It's a new year! It's exciting, isn't it?
We both love the idea of starting with a clean slate and determining where this crazy entrepreneurial journey will take us in the coming twelve months.
How about you? Are you ready for some serious growth in 2019?
We've been doing a lot of plotting and planing the last few weeks of the year and will continue to do so through part of January and beyond.
Sure, plans change and need to be tweaked as we go, but it's good to figure out where you want to be by the time the clock strikes midnight on December 31st 2019.
And that takes planning, preparing, and most importantly taking massive action.
One area of planning that we're working on this week is a content marketing strategy for 2019.
It's an important piece of the overall business growth puzzle, so we thought we'd share some helpful tips and strategies along with some glimpses of what we're doing this year.
If you break it down into very basic steps, growing your business goes something like this:
- Awareness – People need to know who you are, what you do, and most importantly what you can do for them.
- Purchases – That's the end goal. You want to turn prospects into customers and ideally repeat customers.
We'll go into more detail on each of these steps in future blog posts and guides, but for now, let's focus on step one – creating awareness.
This is where a solid content marketing strategy really shines.
It will help you figure out where your ideal audience is hanging out, what type of information or content they are looking for, and then helps you gain their attention by putting that content in front of them.
That's why content marketing is so important. if you don't get this first step right, you're dead in the water. It doesn't matter how great your call to action is or how amazing your sales conversions are.
If you can't get the attention of your audience, nothing else further down the funnel will make much of a difference.
Looking Back At What Worked Well In 2018
Our first step when we start to come up with our content plans is to look at what worked well for us last year.
- What posts got attention?
- What helped us grow our reach and our list?
- What type of content helped us make sales?
- What social media platforms sent us the most traffic?
Making it a point to review Google Analytics data is to see what worked and what didn't work last year is time well spent in our book.
Don't forget about engagement.
- What blog posts, articles, lead magnets, videos and the likes resonated with your audience?
- Where did you get comments and shares?
- What content did your readers email you about?
Engagement is huge, don't forget to account for it as you evaluate what did well for you last year.
It's also a good idea to look at your content flops and see what you can learn from that experience. Not everything you put out there will do well and that's ok.
If you pay attention, you will learn something about your audience. At the very least, you'll come away with a short list of things that you don't need to do this year.
At the end of this review process, you should have a pretty good idea of what you want to do more of in 2019 because it worked well, and what you want to stop doing because it isn't giving you the results you wanted.
Making The Connection Between Business Goals & Content Marketing Plans
As with so much else in business growth, you want to set some solid business goals and then look at how your content marketing strategy can help you reach that goal.
One of our growth goals is to double the size of our list this year.
To make that happen, we putting a blog publishing schedule into place, creating some fresh lead magnets, starting to seriously look at video content, and considering social media advertising.
All of this requires different pieces of content and a solid plan to market each piece of content as it is launched.
The best way to make the connection between your goals and your content is to start with the ideal goal outcome and work backwards.
What is one of your big goals for this year?
How could content marketing possibly help you reach that goal, or at least get you a step closer?
From there you start to plan our your content schedule keeping in mind what it will take to get the exposure or growth you're looking for as well as how much time and energy you can a lot to it.
That second part is just as important as the first.
In an ideal world, we'd love to publish a fresh blog post each day to share with our readers. While that could be done in theory, it wouldn't leave a lot of time and creative energy for everything else we want do.
A weekly blog post seems much more doable, and if we feel inspired, you end up with a super long post like this one filled with a bunch of good info, or an extra post here and there.
Overall it will allow us to publish more consistently and not just throw something up on the blog so we can check of the “publish blog post” box from the daily to-do list.
Right now, start by setting some solid, measurable goals for yourself if you haven't already done so. Write them down. Then come up with your own content marketing schedule (or rough outline) and put that in writing as well. Try it for a few weeks and see if it's working for you. If not, tweak as needed.
If you're looking for some content marketing plan / calendar templates, this blog post covers a bunch of different ones. Of course you can also make up your own spreadsheet, or go old-school with a daily planner and pen.
What Platforms Should You Be Publishing On?
One thing you looked at when you reviewed what was working well last year was the platforms that brought you the most targeted traffic.
That's a good place to start, but don't forget to look at other places you should be publishing in. The goal is always to get in front of your audience. Figure out where they are, what type of content they like, and then deliver it.
Here are the rules we follow when it comes to prioritizing our content publishing.
- Start With Your Own Real Estate
Our blog and list will always be our first stop to when it comes to publishing fresh content. We own them, we have full control over them, and we won't be shut down because of some sort of rule change or misunderstanding.
- Get In Front Of Your Audience
The next step is to get the content in front of our ideal audience. That involves figuring out where they hang out and then either sharing links to the content there (through a pin or tweet for example), or creating original content for the platform (like a YouTube video or FB live for example). The end goal will always be to funnel them into our own content channels on our sites.
- Take Advantage Of Search Engines & Communities
Do you know what the biggest search engine is after Google? It's YouTube and it's a lot easier to rank there and find your audience than it is on Google these days. Don't dismiss social media platforms and other online communities and sites that can connect you with your ideal customers.
- Reach Different Audiences Through Different Formats & Media
We don't all consume content the same way. Some people love the speed of being able to read something. Other's learn much better when they listen to an audio recording. And of course video content is getting more and more popular. Take advantage of all different types of media when it comes to sharing your content. Don't be afraid to share it multiple times in different formats and through different avenues.
Time To Set Specific Goals & Deadlines
We touched on this in the section about the connection between your business goals and your content marketing, but now it's time to fine-tune things and come up with a solid plan for 2019.
- Decide on specific goals.
- Remember that a goal without a deadline is just a dream.
- Be very specific.
A good content marketing plan includes the following:
- What type of content will you be publishing where?
- How often are you going to publish. Set some deadlines.
- What topics will you cover. You don't have to figure out the entire year, but jot down some ideas to get you started.
- Where will you publish it?
- What will you do to promote it?
Be specific. Make a check list and work your way through it each time you publish something new.
It's also a good idea to track your progress. Not only will it motivate you to see that you're getting results from the hard work you're putting into your content marketing, it will also give you valuable insights into what's performing best, what promotional methods give you the best results, and what content marketing resonates most with your ideal customers.
Don't Forget To Repurpose & Republish
Last but not least don't forget that each and every piece of content you create this year can be used multiple times. That also goes for anything you created last year.
For example, if one of your goals is to publish a fresh lead magnet, browse through your blog archives and find a couple of helpful blog posts on a popular topic and compile them into a short report. Give it a quick edit, add a title page and resources section and you have your lead magnet.
Something else to consider is refreshing and republishing older blog posts. This works particularly well with epic posts and cornerstone content.
Read through the original post, edit as needed, add even more helpful info and then republish so it appears at the top of your blog. Then share with your subscribers and through social media as you would with any new blog post. This post is actually a great example. It will be easy to go back next January, change the year, and add a bit of fresh info before republishing.
We'd love to help you flesh out your content marketing and make it easy with pre-written content. Take a moment to shop the store, or sign up for one of our memberships here:
Business Content & eBook Membership
Self Help Content & eBook Membership
Take 50% off the first month of either of the above memberships when you use coupon code TAKE20OFF at checkout.
If you don't need all of the content that the above memberships provide then please do check out our Mini Content Memberships (available in Health & Wellness, Business, & Self Help) at only $17/mo making these a great choice.