Content marketing is becoming an increasingly competitive field, and marketers everywhere are scrambling to find ways to improve their strategy. In order to be successful, you need to be unique, consistent, and valuable—but you also need to keep raising the bar to increase reader loyalty and keep a positive traffic flow to your blog and social media profiles.
It’s hard to drive a radical traffic increase without making a radical change to your strategy, but small changes can add up to form an equally substantial impact. Incorporate these 10 habits into your daily routine, and you’ll be amazed at how much the quality of your content will increase:
Reading the national news on a daily basis is a good idea even if you aren’t into content marketing. But in the content marketing world it will increase your vocabulary, give you broad insights into world developments, and plug you into the topics that people are interested in. Was there a major security breach? Write about how your company protects your users. Is there a new, exciting technology? Write about how your company will use it. Take advantage of the news to generate meaningful, relevant content ideas.
If you want to illustrate yourself as a thought leader in the industry, you have to know what’s going on in the industry. Subscribe to news feeds relevant to your industry and make it a point to read new articles on a daily basis. You’ll increase your expertise relevant to the industry and be able to incorporate that knowledge seamlessly into your future posts. Don’t just browse through the headlines; dig deep and read people’s reactions to the news to get the full scope of each announcement.
Keep a running list of your closest competitors, and check up on them on a daily basis to see what they’re coming up with. Some of your competitors won’t post every day, but when they do post, you’ll know about it, and you’ll be able to respond accordingly. That might mean doing a better job of covering a topic they’ve chosen, or it might mean developing a strategy that disrupts theirs with a different angle. Be sure to see how their customers react to that content as well. It can provide clues to how your customers might react to similar content.
Come up with at least two new post ideas every day, even if you don’t ever use them. If you commit to generating new potential article subjects regularly, it will be easier for you to churn out tons of content, and it will give you a better chance at finding great titles. If you have 14 new potential titles every week, you can edit that number down and only work with the most successful candidates. It’s like having a huge chunk of marble to use when you’re creating a sculpture.
Go back to your editorial calendar every day, even if it’s not a high priority. Find something to change in it, whether that means adding a few potential new titles, moving publication dates around, or changing the direction of your strategy. Even small updates will do. Accessing your editorial calendar on a daily basis will help to keep your broader content strategy top-of-mind, and give you a reason to expand that strategy. If you update it slightly every day, you’ll avoid the buildup of making a major update every few weeks.
Set aside time every day to shut down your work station—that means disconnecting from the Internet, shutting down your email, closing your machine, and turning off your phone. Focus on one critical content marketing task that’s facing you, whether that’s outlining a new article or expanding your editorial calendar, and do it on paper, without any distractions. Your focus will skyrocket, and you’ll have a far easier time completing the task without anything else getting in your way. It will also help your mind relax and retain more information.
If you’re stuck in a corner writing content on your own, you’re going to get stuck in a rut. On a daily basis, go out of your way to talk to other people in your company and other people in your industry. It doesn’t take much; just have an open conversation and see what’s on their mind. It’s a great way to get new insights and discover what the people around you are currently dealing with. Thinking outside the box and stepping outside of your comfort zone will make it easier for you to come up with diverse ideas for topics and content types.
Take some time every day to get to know your customers just a little better. One way to do this is to imagine your target customer profile and visualize how you would talk to them about a trending topic. Of course, you could also have a real conversation with a real customer. Create segmented lists on your social media platforms and glance through what they’re talking about, or start a conversation thread and invite your followers to respond. When your target customer is always top of mind, you’ll be able to write more targeted content.
This may seem like an obvious choice to any content marketer, but in order to get better at writing, you have to write every day. Set aside at least 20 minutes and use that time to write something, even if you feel underprepared or overwhelmed with other tasks. By writing every day, you’ll not only get a little better at it every day, you’ll also trigger the “Seinfeld productivity trick.” Whatever it is you want to do, keep doing it every day, and don’t break the chain. For as long as that chain remains unbroken, you’ll increase your commitment to your ultimate vision.
It may surprise you, but deleting is just as important as creating in the world of content marketing. For every 10 topic ideas you come up with, you’ll be deleting at least eight. For every 10 pages of content you write, you’ll be deleting at least five (even if it’s just to be rewritten). In order to stand out in the world of content marketing, you have to whittle your ideas down to the best of the best, so take time every day to weed out a few sentences or a few posts that you don’t really need. It will raise your standards and get you used to the idea of letting go of less-than-stellar ideas.
Improving your content marketing strategy takes commitment and consistency, and these 10 habits will gradually guide you to a better destination. As you start practicing these habits, you may find that some of them work better than others; every content marketer is unique and every business has unique demands, so adjust your daily strategies accordingly. Eventually, you’ll refine your practices to a repeatable, beneficial routine that bolsters the quality and value of your content while fitting in nicely with the rest of your daily responsibilities.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.