Elevate Your Inbound Marketing in 2014
As 2013 draws to a rapid close, it's time to sit back, review your metrics, and plan for the year ahead. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that my views and practices as an inbound marketer look drastically different than they did a year ago - and for good reason, too! 2013 brought us the first rewrite of Google's algorithm in over a decade, and massive changes to Facebook's algorithm. Then this weird thing called Snapchat came soaring out of absolute nowhere, and it's now ostensibly worth over $3 billion. In cash.
There are very few static things in the inbound marketing realm. Seth Godin will probably always be concise and a little mysterious, and Gary Vee will probably always root for the Jets. However, the need for change is another constant - and here's some ways I hope to improve a little more as a marketer next year:
1. Improve Historical Content Assets Weekly
I'll let you all in on a little secret. I'm not really all that good at going back and updating my content assets in response to historical blogging metrics. I suspect I'm not alone here, either.
The key phrase here is content assets - these are things your organization owns that have value. So treat them like you would any tangible asset, and put them to good use by keeping them up-to-date and relevant. In 2014, I'll be improving my routine with the help of the a superb new app called Echobox.
2. Become More Fluent in Tech
In case you missed our recent blog "Do Inbound Marketers Need to Know How to Code," they kinda do. Inbound marketing is an inherently interdisciplinary practice, which is why broadening your skill set is a best practice. Even if your primary duties are creating content or strategies or managing people, you need to have a pretty good idea of how to update your web pages or site map, and how the pieces fit together. I've been doing more research lately on concepts like parallax scrolling and the intersection of psychology and design, and I'm so glad I did.
3. Explore New Distribution Channels
It's all too easy to get caught up in a routine of creating content, and publising same content to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. If your metrics say that your social media traffic numbers have gotten stale, a lack of creative content distribution efforts are probably the reason behind all of this. I vow to become much more adept at Google+, Pinterest, press releases, Quora, and forums.
4. Become a Better Email Marketer
Despite Gmail's recent action to put business emails behind a tidy little tab in inboxes, email marketing is still incredibly effective. That being said, marketers have to work a little harder than they did a year ago to see ROI from their efforts. I truly believe that every business can benefit from infusing more relevance and value into their lead nurturing workflows and sales emails.
5. Guest Post More Often
Do you know how many times I've ever regretted writing a guest post? Zero. Even if the immediate traffic results are minimal, I get the benefit of building an improved relationship with another blogger. I plan to continue sowing my content far and wide in 2014.
6. Read More Marketing Books
Self-publishing is amazing. It used to take months and months for books to hit your bookstore - now the Kindle can serve up fresh content as soon as the author hits "publish." There are currently 60 inbound marketing books on Amazon.com available for instant download to your Kindle, smartphone or tablet. Most are pretty darn affordable, too.
7. Create an Entirely New Kind of Content
In the past year, Inbound Marketing Agents created blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, case studies, Slideshares, videos and webinars. In 2014, I'd like to try something entirely new - perhaps a collaborative post created in real-time? I challenge you to try something new as well, something that makes you a bit uncomfortable. As Seth Godin says, the cost of failing is less than the cost of doing nothing at all.
What are your inbound marketing resolutions for 2014?
Stay tuned for a special sneak peek Wednesday, January 1st of Inbound Marketing Agent's internal blogging metrics in 2013, and a review of the lessons we learned about content marketing in the past 12 months! See you there.image credit: noppasinw/freedigitalphotos.net