Jan 25, 2017 | Payel Mukherjee
Well, hello 2017! It's the first month of the new year and we are at it again – making resolutions. I am not sure what exactly it is about the new year that pushes us into this fiercely resolution-making mode, but here is my guess – it's perhaps the hope that you have 12 months to plough through and achieve it. Or probably, it is simply good to hope that life will be better this year.
Now come the professional goals. For people like us - the army of content marketers who like to think that the weight of the internet is upon our shoulders – the aim is always to show the world how to generate awesome content, how to create that amazing blogs, how to craft that fantastic story… well, you get the flow! The thing with content marketing is that we are constantly dancing to the tunes of a quick changing song. Just suddenly, there is a trending story about how important video is and how Google is playing it up in its search results and we are caught up in the frenzy of creating one.
Hence, it's good to keep an eye on what is trending while you wade through the everyday task of creating authoritative content and high-quality link building. But what you need to change with your content marketing to make progress is something you'll need to work on every single day.
So this is what have done at Justwords.
We’ve created a list of the best 2017 content marketing resolution and stuck it on our board. This is the list that you can go to after creating every single piece of content. If you can tick this list off at the end of the year, we bet you'll be the among the content gurus predicting content trends for 2018.
Sounds exciting? So here goes – The Best Content Marketing Resolutions to help you meet your business goals in 2017.
1. Move from text-only content to visual content
That photo doesn't speak a thousand words. You'll have to write them. But you might as well use photos and images to create a beautiful looking piece of content. Photos, as you may know, goes a long way in serving as a click bait.
A good photograph on social media can immediately get more attention from the text-only content. It also breaks the monotony of reading a 2000-word article and makes it easier to skim through until the end. There is scientific proof too. Apparently, 90% of all information that comes to your brain is visual and it is processed 90,000 times faster than text!
Check this out - The power of visual content: Images vs Text
2. Start incorporating that video into your blogging strategy
Did you know that according to Tech Crunch, 100 million hours of video are watched every day on Facebook alone!
Check this amazing list of facts on the benefits of using videos in your content strategy.
In fact, 7 out of 10 millennials are likely to watch the company video when shopping online. As content marketers, there are three types of videos you can create:millennials are likely to watch the company video when shopping online. As content marketers, there are three types of videos you can create:
3. Increase engagement with your followers
Though this statement seems like a no-brainer, content marketers often get so lost in the preparation and dissemination of their content that they totally forget about how to engage with their followers and influencers. Engagement also means different things to different people. While a 'like' is a positive sentiment, a 'retweet' or 'share' is an endorsement, the most valuable form of engagement comes with queries or leads. Do not forget to track each form of engagement to see what sentiment your content evokes.
4. Post on our blog more frequently
Most content marketers, like the ones at Justwords, are guilty of not being able to devote time to promote themselves while going on an overdrive to get their client’s content to the top. If you are nodding yes to that, think of writing for your blog as a way to showcase your most recent research and knowledge. We already know by rote the statistics we dole out to prove how writing content everyday can increase your traffic drastically. So boys and girls, let’s get on with it right away.
5. No waiting till the last minute to come up with blog post ideas
What do I write this week’s blog about?
That is one of the major questions that floats around our team of writers. Even though I have been vowing to make that long bank of blog titles so that we stop wasting our time on this time-wasting question, I haven't been able to do it. If that’s your situation too, then solve it right now. Last-minute blog titles are not really the best blogs from your stable since your main concern is to just get the blog out for that week, or for that matter - that day.
Good blogs titles come out of good research and well, sometimes, as Neil Patel says, just tweaking what your competitors are doing. If you are writing one blog a day, you will need at least 30-40 ideas a month. The best idea is not to keep this enormous task to yourself. You can ask each team member to come up with five ideas (and the rationale on why they choose it), check out keyword trends and plug in some seasonal content ideas.
Here are two brilliant blogs on how to come up with better blog titles.
Where to Steal Ideas For Your Next Blog Post – Neil Patel’s blog
Content Strategy: 9 Secrets for Awesome Blog Titles for Posts – Moz Blog
6. Recycle more of that content
To make sure you don't lose your mind tackling point no. 5, you'll have to follow a structured approach to recycle your content. Most H2s in your blog should allow you to create spin offs which can be relevant for today's reader.
One main reason why you should recycle your content is this – A great post written by you might take a lot more time to rank on Google. If your content becomes stale before that, you may miss out on the best traffic wave. Hence it’s good to pick and choose as many as 10 – 12 topics from your treasure trove every month and update them with the latest information.
Here is a great infographic on how to recycle your content –
Want to know more? Read up this popular blog post by Hubspot – 9 Ways to Recycle Your Blog Posts Into Other Content Formats
7. Plan the content ahead of time
This is the secret formula for a content marketer's good night sleep. Because we are the only people in the world who can stay awake at night staring at the ceiling and wondering “What am I going to write tomorrow!” One of the best ways to do this is to create a single notepad or post-it – whichever is accessible from your phone or laptop. You can use a simple tool like anotepad.com or even Google docs to save an idea as soon as you read it with a quick context on how you are going to spin the article. This becomes your repository, which never lets you forget an idea. For more tools, look up point no. 22.
8. Not bombard my audience with sales pitches
The blog exists for a purpose – the ultimate purpose of building a brand, an authority and eventually making money. But that's not what your audience needs to know. If every blog is a “buy now” post, it may just turn people off. Instead, use the 5:1 ratio that you also follow on Facebook, to share at least five blogs that are genuinely helping your reader and one that's tagging additional information about your specific services.
9. Add a call to action at the end of every piece of content
Ha! Here's the way you actually execute point no. 8 with elan. Content is just content until you give it purpose. If it is well-written from an SEO perspective, it may even end up driving traffic. But is that the only thing you want it to do? The rule here is that “You don’t get what you don't ask for”. You can lead your user to read more and stick to your website by suggesting similar articles, visit another page on the website, contact you for information, download a whitepaper or even directly buy from you.
Content without call-to-action or CTA is like running a race without intending to win it. Hubspot puts out this really great set of guidelines, which you should always keep in mind while creating your CTAs.
Source: Hubspot Academy
10. Spend at least half as much time promoting the content as it took to plan and publish it
The one crime that many in the community are collectively guilty of is not promoting their content as much as they should. If you have taken the pains to write a 3000-word original piece, it does deserve its day in the sunshine. Because there is no easy way to do this, it is best to use a structured approach on how you promote your content.
Create a checklist that includes the general rules of engagement like promoting it on social media, sharing it via your newsletter. Beyond that, you can ask influencers their opinion on the topic, create a podcast, share it on relevant twitter chats, forums and groups that keep the fire going. Here is an extremely useful post from Kissmetric Blog to help you do just that - 17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content.
11. Review Marketing-Sourced Pipeline
Remember Facebook's ad targeting feature that allows you to find people similar to your existing customers? This is the content marketing way of doing it. Review the marketing campaigns that have generated leads for you to understand the underlying 'ask' that people are trying to solve. This becomes a great starting point for your next blog which will allow you to address more people with the same or similar queries.
12. Make sure the website content is the best it can be
Redesigning your website is a strategic decision you'll have to take from time to time-based on how the visitor behaviour is changing on your site (increased bounce rate and lower conversions are your signs). But before you get on with the exercise, check whether the navigation and functionality of each page is working correctly.
It might be a wise decision to dig deep into your Google Analytics data and understand from there what is going wrong. GA should tell you which landing page is getting more hits and which is not, how much organic traffic is flowing into which page and which keyword is getting more hits. Based on this, you can look at changing bits and pieces of the content every month to keep the freshness maintained.
Also make sure you are changing the pop-up and welcome sliders to reflect the flavour of the season.
13. Concentrate on getting backlinks
While good content is the backbone for driving traffic, a body of authoritative backlinks to the individual article and website as a whole is also equally important. Most content marketers settle into their top 25 sources for getting wholesome backlinks and then leave some room for experimentation every month.
It is important that you keep this as a trackable metric in your content analytics to see which content receives more backlinks than others. A quick way to do this is by using the URL profiler. You can not only get merged link data from various SEO tools but also be able to identify unnatural links quickly.
Here's how to do this – How to Classify Thousands Of Unnatural Links (Really Quickly)
14. Build a Yearly Marketing Plan
An annual marketing plan allows you to set overarching goals that you want to achieve each year. It then allows you to plot your graph backways on where you need to be each month if you want to achieve those goals. There can be just 2-3 metrics here – the most important ones around lead generation, conversion and revenue. It'll help you keep your eye on the ball and also re-align new goals if you hit your targets sooner!
15. Make the blog mobile friendly
Since April 21, 2015, Google has rolled out its mobile-friendly update. As a result of this, mobile-friendly pages will get a higher ranking in mobile searches. So if you have never bothered about getting your blog friendly for mobile users, now is the time to do it. Even though, Google has indicated that -
“The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal -- so even if a page with high-quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.
- do not forget to read the words “could still”. Eventually, it all makes sense since mobile now represents 65% of digital media time while desktop is becoming a secondary touch point (as per Comscore).
Keeping your images, page speed, fonts and font size mobile-friendly will go a long way in creating stickiness on your blog. The best part is that a responsive website looks equally good for desktop too, so you don't have to re-do your design efforts. To find out whether your website is mobile friendly or not, go to this Mobile-Friendly Test Tool.
16. Develop relationships with industry influencers
Influencer marketing is the new buzzword for 2017. We all have seen the effect of that one influencer whose share or retweet has catapulted our blog into its 15 minutes of fame. These are the people who you need to follow and engage with constantly (without actually making them feel that you are stalking them). More than liking or sharing their posts, genuinely post queries and comments to come into their radar. They know exactly how to respond likewise.
Here is a good read on how to “Incorporate your influencers into your content marketing.”
17. Take Advantage of Live Video
A live video comes with loads of advantages. Other than providing restricted time access to an offer or a piece of information (how to grow your followers by 1000 in 1 day), it is the perfect way to cast a hook and test out which topics are getting more sign ups. Doing a live video is easier than ever. Here's how you do a live video on Twitter.
18. Reach Your Audience with Content Distribution Platforms
How many times have you knowingly clicked on click bait articles like “How Tim made $100,000 with his blog” or “74% girls are doing this to lose 5 kgs in one week”, while you were reading something else. Well if you are like me, then, hey, many a time. That’s the beauty of content distribution platforms – they reach your content in places where your content wouldn’t really go.
That’s why content distribution platforms make it to our list of 2017 resolutions. If you have a crowd-pulling viral topic, fan out its reach by using a content recommendation engine like Outbrain, which serves over 50 billion recommendations every month and over 90,000 blogs are using it. Here are some of the other content discovery platforms that you can use.
19. Build Loyalty Through Episodic Content Marketing
There is a reason why the world couldn't wait for the next dose of Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. The buildup of what to expect next is a great learning for content marketers. Buffer, for example, provides social media marketing lessons with the regular one-email-a-day approach. Check this out.
20. Take time to write every day
Well, I guess this is really the toughest one (which is also why it’s at the bottom of our list). There are days in the week when you are overflowing with ideas but can only get through your inbox. There are others when client meetings can zap you out. Even then, going back to the writing board is a type of therapy for content marketers. Besides that, you tend to get more regular at publishing your blog by doing this.
Whether it is your personal blog or professional one, being able to contribute to it constantly is like nurturing a garden with love. You'll be basking in the warm shade of your biggest content stories as your new content blossoms in a rainbow of colours around you. (That's an exaggeration – but you get the picture!)
21. Improve Customer Experience
Just a small case in point. There is a flower delivery start up near my house, which I am particular thrilled with. They take time to understand what you want, how you want the arrangement, and when you want them. Though I had to fill up quite a few search fields on their website, they made my experience as a customer better. So thrilled I was, I even recommended them to three other friends. Am hoping you get the point right.
Starting with the navigation structure of your site. You can make sure they reach where they want quickly and have lots of interesting pieces of content to stick around and read. Having proper call to actions in the right places can make it easier for them to reach you. Having a good drip marketing email lineup is another way to ensure that you are reaching out to people who are about to drop out from your funnel.
And last but not the least, ask them for feedback so that they feel they are 'heard'. (Don't forget to respond to them with a personal email).
22. Embrace Marketing Technology
In a recent survey of 300 marketers by the Content Marketing Institute, at least two-thirds said it’s likely or very likely that technology will make content marketing significantly more efficient in the various tasks of the life cycle. From running audits, to discovering new opportunities to maximizing engagement, tech is enabling smart marketers to save time, effort and money.
Speaking of which, here are 11 great tools you can start using right away.
23. Gain Customer Insights Through Data
The key term here is “insights” and not “data”.
There are 100 touch points for data and a million ways to dissect it. But none of it is good without proper analysis and conclusive insights. To do this, your first job will be to identify your top 15 metrics to track.
These have to clearly align to your annual business goals. “Engagement rate” for example, is a great customer insight-metric. Do your customers “like” your content, “share” it or reply to it? It shows how your audience likes to engage with you and which kind is most likely to convert.
How to Match Key Metrics With Your Content Goals is a great article by Content Marketing Institute on doing exactly this. We recommend that you start with your Google Analytics account. Here is an exhaustive list of videos that teach you the many things you can do with Google Analytics.
24. Go to more company trade shows and talk to customers
As content marketers, we know the importance of 'being seen'. This translates to the offline world too. While we love to write to the online persona of our customers, it is refreshing to connect with them offline too. You can get to know feedback, learnings and even get new ideas about what else they want to read about. People who attend specific industry trade shows come in the warm lead category and you can not only curate prospects but also use the platform for brand building purposes.
25. Focus On Lead Generation
As we fall in love with our own masterpieces, it is always good to take a step back and evaluate the true purpose of creating that piece of content and if it has achieved it. Good content should translate to a funnel of leads and conversions. If it is only driving “traffic in general”, it isn't doing a very good job. The dots will connect when you look back but it is important to plot correctly first.
So well that’s our content marketing resolutions for the brand new 2017. It’s a great time to recalibrate your content marketing strategy and get out of a content rut. We are hoping to do that by sticking to this list and well see some great results.
Beyond all, just remember to generate nutritious content, market great, and test everything.
Wish you the very best of luck and a Happy Content Marketing Year!
What are your content marketing resolutions for 2017?
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