Two years ago, Alice wrote a post called “13 Thoughts on Content Marketing for 2013″. It’s funny how people say Internet and and content marketing is always changing, but when you focus on solid business practices, many things stay exactly the same. We’ve taken those original 13 thoughts, brushed them up a bit and added 2 more for the new year. We hope you’ll find these a helpful guide into 2015.
1. Make more friends in your niche. We’ve said it and we’ll say it again and again, but if you’re trying to operate your business completely solo, you’re making things way too hard for yourself. Get to know people in you niche and work together. It’s amazing what it can bring.
2. Plan your content. Know what you’re going to publish ahead of time. It will keep you on schedule and can ensure your content complements what you plan to sell throughout the year. By the way, you can find some content planning tools here.
3. Know why you’re creating. Content can serve many purposes…it can grow your list, it can help you sell products and it can help generate buzz for an upcoming promotion. Always know why you’re creating content and make sure it serves your audience well and it can help you grow your business.
4. Take that why and make it work. Continue to include a call to action with your content. Invite your readers to sign up for you list, tell them what products you recommend and make sure they know which relevant products you have available. Never assume your readers know all their options, tell them and invite them with a compelling reason why directly.
5. Listen to your audience. Keep in touch and in tune with your audience. What questions do they have? What directions would they like you to go in? Build on that.
6. Make stuff to sell. Create ebooks, info products, apps and other digital products to sell. They’re cheap to make and it’s something you can do over and over again, which brings us to number 7.
7. Make more stuff to sell. Take what works and make more of it. Your satisfied customers who buy one product will happily buy more and more of them.
8. Grow your mailing list. For goodness sakes, do it…despite the prevalence of social media, email is going nowhere in 2015. When you have a mailing list, you have in valuable asset you can market to over and over again.
9. Be social, but be smart. We’ve always played the caution card with social media and we continue to do so. It can be a time suck that pulls you into directions that have nothing to do with business, but it’s also a tool that can help you cement your relationships with your followers and build tremendous social proof. So use it wisely and never let it overshadow the daily activities that truly grow your business.
10. Test the things you try. Make 2015 all about experimentation and do try new things, just make sure to test them. Use tracking links, split test and pay attention to your results.
11. Improve the things you try. Use that testing data to continually improve your results. While content creation can be a whole lot of fun, there is math to attend to.
12. Then try more new things. As you learn more about works and what doesn’t, do even more experimentation. You won’t be able to hit everything out of the ballpark, but you’re sure going to learn a lot in the process.
13. Learn something new. Even though we said if you base your business in solid practices, that doesn’t mean there aren’t new things to learn. There is new technology and there are always new tools. Just be smart with the time and money you spend on these shiny new objects.
14. Only learn what you can apply. Just like with new tools, there are always new courses coming out and everyone seems to jump on the bandwagon. But it’s important to know your business and only spend time learning things you can apply. So if you’ve got a solid business that you’re continuing to grow and you see a course on Amazon Arbitrage (or whatever the cool kids call it these days), be realistic. If that’s not the direction you’re already headed in, the course is probably not for you.
15. Give yourself a break. We’re not sure about you, but we didn’t start my online business to be glued to a computer 24/7. Realize that when you set a firm schedule and plan your day, you’ll get a whole lot more done than if you just let yourself sit and melt in front of your laptop day in and day out.
In short, do things on your own terms, but do them smartly and make sure they are in line with your goals. Own 2015…it’s yours to have as you want it to be.