It’s hard to believe that it’s almost the end of 2016 and time to move on to 2017. Crazy, right? I know! Anyway, as 2016 draws to a close, I want to get us thinking about how we can improve our content marketing programs in 2017 and beyond. So, here are five tips that will help lead you to success in the new year.
1. Think before you plan
Spend time white-boarding, brainstorming, talking to your team, your customers, whoever. Don’t just jump right into content development, but really vet why you’re creating a new piece.
And be honest with yourself: Is this content that your consumer really wants or needs? If not, why are you creating it?
I’m challenging you here — that’s right. Think before you start. Don’t just create a blog post because someone said, “We need a blog.” Understand why you need a blog first.
2. Ask questions before you write
If you’re a content marketer who came from journalism, like me, then you’re probably used to finding sources for your story and doing research and interviews before you pull everything together. If you don’t have that background, it’s OK, but it’s time to change your approach and start asking questions before you write.
Meet with your stakeholders, interview your customers and talk to your customer service team to find out what customers ask about most frequently. If you take time to really understand what your customers need, you’ll create content that’s so good, they’ll want to read it — and maybe, just maybe, share it for you!
3. Invite someone else to be part of what you write
You’re likely not the only expert on the subject you’re writing about. Find someone else and include them.
Partnering with influencers is great for several reasons. First, they’re going to add some credibility to your piece because their involvement is seen as a third-party endorsement of what you’re saying.
But beyond that, when you include someone in your content, they are likely to share it with their network, too, allowing for a bigger audience reach.
4. Share what you write
When you’re creating your content plans for the future, really focus on your distribution plan. If you’re currently only posting to your blog or website, branch out a bit, add in social channels, and invite influencers you’ve partnered with to share on their networks, too.
Take a look at your referring traffic sites in your analytics account; you may find new places you should distribute your content pieces to. You never know.
Spend a few minutes reviewing what your competition and industry leaders are doing to promote and distribute their content, and see what makes sense for you.
5. Do more with less
Yup, you read that right. It’s quite possible you’ll create less content in 2017 if you follow these steps, and I believe that’s OK.
If you create content that’s really focused and provides great value to your consumer, you don’t need to create tons of it. A few core pieces may do more for you than 20 pieces of mediocre content ever could.
What do you think? I’m curious to know if you agree or disagree with the tips I’ve outlined above. What do you think we should be doing differently as an industry?
If we really focus on creating great content that our customers want and need, I think we’ll see even bigger success in 2017 and beyond.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.