As we close in on the New Year, it’s time to reflect on 2014. What were your top marketing wins? In retrospect, what efforts should you chalk up as losses? To make 2015 more successful, you need to honestly assess your campaigns from the past year and commit to improvement.
Here are 10 content marketing resolutions you should make before the ball drops in 2014 and you finalize your strategies for a highly successful New Year:
1. Stop creating boring content
No one wants to read boring content – even if it’s about a technical subject. Readers expect content writers to bring the topic to life and convey the information they need in a way that’s useful and enjoyable.
Now that about eight in 10 marketers create content, you can’t afford to be the laggard still creating (boring) content for content’s sake. You need to develop creative strategies that entertain your audience while educating them about what you do and why you’re different.
2. Use more visuals
Easy, but effective – adding eye-catching images to your content and using in-line images can make your content click-bait and increase engagement. Here are some figures to back that up:
- Strategy with in-line images increases organic traffic 35 percent
- Adding featured images increased time on site 28 percent
Web readers need more context to understand and immerse themselves in written text. It’s easy to get lost in a screen full of copy, but basic additions like pictures, custom graphics and pull quotes can break up text to make it easier to read and understand.
3. Be consistent
The perennial problem with resolutions is that consistency is hard to achieve but critical for turning a goal into a habit. The same goes for content creation. Too many marketers start a content strategy but lose their momentum when they:
Consistency is key to content marketing, and it’s proven that companies are more successful with they commit to strategies. Find out how one business increased its traffic 101 percent. Build a system for success by setting goals, finding a dedicated team and sticking to an editorial calendar this year.
4. Become interactive
Believe it or not, consumers don’t just want to passively receive information online. So far, people have been on the receiving end of web content, but they want more. They want to have two-way conversations with publishers.
Interactive graphics and quizzes are two ways to promote deeper engagement. But if these aren’t in your strategy (or budget) yet, there are other ways to achieve the same effect with content you’re already creating for your web marketing:
- Social media posts: Hold real-time conversations
- Videos: Create an interactive experience with sounds and visuals
- Graphics: Offer a choose-your-own-adventure with a flow-chart graphic
- Q&As: Answer questions you know your audience is asking
5. Diversify your content
- Written assets for avid online readers
- Short videos for visual learners who prefer to watch when they have a few spare minutes
- Social media buffs who follow stories in their news feeds
We’ve already begun to see the impact take hold. Diverse strategies generate better results: This company got 20 percent more readers when it produced videos and visuals to supplement its written content.
6. Take some strategic risks
Google experiments all the time to get its algorithms just right. That’s why you sometimes see new content in results pages. It doesn’t keep every change it makes, but it tests numerous options to see what works best for its users. Bring the same principle to your content strategy.
It’s easy to play it safe, but you should use 2015 as an opportunity to take some creative risks (whether it be a new and exciting format or a highly stylized voice for your brand) to see what gets your readers’ attention and drives them to convert.
Here’s an example of how we helped a client refine its website and content strategy for maximum efficacy.
7. Talk to your audience (Embrace person-to-person marketing)
It’s time to let go of your fears of second-person content writing. A formal third-person voice is the convention in most professional documents, but it’s not always necessary- or effective – in corporate blogs.
Show customers you understand them by speaking directly to their concerns. Blogs are a great opportunity to connect with prospects one-to-one and demonstrate why you’re their ideal partner – because you get their needs and have solutions designed for people facing those exact challenges.
If your content fails to hook readers with a good story and resonating tone, readers will tune into another brand that makes the same information more accessible.
8. Stay on top of your metrics
Make 2015 the year you’ll finally get your content marketing metrics under control. As of this year, 51 percent of marketers admit they struggle to measure content effectiveness. This means they’re running a strategy without a compass.
51 percent of marketers admit they struggle to measure content effectiveness
Education is power, and you need to know how much traffic the average blog attracts so you’ll know when something is working – and can do more of it.
Check out this 101 guide to setting up content analytics Goals so you can track your results and make smarter real-time creative choices.
9. Do more with less
Being productive is a common resolution, and marketers CAN do more with less when they invest in content strategically.
Here’s an in-depth guide about repurposing:
Here’s an example of how it works:
First, invest in an interview that answers your customers’ FAQs. Then, have a presenter share those insights in a video blog that you can publish on your site, YouTube and other social channels – or even include in an email blast. Use quotes from the original interview for unique social posts to promote both the written piece and the interactive video. At the end of the day, you get an entire content series from one main resource that you know your audience cares about.
10. Know your value
Establish metrics early on in your strategy that will help you prove the value of your investment in content creation and demonstrate how you’re supporting the business.
Check out these two videos for specifics on how to measure the monetary value of your content:
When you know the cold-hard value of what you’re contributing, it’s easy to justify your spend on content AND negotiate a bigger budget to afford those fancy formats you know your customers are craving.
BONUS! 11. Break barriers and unite your teams
Companies that have dissolved departmental silos outperform businesses with completely independent teams. Why? Because you can share data for smarter decisions and better results. Do your part by creating content that supports other teams and makes them more successful.
Build resources around the topics your client-facing and sales teams frequently receive questions- this will help them provide on-brand answers. (See this example of how MobileCause did this with an infographic and broke its lead generation records.) This not only stretches your content investment further, but also improves your team’s contribution to the bottom line.
As the start of the year rolls around, you have the opportunity to hit the reset button on your marketing campaigns. Use this chance to eliminate your bad habits and adopt smarter content creation strategies that make 2015 your most successful year yet.
For more content marketing resolutions, check out this related video: