4 Lessons from 2015 to Pump Up Your Content Marketing Strategies for the New Year

Content marketing is par for the course when it comes to sales tactics in the 21st century, but as the New Year begins, it’s time to reinvigorate your approach. Influencers change rapidly, relationships that impact your brand are constantly evolving, and new tools that measure these metrics are constantly being developed. Here are four lessons you can take from 2015 to maximize the success of your  content influence marketing strategies for the New Year.

    1. Remember the Basics

You already know what content marketing is and have most likely gone through a few different incarnations of strategy, given its popularity in business today. Business 2 Community reports that 93 percent of marketers utilize content marketing, so if you’re in that seven percent still behind the curve, it’s time to get in the game.

      1. Finding the Right Fit for Your Brand

It’s even become standard fare to have content marketing be the central focus of many companies’ marketing strategies, but there are certain fundamental basics you can’t forget. There’s the old-yet-new standby, blogger influence, but it’s not that simple. There are mechanics to content marketing that have nothing to do with actual content or competition, and everything to with effective management and organizational skills.

For example, in addition to explaining the basics, Content Marketing Institute elaborates and advises marketers to always put content marketing before social media marketing. This is the level of detail and understand you need to get into as a starting point if you haven’t already. Refining and establishing your content marketing plan should happen periodically, but especially at the end of the year when you’re reassessing your business’s annual results.

      1. Freshen Up Your Content Creation

You might have a great content creation team or work with an influencer who exerts massive sway over readers with blogger influence, but there comes a time when you need to switch it up. Just because you have great content doesn’t mean people are going to flock to your website, and that’s especially true if it starts to seem redundant or boring.

The next step, though, is figuring out the best way to do a refresh. Obviously you don’t want to turn around and fire a great content creation team or cut ties with an important influencer with whom you share a relationship. Convince & Convert suggests the possibility of creating your own influencers by pinpointing where your customers are in their decision making process, is perhaps the ideal solution.

They highlight three stages of a customer’s movements toward your product:

  • Research
  • Awareness
  • Purchase

If you can connect the customer at the right time to the person who can provide the information or action they’re looking for, then you’ve created a brand new type of blogger influence. This is the type of innovative approach to content marketing that you need to adopt in 2016.

      1. Write It Down, Since No One Else Is

It seems logical that if you develop a content marketing plan, that you would write it down and document it. Surprisingly few businesses actually do. According to a 2015 Content Marketing Institute study, only 32 percent of respondents had a documented content marketing strategy, 48 percent had a verbal version only, and 14 percent had nothing at all. These statistics reveal that, while content marketing isn’t a new concept, it’s an approach that still hasn’t been refined on the whole. This is how you get ahead of the game.

In 2016, it’s time to sit your core people down and devise a well-thought out, well-documented content marketing strategy. This will allow you to properly gauge metrics, and figure out what’s working versus what’s not. There is no bigger waste of time than creating content that doesn’t generate results, and the only reason that solid content wouldn’t be working for you is if you don’t know how to implement it properly.

The takeaway lesson from this gaffe of 2015 is deceptively simple: be more organized and make sure to write things down.

      1. Don’t Be Faceless

Have you ever read a blog post or a tweet with the author listed as a generic, faceless entity? That’s the kind of content marketing that doesn’t work. In addition to offering valuable content, you need to create a unique voice and personality that’s attached to what you’re putting out. Readers and potential customers will likely not connect to a blog post made by an author named “Staff,” which is a surefire way to drive readers away and not influence anyone.

The baseline lesson to take away from this information actually takes you back to the fundamentals of marketing itself: your customer has to believe you and the story you’re telling. One reason that the Internet has killed traditional marketing strategies is that people no longer want to be told what to buy or what they need. They often seek out information actively, and then venture deeper into a brand or product to understand what they can expect to find. It’s up to you to meet that expectation and initiate engagement by choosing to work with influencers who are good at crafting authentic content people believe.