5 Commitments Effective Content Marketers Should Make in 2017

Creating 'content with a purpose' rather than content that's about, well, whatever, is one big resolution you should make.
5 Commitments Effective Content Marketers Should Make in 2017
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The new year, 2017, is here. You’ve probably heard that there’s never been a better time to invest in content marketing, and the statistics don’t lie.

Related: The 4 Laws of Content Marketing

So I’m not going to try to convince you to invest in content marketing. Instead, I’m going to challenge you to adopt a few content-marketing resolutions to help make 2017 your most effective year yet.

1. 'I will create only content with a purpose.'

We marketers have been so adamant that everyone invest in content marketing, that we’ve missed conveying a critical part of the message: The content we create serves a purpose.

Let me give an example: Suppose you read an article that says, “Publish one blog post a week as part of your content marketing strategy.” You do that, but you don’t publish with a purpose; you publish whatever you feel like writing about.

Now, imagine that one of your competitors is also publishing one post a week, but is using that content to support existing marketing campaigns, based on factors like target keywords, stages in the buying process or predetermined calls-to-action.

I bet you can guess who’s going to see better results.

Commit with me now. Don’t create another piece of content in 2017 unless you can definitely state why you’re publishing it and how you expect it to move your business closer to your marketing goals. Settle for nothing less than bad-ass content your followers will truly love.

2. 'I will expand to new content forms my audience is engaging with.'

Blog posts are great -- unless your audience never reads your blog. In 2017, commit to going where your audience members are and connecting with them there.

So, how can you reach them? To some extent, that depends on your audience and the platforms they use. One big one to watch out for in the new year, however, is live streaming. According to blogger Mike Templeman, “Live streaming will grow in popularity. Facebook Live, YouTube Live and SnapChat offer easy-to-use platforms for hosting live product briefings, tours, tutorials, product launch events and more content.”

Give this a try -- but only if it’s something you think your audience will respond to.

Related: 7 Content Marketing Tips for New Entrepreneurs

3. 'I will document my strategy.'

Research by the Content Marketing Institute consistently supports the idea that the most effective content marketers are those who document their strategies. Joe Pulizzi, CMI’s founder, has said:

“Our research tells us that those organizations that do have [a strategy], and that review it consistently, are more likely to be successful. Even though you (the expert reading this) might think this is basic, it’s not. We are still too focused on campaigns and talking about our products, instead of truly driving value outside the products and services we offer.”

Don’t have a strategy yet in place? There’s never been a better time than the new year to get started.

4. 'I will niche my content down.'

You might think that broad content helps you attract a wider range of readers, but the truth is that if you try to reach everyone, you’ll resonate with no one.

Recently, I had the chance to be a part of Convince and Convert’s new podcast, and I love this point that Rand Fishkin made: “With more new entrants into the saturated pool of content marketing in 2017, we need to stop going high-level and start getting down to the nitty-gritty.”

Host Joei Chen gave a great follow-up example in the blog post she produced summarizing the podcast. “Rather than writing a blog post about ‘how to attract customers online,’ you’re better off writing about ‘how to attract returning customers through Facebook Ads.’”

Figure out exactly what your audience wants, and give it to them. Doing so will put you leaps and bounds ahead of marketers who are still going broad in 2017.

5. 'I will invest in content promotion.'

Remember the point I made about content that winds up sitting around, connecting with no one? That doesn’t happen only when you create content without a purpose. Even if you have a purpose, there’s a good chance your content won’t be seen if you don’t invest heavily in promoting it.

Related: What You Need to Know to Improve Your Content Marketing

Derek Halpern of the Social Triggers blog is famous for suggesting that only 20 percent of your efforts go to content creation, with the remaining 80 percent of your time being spent on promotion. That ratio may not be appropriate for all businesses, but if promotions currently take up 0 percent of your time, this strategy shift is worth a look in 2017.