This article originally appeared in our weekly ‘Industry Roundup Newsletter’ that goes out every Friday to marketers around the world. Join them by adding your details here.

A very Happy New Thingummy-Bob to you. Hope you had a great break over Christmas and New Year. Now…WORK.

Everyone bangs on about the new year/new you vibe don’t they (we may have written a couple of newsletters with that exact subject line in fairness)? But realistically, it’s bollocks. It’s like the whole ‘I’ll start my new fitness regime…on Monday’ trap.

You’re the same person you were on December 31st. Deal with it.

However, as arbitrary lines in the sand go, it’s more definitive than most. And while your personal resolutions fail within a month (as 80% of them do apparently), now is the time to make solid marketing resolutions for the year ahead.

So what do these look like? Do more video? Be more active on Instagram? Develop a new website? If so, stop. Right now.

These are all noble aspirations, of course. But they don’t constitute a strategy.

First, you need to define your goals. Get yourself crystal-clear on why you’re engaging with content marketing.

Next, set up your reporting. Highlight the key metrics indicate success in your marketing push. If your goal is to create inbound leads, do you have the right goals set up on Google Analytics, do you have an understanding of where these leads are coming from? Is it documented?

Get to know your audience. Conduct some serious research into your target markets. If they listen to podcasts every day but rarely use YouTube, why are you thinking about video? If they’re on LinkedIn, why target Insta?

Understand your competition. What are you up against in the market? What separates you from them? Where are the opportunities to differentiate yourself?

Define your sales processes and work out where content can bolster every stage, from enquiry to conversion.

Finally, develop a strategy to delight your existing customers. They’re likely to refer and recommend; they’re a great source of additional revenue and these relationships can be solidified with the right content at the right time.

Just like those personal fitness plans for 2018, it’s much easier if you have a goal in mind, have allocated specific workout days to build great habits and keep track of your progress at regular intervals.

Don’t just jump on a machine and start running. You’ll fall over.

Of course, if you need a personal trainer for all this…get in touch.

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I’m the Head of Content for Future Content and the man in charge of words. As a former journalist for a number of publications, from Chat to MailOnline to that’s Shanghai, I have a wealth of editorial experience and a way of making words do good.