We’ve all been there. It’s the start of the year, you’re bursting with big ideas and goals, and you feel energised for what’s ahead. Content marketing, here we come!
Fast-forward to 12 months down the track. Sure, you’ve ticked off a few big projects, but how many of your other goals fell by the wayside?
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “This will be the year our blog finally gets off the ground!” or “We’re going to be more consistent with our social content!”, these tips are for you.
Tips for planning your content marketing
Start early; the first steps will set you up for success.
There’s nothing like a new year to get us feeling invigorated and ready to turn ideas into actions. But let’s face it; marketers are busy. The further into the year we get, the easier most of us find it to put off ‘non-essential’ projects until later.
Try to break the greater goal into smaller, more manageable objectives. If you can make time to start ticking those off earlier in the year, you’ll build momentum and motivation to see it through. Don’t let your wishlist items stay on that wishlist forever!
Think strategically and plan with purpose.
If you don’t already have a crystal-clear understanding of your brand, audience, and value proposition, you need to. This information should always inform your content, giving you direction and a strong point of view.
Once these items are clearly defined, you can try to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What do they want to hear about? On which platform or format do they want to hear it? How can you deliver this content to your audience in an appealing way that utilises your brand’s perspective?
When you have a content strategy underpinning everything you do, new ideas, production, and results will flow much more naturally. Plus, you’ll stand out from competitors simply because your content has been developed from the ground up for your brand’s unique voice.
Take the time to analyse your media platforms.
It might sound crazy, but you don’t have to keep posting on Facebook constantly, just because it’s one of the ‘default’ social media platforms. If your audience isn’t engaging with you there, there will be a reason. There’s a wide world of content platforms to explore, each with their pros and cons; you’ll achieve your goals faster if you’re smart about the channels you select.
This is a great time to delve into the data and determine which channels are delivering the highest quality results. If you’re finding that LinkedIn followers convert well to clients, or that Instagram reels are generating extra sales, focus on those areas. Don’t have data on a particular platform? Do some research!
If your content plan for the year is a little ambitious, you’ll appreciate having a clearly defined list of priorities when it comes to production and execution.
Tips for the content marketing production process
Create a schedule and stick to it.
When you don’t have a routine, it’s easy to let tasks slip off your radar. To set yourself up for success, create a content plan and come up with as many ideas as you can ahead of time. On social media channels, it’s best to complement planned content with more immediate posts that reflect current conversations and build relevancy.
For example, say your goal is to publish two blog posts per month. You’ll find it much easier to stick to your production plan if you’ve done an annual blog brainstorming session early in the year, noting a few bullet point prompts for each article in advance.
Engage your audience by giving them value.
If you have targets to hit, it’s critical that you take the time to craft content that offers value to your audience. You could make them laugh, provide them with interesting information, inspire them, satisfy their curiosity, or engage them in another way. Aim for everything you produce to be genuinely engaging. For more insights on this, we recommend this episode of The Week In Brand Storytelling podcast featuring Hayley Boneham from Bonfire.
It might involve more work, but the extra effort will pay off as your audience develops an emotional connection to your content – and subsequently, your brand.
Keep it varied and know your niche.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Would you be excited to see the same content, over and over again? Chances are, the answer is no.
Audiences are much more likely to respond positively to a well-considered mix of content. As an example, your audience on Instagram may respond to different styles of content and messaging than your audience on LinkedIn. With this in mind, it’s best practice to tailor content rather than sharing the exact same posts on every platform.
Recognise that each marketing platform likely contains unique subsets of your audience; are your Instagram followers exactly the same types of people as your mailing list subscribers? How are they similar, and how are they different? When you understand the mindset of each audience niche, you can develop content that’s aligned to their emotions, inspiring a greater response.
Tips for optimising your content marketing results
Dare to be different.
In every industry, there’s a style of content that’s overdone. The fact is, if your content doesn’t deliver new information or a fresh take in some way, you’ll have a hard time connecting with your audience and reaching your growth targets.
A new year is an opportunity to achieve cut-through for your message and test fresh ideas. After each piece of content is published, review your performance data. How can you optimise and evolve your content? How can you stand out amongst your competitors?
Look ahead; use the past to inform the future.
Which learnings will you bring forward from your year’s content marketing work? With proper planning and structure, you can become more efficient each year moving forward, building systems and production routines. This gives you the space to continue meeting your targets and achieving your goals, without compromising other projects.
Regular, meaningful reporting throughout the year will help you ensure that your content marketing continues to grow. We all know it’s easy to focus on the wins, but it’s also important to investigate which ideas didn’t succeed and why. This knowledge should guide your decisions on where to focus your time and funds as you move ahead.
Make the most of the year ahead.
Whether you’re trying to get the ball rolling, keep production on track, or optimise your results, these tips will equip you for content marketing success in 2022.
If you would like any advice on putting together an effective content strategy, or need an agency to produce your content, we invite you to reach out and speak to the Lush team today.