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The 2018 content focus challenge

It’s a new year — with a new outlook. Columnist Rachel Lindteigen discusses how to choose a focus term that will help guide your content marketing strategy in 2018 and beyond.

It’s that time of year again — the holidays are over, we’re into a new year, and most of us are either back at work or heading there very soon. As we move into 2018, many marketers will be reviewing their programs’ performance from last year and adjusting strategies for this year — maybe even setting goals or resolutions for their businesses.

A discussion over the holidays within a social group made me think a lot about how I want to approach my business in 2018, and I thought the ideas might help you, too.

Rather than setting New Year’s resolutions that are so often broken, the group talked about choosing a focus term for the new year. Some knew immediately what their new word would be, based on what they were struggling with or wanting to improve. Others weren’t as sure and needed time to consider options.

While this exercise was initially for our personal lives, I realized it would apply well to my business and content marketing. So, I followed through with the same activity for both personal and professional.

Finding a focus word

As I started reviewing my company’s performance and thinking about what I want to adjust for 2018, I looked to find a guiding term or focus. Where do I want the business to go in the new year? What are my goals?

Well, this year, I’m launching a new online marketing training program for small business owners and entrepreneurs, in addition to my regular client offerings. While the focus word concept can apply to all aspects of business, I wanted to choose one that would focus solely on the content that I create for my audience.

As a content marketer, I know creating great content is the key to SEO rankings and traffic growth. So, I want to make sure I have great content on my site. Right?

I also know that having content that people want to read is the key. So, if I want my business to grow in 2018 and I want to launch my marketing training programs, then I need to create content that people find helpful. And that’s the word I’ve chosen for 2018. Helpful.

At the core, my focus will be on creating content that helps people better understand how to market and grow their businesses online. When planning content, I will ask myself if this is helpful to my audience.

While this concept may seem basic, I think it’s something we miss at times. We get so wrapped up in our objectives and keyword ranking opportunities that we focus on those items rather than providing content that’s helpful, useful, informative and so on.

I’ve seen this struggle with clients many times. There’s a term they want to rank for, or there’s a new product they want to launch, and they know they need content to achieve the goal. So, they focus on creating content for the sake of reaching that goal.

While it’s always good to have our goals in mind, when we take this approach, I think we lose some of the authenticity and genuine helpfulness that we could provide.

Look to your audience for a guiding word

As we enter 2018, I encourage you to think about your audience more. What exactly do they need or want from you? What information are they getting from you? Is it answering their questions? Are you providing value for your readers? Do they have the chance to get to know you, like you and eventually trust you? If not, it’s time to adjust your focus.

If you are doing all of these things already, then take it one step further and think about how your content aligns with both your customers’ needs and your goals, and see if you can define a guiding word for your brand this year.

What will your word for 2018 be? How will it change the content you create this year?

by Rachel Lindteigen
source: Marketing Land