We’re coming to the end of January already; by this point, most people will have given up on all of those New Year’s resolutions that were so promisingly written down at the end of December. In fact, we’re long past that day — known as ‘Quitter’s Day,’ the 12th of January is officially when most people falter and call it a day on the New Year’s resolutions.
If it’s exercise-based, then we understand; it’s hard to build up your motivation to go for a jog when you’re tired and you’d much rather be sat in front of the TV with a glass of wine (so that rules out Dry January as well).
We’ll let it slide when it comes to the classics — we’re all guilty of making and breaking those resolutions year upon year. Keeping up with your content marketing new year’s resolutions, on the other hand, is something you definitely need to do.
Staying fresh and on-trend with your content marketing is pretty essential if you want your brand — or the clients you’re working for — to stand out and be relevant in 2019.
Below we’ve compiled a list of the five content marketing New Year’s resolutions that you need to keep this year.
1. Invest in learning
Get your content marketing for 2019 off to a bang with some good old-fashioned education.
Do you know what the best writers say helps them to become as successful as they are? Reading and learning! It’s not rocket-science: read up on changes within the industry you’re working in. Stay abreast of the latest news and trends in digital marketing.
This will make it so much easier for you to craft content that is perfect for your site — and for your audience. You want to hit the mark with all of your content; writing on a subject that is no longer relevant is a waste of your time and money. Even worse, it will start to tarnish your online reputation.
Take some time out of each day (or a few times a week if you’re a busy business owner without much time on your hands) to do some learning. Watch some LinkedIn Learning training videos. Start following thought leaders in your industry on social media and start clicking those links to their most recent articles.
Further your learning by signing up to high-quality online courses that will teach you how to understand and apply emerging digital marketing techniques and technologies to your career and business. You can focus on an area that you’d like to specialise in, or learn more about others, be it social media marketing, SEO or data analytics.
2. Plan out this year’s content calendar
If there’s one content marketing New Year’s resolution you keep this year, it should be to make a content marketing plan and stick to it.
Don’t leave writing until the very last minute if you’ve got a looming client deadline or your business’s blog needs a new post. This is how you end up with unhappy customers, or behind schedule with your blog posts (more on the importance of this in our next point).
Content marketing treads a fine line between creativity and logic, art and science. It’s important to write interesting, engaging posts of course, but simultaneously, your articles and posts need to include keyword research and rank well with search engines. They also need to reach the right audience at the right time on social media or email marketing to reach their full potential.
Setting up a content calendar at the start of the year will help you to manage your time and plan out your research, writing and promotion for each piece. This will ensure that your posts remain high-quality and high-ranking, while still allowing you to hit targets with quantity.
Use last year’s content as inspiration: which topics and posts generated the highest number of clicks, leads and social shares? Use your success stories as a starting point for planning 2019’s content. You can also recycle subjects and posts by approaching them from a different angle, or doing a deep-dive into the topic.
By all means, leave space in your calendar for moments of inspiration — there could be a content idea that just pops into your head and you have to write on. Or there could be changes or big news within your industry that you need to take into account when posting.
3. Always promote on social media
Now that you’ve spent some time planning out a content calendar detailing what you’re going to be writing about for the next six months to a year, it’d be silly if no one got to read your content because you haven’t told anyone about it.
Don’t ignore social media — it’s a waste of a good article and hours of work if you’re not going to promote properly. You want your followers on social media to notice your posts and click through to your site.
Align your content creation with your social media presence. In the same way that you’ve planned out your future content with an editorial calendar, you can also make a social media planning calendar.
There are plenty of social media calendar tools out there that you can use to support your content strategy and coordinate your marketing across all of your social channels.
Many of these will allow you to queue content, set scheduling options, and tag with a post ‘type’ to ensure you’re shaking things up with a variety of posts styles. Such tools will normally have analytics features as well so that you can see how posts perform, and how you can optimize.
4. Write MORE
Granted, upon first glance, this New Year’s resolution seems particularly vague, but hear us out.
We’re talking lengthy posts and writing more frequently.
Both of these are essential to have a successful content marketing year in 2019. Let’s have a closer look at the first part of this resolution.
Long-form content — posts over 2,000 words, preferably 3,000 — is more successful when it comes to ranking: fact. (just check out Neil Patel’s stat-driven — and long-form — blog post to see the proof). Of course, not every piece of content you write has to be super long. Customers wouldn’t expect a 3,000-word email to appear in their inbox, and if you’re adding thousands of words to a landing page, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Although writing a long-form post may sound daunting, particularly if you’ve been writing 700-word posts so far, you’d be surprised at how quickly your word count builds up. Just remember to keep your post structured, and avoid rambling.
Next up: posting more frequently. If you’re a copywriter or a digital marketer with a passion for content, this may be easy. However, continually writing may not be your idea of fun if you’re an e-commerce store owner without much time on your hands. However, after setting up an online store, content marketing is one of the most effective ways to earn more attention, build better relationships, and gain more customers, so the motivation should be there. Just remember: e-commerce store blogs don’t have to be boring or too salesy — you can easily make your post fun and engaging while building on your store’s brand.
5. Do something you love
Sometimes us creatives get too carried away with the romanticised notion of a tortured artist. It’s a classic trope: the stressed writer, hunched over a laptop in a coffee shop, nipping out every five minutes for a cigarette, forgetting that there are well over four pens now lodged in your messy bun or tucked behind your ear.
Why do we pride ourselves on getting stressed over our work?
A happy content writer is a good content writer.
Take the time to do something you love this year when it comes to your content. It could be writing more on your own personal blog, or bumping up your social presence with some fun posts.
If you’re an online store owner, focus on your values. Whether it’s your product or XX that you’re really passionate about, channel this passion in your writing. Your content marketing doesn’t have to be a box to tick; it can be fun to do, too.
If you’re a freelancer or agency, it could be picking clients that are truly aligned with your values, or your agency’s values. Perhaps you’ve worked with clients in the past that you’ve really connected with; seek them out and tell them how much you enjoyed your partnership. Maybe you’ve been admiring a prospective brand or client for a while now? Reach out and show them what you could offer.
Want to have a happy new year? Keep these five content marketing New Year’s resolutions and make 2019 your break out year by brushing up on your content marketing skills.
Patrick Foster is a writer and eCommerce expert from eCommerce Tips — an industry-leading eCommerce blog dedicated to sharing advice and business insights from the sector. Check out the latest news on Twitter.