I’m starting the New Year off with a list. Nothing too complicated, just 20 or so items written on the back of an envelope which will then be prioritized and then transferred to a whiteboard. The whiteboard will remain in clear view from my office desk at all times, gently nudging me into action whenever my eyes drift from my computer screen.

On my list I have a range of topics including blog posts, white papers, speaking opportunities, webinars, email campaigns, press releases, etc. etc. Some of these items will be dealt with quickly. Others are longer term projects (i.e. write another book) and some, towards the end of the list,may never happen at all but will help to inform a more complete strategy for the coming weeks, months, year and so on.

I prefer to schedule my projects with a simple list rather than detailed, lengthy planning sessions because it helps me remain agile while maintaining an element of discipline. If it’s on the list, I’m at the very least thinking about it and in moments of procrastination (of which I can be victim) it slaps me back into focus. Experience tells me, planning things in meticulous detail often delays and even potentially scuppers projects as planning takes priority over doing the job in hand. This isn’t to say planning is a waste of time – it’s just better when it facilitates action and does not lead to you asking more questions than need to be asked.

The real beauty of working from a list is the fact it helps me see the whole picture and envisage complementary ideas that will help me tick off multiple projects without the need to start from the ground up on each individual task. For example a blog post can lead to white paper which in turn can lead to a webinar or a presentation at a public event. It can just take a couple of good ideas to keep your content marketing strategies fresh for a significant period.

So what’s on your content marketing list? If you are stuck for ideas here are five ideas to help you start as you mean to go on.

2013 Content Marketing Strategy List

  1. Blog: Maintaining a good blog should be your number one priority. You should aim to update your blog with a minimum of three posts per week (although quality is more important than quantity, quality and quantity is better). If you are struggling to come up with fresh ideas for your posts check out this recent post on Business2Community.
  2. Webinars: Webinars provide a cost effective method of engaging a significant group of customers and prospects without the expense and hassle of leaving your desk. A good webinar will help solve a significant problem for your client base and help position you or your organization as a thought leader. Companies like GoToWebinar provide a 30-day trail of their webinar software, allowing you to conduct your first online events with an audience of up to 100 delegates at no cost.
  3. White Papers: More detailed than a blog post, a white paper is a downloadable document (normally distributed as a PDF) which delivers comprehensive insight backed up by your organization’s data and testimonial. Aim to publish these as regularly as possible especially if you work in a rapidly changing business environment.
  4. Online PR: Online news release distribution services like PRWeb can help you extend your reach beyond your blog and email marketing list. Don’t forget to include a solid call to action in your press releases. A good call to action will solicit a sale, an online registration or a request for more information. For six newsworthy ideas for your next online news release check out this post on BloggingPRWeb.
  5. Schedule People Time: In the online environment it is all too easy to forget about the people who pay your wages – real people (i.e. your customers). Take time to speak to them personally, find out what makes their lives difficult and how your service can help them. It’s always best to pick up the phone and speak to your customers but online survey tools like SurveyMonkey can help supplement your activity and give you a quick snapshot of wider opinion. Social media can also be a valuable tool for engaging with your public – but remember it will be far more beneficial if you use to host dialogs and not just broadcast

Email Marketing Joins the Dots

Email marketing is the recurring thread that joins up all your content marketing strategies and enables you to profit from your efforts. Email lists can be built via your blog, your webinar registrations, your white paper downloads and your social media and real world conversations. Regular email communications place your content and promotions in your subscribers’ inboxes, where they can archived, shared and engaged with. Email marketing also provides a solid platform where you can actively sell from (your customers will expect and even welcome this). Use your content marketing to evangelize, inform and position yourself, your products and your greater brand and then rely on email to turn this wisdom into income.

Is email marketing at the top of your content marketing list in 2013? For more information on how email marketing can help you meet your content marketing objectives download this free guide from iContact.