherwise steal your SEO. At some point you’ll get caught, and then everyone will hate you.

Weighing Accuracy Versus Speed

I used to write for these things called newspapers. They were big hardcopy versions of the previous day’s news, weather, sports and classified ads. They had creases in the paper, and people would spend hours trying to fold the paper back against itself so they could reduce its physical size and read it more easily. Anyway, this was before news was available instantly and all the news outlets were competing to be first. Instead, news outlets competed to be most accurate and most insightful.

In fact, when reporting a story, we had to get at least three sources and verify all information. Now it’s enough to say, we cannot confirm but we’re reporting it anyway, because competitors will scoop you with crap if you don’t.

We’re not going back there. We’re all too dependent on knowing things now, now, now because we have no attention span. And I get it: They can always update their content later and become right, but once they weren’t first, they can never go back and become first.

I first became of the Drudge Report when it broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal – which happened to be true, but it’s reported several other things that aren’t. It spawned the era of speed first. It came at about the same time “news magazine” television programs because popular on television. Their focus on individual people and events over meaningful trends ushered in the era of unearned celebrity, which thrives even today.

In 2005 Jonathan Stray tried to assess accuracy in journalism over time, and estimated that errors per article have increased from 0.77 in 1936 to 1.33 in 2005. Granted, methodologies have changed over time.

As news outlets look to save money, they rely less on live interviews and more on recorded interviews, which require fewer resources. In addition, the polarizing faces of news, Fox and MSNBC, rely heavily on opinion over actual news (MSNBC is the worst culprit).

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reports several trends over recent years:

  • Shorter stories
  • Fewer live interviews
  • More devotion to lifestyle and sports over news

No wonder we have so many adults in the U.S. that believe things because they would like them to be true, factual evidence be damned.

Still, the pursuit of accuracy is a mark of integrity, and I would like to see it matter again.