How is it 2018 already?

Actually, y’know what? Nevermind! Let’s not get bogged down in how time is rapidly gaining speed on us all, and instead focus on how we can look to the future, where we can create a successful content marketing plan for the New Year.

We’re only ten or so days into 2018, but it’s never too late (or too early) to knock out a killer marketing strategy. In fact, content marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s driving sales, increasing leads, and pushing brands to great results: 89 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing, while 73 percent say their strategy is an ongoing process, not just part of a campaign.   

The first part of the process in 2018 is to look backward before you launch you and your company forward. You can’t step into the future without a foothold in the past, so be sure to review 2017 and figure out what worked, and what didn’t. Identify the assets, formats, and topics that generated the most leads, the most interest, and the most tangible results for you, your business, and your partners. It may seem a little silly to look back in the New Year, but an evaluation of the metrics from last year will help you decide what form your content marketing plan for 2018 should take so you can begin formulating specific goals for the year.   

Speaking of goals, you need to brainstorm ideas. Speak to your content marketing team—your writers, editors, keyword planners—to get a feel for what the group in charge of making high-quality content is planning. But more importantly, get back in touch with your clients, the businesses you create content for. Find out what their pain points are, and ask if their audience has changed. You could be surprised by what you hear. If so, adjust accordingly.  

Of course, research trends. Find out what’s hot. Hint: it’s still video. Lots and lots of video. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram—you may want to consider these platforms since 48 percent of content marketers are planning on adding YouTube to their marketing platform, while 46 and 37 percent will add Facebook and Instagram, respectively.

Then, choose your content. Don’t worry, there are plenty other types of content besides video. Consider case studies, infographics, guides, interviews, white papers, how-to- articles (like this one), podcasts, and good old-fashioned blog posts. Figure it out! You know your strengths by now. If you have a great voice and knack for guiding conversations and navigating various topics, consider a new tactic like podcasting. Of course, you’ll want to research all the intricacies and specific needs of podcasting and video broadcasts, but it could well be worth it. Focus on what you’re good at, on the fields where you have superior knowledge, and have at it. As always, keep it informative, interesting, and above all, entertaining.

After that, create your editorial calendar. Committing to a consistent schedule will help everyone stay on target throughout each quarter. It takes time and, well, planning, but an editorial roadmap will ensure there’s never any confusion as to what must be done day by day. Plus, seeing all those diverse, well-balanced future pieces of content—some evergreen, others topical or holiday-based —arranged by date is so satisfying (or is that just us editorial nerds?).  

There you go! A few simple steps towards a successful New Year. Let’s follow up in about 365 days to see how everything has gone. Mind sending a calendar invite?  

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