How to prepare your 2018 content marketing strategy

So, somehow we’re nearly halfway through November. Lord knows how that happened. But, with a New Year looming, it provides us with the perfect excuse to freshen up our creative skills and prepare our 2018 content marketing strategy (unless you’re really organised and already have that nailed and ready to go).

What have you learnt this year? How is social media working for you? Is it time to try out some paid advertising? How about video, have you dipped your toes into that world yet? Here are some handy tips to get that 2018 content marketing strategy looking super sharp and ready for results.

Variety is the spice of marketing

Posting regular blog content is still an essential element of any content marketing strategy; but it’s not enough on its own. Why not expand your horizons next year by posting informative videos and podcasts? As a copywriter, I can’t stress the importance of written content enough – for both the purpose of engaging your audience and improving your website’s SEO. But it’s no secret that users’ attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, meaning interesting visual and audio content is more important than ever before.

The rise of social media advertising

There was a time when social media advertising was reserved strictly for giant brands with limitless budgets. Not anymore. The use of advertising on social media is growing and there are many more options to try it out without breaking the bank. Organic growth has actually seen a significant decline in recent times due to the change in algorithms across all social media platforms. This means it’s almost essential to spend even a little on advertising. Test the waters with Facebook before branching out to Instagram, Twitter and even Pinterest. Each social media platform has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on your target audience – choose and curate content accordingly.

Video killed the text-only star

The days of relying on text-only content are gone. The use of engaging video storytelling has grown from strength to strength in recent years and it shows no signs of slowing down in 2018. If you’ve got the budget for it, we’d highly recommend hiring a copywriter to write a video script and a videographer to bring it to life. But if you’re strapped for cash, it can be just as impactful (and even more personal) to create your own videos – even if you use your phone. If you’re lucky enough to have a creative team, allow them free reign to pitch some ideas to you for what your videos could include. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and be creative – these are often the videos that get millions of shares!

Keep connected to your community

Interacting with your audience has never been easier. Whether it’s through participating on Facebook Live videos and Twitter chats or using LinkedIn for business, social media provides endless opportunities to seek out a community and stay connected with them. But it goes beyond the screen of your phone or laptop. It’s still vital to get out there and meet your potential customers and clients face to face. Attend events, network and participate. It really is that simple.

It’s no longer acceptable to check out on Friday afternoon and get back to your customers or clients on Monday morning.

Communication is key

Following on from the previous point, continuous communication is essential to staying connected with your community. If you’ve noticed a drop in online growth, this could be down to the fact your communication has fallen behind. Keep an eye on the comments on social media and your blog – ensuring you respond as quickly as you can to questions and requests. This not only keeps your customers satisfied, but proves that your content truly matters to you. It’s no longer acceptable to check out on Friday afternoon and get back to your customers or clients on Monday morning. Your business needs to operate 24/7, no matter how big or small.

Don’t underestimate email marketing

With the constant evolution of content marketing, you’d be forgiven in thinking that perhaps now slightly older methods such as email marketing are less important. Think again. Email marketing is still a crucial part of any content marketing strategy, as it’s such a direct and impactful way of getting your message across to your audience. But that’s not to say it’s not evolving. If you’re not doing it already, make 2018 the year you include personal messages, offers and videos in your email marketing. This could include exclusive access to discounts, webinars, free eBooks etc.

Stay agile

Make sure you leave enough gaps in your content calendar to be agile and join of-the-moment conversations. Of course it’s important to plan themes correlating with annual festivals and the like, but in an ever-moving digital landscape and 24-hour news cycle, you’ll want to ensure you can jump at the opportunity of joining universal conversations. If it suits your audience, why not hire a graphic designer to create some fun memes for you? You never know, they could go viral…

Measure your content marketing results

As important as it is to create a decent content marketing strategy as we prepare to enter another year, it’s highly likely that this strategy will evolve as the year progresses. This could be down to new trends emerging in the digital landscape, but it’s also bound to be down to your varying results or ROI. It’s so important that you keep track of these results if you’re not already; in particular the number of authentic website subscribers, how many times your content has been shared on social media and whether your customers are making purchases. Google Analytics is still your best tool to keep track of your digital performance and sales.

Whatever your 2018 content marketing strategy ends up looking like, just make sure you check in with it frequently. Not only to ensure you’re sticking to it, but to modify and tailor it to match both the results you’re receiving and what’s happening in the industry. As you and I both know well, the digital world is constantly moving. It’s important we don’t get left behind.

Are there any key points I’ve left out for creating the best content marketing strategy possible for 2018? Let me know in the comments below.