Marketing and Content Strategy 2018

Determining your content strategy and theme for 2018

Author: NOW Marketing Group December 19, 2017

Five steps to better content and tips we learned from Social Fresh

As we move quickly into the new year, many of you will be thinking ahead to what there is to accomplish in 2018. We’re all determining our personal goals and resolutions, but it’s also good to take some time to come up with a content theme and strategy for your business, too.

Presumably, you worked hard all last year on creating interesting and useful content. Now, you want to make it bigger and better. That takes some time, and, of course, planning. We recently had the pleasure of attending Social Fresh 2017, which had some excellent speakers and great takeaways.

We learned five steps that will help you (and us!) make better content and some tips that make it easier.

Before you start

There is an initial thing you have to do before coming up with a strategy for next year, and that’s to look to the previous one and figure out what you did right and what you did wrong. What worked and what didn’t? What mistakes did you make and what correct calls did you make? Did you hit your mark for 2017?

Look also ahead to the next year and ascertain what is in the pipeline for 2018. Will there will be any foreseeable business changes, like a new product or service? How can you get ready for these and roll them into the plan for the upcoming year?

Step One: Create a content mission statement

What is your content mission in 2018? Determine your why; why are you creating this content? Your purpose needs to be decided before you think about what to make.

Storytelling will be huge this year and will be directly related to why you’re creating content in the first place. You should be aiming to evoke emotion and foster a connection with your audience. Determining a real, meaningful “why” will help you create content pieces that will work to tell your story.

By telling stories, you’re also working to get attention. People like to hear stories, we have told them for thousands of years.

“Engagement is Dead. The new metric is attention.” – @carriekerpen #SocialFresh

But people aren’t going to pay attention to your story, unless they feel like it is meant for them or it is related to something they care about. So you have to understand why you’re telling the story and who the story is for. You content needs to be made for a specific, core audience.

The most critical skills we have working in social media – and the ones that make us human – are emotion and empathy. As we move to a world that’s increasingly automated and incorporating artificial intelligence, emotion and empathy will be what sets us apart. Automation and A.I. can’t replicate this.

By using emotion and empathy, we can keep our content real and fresh and human. This is what some of the top brands on social media are using, so they create great stories and have great strategy.

Step Two: Come up with fresh ideas

Once you have a purpose for your content, you can start coming up with ideas that will help you achieve it. How can you come up with great ideas? Per Jason Keath, come up with the bad ones first.

During brainstorming sessions, so many people are afraid of sharing their idea because they’re worried they’ll be bad. So by coming up with the bad ones first, you’re breaking that barrier and you’ll ultimately lead your team to the good ideas.

Bad ideas are a mix of absurd and obvious. They can be too expensive, too dangerous, or too far from reality. Or they could be too boring or too simple. But by listing them out, you’ll get more productive brainstorming sessions which will lead to good – even great – ideas.

Step Three: Upcycle your previous work

If you’ve been busy creating content throughout the last year, potentially you have a wealth of ideas that can be upcycled. Go through what you have, see what things were most popular or worked the best, and create something fresh out of them. For example, take a old blog series and turn them into a video series.

“80% of a brand audience would rather watch live video rather than read a blog” – @socialdiva

People want to give attention to video and they can make an impact for months. If you can capitalize on already good content you have, you can make it easier to create new things. Use it in multiple ways – long-form videos, infographics, live streams, podcasts, or short and sweet clips.

Step Four: Plan out your content for the year

Once you have your purpose, your ideas, and have considered which pieces of content to retell and upcycle, it’s time to make a plan for the year. Break out your calendar and map out which pieces of content will be produced, when they will go live, and which team members will be in charge of executing them.

Need to start a blog?

Your content plan will work out better if you collaborate with your team. Some people are better on camera, some are more suited to behind-the-scenes production and writing. Utilize people’s talents and place them where they will be the most comfortable and the most useful.

You can also plan out collaborations with other business owners and leaders, both locally and online. If you’re a real estate company, interview home stagers and create content around getting a home ready for sale. If you’re a fashion boutique, talk to a hairstylist and create content based around outfits and styling for different occasions. Combine talents and expertise to create something people are interested in and promote both of you.

Step Five: Have fun!!

Maybe you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut. Take a step back, reenergize, and remember to be yourself and have fun! No matter what kinds of content you’re creating or what the subject matter is, it’s important that it’s enjoyable. Okay, maybe not everything is fun, but there should be a way for you to have fun with it and to make it relevant for your audience.

Be you. Let people see the human side of your brand. Whether you’re a small business, a large company, or a solopreneur, share micro-moments and let people in to see the more intimate moments that will happen. Yes, you should plan out a content theme and strategy for the year, but don’t forget to be spontaneous!

There you have it! Five steps to help you become prepared and organized for the new year. What’s your theme this year? Let us know in the comments below.

We held a live stream on this topic! Check out our #TrainingTuesday video for more information on how you can prepare for 2018.

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