content-marketing-strategyA new year means new content marketing activities, and 2016 is expected to be bigger than ever: A whopping 76 percent of B2B marketers say they plan to produce more content this year than they did last year, and 72 percent of B2B content creators say their top priority for 2016 is to create more engaging content.

Amid all of this growth, content marketers might be feeling increased pressure to produce, along with fatigue at the prospect of content shock among their audiences. Rather than resigning to content mediocrity, use some of the tips below to reinvigorate your strategy and get your creative content juices flowing again.

1. Shed some weight

No, not from your waistline. Perform a content audit and retire any outdated, obsolete or underperforming pieces. If content has become embarrassingly stale or addresses a topic that’s no longer relevant to your business goals or audience, give it the heave-ho—it’ll be liberating.

Old content and broken links clutter up internal and external search engine results, and can give an innocent site visitor a bad impression of your brand. Clean it up or throw it out to protect your user experience. Use 301 redirects to point visitors to the new version of a permanent page and preserve search authority.

If you recognize the kernel of something valuable in a particular piece, try reimagining it in a different format or style to see if you can extend its legs. If a piece hasn’t performed well, but you think it’s a winner, investigate whether it was promoted in the right channel, to the right audience, at the right time. If you find that it wasn’t, give it another promotional shot.

moz-content-auditImage source: Moz Content Audit Tutorial

2. Prune your evergreens

Examine content analytics to identify high-performing evergreen pieces—like blog posts, eBooks, videos, infographics or webinars—and spruce them up for re-promotion. These are some of your most valuable content assets, so invest some time in keeping them relevant and visible.

hubspot-analytics.jpgImage source: HubSpot Analytics

3. Lighten up

Spread some smiles by injecting humor or playfulness into your content. Even the most staid B2B brand can benefit from a touch of levity on its blog or social media channels. Weave a (non-controversial) pop culture reference or trending topic into your content, or show your team being silly and having fun at work.

As Kathy Klotz-Guest writes, “Start small, have fun, see what works, and then do more of the stuff that your audience connects with.” If you deliver a chuckle to your readers, swell; if they come away with an impression of your brand as more human and relatable, even better.

marketo-facebook-page.jpgImage source: Marketo Facebook page

4. Set your intentions for the year

If you haven’t already, set goals for the year around content creation and distribution. Strive to get input from across your organization to determine how your content efforts can best support your sales team this year.

After your tactical objectives are in place, think even bigger by making a pie-in-the-sky wish list for your content team and its output. Are there any audacious benchmarks you’d like to reach in lead generation, engagement or production? What about organizational efficiencies that could help streamline or govern content processes? Dream big, content marketers.

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5. Invigorate stakeholders

Take key players off-site for a content ideastorm. Getting out of the office really has a way of spurring creativity. You could keep it in the family and just convene with your core content team, or go wild and invite thought leaders from other teams and business units. Brainstorm new processes that could encourage people outside marketing to collaborate, contribute content ideas or become active brand evangelists on social media.

To get the most out of brainstorming sessions, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Identify a leader or facilitator to keep things organized.
  • To use time wisely, establish structure by employing the sticky notes method or a fast-paced round-robin discussion.
  • Ask participants to “brainwrite” on their own beforehand so that everyone has a chance to share their ideas.
  • Record next steps and agree on a timeline to avoid losing all those great ideas to the brainstorming abyss.


6. Refresh your look

When was the last time you updated the look and feel of your website? If your site design feels outdated, your user experience is clunky, or your brand has changed significantly, it’s time for a redesign.

If your website’s in good shape, consider creating fresh graphics to use across your social media properties. Update the banner images on your company’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube pages throughout the year to align with your latest campaign messaging. Use this cheat sheet to check required dimensions for various social media platforms and images.


7. Shake things up

If your content activities are starting to feel rote, it could be a great time to test out a new promotional channel or content format.

Are your competitors seeing success with deep-dive technical webinars or a quirky new Instagram presence? Maybe you’re targeting a new audience segment, and you’d like to try authoring a guest post for a trade publication they read religiously.

Rather than following any new whim, pick your pilot projects strategically. Be sure to measure the results of the test and share them with your team.

staples-instagram.jpgImage source: Staples Instagram photos via HubSpot

8. Plant seeds for upcoming growth

If an expanded content team, CMS migration, or new content marketing platform was on your big-picture wish list, get a plan in place for making it a reality.

Start planting those seeds in the ears of key stakeholders (and holders of purse strings). Flesh out a business case for big investments so you’ll be ahead of the game when budget time arrives.

hubspot-slideshare.jpgImage source: HubSpot via SlideShare

9. Visualize success

Visual content is expected to be a big focus area for brands in 2016. According to Mass Planner, infographics are liked and shared three times more than any other content type, and CopyPress found 51.9 percent of marketers believe video has the highest ROI of any content type.

Get in the game with your own videos, SlideShare decks, infographics and graphic-filled eBooks. If you’re not already incorporating compelling visuals into your blog posts and social media content, there’s no better time to start than now.

hubspot-infographics.jpgImage source: HubSpot

10. Breathe and get centered

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the growing demand for new content coupled with increasing competition for attention online. If you feel like you’re being pulled in too many different directions, take a step back to refocus on your core objectives and resolve to do fewer things better in coming months.

Do a gut-check to examine how your content efforts need to support business goals. Then you can move forward with the confidence that you’re investing time and resources where they’ll have the most impact. Emphasize quality over quantity to make sure this year’s content marketing efforts are as targeted and effective as they can be.