I know what you’re thinking: “How can it already be 2015? I wanted some time to plan, but I’m still trying to catch up with all the industry advances, changes, and opportunities that came rocketing at me in 2014.”
I’m sure most of us can commiserate – no matter what we’ve accomplished in the past year, our industry changes so fast that it’s hard not to feel like there’s something we missed or could have done better.
The good news is that there’s always time to up your game when it comes to content marketing, and we have a stable of experts who provided need-to-know tips, tactics, and techniques for doing just that. If you’re ready to start the new year feeling prepared to tackle any content marketing challenges that come your way, read on for some killer ideas that will help you reach your goals.
Many of the most successful content marketers seem to have one key thing in common: They developed a content marketing strategy to guide their ongoing efforts. As we’ve seen in our annual research over the last few years, those with a documented content marketing strategy feel significantly less challenged with every aspect of content marketing.
Whether you are starting from scratch or want to tweak your strategy to optimize your results, these resources will help you cover all your bases.
- Content Marketing Strategy 101: Make it a Game
- Developing Your Content Marketing Strategy: What You Need to Know
- 3 Steps to Overcome the Fear of Building a Content Marketing Strategy
- 2 Essential Elements for Getting Started With Content Marketing
- The Ultimate SEO Checklist: 15 Steps to Optimize Your Content Marketing Plan
- 6 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Stale Online Content Marketing
- 7 Thoughts That Will Change Your Content Marketing Strategy
- 10 Steps to Scale Your Content Marketing Strategy
- Use These 3 ‘Cs’ for More Popular, Engaging Content
- 4 Steps to a B2B Content Marketing Strategy that Drives Revenue
- Content Marketing Strategy: 3 Ways to Measure Success with Google Analytics
- 3 Strides to a Sustainable Content Marketing Strategy
Data and research:
- 6 Steps to a Data-Driven Content Marketing Strategy
- How Facebook Fans Can Inform Your Content Marketing Strategies
- How to Use Data to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy
- How to Turn Research Into Content Marketing Strategy AND Tactics
For more guidance on content marketing strategies, download our 16-page guide, The Essentials of a Content Marketing Strategy.
Teams and processes
Content marketing isn’t just a technique – it’s a shared mindset that requires buy-in across the organization. But even after you have your executives on board, you still need to put the right people and processes in place to ensure that your strategic goals are met. Check out the following advice on the key components of effective content marketing operations:
Roles and skills:
- 10 Content Marketing Roles for Success in the Next 10 Years
- Build A Go-To Team That Can Conquer Any Content Marketing Challenge
- Why Your Content Marketing Team Needs a Marketing Technologist
- Build a Successful Editorial Plan: Essential Skills Your Team Needs
- How to Find Trained Content Marketing Professionals
Process and workflow:
- 5 Steps to Reduce Frustration and Create Effective Content Workflows
- How the Right Tech Can Improve Your Content Marketing Workflow
- A Content Marketer’s Checklist: Editorial Calendar Essentials
- 12 Ways to Tap Into the Content Creators Within Your Organization
- How to Make Content Creation a Benefit for Your Team — Not a Burden
- How to Create Cross-Functional Team Synergy for Content Marketing
- Kick Off Successful Content Marketing with a Pilot Program: 10 Steps
- How to Pitch the Power of Content Marketing to Your Boss
- 6 Steps to Managing Internal Change for Content Marketing
- Rocking The Digital Asset Management Stage of Content Marketing
- Digital Assets Management: 3 Tickets to the Blockbuster Content Marketing Show
For more on teams and processes, check out our eBook, The State of Content Marketing Operations for the Enterprise.
Content creation is where the fun part begins, but it can often be the most intimidating step in the content marketing life cycle. The options are endless, but this makes decision-making difficult. Not to mention that consumers’ voracious appetite for valuable content can test even the most creative-minded professional’s ability to continually come up with new ideas.
The following tips, tricks, and techniques should help you bust through writer’s block, maintain high-quality standards, and keep the pump primed with content in a variety of engaging formats.
- The Great Content Checklist: Tips, Tools, and Examples
- 5 Vital Classes of Content: A Simple Framework
- A Quick Exercise to Find Big Ideas for Your Content Marketing Strategy
- The Sticky Note: A Stupid-Simple Approach to Better Content Marketing Brainstorms
- How to Find the Right Writer for Content Creation
Tools and techniques:
- The Content Marketing Pyramid: Create More With Less
- Why Content Creators Should Care About Adaptive Content
- New Data: Mix Types of Content for Successful Content Marketing
- A Guide to Creating Content in the Formats Your Audience Loves
- Is It Time to Hand Consumers the Keys to Your Content Creation?
- Create More Effective Content Marketing with the Active Reading Technique
- 9 Content Curation Ideas for Bulking Up Your Editorial Calendar
- 5 Ways to Make Your Content Marketing More Memorable
- 3 Strategies to Stand Out From the Content Creation Crowd
- Take Your Event Beyond Its Venue: 4 Content Marketing Ideas
Ideas, inspiration, and issues:
- How Creating Content Could Sabotage Your Revenue
- Ideas to Spark Your B2B Content Marketing Imagination
- Killer Content Creation: Learning from Inspiring Brands
- 7 Ways to Respond to Plagiarism as the Content Creator
- Ideas for Creating Content That Are Actually Unique
- 10 Ways to Inspire Your Inner Content Creator
Take a page from the experts when it comes to creating elegant, engaging, and just plain cool content marketing efforts – check out CMI’s eGuide, 100 Content Marketing Examples.
Visual content and design
Content marketing has reached a point in its digital evolution where words alone are no longer enough to keep customers and prospects engaged and loyal. In 2014, image-centric content formats and platforms reigned supreme. Newer visual marketing platforms like Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat were granted true marketing legitimacy, while the old standbys of infographics and videos were challenged by the need to keep innovation and inspiration alive.
Here are some great suggestions to help brands create distinctive visual content that demonstrates both creative vision and value:
- Visual Content: The Key to Effective Brand Storytelling
- Tips for Maximizing the Storytelling Impact of Visual Content
- Use Visual Content to Engage Your Audience: 9 Tips and 25 Examples
- 4 Steps to Take Video Content Beyond Ads
- Using Video Content to Tell High-Emotion Stories: Nonprofit Marketing
- Optimize Your Video Content: A Simple 5-Step Process
Special formats and functions:
- How to Keep Infographics from Ruining Your Visual Content: 8 Rules
- How to Tell a Compelling B2B Story Using Comics
- Make Your Visual Content Stand Out With a Signature Brand Look
- 4 Ways Visual Content Can Enhance Your Ecommerce User Experience
Tools and tips:
- What Keeps Brilliant Visual Content From Being Shared
- The Visual Content Inspiration You Need: Standout Examples
- How to Create Visual Content with this Simple, Dirt Cheap Tool
- Visual Content Marketing on 3 Major Networks: Ideas and Inspiration
- 10 Canva Tips That Will Help You Become a Visual Content Master
Get inspired by some of the best visual content marketing examples out there. Check out our Visual Content Look Book:
For additional perspectives on visual storytelling, check out our Twitter chat with Buddy Scalera.
Performance and measurement
To language-minded content professionals, looking at numbers can sometimes feel like being lost in a foreign country – you don’t know the language and aren’t quite sure how to get to your destination. But content marketing measurement doesn’t have to be intimidating. The following posts provide some guidance that will help you navigate the most critical metrics for your particular needs.
- A Single Version of Truth: One Key to Content Marketing Measurement Success
- 3 Ways to Improve Marketing ROI with Video Content
- 3 Tactics to Optimize Your Website Content with Social Intelligence
- Content Marketing Optimization: Focus on ‘Critical Few’ Metrics
- 10 Tips for Creating Content That Converts Like a Champ
- Effective Content Marketing: 5 Steps to Track Your Efforts
- The One Change Facebook Made that Led to $1 Billion
- Measuring Marketing Effectiveness: Find Out if Your Content Converts
- An Investigative Approach to Social Media Content Analytics
- 6 Ways to Measure B2B Content Marketing Performance
- 6 Ways to Measure Webinar ROI
- A Quick and Easy Content Marketing ROI Tip Sheet
- Missing Elements in the Content Marketing ROI Equation
- Prove Your Commitment to Achieving Content Marketing ROI
- Content Marketing NEXT: How to Get a Greater Return on Your Content
Tips and tools:
- 8 Metrics to Conquer a Content Marketer’s Fear of Measurement
- Finding the Right Content Marketing Measurement Tools: Expert Advice
- A Simple Plan for Measuring the Marketing Effectiveness of Content
- Prove Content Marketing ROI with a Performance Scorecard
Still need some help getting your analytics skills to measure up? Check out this handy chart created by Pawan Deshpande at Curata.
Content distribution and promotion
If you want your content to be successful, you need to do everything you can to make sure it gets in front of the right audience at the right time. Whether you want to build a strong network of subscribers, syndication outlets, and paid spots, or just rely on the kindness of influential strangers in your target industry, the following tips should help you skillfully spread your message to the masses.
- 5 Steps to Mind Map Your Content and Increase Its Reach
- A 3-Pronged Plan for Optimizing Your Online Content Distribution
- How Headlines Can Help Your Online Content Find Its Audience
- Publish Content Where It Will Reach Your Target Audience: 3 Key Steps
- The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing: Strategies, Templates & Tools
- 5 Steps to Get Followers to Amplify Your Best Content Marketing
- 6 Tips for Influencer Marketing from an Influencer
- 4 Tactics for Managing Your Army of Influencers
- Thought Leadership Strategy: A 3-Step Framework for Influencer Outreach
Paid promotion and native advertising:
- Help Your Owned Media Hit its Goals: Combine Earned and Paid Promotion
- How to Use Facebook Ads for Content Marketing: The Ultimate Guide
- Buyer’s Guide: Content Discovery and Native Advertising Tools
- 6 Tips for Promoting Your Great Content with Advertising
Publishing partnerships and guest postings:
- Building 4 Key Relationships Every Content Marketing Strategy Needs
- Finding Potential Content Publishers: A 3-Step Outreach Process
- A Content Marketing Plan for Turning Your Influencers Into Partners
- Blog Content: The Future of Guest Posts and Date Stamping
Want more expert insights on expanding the reach of your content? Take a look at our CMW Roundtable discussion on how to turn customers into brand fans:
Now, I’d love to hear from you: What are your favorite lessons from 2014 that you’ll be taking into 2015?
Want to be even more prepared for content marketing challenges in 2015? Sign up for the Content Marketing Institute Online Training and Certification program. Access over 35 courses, taught by experts from Google, Mashable, SAP, and more.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute