If you have been reading blog posts, you should have noticed that at some point there are a lot of how to do something in the next year. For example, my title could have been “Content Marketing in 2018” or “How to update your content strategy in 2018”… but nope.

I believe it’s more important for content marketers to understand that no matter their initial strategy, they should have in mind that over the years, their initial strategy might not work as well as before. This is today’s blog topic and namely,

How to create a perfect content marketing strategy for the year ahead

Not in 2018, not in 2019, not in any particular year, just the year ahead. Planning ahead is especially important for new campaigns. I’ve noticed that many businesses start their yearly ahead plans at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Before going into more details, let me answer the simple question.

What is content strategy?

Content marketing strategy is the planning and development that refers to the management of pretty much any substantial media that you create and own. I’ve written a blog before about how beneficial the well-structured content is, but before you care about your content’s structure, you need to develop your strategy.

The key factors to consider for successful content strategy:

  • The audience reading your content
  • The problem your content solves for that audience
  • How this content will be unique
  • The formats you’ll focus on
  • How and when to schedule and manage creation and publication
  • The channels where your content will be published

Having a documented content strategy is the primary factor that separates the most successful and the least successful campaigns in content marketing.

Okay, I know that planning ahead is easier said than done. This is the trick, is it not? Many content marketers fail not because their content is weak and not worth it, but because they failed to come up with a successful marketing strategy. I’ll try and make this easier for you.

Establish key themes based on buyer pain points

Regardless of the nature of your business, it is most likely that your buyers will be always changing. Marketing dynamics shift all the time, and as long as different trends keep occurring, it will be like this. And different trends will always come and go.

Connecting directly with customers and prospects is the right way to track top-performing articles and resources.

Think outside the storytelling box

A good marketer knows that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to storytelling. Are you a good marketer? You don’t need to be the greatest of them all, but knowing this will save you a lot of trouble. I’ll give you an example. Why don’t you try and focus on incorporating some challenging marketing approaches than playing with the same old resolution-based content?

Once you develop your core narrative, you can easily determine what the formats best align with your whole campaign.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

When the deadline is pushing and you are still finalizing your content strategy plans, asking a third party to help is always an option. Deadlines are always hard, and I see marketers who rush with planning for the sake of content creation. Having a third-party content creating expert by your side will not interpose your long-term planning. With the right partner, you can develop a winning strategy for the entire year without letting these last-minute needs ruin your whole campaign.

Set a solid content foundation

A solid foundation allows you to give your content more legs. Brainstorm for quick-hit content topics that are based on or at least somehow related to your foundational assets. What you should do here is take your whole idea and brainstorm for at least 10 minutes and see how you can break it down, reuse or create new content based on the topics you already have.

If it takes time, you’re doing it right

You should know that planning a successful campaign takes time, organization, and creativity. If you are not struggling with your content strategy, I am pretty sure you do something wrong. From building to the foundation of your content marketing plan, adding the tools to set up a strategy for next year, you should have faced many challenges.

And overcoming those challenges is the sweetest thing on Earth. Whether you are planning a content strategy in 2018 or any year after, I would like to hear your story and what you think about planning in the long-run, below in the comments.