Monday, January 11, 2016

16 content marketing resolutions for 2016

Though some have embraced "anti-resolutions," many still make resolutions and goals about their lifestyles, habits, personal outlooks and more. 

Here are 16 resolutions to live by this year:

1. Produce higher quality content. Bad content is the nemesis of content marketing. We need to produce high quality content to capture our audience, otherwise we will lose them in an increasingly cluttered media space—especially with recent updates to Google algorithms and the rise in ad blockers.
2. Use mobile responsive email marketing. Mobile use will continue to dominate in 2016. Litmusreported that in June 2015 desktop email represented 22 percent of all email opened, webmail ranked in at 29 percent and mobile was up to 54 percent. It’s time to make sure your emails are mobile responsive in order to give your users the best possible experience. Without it, you risk losing their attention.
3. Live where your audience is. With so many channels available to us for content distribution, it’s easy to lose focus and want to be everywhere. Instead, we must concentrate on where our audience is. 

Conduct research to collect insight on which channels your target customer spent the most time using in 2015. Was is Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Snapchat? Your company blog? Maybe a combination? What about email? What are the projections for 2016? Find out where your content will gain the most traction and be there.

4. Repurpose your stuff. Strong content takes time to create, so don’t let it go to waste after one use. Much of the content your team produces is recyclable. 

Take the time to break it down into pieces that can be used across various channels and on different occasions.

5. Leave the corporate speak out of it. A jargon-filled corporate blog will hinder the development of your brand. Your audience is bombarded with messages every day, to make sure yours have the most impact, leave out the corporate speak.
6. Flex your social media muscle. Make sure you are consistent in providing your audience with interesting updates, photos, videos, quick facts, etc. Don’t forget to work on being social. 

The beauty of these social channels is that you can engage with your audience and learn more about them. This contributes to your bottom line, and builds goodwill towards your organization.

7. Create internal ambassadors. Your people are your most valuable assets. 

Actively promoting your brand and engaging employees through internal channels can be extremely effective. Your employees believe in your organization, and thanks to social media, their reach and amplification potential is greater than ever. Plus, the messages they share with their networks can be more effective than more stream-lined marketing messages.

8. Stop using content marketing buzzwords. For an emerging field, content marketing has created an embarrassing number of buzzwords. 

In a January 2015 Contently article, Joe Lazaukas predicted 10 terms that would be overused in the next year, which include “storyscaping” and “culture of content.” We could certainly add others for 2016, but in the interest of demystifying content marketing for our clients and partners, tone it down.

9. Increase content team collaboration. Effective teamwork is vital to content marketing success. 

Whether it’s brainstorming, production, or process, your content team needs to run like a machine. A good way to increase collaboration is to hold structured meetings for different purposes—creative sessions, working meetings, or administrative gatherings. Make sure all team members come prepared in order to increase efficiency.

10. Develop a content strategy. Research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that content marketers with a written strategy are more effective, but only 27 percent of B2C and 48 percent of B2B marketers have one. 

A strategy will serve to guide all of your content marketing efforts. It will also allow you to define what success looks like and determine what you need to do to achieve it.

11. Mix up your content types and formats. Look past the traditional article and experiment with video, e-books, white papers and webinars to spice up your content roster.
12. Post visual content on social. We are more attracted to posts with photos, videos and infographics because the brain processes visual content faster. Visual content also generates more engagement on social media, which leads to increased traffic and conversion rates.
13. Measure your efforts. All too often, measurement is overlooked by content marketers. This year, make it a priority to define what success looks like. 

What are your goals? How will you measure them? This will allow you to gauge the impact of your content marketing efforts on audience building, lead generation, sales and brand awareness.

14. Get a content marketing platform. You may have been putting this off because of the research it takes to find the right one for your organization, but 2016 is the year to invest in the right content marketing tool. 

A platform that fits your needs will optimize all of your content marketing efforts and save your team time and money. Here is an awesome list of tools grouped by purpose. It’s a great place to start.

15. Integrate your content marketing efforts. Great content can come from the cool things your organization is doing, many of which might stem from your other marketing and PR efforts. 

Events, ad campaigns, media pitches, fundraisers and employee engagement initiatives can all be great story opportunities. Your new content strategy (see No. 10) should be integrated with your overall communications strategy to help identify great stories derived from other tactics.

16. Contribute to a content marketing culture. Parts of your organization may not be on the content marketing bandwagon yet. Education is crucial to helping people understand what content marketing is and why it is so powerful. Make the case for content marketing in your organization; use success stories from others to back you up

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