Losing weight. Eating healthier. Exercising. Getting better grades. Saving more money. Not spending every weekend binging on Netflix.
I’d bet money that everyone reading this has made new year’s resolutions like these at least once in their life, but let’s face it, not many actually keep them.
I have to admit, I’m not one to keep new year’s resolutions, but it’s mainly because of the semantics of the term.
A new year’s resolution suggests that it’s a goal that you need to achieve by the end of the year, but rightfully most of these declarations should be viewed as long-term changes to be fully embraced over time, not just in a matter of 12 months.
After reflecting on the year passed and speaking to many industry influencers, I’ve outlined four such resolutions in this article, that every inbound marketer needs to make and KEEP for the long term.
So, before you grab your champagne and tacky hats, take notes! The new year’s countdown starts now!
Resolution #1 - Start Living in the Past: Historical Optimization
While creating new content is important, your existing content is just as, if not more important.
Last year, Pamela Vaughn at HubSpot discovered that 76% of software giant’s blog traffic and 92% of its blog conversions weren’t coming from articles created in that month, but rather pieces that were more than 30 days old.
In other words, even if the marketing team didn’t create any new content that month, they still would have generated 92% of the leads -- pretty crazy, huh?
Crazy, but it makes sense. New blog articles take time to get indexed and rise in search ranks, especially if you are small or medium-sized business without the site authority of HubSpot.
So start living in the past. Instead of investing all of your time solely in producing more, fresh content, optimize your articles that are already indexed, ranking, and performing; the content that is proven.
Doing this not only helps support the effort of “evergreen content,” it helps you get even more out of the work you’ve already done.
What Can You Do?
Dive deep into your analytics to see which older articles (6+ months for smaller organizations) are converting the most leads and generating the most traffic. From there, optimize the high-traffic articles for conversion and the high-converting articles for traffic.
Update the Call-to-action (for a new or more relevant offer)
Update the Call-to-action copy (to include terms that your persona is actually searching and will resonate with)
Update the inbound and outbound links
Update the keyword/SEO (for terms that your persona is actually searching)
Update the content (new screenshots, new data/statistics, new best practices/methodology)
Resolution #2 - Think More About Others: Embrace the 80-20 Rule
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many over-the-top, promotional pieces I still come across on company blogs.
Now more than ever, people have a choice in the content they support and share.
With so many resources available online, audiences no longer have to settle for content that is “sales-y” and self-serving. Now audiences can search for and give attention to select content that is genuinely valuable and offers real answers to their pain points.
What Can You Do?
Stop talking about yourself!
The secret to successful content marketing is letting your expertise and knowledge sell itself. Your content should show your audience why they need to work with you by highlighting your strengths, rather delivering an exaggerated sales pitch or list of features.
To achieve this, embrace the Pareto Principle or as it’s known in inbound marketing, the 80-20 Rule. When creating content, make sure that no more than 20% of what you share is about your product or organization, while the remaining 80% is genuinely educational or entertaining.
Giving generously without an ulterior motive builds trust and loyalty. It lets your persona know that you care about them on a deeper level and aren’t just out to make a quick buck off of them.
When you must promote your product, frame your pitch in the terms of the value it brings to the buyer. For example, instead of talking about your new service, talk about how that new service will impact your audience; the benefit it will provide.
At the end of the day, you need to explain why you are important to your reader to keep their interest.
Resolution #3 - Spend More Time With Sales: Sales Enablement
“Outbound sales is dying and the days of the cold calling are coming to an end. [In 2016], the new sales playbook will consist of a personalized approach to the buyer, and like we’ve seen proven on the marketing side, the use of great content and insights that helps solve the buyer’s unique problems.”
While not every member of your team may be on the sales team, everyone plays a role in the sales process.
That means whether they are in marketing, design, customer or client service, the members of your team should be ready and willing to share any information that can help improve it.
What Can You Do?
If you aren’t already, make an extra effort to align your entire company with sales.
For example, make sure that marketing understands sales’ goals and that sales is effectively communicating what they’re learning about your prospects on the front line.
Have your customer-facing team members share any feedback or complaints they hear with sales so that they are ready to address them. Try using the six tactics described here to overall help you nurture a culture of sales enablement at your organization.
Resolution #4 - Try New Things: Interactive Content
Marty McFly and Doc Brown didn’t travel to 2015 for no reason. The future is now and content marketing is changing.
As a new year approaches, now is the time to be looking back on the past year’s strategies and determining where change is needed. What worked? What didn’t work? How can you do better? What aren’t you doing that you should be?
With the answers to these questions and the resolutions above under your belt, you’ll be well-equipped to handle whatever the future throws at you.
See you in 2016. Cheers! :)
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