Okay, so I know I’m a bit late to the game, but I’m sure I’m not the only person who has spent the first week of January a) trying to desperately catch up on work neglected over Christmas and b) mourning the end of the chocolate free-for-all and evenings watching movies and eating nibbles.
But now I’m ready. I’m 100% ready. To start 2015 anew and make those darn resolutions. I have to admit I’ve felt a tinge of guilt as friends start new healthy regimes while I’m still chowing down on a yard of Smarties, but this is only January and, to steal the adage, “it’s better later than never”.
The same goes for your content marketing plans for 2015. If you’re hoping to ramp up your strategy this year, take a look at these resolutions you should be keeping over the next 12 … well 11.5 months!
1) Spring clean old content
One thing I am early for is a spring clean, but there is no time like the present when it comes to going through old content on your site and giving it an audit. Thanks to multiple Google algorithm changes over the years, you may have copy on your site that is longer effective at improving your search rankings – in fact, it could be doing the opposite!
Typically speaking, the more content on your site, the better, as it shows you have a history – not only with your customers but with Google itself – and makes you look like an authority on your subject matter. However, if some of that content is laden with keywords and is not of good quality, it’s time to chop and change it. A simple edit could do the job and you may find it has a great impact on your monthly visits.
2) Get organised with your content
I love being organised. The idea of spreadsheets, timetables, calendars, filing and setting reminders gives me a bit of a buzz – but I also understand that I’m somewhat strange in this. It doesn’t matter though, because if you want to boost your content marketing this year, this is something you really need to do.
Firstly, come up with a content strategy – what type of content, how many articles, who you’re going to target and how etc. Once you have this in place, create an editorial calendar. If you plan your content methodically so that it is a) spread out evenly, b) in line with product launches, c) coincides with occasions that your readers will be interested in and d) includes important dates that are relevant to your business (conferences, events, sales etc), then you have a system upon which you can begin your content strategy.
You can then calmly start outsourcing copywriting services according to when you need it, without that urgent rush to get something written before the moment has passed. In short:
Planning ahead = getting a good writer in time = getting good content.
3) A picture is worth a thousand words… kind of
As a writer, I can’t 100% agree with this as the words used on websites have a huge significance in their success, but… images and videos will play a massive part in content marketing campaigns in 2015.
Any social media user will be familiar with posts such as “61 Things You Didn’t Know About Friends”, which a lot of us (guilty!) click on for the funny content, but also – let’s face it – for the images.
Video and image distribution will become even more popular this year, so it is worth considering what infographics, photos, cartoons or videos you can add to your content to encourage customers to share them with their friends – and hopefully, make your webpage go viral.
4) Measure your content’s value
I am constantly bleating on about how valuable content is in the success of marketing campaigns, but this year is the time to get serious about it. Be clever with how you analyse your content production and make sure you keep up to date with website analytics.
This will help you determine the return on investment (or ROI to you and me) from your content. By doing this, you’ll be able to focus your content strategy on what produces the biggest return and, subsequently, invest more in areas that work particularly well for you.
Let’s keep it simple – if you owned a cafe and your maple syrup pancakes regularly outsold your pain au chocolats, you would invest more in marketing and selling your pancakes, wouldn’t you? The same goes for your content. If, say, your blogs are driving a huge amount of traffic to your website but barely anyone is looking at microsite pages, invest in good-quality content on your blog to capitalise on this and boost website visits even more. Simples.
5) Most importantly – keep up to date with Google’s updates
Google seems to launch a new algorithm update all the time, which can be a bit confusing if you don’t make a big effort to keep up to date with it all. In brief, they’ve introduced the EMD, Top Heavy, Panda, Penguin, Payday, Pirate, Hummingbird and Pigeon Updates just in the last four years.
So that’s five resolutions to be getting on with this year. Of course, there are plenty other improvements you can make, but if you only do a few, make sure it’s these. They could make all the difference to how successful your online marketing strategy for 2015 pans out.
Now excuse me, I really must put down those Smarties…
Are you making any New Year's Resolutions for your marketing plans this year? Leave a comment and tell us what they are!
The world wide web has completely changed since the internet went public 20 or so years ago. While back in the day it was exciting to go online to find out the answer to a question (remember Ask Jeeves?), now we use the internet for … well, nearly everything.
And though you may not give much thought as to what appears on each website or social media platform, there is a whole industry out there engineering the way you gain access to information over the web. So much has developed since the internet launched in 1989 (or about ten years later in my suburban household) that it’s no surprise there will be more changes again in the next 12 months.
If you want to find out what we think will be the biggest developments for content marketing in 2015, read on.
Companies wanting a return on investment won’t just be looking for the number of hits, Facebook likes or shares, they’ll be interested in how long visitors spend on their website, how often and if they revisit, and whether they have a strong engagement on their webpages.
Carefully choosing the right content for your site and having it written well will have far-reaching benefits – ones that businesses will be able to track on Google Analytics and other clever devices. Therefore, the importance of good-quality copywriters will grow next year, as companies begin to sort out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to content marketers. For those of us who value (and produce) top-notch content, we have nothing to worry about. Phew.
When I say speedy content, I don’t mean to imply we’ve reverted to the days of banging out article after article just to keep content flowing on websites. Speed in this instance refers to reaction time. Brands are no longer faceless companies that just provide products or services to their customers. They now have a voice, and subsequently, when big things happen, they should have a reaction.
Whether these ‘big things’ are world events, industry changes or new trends, it doesn’t matter; what’s important is your business responds and responds quickly. This can be a Tweet, a Facebook post or a full story on your website. Whatever it is, you should say it quickly before talk of the subject dies down, and these days, that can be a mere 24 hours.
One great example of this was achieved by Simon Rimmer's Greens Restaurant in Manchester. The same day UKIP leader Nigel Farage made a booboo (ignore the pun) on the radio when he said breastfeeding mothers should sit in the corner of a restaurant, they released this message.
It captured the eatery’s opinion (giving it a ‘face’), as well as capturing the interest of over 7,000 people on Facebook alone. Having a reaction to things can be scary for a company, as they don’t want to alienate any clientele. However, 2015 is all about really knowing what a brand stands for, and that means saying what you think on some of the most talked about topics – that is, if you want to be talked about yourself.
Everyone’s been bleating on about the importance of social media for years, but you can’t really ignore it. It’s become an unstoppable force and one that continues to grow. Ten years ago, there were echoes of ‘Facebook’ in the corridors of my university. Now, 1.35 billion people actively use Facebook every month. That’s insane.
It isn’t just Facebook though – since 2004, the likes of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and many more have launched, and people can’t get enough of them. That’s why it’s so integral to a company’s marketing strategy to have a presence on one, if not all, of these sites. (On a side note, feel free to look, like and share our Facebook page ;) ).
The way social media influences what we see on the web also means that content marketers have to work hard to make sure their pages are seen. How often do you go on a webpage and see a Facebook icon or a ‘share’ button? I’d say pretty much all the time. When you click on these buttons, social media remembers the sites you’ve been on and tailors the posts, adverts and content on your feed to your interests.
As a result of this, what you view on social media is narrowing, as it gets better at showing you just what you want to see. What does this mean for content marketing? Well, it means it’s vital to capture the interest of the user from the offset; this way they can remain on their social media feeds, instead of being the brands that fall by the way side.
Success in content marketing
The world of technology will continue to evolve, and who can say what the industry will be like in two or more years? One thing that will remain fundamental to the success of any website or brand though is the value of content. Without a website that attracts, entertains and engages people, none of the rest really matters.
Read my thoughts and ideas on the latest search engine updates and copywriting trends that could improve your business marketing plans.