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6 New Year’s resolutions for content marketers

With the New Year well under way Christmas seems but a distant memory as we struggle to get back into the swing of things.

Christmas campaigns have been reviewed and plans for Valentine’s Day content are in full flow. But no matter how fruitful your 2014 was, there’s always room for improvement—and instead of sweeping the disappointments of the last year under the rug, why not use them as a platform to improve performance in 2015? Here are six content marketing New Year’s resolutions that are sure to get your 2015 off to a flying start:

1. Set achievable goals
Concentrating on setting feasible short-term targets is often trickier than it appears—everyone wants to dream big, particularly at the start of a new year. First of all, you need to understand your key performance metrics at both a campaign and strategic level. Likes, shares and tweets are all well and good but how will they translate into traffic and sales?
Like all marketing, publishing and promoting content is a test-and-learn process, however there is an lot you can control — whether that’s where you promote content or how much you budget. Tracking content performance is key, whether you track refers from landing pages or redemption of discount codes. Goals can only be fulfilled if they are measured effectively.

2. Identify your target audience and understand where they spend their time online
The old phrase is “content is king.” That’s true—but you can only produce great content if you understand who you’re trying to reach. In 2014, the YouGov profiling tool made a big splash, and served as a great reminder to marketers that segmentation allows for greater nuance in marketing activity.
Promoting content is always a challenging task, and any credible website understands the profile of their traffic — so you should conduct outreach based on potential reach. There are plenty of metrics one can review to determine reach, be it traffic, social stats (followers and engagement), email reach as well as SEO metrics such as Page Rank and Domain Authority.

3. Invest more in less content
With the growth in content marketing the Internet has become even more littered, and while it’s clear that much time and money is being wasted, it’s better to spend just a little more time getting it right. This means greater planning, higher quality production and a budget set aside for paid content promotion. You only have to type in “Christmas infographic” into Google to see the problem content marketers face.
Making the most of your budget requires a tiered approach; Tier 1 could be quarterly or seasonal campaigns, where the focus is on big content driving monetary outcomes (PR with cross channel content). Tier 2 could be tactical campaigns that don’t cost that much but are proven to deliver results (social media competitions). Tier 3 could be regular day-to-day content that you know you need to create to maintain your visibility (on and off-page content).

4. Be social
Social network: the clue is in the title. This doesn’t just mean posting articles, blogs and ads on all of the major players in the social network spectrum, it means focussing on the platforms that are right for you and building a community to regularly engage. Competitions are a great way to grow an audience, as is paid promotion. Once you have an audience it’s important you create a content calendar to underpin your social media strategy. This needs to fit with your available resources otherwise you will quickly fall behind.
As well as writing your own blogs, you should read, like, share and comment on the blogs of others as much as possible too. This allows for the exchange of feedback and the building of trust. It’s time-consuming, but this sort of organic communication is what all the big search engines are looking for.

5. Equip yourself for mobile
If your site is not already mobile-capable, remedying that should be top of your 2015 resolutions list. Not only has Google been very clear that mobile capabilities will directly impact SEO results, a massive portion of your target market relies on a mobile device for their internet browsing options. 72% of people polled by Google have expressed a desire for mobile-friendly sites, while almost half of all emails in 2014 were opened on a mobile device. Don’t miss out on these potential customers.

6. Keep track
All good content marketing should be aligned with an SEO strategy. One of the many benefits of content marketing is generating quality backlinks to help improve your search engine rankings. However, it’s not volume that matters, it’s quality—these days, content marketers need to understand the entire environment in which their content and links live. Some key questions to consider:
• Who is finding your content? Are they new or returning visitors?
• How long do they engage with it? Do they refer others? Share socially? Do they go on to buy?
• Does your audience move further along a conversion pipeline? Do they move laterally, or do they bounce?
• Are dead or low-quality links dragging you down?
• What key sites are finding and elevating your content? Referring domains?
• Are your paid content promotion efforts working? Do they generate organic engagement and traffic?

Remember, analytics aren’t just there to make impressive graphs—they should provide actionable insights you can use to improve your on-going content marketing activity.
Here’s to an enjoyable and rewarding 2015!