5 Steps towards Becoming a Better Content Marketer in 2014

Although we are now almost a quarter of the way through 2014, it still isn’t too late to get your content marketing house in order. Below, I outline 5 ways to get back on track and stay there but please remember; you must be CONSISTENT with your marketing efforts. Too many companies try something for a short period of time and if it isn’t an overwhelming success right off the bat, they quit and try something else. In order to succeed, you need to commit to the following steps and persevere.

1 – Have a Strategy

Well hello Captain Obvious! Yet apparently, it isn’t as clear cut as one might think since over 80% of companies that admit failing at content marketing say that they began a campaign without any defined strategy. While having a plan doesn’t guarantee success, statistics show that not having one almost guarantees failure.

To come up with an effective strategy, you will need to have goals and objectives as well as knowledge of your target audience. In order to get that far, research into all of the above is required; find out how your rivals succeeded or why they failed.

2 – Improve Your Writing

If you are a control freak and must not only steer the ship but also carry out every other function (not recommended), you can improve as a writer to avoid having to pay someone else to do it. On Writing Well by William Zinsser is a classic, some may say antiquated, book on writing non-fiction.

You don’t have to switch to a stuffy academic writing style; in fact, a conversational or casual style is probably better but you do need to pay attention to spelling and grammar. While it is good to throw in a fancy looking word every now and then, it is usually better to stick to everyday language.

3 – Try Something Different

Think about what you did in the realm of content marketing in 2013 and resolve to do things completely differently in 2014. Obviously, this is only necessary if your previous marketing efforts did not provide the results you hoped.

For example, if you were creating a monthly newsletter in 2013, switch to a weekly update that is a little bit shorter. Open your horizons and try to find new ways of using content marketing. Only through the process of experimentation will you find something that works.

4 – Strengthen Calls to Action

Calls to action are what puts food on your table yet so many companies treat them almost as an afterthought. Tossing in a CTA at the end of your content really isn’t good enough. You could write a masterpiece of sales content but ruin everything by having a woeful call to action at the end.

Additionally, shake things up a bit and don’t just wait until the content is concluded to throw in a call to action. Successful sales letters often have several calls to action cleverly spread out throughout the copy; the more chances a lead has to make a purchase, the more likely he is to take action.

5 – It’s All About Content

Ultimately, the quality of what you write will dictate how successful your content marketing strategy is. First and foremost, you need to focus on creating only amazing pieces so your company becomes associated with premium quality. This means research, planning and a potentially lengthy piece that will have tremendous benefits to readers. Don’t waste your time and that of your customers by throwing in ‘fluff’ pieces thrice a week.

You should also consider taking a step outside your comfort zone and try new kinds of content. While traditional blog posts still work well, a video or audio blog can work wonders for your visitor count. Create an e-book or podcast and test it out to see how it performs; the results could surprise you.

If you want to find the kind of success that others have achieved through content marketing, you must resolve to change the way you’re doing things at present. If it didn’t work in 2013, it is even less likely to get results in 2014. While you may not be ready to take on the world yet, implementing a few of the above tips should ensure you’re in great shape for 2015 and beyond.