How will 2014 be different from 2013? Numbers indicate the economy is improving at a rapidly expanding rate; the housing market is continuing its upward trend; the unemployment rate is falling. But what does 2014 hold for YOUR business? Let’s take a look at some possibilities:
There is one simple factor that could make the difference for your success in the new year – planning. If you’ve done your homework, looked at your metrics, determined trends in your business and developed a plan for how to capitalize on the good stuff and avoid or minimize the bad, then 2014 could be a great year for your business.
Even if you like to shoot from the hip and haven’t even planned how you’ll spend the evening, much less the rest of the year in business, it’s not too late. Planning doesn’t mean you are stuck in a rut any more than a road map tells you that you must take the interstate and can’t detour onto the scenic route. Having a flexible plan allows you to respond to changing conditions and add spontaneous activity without going completely off track.
We’ve been working on our 2014 plan for the last 10 weeks or so, looking at everything from sales goals to company culture, paying particular attention to our marketing plan. Here are some of the areas to consider:
- Goals: Your goals determine everything. They need to be in place before you can do anything, because they determine what needs to be done.
- Marketing campaigns: Organizing your marketing into campaigns lets you see where and when resources are needed. You can collect your assets in advance and automate the campaign so there’s not a lot that needs to be done once it starts. As it progresses, watch your metrics to determine what’s working and tweak the parts that aren’t. Use a marketing calendar to make sure it happens on schedule.
- Take stock: Look at what assets you have and what you will need during the year. Consider repurposing evergreen content into a new form that your customers and prospects will find valuable. For instance, combine a number of popular blog posts into an ebook; it takes much less time than writing from scratch.Premium and long-form content: This kind of content – eBooks, whitepapers, videos, and webinars – can really drive traffic and leads when promoted in several channels, wherever your customers and prospects hang out. Use your editorial calendar to plan its release around your campaigns. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time in the calendar to create it, if it’s not already available.
- Blogging: Make this the year your blog really takes off. If you’ve been blogging 2 or 3 times a week, increase that to 4 or 5 times, if at all possible. One of those could be a weekly digest of your own and curated posts from around the web. Plan your posts around your campaigns, using an editorial calendar to place content where it will do the most good. You can always leave holes in the plan or rearrange content to take advantage of current or seasonal events and news.
Having a plan can make the difference between a good year and a great one. Smart marketers use that plan to know how they will accomplish their goals. They allow room to take advantage of brainstorms, those brilliant ideas that can take them to new heights, but they don’t let themselves lose sight of the purpose and path to get there.
It’s never too late to start using a marketing/editorial calendar to help you organize your campaigns. We’ve put one together so you don’t have to start from scratch. Click below to get your free copy. We wish you a successful and prosperous 2014!