New year, new you. Whether you find the phrase relatable, or it makes you cringe so hard your skin crawls, there’s some substance in it.
After all, there’s a whole element of psychological reasoning behind the practice of New Year’s resolutions. The first of January allows one chapter to close and another to begin. It allows us to put some distance between our present selves and the year just gone. That includes, of course, our past failures.
For us marketers, January is always a busy time of year. It’s Q1, the beginning of a brand new slate. It’s a great time for an audit, to review what is or isn’t working, or to analyse the perception of your brand. For some, it’s a popular month to devise a new sales, marketing, or social media strategy.
Whatever your overarching marketing plans for Q1 and the rest of 2022, now is a prime opportunity to refresh your content strategy. In this blog, we’ll help you do just that. Here, you’ll find advice on how to optimise your content marketing, as well as actual ideas to help you shake things up and create better content this year.
There’s a reason 90% of organisations use content in their marketing efforts. It’s a hugely effective marketing medium, and it’s cost-effective too. In fact, it can cost up to 62% less than traditional marketing methods, yet can generate up to 3x more leads.
But to be properly effective, your content needs to be good. It must talk the talk and walk the walk. The internet is absolutely brimming with ‘content’: ad after ad from brands, personal posts, promotional efforts from would-be influencers. To stand out from the white noise of search engines and social media, your content must be exceptional.
Similarly, you don’t finalise your content strategy just once. Online algorithms are constantly changing, so your plans must, too. Content marketing is one of the most reactive fields out there; a small change in the algorithms or popularity of social platforms can create ripples that deem a year’s worth of campaigns redundant with no prior warning.
If you’re doing the same thing you were a year ago, you’re doing it wrong. Here are 22 ideas to shake things up and create better content this year.
If a major change is needed, this is a great place to start. Devising a thorough strategy will help you align your business objectives with your social media or other content goals, making them more actionable and achievable.
A proper content strategy involves supporting data, like competitor analyses or buyer personas which you can use to influence specific campaigns or promotions.
A content calendar is an extremely useful tool both for staying on top of your content, and ensuring that a regular output of content is going out across your chosen channels (whether that be a selection of social media platforms, a blog on your website, or a regular newsletter sent via email). Planning in advance can streamline both the creative and strategic sides of content management.
Crafting content pillars to support your overarching strategy is an excellent way to achieve your goals. Aligning each content pillar with a business objective will help you to measure and continually assess your goals, to make sure you’re staying on track.
A content pillar can be anything, from sets of posts or blogs with particular themes or set topics to much broader categories. These could be things like...
Particularly relevant if you’re trying to dominate social media, your engagement rate is an important metric to measure if you’re aiming to build a rapport with your audience and grow brand love and loyalty. Crafting content that aims to engage your audience - asking questions, provoking emotions and responses - is a definite art, but make sure to avoid the temptation of engagement bait.
Creating content that is genuinely entertaining is a rare skill, but when executed well it can work wonders for your brand.
Strategy is one thing, creativity is another. It can be difficult to continually come up with fresh new ideas to post, especially on social channels, which usually require more frequent posting. If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s a few to spruce up your content this year.
UGC is another useful tool of social proof. Consumers are more likely to trust your brand after they see other customers enjoying and recommending your services or products.
As long as these are relevant to your brand, quotes can be a great way to break up the usual stream of repetitive content.
Similar to the above, memes should always be relevant to your brand and its values, or at the very least your products and services. Here at ITK, we’re big advocates of meme marketing; this is an easy to source, cheap to create form of content, that’s ideal if you’re looking for entertaining types of content. Many of the biggest brands out there now use meme marketing, and their efforts are well known for going viral.
Polls are fantastic ways to spark debate, generate engagement and responses, and get your brand’s community talking. Whether you’re addressing major concerns in a B2B sector, or getting feedback from your audience on a new product or service, polls can easily spice things up.
An engaging, aesthetically-pleasing way to share information, research and interesting statistics - without subjecting your audience to a mini essay. Infographics are as engaging as they are informative and educational.
From a LinkedIn slideshow packed full of helpful, educational information to an Instagram carousel that shows your brand in its best light, carousels are a versatile content format that can have a lot of value for your business.
If you need something to spring your audience into action, an offer or sale is a great way to boost sales and conversions. Similarly, a competition is a fantastic way to quickly grow your following or to grow your organic reach. Remember though, once you’ve got them to follow, you need to keep them - don’t think that giveaways or sales are a permanent replacement for other, more high value types of content.
Like the above, a lead magnet is really useful for finding new leads or increasing conversions, particularly in B2B spheres. Create a high value piece of content, like a PDF, whitepaper or even an e-book, and distribute it via your socials in exchange for sign-ups.
Excellent quality content can be reused time and time again. If you’ve put time and energy into conducting thorough research, or you’ve come up with something particularly innovative and creative, find new and exciting ways to put it to use.
Video content is on track to world domination. In fact, almost eight out of ten marketers feel that video has a direct impact on sales. If you don’t want to be left behind, you need to make sure it’s a part of your plans for 2022.
Video doesn’t have to be something big and scary and intimidating. Video marketing doesn’t have to involve massive amounts of budget, and it doesn’t require extensive knowledge on creating lengthy, professional videos. Get started with video content by learning the ropes of TikTok and experimenting with reels. These can be cross-posted on other platforms; a huge benefit, as most algorithms reward video content.
In the same vein, stories are a great tool for getting around those pesky algorithms. This year, devote more time to your Instagram and Facebook stories - this is a great place to experiment with short form video too.
If you are comfortable, long form video content can be an extremely valuable resource. If you’re an expert in a subject, you could experiment with IGTV, Facebook lives and YouTube - you could even work towards hosting webinars, especially if you work in a B2B sector.
The human attention span seems to get smaller every day, but that doesn’t mean that long form content is redundant. Blogs are an excellent way to boost SEO and offer high value content to customers who take the time to browse your site.
While they take longer to write than social posts, you can easily repurpose blogs into bite size bits of content that can be distributed onto other channels. Plus, blog shares on social are a good way to increase web traffic.
Earlier, we mentioned the value of a content calendar. While planning your content in advance is great for streamlining the process, it’s important to balance this out with reactive content. Staying on top of current content trends and relevant news in your industry can help you create in-the-moment content that really resonates, and often actually performs better - adding a degree of social listening into your plans can make this easier.