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What’s the secret to successful 2018 content marketing strategy and beyond? Research from the Content Marketing Institute shows companies with a documented content marketing strategy experience the most ongoing success. And companies without a strategy altogether or fail to document it tend to fail more often.

But a strategy shouldn’t be a static thing. You don’t want to write yours in stone one day, then leave it alone for the rest of time. As content marketing evolves, and as your brand’s needs evolve, so should your content marketing strategy.

Going into 2018, here’s what your strategy should and shouldn’t have.

How You Should Change Your 2018 Content Marketing Strategy

Developing and adjusting a content marketing strategy isn’t a cookie-cutter process. What one brand might need to focus on might not be an issue or concern for another brand.

Something that doesn’t fluctuate from brand to brand is the ever changing ways people consume content. Nor are there any major changes in the way brands track, promote and distribute content.

It can help to look at your brand’s past content creation and marketing goals. If you’ve reached those goals or hit those targets, your strategy might not need much tweaking. But if you’ve struggled to reach certain goals or targets, investigating why and then making a better 2018 content marketing strategy can help.

What’s No Longer Effective for 2018 Content Marketing Strategy

If you have noticed that it’s been a challenge to reach some of your goals, it could be that you’re using outdated techniques, or that your strategy needs a complete overhaul. Even if you reached your goals in the past, changes in 2018 might mean that your strategy needs a once-over.

The following no longer really works when it comes to 2018 content marketing strategy:

Pumping out content just for content’s sake.

Consistent content creation and publishing remains crucial for a successful 2018 content marketing strategy. But gone are the days of publishing as much as possible, just to have something out there.

As the Content Marketing Institute also notes, it’s possible for a topic or subject to get saturated with content. Once that happens, it doesn’t matter if you’re pumping out 5, 10, or 20 pieces of content a day. Few people will look at the content, since they’ve already gotten what they need somewhere else.

Start focusing on what matters — quality and uniqueness (more on that later).

Relying on organic reach.

Once upon a time, the algorithms used by certain social media platforms made it super easy to ensure that your content got out in front of your audience, no boosting or paid promotion needed.

Those days are gone, and organic reach is probably going to decline even more in 2018, as platforms such as Facebook tweak their algorithms to put a focus on personal content versus content from brands.

Sure, there’s still a chance your posts will reach an audience organically. But we wouldn’t recommend creating a strategy that depends on it.

Pretending visual or video content doesn’t matter.

While written content will always have its place, video content and visual content will soon takeover. For example, CISCO estimates that video traffic will make up more than 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2021.

What Still Works for 2018 Content Marketing Strategy

Some strategy tips that worked well in the past don’t work anymore. But, there are still plenty of old standbys you can rely on when creating your content strategy.

Focus on quality.

No one wants to read a grammatically incorrect, rambling blog post. The same goes for grainy, shaky video. Beyond that, quality means providing content that goes beyond the surface, and that provides a unique take on a topic. Essentially, quality content isn’t just good content — it’s content an audience won’t find anywhere else.

Use the data to help you out.

Data is your friend when it comes to content marketing strategy. If the numbers say that everyone is lapping up your videos and infographics, but not giving much attention to your photos, then you might want to put more time and effort into creating videos and infographics. If everyone loves your longform posts, but skips over the 300-word articles, longform is probably where it’s at for your brand.

Put mobile first.

Mobile usage passed desktop usage for the first time a few years ago. It’s only going to continue to grow, with some predicting that 80 percent of all internet use will come from mobile devices in 2018. If your mobile content leaves a lot to be desired, make this the year you really focus on making it usable and accessible.

Get personal.

As content evolves, it’s not only changing form, it’s also changing tone. Technology allows more opportunities than ever to create personalized content, or content that focuses on a specific need of an audience member. Try working content that uses chatbots — and content that’s otherwise custom-tailored to your audience — into your strategy in 2018, and see if it makes a difference when it comes to engagement.

Putting together a 2018 content marketing strategy is just the first step on your brand’s 2018 content marketing journey. Once you have the strategy in place, it’s time to carry it out — to see what works and what doesn’t. You can always go back to the drawing board to make adjustments as your needs change, and as trends change.

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