We’ve got some bad news. If you thought Jan. 1 was the date you needed to have your 2020 content plan finished, you were mistaken. It wasn’t Dec. 1 or even Nov. 1 for that matter. Your 2020 content plan should have been done months ago, and production on your January content should be near complete. Sure, you might be able to get out a blog post or two the first week of January if you start right this second (seriously, stop reading this and get to writing), but you certainly won’t be launching a new brand, product, magazine, automation campaign, etc., anytime soon.
OK, enough about what you can’t do. Here’s what you can do: There’s still time to start 2020 off by getting your team in the right mindset for the new year — and thus producing stellar work and measurable results — and beyond. Here are five ways to do that.
1. Let’s resolve to plan better.
If you really want to start new initiatives, you need to plan for them. You need the right people in the room, the right resources, the right strategy. These things do not happen overnight. This is why I would encourage you to start thinking about what you want to implement later this year and start putting the players and pieces in place now.
If you didn’t get your 2020 content plan done in time, don’t let that stop you. There’s nothing that says you can’t start a content plan in Q2, May or even Fourth of July week. And if you don’t know where to start when building a content strategy, let us help.
2. Let’s agree to focus on quality over quantity.
We can’t say this enough. The volume of content you produce is not a good metric. What matters is what’s getting through — what’s leading to behavior change and action. You’ll get much better results with a handful of thoughtful, strategic pieces than a hundred posts that are essentially just a bunch of keywords strung together.
Would we love to have a hundred quality pieces? Of course, but that’s not usually realistic, at least not right off the bat. So focus on what will serve your audience and what will support your marketing goals. And once you have a few quality pieces, you can repurpose to get even more miles out of them.
3. Let’s make sure our content strategy is documented.
If there is one thing you do before Jan. 1, we suggest you write out your content strategy. It could mean all the difference in how successful your content is next year.
More than 80 percent of marketers say having a documented content strategy helps their teams align around a common mission and goals, according to 2019 research from the Content Marketing Institute. Nearly two-thirds of respondents with the most successful content marketing campaigns reported having a documented content strategy as compared with only 14 percent of respondents with less successful campaigns. Because this is such a key to content success, make it a priority.
4. Let’s focus on better communication.
As marketers, we’re so focused on communicating with our target audiences that sometimes we overlook communication challenges within our own teams. Being on the same page internally will allow you to do a much better job communicating externally. So before the new year begins, examine your team’s communication skills and look for ways to improve them. Do you need new processes? New systems? New communications software? More meaningful brainstorms? All of the above? Aim to implement changes for the new year.
5. Agree to slow down … in some places.
Don’t get me wrong; I love efficiency. Whatever you can do to streamline administrative and monotonous tasks, I’m all for it. Seriously. My coworkers used to make fun of me for rarely using my computer mouse. But taking your hand off the keyboard wastes time, so I trained myself to use keyboard shortcuts for just about everything. (It saves me at least 3 minutes per day, I’m absolutely sure of it!)
That said, my plea going into 2020 is for everyone to slow down where it counts, whether you’re formulating a content strategy, writing compelling stories, polishing copy to ensure it’s grammatically correct, choosing an image that will draw the right attention, and analyzing campaign results and making adjustments to future engagements.
Slowing down allows you time to really think about what it is you’re trying to accomplish, how to get there and what adjustments you need to make along the way. Allowing time for everyone to do the work that they do best not only produces better results, but it also makes for a happier team. Learn more about how More Time Thinking = Less Time Doing. And don’t forget to build in time to recharge your creative battery. You’ll be glad you did.
It’s Not Too Late
The best part about all this advice is there’s really no time limit on it. The new year is a great motivation for making improvements and start fresh, but you don’t need to wait until then, nor should you feel as though you missed the boat if you don’t start Jan. 1. The better plan is to continually evaluate what it is you’re doing well and what you could do better — and make changes — throughout the year. Do that and 2020 will be a productive year. Just you wait and see.
Cheers to 2020!