The new year brings with it an opportunity to refresh your approach to both work and life. For those whose work includes creating content, the process by which content is created is as important as the subject matter.
As you shift your gaze to 2023, consider the “how” of content creation along with planning your editorial calendar. Develop a framework for content creation that can take out the guesswork, ensure accuracy and drive brand-building results.
1. Review Past Performance
Just because the new year provides a clean slate doesn’t mean you should create content without considering what’s come before. You want your new content to fill gaps in your current asset inventory. You should also want to build on the success of content that’s done well. So before jumping in, spend some time examining your performance data and analytics.
If you’ve already got a solid bank of content, take a look at what pieces have resonated with your audience. Review your website metrics, social media sharing and SEO performance. Identify themes across well-performing content and consider what they’re telling you. For example, if you are in the finance industry look at all the different finance publications to see which pieces of content performed the best. These media sites are completely focused on creating engaging content. There’s likely something that you can learn from how their content performs.
Sometimes, it’s a topic that trended well thanks to industry interest or newsworthiness. Other times, your assets attracted traffic because of format, readability or discoverability. Pay attention to details like images, videos and the number of links, all of which can be performance factors.
2. Establish Meaningful Goals
Simply creating content isn’t enough; it’s essential to align each published piece with a purpose. Assign pieces both new and old with a strategic goal that the rest of your organization is working toward.
If you want to upsell your existing clients to a higher-level package, for example, identify what components will help you accomplish that. Perhaps your customers will be persuaded by case studies showing how other clients have used your enhanced offering to cut costs or increase revenue. Or a side-by-side comparison of features might prompt them to make the jump.
Keep in mind that focusing on views alone will do little to drive revenue. Establish goals that align content to customer action, utilizing click tracking and cookies (where possible) to monitor customer engagement. Review customer feedback data to identify potential pain points, paying special attention to qualitative feedback. Use what you learn to clarify your objectives, which can be used as a checklist as you develop content.
3. Plan Your Content Strategy
Creating goal-aligned content that addresses your customers’ needs and wants is only half the battle. Making sure it reaches them is the other half. To prevent your content from falling into an internet black hole, you’ll have to prioritize the distribution component of your content strategy.
Depending on the goals you’ve established, you might publish your content on your owned channels, third-party sites or—most likely—a combination of the two. If your objective is lead capture, a gated white paper on your website could hold the key. When you’re aiming to increase brand credibility, you’ll need to garner mentions in trusted third-party publications. Earning backlinks to that white paper from high-authority outside sources can help you achieve both lead capture and SEO goals.
Your content strategy should thus include what type of content you’ll produce and where you’ll post it, but don’t forget to consider how else it can be used. A how-to article can provide the copy for an infographic, social media carousel, video or all of them. Look at each piece of content as the framework for multiple iterations, which can increase your reach and produce the most bang from your content buck. Plus, by leveraging already created content across multiple mediums, you can attract different persona groups.
4. Set Deadlines to Keep Up the Momentum
Deadlines make a difference in nearly every facet of life. A concrete due date can spur results in a way that “at your earliest convenience” won’t. Yet your deadlines will depend on more than just the speed at which content can be developed. If you’re working in a highly regulated industry, for example, you’ll need to build in time for legal review. Establish a deadline-driven review process that keeps you both compliant and nimble in the new year.
Consider your strategic goals and the stakeholders involved in your process. Identify what types of content need to be reviewed, by whom and how long they’ll need. Together with the relevant parties, determine acceptable turnaround times, which can help your content team plan accordingly. If subject matter experts need three business days, your team will know when to turn in copy for review. Agree on what to do when certain individuals are out of the office.
Plan for the unexpected and establish backup plans for every variable you can think of. Manage delays by banking evergreen content and identifying types of content that don’t require review. The more contingency plans you can create, the more consistent you can be with your content creation and distribution. Use your team’s collaboration tools to assign deadlines and create accountability across departments. This can keep your cross-functional team on target and on schedule.
Deploy Your Content to Grow in 2023
Content is a complement to your business, but it’s also a means to serve others. You may be striving to earn more clients and increase revenue, but your reader likely needs answers or a solution to a problem. Keep your readers’ needs in mind as you align your content with your 2023 goals.
When you use your subject matter expertise to address their issue, you help achieve both their objectives and yours. The more value you can provide, the greater your brand credibility and 2023 revenue will be.