As the year begins, savvy content marketers are gearing up for a busy 2023. Now’s the time to take a retrospective look at your content marketing activities, determine what worked and what didn’t, and optimize your strategy for the new year.
Want to set up your content team for success? Below are eight critical housekeeping items to take care of as your marketing team plans for 2023.
1. Define measurable goals for the New Year
Your content marketing strategy should start with clearly defined goals. Consider the desired result you want to see from each content type. Is brand awareness top of mind, or should you focus on lead generation? Or perhaps you want to get more website visitors.
Document the goals that are most important to your organization’s strategic direction and understand how you’re going to measure success.
For example, if lead generation is top of mind, consider how many leads you want your content to bring in. Or, if it’s brand awareness, decide on how many views you want on your website and social media channels. Once those goals are defined, you’ll know what content types to focus on in 2023.
2. Conduct a content audit
Now’s the time to look back at your content library and consider what content pieces are due for an update or need to be archived. This applies to your content design templates as well as the text. Has your brand look changed over the past year? If so, you may want to plan to overhaul your crucial piece of content to reflect your brand’s new look and feel.
You’ll also want to look at the dates for each piece of content. Is it older than two years? If so, it may be time for a refresh. This could be as simple as adding new research metrics, or it could be a complete overhaul. Conducting a content audit will give you visibility into which resources need to be updated.
3. Create a content marketing report
A key aspect of your content audit will rely on running reports. Reporting will also help as you set your goals for next year. This is because it enables you to understand what content was most successful and which pieces you should likely retire. It can also provide insight into where you can make minor tweaks, for example, updating a title. If you have a resource that isn’t getting a lot of views, it may make sense to update the title before archiving that piece.
Reporting will show you which of your current content pieces has been successful and that you’ll want to continue using. This knowledge will also shed insight into which pieces of content can be repurposed. For example, if you have an eBook or a white paper performing well, turn that into a blog post or pull pieces for an infographic. Basing new content on your most popular resources is a fast way to create unique, quality content.
4. Look at what your competitors are doing
Evaluating your competitor’s content is a cheat sheet for improving your content. Check out your competitors’ content strategy and see what they do differently. You can see which keywords they’re targeting with various keyword tools, which industries they’re targeting, and what publications they’re showing up in.
5. Determine Your content marketing channels
When determining which content marketing channels to use, you’ll need to understand which channels your customers and target audience use. Conduct buyer persona research to either validate your current personas or make updates based on industry changes to provide insight into the channels your target audience is frequenting.
Common channels include email, social media channels, your website, and your blog. Evaluate each of these areas and see which needs to be optimized depending on this year’s success.
6. Do your keyword research
The goal of crafting quality content is to get it in front of the right people. You’ll need to do keyword research to drive success in this area. This sets the stage for your content plan and will help improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). An effective keyword strategy will help you rank higher and increase your content’s visibility.
This effort should be continually updated to stay up to date with the core keywords and topics in your industry. What worked last year may not be as effective in the future. Continuous changes to your strategy will help keep your content fresh and help you reach your intended audience.
7. Plan your editorial calendar
Once you conduct your keyword research, pick the best channels to invest in for next year, and do your competitor research, it’s time to plan out your content calendar.
This step involves planning content that speaks to your target audience, pulls them in, and keeps them coming back.
Once you’ve done your due diligence, it’s time to put those ideas in motion. Your editorial calendar will keep those great ideas organized, help you establish a distribution cadence, outline the asset types, and show who is responsible for writing each asset. It will help you keep track of deadlines and ensure that all necessary parties approve your content before it goes live and is posted on time.
8. Create a content promotion & distribution plan
Once you’ve created your editorial calendar and your content pieces are underway, you’ll need a promotional strategy to optimize that content. This may consist of email nurturing campaigns that strive to generate leads or a social media plan to promote your resources regularly.
Much like your editorial calendar, you should keep a plan for your promotional activities. This provides visibility into each task across the marketing team, enabling multiple roles to work together to achieve success.
Elevate your content marketing success in 2023
Taking the time to craft an effective content marketing plan is certainly worth the effort. There is no shortcut to success and no greater teacher than in the past. Look back on your content to see what can be applied or amplified for 2023 and what needs to be put to rest.
Good content marketing relies on continuous improvement. Follow the housekeeping steps above to be in a position to craft a strong content plan and ensure that it reaches the right audience.
Need help? 2023 is coming up quickly. Learn how ClearVoice can help you elevate your content strategy.