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Explore the past to plan the future

Any good manager knows that it is necessary to examine the previous year to make improvements moving forward. As the year winds down, it is important to ask the questions that will help achieve this:

  • What worked?
  • Where did we have the most success?
  • What did not work?
  • What was revealed after examining what did not work?
  • Were the pursued results actually achieved?
  • What needs to be done differently?
  • What changes were made in 2016 that were improvements from 2015?

Be sure to take time to understand what the biggest challenges for 2016 were, how they were handled and what might be done differently in the future. Did your staff have the hours and tools to cover your clients’ needs? Did you find yourself scrambling to find experts in new industries? If so, an outsourced content marketing firm like Tempesta Media would be a good fit for you in 2017.

Work smarter, not harder

According to Demand Metric, 90 percent of all organizations use content in their marketing efforts and 78 percent of CMOs believe custom content is the future of digital marketing. If your client is not in the content marketing game already, you know they need to be. For 2017, attention should be paid to a content strategy that focuses on that client’s target audience.

Go back to basics as you plan the the content strategy:

  • Specify business objectives: Does the client want more website visitors or more subscribers to the newsletter? Planning ahead and identifying these objectives provides a guide as people move forward with actionable steps.
  • Set goals: Up-front, identify how success will be measured and at what intervals those statistics will be examined. Monthly? Quarterly?
  • Develop a core message: This is a key component in making the client’s brand unique and distinguishable. Keeping true to it will ensure value of the content.
  • Use the right tools: Determine how the target audience will best receive the message. Is social media appropriate? Will newsletters work best? How often should blog posts be written?
  • Keep an editorial calendar: A good plan is organized with information about what will be delivered and when. This is a must-have component to keep content prioritized, get everyone on the same page and ensure that content is delivered on schedule.

As you take these steps, review workload and availability of staff. If overall your team does not have the bandwidth to produce all the required content, seek a partner that can help with blog posts, white papers, newsletters and other vital content.

Consider budget

In an effort to get clients to understand the importance of marketing, Cathey Armillas, author of the award-winning The Unbreakable Rules of Marketing: 9½ Ways to Get People to Love You, quotes Henry Ford: “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”

It is extremely important to produce the appropriate content, even if it is an investment. Research by the Content Marketing Institute shows that companies spend an average of 26 percent of their total marketing budget on content. While dedicating that amount to a budget may be difficult, it is helpful to remember the impact good content has on the company overall beyond ROI. It not only impacts marketing and sales, but can trickle down to affect brand and customer loyalty, investor relations, employee engagement and even talent recruitment. And if you’re already making the investment, an extra investment in expert content (while saving your own time) is more than worth the expense.

That’s so 2017

When you look at what worked best for you in the past, it is important to keep in mind that you will likely have to change it up to be successful as you move forward. Be sure to stay on top of new trends to keep your clients in the mix.

In 2017, consider the following when planning content strategy:

  • Purpose-driven marketing: The Content Marketing Institute says businesses need to understand not just what they offer or sell, but the “why” of their business. During content creation, it is important to create relevant content for the audience. While it may be easy to convey what a company sells or provides, CMI suggests writing about why the product or service impacts customers and prospects.
  • More email newsletters: Over the years, other ways to reach the consumer have popped up. It led marketers to believe the newsletter was dying off. On the contrary, Forbes says it is a trend to watch in 2017. Open rates are up. Thus, if the client does not already have an e-newsletter, this may be the year to start.
  • Video: According to Buffer, 83 percent of marketers would create more video content if they had time and resources. By the end of year, most major social media platforms will enable users to not only create and share video content, but livestream video. While it’s not necessary for every video to have a script, having a plan about content is essential.

Finally, as you begin to map out your strategic partnerships and corporate strategy for 2017, be sure to consider Tempesta Media as your outsourced content marketing provider. We provide expert content at a fraction of the in-house cost. We’ll even develop a content marketing strategy for you. Contact us to learn more.

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