Now that January is behind us – and we’ve all broken our resolutions – let’s focus on some new changes for our business and our marketing. Here are some tips for making your content marketing better in 2015.
Before you get all twisted up in knots just thinking about starting over with your content marketing, realize this: the key to improving your content marketing in 2015 is NOT starting over.
The key to improvement is re-evaluating what you’ve already been doing, re-assessing your audience and their interests, and re-investigating the competitive landscape.
Even if you were king of the heap last year, great results aren’t guaranteed going forward just because you keep doing the same great stuff. Your competitors are, of course, going to take measure of your success – and everyone else’s – and do what they can to close the gap or surpass you.
Investigating the Competitive Landscape
This doesn’t mean you fall into “react” mode. You still have to be clear on your goals. You simply have to change the way you reach those goals. In other words, if you’re shooting how-to videos at your desk with a webcam wearing a t-shirt while the rest of your industry is doing professional video production with trained on-screen talent, you may have to reconsider your approach. (Unless your content is really, really good and your t-shirt is really, really hip …)
As you take stock of how the competitive landscape has changed, you may want to record your findings each year to see what trends are developing and which competitors in particular are doing well or lagging.
As you get a sense of what’s changing, you can decide how to fold those changes into your own approach. But don’t run off to make those changes, yet. First take a look at your audience and how their interests have changed.
Assessing Your Audience’s Interests
Your first reaction here might be to think that this is redundant since you’ve gained some insight into what the audience is into just by looking at what your competitors are doing successfully. That’s only part of the story, though.
You have your own metrics to look at – more on that below – which will give you a more micro view of your audience rather than broader industry trends.
Don’t forget, though, that as a content marketer, you’re really a publisher. Your motives and goals are slightly different as a content marketer, but you use many of the same content tools. So, think like a publisher and see what publishers in your field – or in other fields that cater to your target audience – are doing and what they’ve added to their content mix over the prior year.
Evaluating What You’ve Already Done
Finally, remember that your metrics are perhaps your most valuable data as a content marketer. Evaluate in terms of what resonated with your audience.
Evaluate in terms of what you were able to produce efficiently. If it costs you more to produce content than that content generates in additional revenue, you’ve got a problem.
Finally be sure to pay attention to both process metrics and outcome metrics. Process metrics are the interim metrics that help keep you pointed in the right direction: measures of reach and engagement such as likes, subscribers, click-through rates, site visits, page views and so on.
Outcome metrics are those metrics than everyone with a C in their title cares about: lead generation, revenue increases, or even cost savings, in some cases.
We’re generally in favor of focusing on the future, but taking a moment to look back over your shoulder at the results of the past year is a great way to ensure that this year is even better.