With the rolling over of the calendar, many people are taking a moment to reexamine their lives and make changes in the form of New Year’s resolutions. While some common resolutions involve personal health and well-being, they don’t have to be strictly personal. The new year can be an effective time to reevaluate what did and did not work for your business in the past year. If you didn’t meet the goals you hoped to achieve, it might be time to reexamine your business’s content marketing strategy.
But before you start on your marketing vision board for 2022, it’s important to acknowledge some of the pitfalls that come with resolutions. After all, a staggering amount of these declarations end in failure. In this article, I review best practices for creating lasting changes in the coming year both for yourself and for your business.
Building The Scaffold For An Effective Content Marketing Strategy
When it comes to setting your goals, it is especially important to have accountability checks in place. It might be helpful to think of the changes you want to make to your content marketing strategy as constructing a building. Before you begin putting in the floors and walls, you must first have a blueprint for what you want to achieve.
It can be tempting to start with the end goal first. Perhaps you want to grow your audience, sell a certain amount of product or sign a specific number of clients. But to follow the construction metaphor, this is like putting in wiring before setting up your foundation. Goals are an important part of making significant changes to your business, but those same goals need a framework on which to stand. If you want to build an effective content marketing strategy, my suggestion is to do away with the traditional resolution entirely.
Instead, it might be helpful to consider a New Year’s theme. This idea was popularized by YouTube creator and podcaster, CGP Grey. A helpful video describing the topic can be found here. To summarize, a theme can act like a compass, pointing you in the direction in which you want to take your business. In contrast to a resolution, as long as you continue to move in the direction of your theme, you have not failed. This can be helpful because marketing for your business is a process that takes time. In fact, you may go months without seeing results. However, with a yearlong theme to guide you, you can be confident you are still making progress.
So, what are some marketing themes that might work for your business?
- Year of Less – This theme can be especially helpful for identifying areas of your content marketing strategy that aren’t working. Perhaps that means taking a look at what platforms you are using for your content creation. It might be the case, for example, that Instagram, which skews younger in terms of demographics, may not reach your audience of those 30-40 years old.
- Year of Consistency – One of the best ways you can support the growth of your business through your content marketing strategy is to provide consistent, reliable content. This theme is helpful because it can evolve to fit a content creation schedule that works for your business. While some businesses might benefit from creating two posts a day, that may not be the case for your business. This theme allows room to experiment with what works for you. If you find that your original estimate of two posts a day doesn’t work for you, you have not failed. You have continued to move toward your theme of creating a consistent schedule for your content.
- Year of Optimization – Similar to the Year of Less, this theme can help you address how your content marketing strategy is and is not working for your business. If throughout the year one of your strategies is not effective, gaining that knowledge still moves you in the direction of your theme. As long as you continue to grow and learn from the results of your content creation, then you are on the right track.
But what if these three marketing themes aren’t the right fit for your business? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you come up with your own theme.
- What worked for you last year?
- What didn’t work for you last year?
- What content marketing strategies have your competitors been employing?
- What demographics would you like your business’s content to reach that it is not currently reaching?
- What would you like your business to look like by the end of the year?
Even if you do have a clear idea of what your theme will be for next year, taking some time to answer these questions can go a long way toward building up your content marketing strategy.
Now that we’ve established a strong foundation on which to grow your business, we can address the topic of goals.
Crafting Effective Goals For Your Content Marketing Strategy
By no means do I think that goals should be done away with entirely. If constructed in a mindful way, they can be effective tools for accessing motivation and acknowledging personal achievements. When marketing for your business, an objective can also ground and specify what might otherwise seem like a broad theme.
Not all goals are created equally, however. To make sure your goals are in service to your content marketing strategy, it’s important that you be S.M.A.R.T. about it according to Indeed. S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
- Specific – When you’re choosing goals, it is important that they are narrow. The steps to reaching your goals should be clear and understandable.
- Measurable – How will you know when you have achieved your goal? Whether it’s the number of followers you will gain or the number of blog articles you will create each month, having a metric you can consult to mark your progress and know when you have completed your goal is essential.
- Achievable – One of the most common obstacles to a goal’s success is scope. When setting your goals, make sure to assess what steps are necessary to complete your goal.
- Relevant – This is where your theme is particularly helpful. As you are creating goals, ask yourself how this goal will move you in the direction of the theme you have chosen for the new year. For example, if you choose to make 2022 the Year of Less, this is probably not the time to set the goal of adding a new platform for content creation.
- Time-based – When do you plan to achieve your goal? Take a moment to evaluate how long the process can take. When it comes to growing your audience, for example, it might not be reasonable to expect your audience to grow from 300 followers to 3000 followers in a month.
With this acronym to help guide your goals, you are much more likely to see them through to completion. Now that you have your theme and your goals, it’s time to get started!
Three Strategies For Your Content Marketing Strategy Theme
Meet your audience where they are with your content creation and you will see results. Whatever theme you choose for 2022, here are a few strategies to keep in mind to help make this year the most successful one yet.
- Keep your audience in mind throughout the content creation process.
The kinds of content that will work for one audience may not work for another. As you move through the content creation process, ask yourself if the content you’re creating is something with which your audience will want to engage. It might be helpful to follow content creators that your audience follows. Immerse yourself in the topics and language that your potential audience uses.
- Create content in a timely, consistent fashion.
Even if your theme is not consistency, your content marketing strategy should include a consistent time that you will post your content. Having a regular schedule not only trains your potential audience when to expect content but also helps with search engine optimization and driving more traffic to your business.
- Engage with your audience.
Part of building a successful social media account involves showing your audience that you care. Ultimately, people don’t come to social media to make a purchase. People come to social media to pass the time, have fun and interact with like-minded individuals. If you want people to interact with the content you’ve created, you need to show them that you are there. When people do interact with your posts, take some time to respond back. Show them that you are more than just a business.