7 Hottest Online Marketing News Stories of January

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If you thought January was a quiet month for online marketing news, you probably weren’t paying especially close attention. Many marketers are already taking a close look at their strategies, budgets, and key performance indicators for 2014, especially following Matt Cutt’s mega-announcement to approach guest blogging with a new sense of caution. From controversial conversations to new mobile features and an entirely new form of commerce, it’s been a wild ride - and we’ve given you a front row seat by recapping the biggest online marketing news stories:

1. Matt Cutts Cautions Against Spammy Guest Blogging

In some of the most-discussed online marketing news of the month, Google’s head spam fighter Matt Cutts took to his personal blog to condone low-quality guest content exchanges. Declaring “it’s become a more and more spammy practice,” and humorously, “this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space,” the marketing world immediately erupted with analyses of what to do next.

While Cutts was pretty clear that writing guest blogs for the sole purpose of improving your SEO is no longer an effective tactic, it doesn’t mean the practice is necessarily gone for good. There’s still plenty of benefit to be had if you approach it carefully, and work with sites that are highly relevant to your own. Cutts has gone on to state since his initial blog that there’s still valid reasons to create content for other sites, such as “exposure, branding, increased reach, [and] community.”

To learn more about how to do guest posting correctly, we recommend An Exhaustive Guide to Exceptional Guest Blogging.

2. Facebook Introduces Trending Topics - to Mixed Results

The online marketing news on January 16th was Facebook’s decision to do something Twitter’s been doing for years - spotlight trending topics. The social media giant’s foray into sharing trends is unique in that they intend to personalize the content according to user interests.

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While the feature certainly holds remarkable potential for both individual ability to keep up on trends and marketers, reactions have been hit and miss. Slate’s technology expert Will Oremus wrote that “a first look at the feature suggests it has some promise, and plenty of room for improvement.” Only time will tell how effective Facebook will be at tailoring trends, and whether users adopt the feature.

3. Is Anchorman 2 Really Perfect Content Marketing?

Regardless of how you feel about Will Ferrell or the Anchorman films, you’d be hard pressed to not know a sequel was released last month. In fact, the flood of content that was released by the movie’s marketing team over the last four months offered something for everyone. Anchorman 2 was used to promote Dodge vehicles with wild success, actively solicited user-generated content, and even had its own mobile app.

Is it any surprise that plenty of experts in the online marketing news community are touting it as the perfect example of content marketing? Subject matter expert Andrew Davies recently delivered one of the best analyses of the marketing campaign we’ve encountered, which acknowledged that the variety of content was good, but not enough to save the fact that the film was a critical flop.

4. T-Commerce: a New Kind of Direct Marketing

Outbound marketers are taking full advantage of the one time a year that all Americans are eagerly tuned in to watch commercials - the February 2nd SuperBowl. Owners of Samsung brand smart televisions will have the option to make purchases with just a single click directly from their television. As HubSpot’s Beth Stackpole points out, this level of interactivity in marketing is a pretty big deal. It’s no wonder the online marketing news realm is abuzz about this new idea of “T-Commerce” (television commerce); it’s just another step towards a world where making purchase decisions is going to be as simple as clicking to buy the boots of your favorite television actress.

5. Curata Releases Eagerly-Anticipated Content Trends Report

Curata’s annual content marketing trends and tactics report is among the most-respected pieces of research in the industry. In late January, the 2014 edition was released. The findings aren’t going to be much of a surprise for anyone who’s been paying close attention to online marketing news over the past 12 months, and include the fact that most marketers will increase their spend on content:

Content marketing news

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Saying you should download the report is an understatement - it’s solid gold for both pro content marketers and entrepreneurs. You can learn why your peers and competitors use content, what forms they find most effective, and which tactics they’ll be increasing in the year to come.

6. Joe Pulizzi Settles the Score on Content Shock

Early last month, thought leader Mark Schaefer published a highly controversial post titled “Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy.” His argument, in a nutshell, was that we’re increasingly approaching a point where there’s more content than humans can possibly consume. Leave it to Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute to write a well thought-out, polite, and researched rebuttal. He believes that research has yet to indicate that consumers are overwhelmed by the amount of content online - and high-quality articles will always prevail.

For more of the latest insight into what’s driving modern marketing, we recommend our exclusive interview with the brilliant Mitch Joel!

7. Twitter for Android Now Offers Photo-Editing

Many online marketing news experts believe that social photography is a fast-rising trend. And, why not? The statistics are clear that visual content is king when it comes to social media, and companies who can provide high-quality, original images stand to increase their engagement significantly. In late January, the online marketing news broke that Twitter for Android basically gave marketers an enormous present - the ability to edit photos within the app. While the feature’s still in its infancy, and primarily offers basic features like rotation, tagging, and cropping, it’s safe to bet that image editing’s going to be something we see a lot more of on mobile social apps in the future.

It’s been a busy month for online marketing news. What were your favorite - or least-favorite - stories you read in January?