DEEP DIVE OF ANALYTICS.
Look at how various content initiatives did in 2018 and compare it to previous years (if you have comparison data). If you have a company blog, how have blog views done year-over year? Are they increasing? Decreasing? How have newsletters and emails performed? Which initiatives helped drive the most traffic to the website, registrants to webinars or downloads of your reports? Once you have these questions answered, brainstorm new strategies to increase these metrics in 2019, and evaluate what to repeat. Looking at metrics from a high level at year-end can help identify areas that need improvement and give you an idea of what to focus on for the year ahead.
UNDERSTAND OVERALL BUSINESS OBJECTIVES FOR 2019.
Compelling content is tied to a company’s overall business objectives for the year. Is your organization moving into another market? Focusing on improving client satisfaction? Adding or improving a product or service? The answers to these questions should inform the content you create in the year ahead.
For instance, you might focus on creating more value through different types of content to improve client or customer satisfaction. You may also consider partnerships if your company is entering a new market with limited brand awareness. Is there an organization you can team up with to create a new report or white paper? Similarly, is there an expert in your field you can interview in a webinar? Consider adopting new partnerships in the year ahead to expand your reach and offer your audience different perspectives. Then, create a plan to execute them and align content with the business’s goals.
Depending on the organization, the content you create could touch nearly every part of a company. As a marketer, it’s important to understand how to better support each group and work with different leaders. Ask for feedback from the various departments you work with. What did they wish they had more help with? What sales or leads came from content in 2018? What kind of feedback have they heard from customers? If others in the organization have content ideas for the year to come, encourage them to share! It can help you plan campaigns, themes and goals for 2019.
BUILD OUT AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR.
Once you've compiled the information you need to decide on the direction of your content marketing strategy, it's time to put pen to paper and outline the year ahead. Build a calendar that illustrates which content will go where week by week. This will help you visualize what will be published and when. That way, you start 2019 knowing which topics or themes you’ll focus on at any given time. it may change throughout the year, but the calendar will set a framework for what’s to come. A good editorial calendar should include blog topics and larger pieces of content like reports, white papers and webinars. In addition, evaluate major holidays and events affecting your industry and consider including content around those themes… after all, timing is everything.
Instead of brainstorming solo or with your immediate team, involve other perspectives to get better, new ideas. This could mean pulling in more people than would typically be involved in a brainstorm to put their heads together and get creative ideas flowing. The key is to make sure people who haven’t been part of a marketing brainstorm before understand the expectations and aren’t afraid to voice their opinions. Two heads are better than one!