5 Content Marketing Resolutions for 2013
2012 was a banner year for content marketing. If your company wasn’t one of the ones buying in and making the push to become a thought leader by acting like a publisher then unfortunately you’re one step behind. That’s bad news, because if anything, the competition in 2013 is about to heat up.
Or, as Marcus Sheridan puts it, get ready to say hello to the content marketing arms race.
As content marketers, we’re all going to have to step it up this year, and now is our chance to set ourselves up for success with New Year’s resolutions we can actually achieve and keep.
It’s a great opportunity to hit reset and start fresh — to dump old bad habits and develop new constructive ones. With that in mind here are five content marketing resolutions I’m making that can help all content slingers improve this year.
1) Be More Consistent
Audiences love great content, but it’s difficult for them to naturally develop into followers without some sort of consistency on your part. You should make it clear when and how often they can expect content from you, and then you should stick to that schedule. It’s the difference between achieving a sporadic chain of one-hit wonders and seeing real traction.
Avoid reinventing the wheel every time you publish. If you show up more consistently so will your audience, and you’ll build off a rising baseline rather than starting from zero every week.
I certainly wasn’t consistent last year, and I aim to change that in 2013. I’m going to do my best to establish and maintain a weekly publishing rhythm.
2) Give What You Would Like to Receive
We’re all constantly looking for ways to get our readers engaged with our content — asking them (and other marketers/influencers in our network) to leave comments, share the post with a tweet, etc. But do you do the same for others at least as much as you ask? When was the last time you left a comment on another person’s blog?
Our idea of engagement shouldn’t be confined to our own sites and social accounts. Getting involved in a community means reaching out and taking part in the conversations you didn’t start, showing up and participating on sites that aren’t yours.
One of my hopes for my blog this year is that it inspires more people to leave comments. In order to see that happen I’m setting out to be more engaging and really hone in on the topics people care about. But I’m also making it my goal to be more active in the online community by commenting and sharing more, as well. If I want to encourage readers to be more active on my blog, it’s only fair that I become more active, myself, right?
3) Reconnect with Your Audience
With the new year it’s a great opportunity to hit reset on your assumptions about your audience, as well. Forget what you think you know and go out and connect with them again. Find out what their big interests and concerns are for this year.
- What trends are they going to be keeping an eye on?
- What are their goals?
- What are they setting out to achieve?
The answers may not be the same as last year.
As a marketer, you should have your finger on the pulse, and in order to do that you have to reach out.
For me, that means having more discussions with fellow marketers, starting with those at OpenView’s portfolio companies. I want to get a better feel for the challenges they’re facing, the opportunities they’re excited about, and what they’re working on day-to-day.
4) Be More Transparent
I often find that the best content, the stuff that really hits home and connects, is material that’s tied to a real-life issue and provides an actual example of dealing with that issue.
A piece of advice we hear about all the time is “Write what you know.” I think we might do well to expand that to include “Write what you do.”
Make your content real. Bring it down to earth. Make it relatable and make it applicable.
That translates to authenticity. And that’s the #1 ingredient required for making an online connection.
5) Always Be Trying Something New
Your goals for 2013 shouldn’t be simply to recreate your successes from 2012. You’ve got to raise the bar and accomplish even more, and the only way you’re going to do that is by experimenting with new tactics and tools.
You can’t keep trying the same things over and over and expect a different result (as Einstein put it, that’s just crazy). But not only that, with more and more companies jumping on the content bandwagon and the competition for your audience’s attention heating up, you can’t expect to do the same things and get the same results you’ve had in the past, either.
In other words, you’ve got to up your game. And unless you grew a third arm or conscripted a small army of content marketing elves over the holidays, you’re going to have to find the right tools that allow you to extend your capacity while still managing to maintain that loose grip you have on your sanity.
Pick five new things you’re going to try over the next few months. That can include:
- Experimenting with a new content format
- Trying a new distribution channel (Slideshare, anyone?)
- Even simply switching up your approach
Shake it up. See what sticks. Find the right tools that help you streamline your efforts.
It’s going to be an interesting year for content marketing. Looking forward to taking it on together!