Welcome to the New Year! With the turning of the calendar page, you have entered a place full of opportunity and possibility. So what are you doing to take advantage of your fresh perspective? How will the actions you take in the new year benefit your content marketing? Here are 5 savvy content marketing steps you should take in order to make 2016 your best content year ever.
Want to dive deeper into the principles outlined here? Download our 12-page PDF, The Future of Content Marketing in 2016 & Beyond.
1. Create a Culture of Content
If you need a mantra to repeat to yourself in the New Year, here’s one: Content marketing can transform our organization’s results, if we let it transform our culture. In 2016, it will be important to take steps to create a culture of content marketing company-wide, rather than siloing your efforts in one department.
Follow these simple guidelines to jumpstart your content culture:
- Treat your employees and colleagues as content marketing assets. Everyone can be a content creator.
- Every moment is a content opportunity. Encourage people to submit content ideas whenever the inspiration strikes.
- Provide incentives for participation, give people an idea of ‘what’s in it for them,’ and reward or recognize those who are doing a great job.
- Present your results consistently to provide transparency on how your efforts are working.
2. Document Your Content Strategy
It’s no secret that the best content marketers document their strategy. They don’t just keep it rattling around their brains as a loose idea; they get serious about aligning their people, processes, and priorities around a singular goal. The research proves this to be true:
- 53% of the (self-reported) most effective B2B content marketers have a content strategy, compared to 13% of the least effective marketers.
- 58% effective B2C marketers document their strategy. Only 37% of average B2C marketers do.
Before you press ‘Publish’ on another piece of content, put together a strategy or refresh the one that already guides you. Focus on 8 checkpoints, developed by our Director of Strategy, Kat Robinson, in our strategy template download:
- Business Goals
- Content Goals
- Content Formats
2016 will be a year of widening gaps between the success of those organizations that have a documented strategy and those who don’t. Start early with answering these simple checkpoints to carve out plan that will guide your whole year.
3. Consider Marketing Automation
If documenting and following a thoughtful strategy is going to be vital for marketers in 2016, then measuring the successes and failures should go hand in hand with that goal. One of the most potent ways to measure, fine tune, and track your content marketing effectiveness is through implementing robust marketing automation (MA) tools. Think Hubspot, Act-On, Marketo, along with many more.
Where MA tools provide efficiency and insight, they also have SEO pitfalls that you don’t want to fall prey to. Watch out for these 6 common automation problem areas when you’re looking to adopt or change platforms:
- Content Delivery Networks
- International Targeting
- URL Redirects
- <head> control
- Exporting Your Site
4. Try the Hub and Spoke Model
Our team’s personal favorite content format (just look at our resources!) is the hub and spoke model of content marketing. Start with creating a hub, a piece of content created with the intent to drive leads. Maybe it’s a free guide, white paper, e-book, or case study. Then come the spokes – supplementary articles, videos, emails, press releases, etc. that point people back to your hub.
By following this hub-and-spoke model, you can achieve a variety of positive results in 2016 including:
- The ability to scale your content
- Creation of a focused campaign
- Content format variety
- A library of content that has semantic value for search engines
5. Align your Team with Training
We are hardcore believers in continuing education and training for content marketing. It fits right back in with lesson #1 – the more education and understanding you can create around your content marketing, the more of a content culture you create, and the more successful you will be. That’s why we teach content marketing workshops, train our own clients, and even set up a content coaching program to help organizations get more out of their efforts. And it’s also why we believe training can help you overcome the obstacles and roadblocks you’re likely to encounter in 2016.
Look for these opportunities as the year progresses:
- Sign up for online training courses. There are so many free courses, webinars, and talks presented online that anyone on your team can benefit from a refresher course.
- Go to conferences. Keep an eye out for national content conferences but also see about furthering education and searching out networking opportunities within your own industry.
- Put together a content workshop. One of the best ways to align your team around a common vision is to get everyone in the same room and learn from experts. Put together a “content camp” or something that will get your team inspired.
Step into the Future
Content marketing is no longer a trend, or some newfangled strategy; it’s an important part of digital marketing ?that is here to stay. In 2016, we foresee the acceleration of the content marketing industry itself as more people jump in to see what doesn’t work, and what does. Take these 5 savvy content marketing steps to heart, and report back to let us know how your year is going!
What More Can you Expect in 2016?
Prepare for the rest of the year with our 12-page free guide The Future of Content Marketing in 2016 & Beyond. Download to hear predictions from 9 experts, learn trends, and stay ahead of the curve.