Business owners and marketers can fall into the same traps as any person making New Year’s resolutions. Just as eating less and exercising more start off strong in January and tend to fizzle by March, so too can business and content marketing intentions that don’t become ingrained habits.
Well-intentioned resolutions are only temporary fixes if they don’t bring about changed behaviors that last. So just like someone trying to lose weight might be better-served by developing new habits based on new goals, so might a business improve its long-term success by forming new habits that support the end goal.
With that in mind, here are five content marketing habits to consider forming in 2018:
Be more visual
One of the trends of content marketing that seems here to stay is the necessity of visual elements. That’s how the search engines and social media work. Visual content is what draws people in and gets shared. If your content marketing platform is a YouTube channel, that’s great. But those who develop written content might want to get into the habit of asking themselves “How can I make this visually interesting?” That means including photos and short videos even with written content. Force yourself to become more visual with your content now, and it might become a habit that produces long-term results.
Be more informative
One of the trappings of content marketing – the use of content to advance the customer attraction and retention goals of a business – is the temptation to constantly sell. Overt selling has become less intrusive in many businesses’ content, but content marketers still miss the mark sometimes on providing information their customer base can really use. The message in content in marketing has evolved, to a degree, from “Why you should use this” to “How you can use this,” but there are some marketers whose content still lacks valuable information that their audience craves just because selling gets in the way.
Be more customer-focused
This goes hand-in-hand with being more informative. Content marketing is often called “inbound marketing,” yet some marketing content is still very much outbound-centric. Giving an audience a steady diet of the content they first came to you for is great, but it’s difficult to provide the useful, relevant information an audience desires if the marketer doesn’t understand the audience. Perhaps the prevailing attitude should not be “Here’s what you’ll get from our content,” but rather “What do you want to get out of our content?” If you can change your perspective a bit, you might be able to develop habits that provide more informative and customer-focused content.
A common complaint among content marketers is the difficulty of continuously coming up with fresh content. But if you can get outside of the content box you’re comfortable in, you might solve that problem. Maybe you can use contests or customer Q&A pieces that not only engage audiences but also provide you with new go-to content avenues. Maybe taking a contrarian position on issues in your industry will allow you to come up with more ideas. Maybe forcing yourself to create content that’s more local or, on the flip side, more global will help you generate ideas you’ve never seen before. Forcing yourself to change the subject matter and the format of your content might become a habit that not only leads to better content but also content that’s easier to come up with over and again.
Content creators and social media managers can fall into the habit of poor scheduling. Sometimes, this means creating five pieces on a Monday and posting one a day for the rest of the week. Or it can mean interacting with social media from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. each day, Monday through Friday. But this isn’t how audiences expect things. The internet has made this a real-time world. By being a bit more flexible with your schedule, you might be able to develop a habit of timeliness, posting and sharing content when your customers want it (and expect it) rather than when it’s convenient to you. The more you consciously force yourself to do this at the beginning, the easier it will become a more sub-conscious habit.
Content marketing continues to evolve, which means that marketers have to evolve, too. Those who recognize this might use the start of a new year to begin to make changes. But lasting changes come with developing new habits, and starting with these five goals might help lead to new content marketing habits for 2018 and beyond.