Lauren Kaye

It’s a new year, a clean slate, a fresh start. No matter what you call it, it’s that time of year to reflect on everything that’s transpired, envision where you want to go and find a way to get there.

In the business world, it’s also when many budgets reset and marketers can launch fresh campaigns, unbridled by the plans set in motion the year before. To help you get 2014 off to the right start, here are 10 content marketing resolutions inspired by the goals we often set in our personal lives:

1. Trim the fat

Weight loss goals top the list for personal New Year’s resolutions, but it has less to do with waistlines and everything to do with bottom lines in the professional world. Stop spending time and money where they don’t pay off. Look into content analytics reports for ROI evidence.

Where returns are minimal, develop a plan to improve campaigns or take things back to the drawing board.

2. Get organized

Don’t know where to find ROI numbers for campaigns? You’re not alone – 83 percent of marketers said they aren’t sure how to measure ROI from SEO.

The time has come to take charge, stop making excuses and turn important data into insights. A great first step is to organize content analytics reports into categories that make sense. Throughout 2014, Google made changes that should make it easier for marketers do this, such as:

  • The introduction of content groups
  • The update that turned traffic sources into “Acquisitions,” content into “Behaviors” and added “Conversions”
  • New user segmentation capabilities
3. Save more money

Most people feel the pressure to curb spending at the end of the holiday season, after dropping money on gifts and year-end events. Even if marketing budgets aren’t as drained as personal bank accounts, it’s still a good idea to cut out excessive expenditures.

  •  Is your content marketing strong enough to cut back on PPC without impacting ROI?
  •  Can you reduce the number of ads purchased for social marketing, focusing on Twitter and LinkedIn over Facebook?

Lead generation is the No. 1 goal for B2Bs and driving sales is the top priority for B2Cs

4. Earn more money

Now that we’re entering the next phase of content marketing, one that’s more focused on strategy than pure production, companies have higher expectations for results. Lead generation is the No. 1 goal for B2Bs and driving sales is the top priority for B2Cs, so content marketing campaigns need to be built for success (and then tailored and tweaked based on feedback).

5. Learn something new

In your spare time, you might consider learning a new language or instrument, and it’s smart to bring that same zeal for self-improvement to your work life.

Explore new channels for sharing brand messages:
– Master LinkedIn community sharing
– Discover the ins and outs of Google+
– Gauge your audience’s interest and activity on new channels like Instagram or Vine

Try new formats to complement your tried-and-true workhorses:
– Add regular infographics to your quarterly production schedule and see how people respond
– Create videos to spice up on-site content

6. Get in better shape

Similar to trimming the fat, this goal is about the bigger picture. You don’t just want to avoid superfluous content, you want strong content that will consistently perform. Improve your campaigns by building out the strategies that already work (if your blog has solid traffic, increase frequency) and building up tactics that have untapped potential (try to build a better following on Twitter by finding the right influencers and creating content to share on the site).

7. Ditch bad relationships

A lot of people avoid going through the holiday season alone, but the quality time they do (or don’t) spend with individuals can reveal it’s time to call it quits. The same goes for content marketing strategies: Have you been putting more into your blog than your blog is giving back? It might be time to take a break from your approach and start something fresh.

By stepping back and trying new tactics, you may find your content appeals to more people – or even fewer people, who are more qualified sales leads from the get-go.

Content marketing success will be easier to achieve when marketers establish better relationships.
8. Start positive relationships

In a post-link-building era (That’s right – it’s all about link earning from here on out), it’s a good idea to form strategic relationships. Find influencers online and give them a little love.

Think about the people behind the campaigns you admire, marketing thought leaders and people who work for companies you may want as partners. Follow them and share their content when they offer great ideas and insights. These efforts can turn into mutually reciprocal relationships throughout the year – It never hurts to have internet allies!

9. Spend more time doing what you love

This resolution applies to both personal and professional tasks.

  • On the job: Tackle the tasks you like least, first. Not a fan of data entry? Get it done at the start of the business day so you can focus on more creative work.
  •  At home: In a digital world that allows, expects, even begs you to be ‘always-on,’ work related tasks can eat into your personal time. Get work done at work and spend your free time doing the things you want to do (and probably waste business hours researching online).
10. Help others

The marketing world can sometimes seem cut throat, with every individual striving to stand out in the pack. But internet marketers may find the phrase, “You get more flies with honey” is a truism.

Try building your brand by helping other companies gain exposure, see: Start positive relationships. A lot of digital success is about reciprocity, and a little bit of internet goodwill can go a long way.