It's that wonderful time of the year when brands start thinking about their annual plans for next year. A little stressed? That's okay – we all are! But here are five top-notch strategies for 2017 content marketing to help make things easier. Compare these to your own plans for 2017, and see if there's anything you may be missing.
1. Make Content that Answers Questions
There are a lot of forces pushing toward this particular tactic, which makes it a good idea no matter what your goals currently are. The expected rise of voice search will make direct answers even more valuable, the more informed buyers will be looking for their own answers rather than asking you, and data-driven content will still be king in the coming year. So when you make content, think about creating a focus on content that answers questions. It doesn't necessarily have to be an FAQ – although that's a good place to start – but content inspired by common buyer questions will suit you very well in the long run.
2. Adopt More B2C Tactics in Your Marketing
B2B will probably always be more data-oriented and professional than the B2C world. But in marketing, we are seeing a bit of convergence: The younger B2B professionals grew up in a world of online marketing, and they are drawn most to successful B2C techniques. If you want to succeed, think about including some of these in your new videos and posts. That means more humor, high quality productions, and giving the buyer as much power as possible. Just look around at the B2C tactic you see succeeding and draw inspiration from them!
3. Push Out into New Channels to Reach New Buyers
According to Hubspot's State of Inbound Marketing Report 2016, the top marketing challenge by far for companies (at 68%) is generating traffic and leads. You know what's becoming a vital part of traffic goals? The channels you use. New buyers are using new channels to communicate, and you need to hop on that bandwagon to reach them. That means investing more in mobile – yes, even more – and adopting common social media apps, maybe even Instagram and Snapchat. Push into new channels, and see your traffic numbers rise!
4. Get Involved in a Content Community
There are a lot of phrases being thrown around like "influencer marketing" and "guest blogging" and the other terms we've been discussing in recent months. But if we had to sum all this up in a single 2017 tactic to pursue, we'd say: Find a content community and jump in. Share and share alike. Promote each other's content, follow each other's blogs, and exchange ideas. Join discussions, make comments, and make your voice heard. Those other things, like influencers and guest blogs, will soon follow – and that will pay dividends when it comes to your linking practices and page ranking. Google doesn't directly follow involvement in your industry, but it sure likes to see the results.
5. Monetize Yourself
It's a competitive world out there, and it's going to get a lot more competitive, especially when it comes to online content. We know it sounds trite, but when it comes to creating content that wins, your greatest asset is yourself. You have the experiences, stories, specialties, and hands-on learning built up over the years. That's what today's buyers really value when they make a choice. So learn to monetize yourself (and your people) as well as your brand: Use interviews, personal stories, examples from recent projects, and everything else unique to your own company.
For more information (along with a ton of useful stats to share), take a look at the State of Inbound Marketing to see what other marketers and sales teams have their eye on. Remember, useful information is more powerful now than it's ever been!