Back-to-School Tips to Jump-start Your Content Marketing

September 11, 2015 •

Back-to-School Tips to Jumpstart Your Content Marketing

Even if your fiscal year starts in January, September probably feels like a fresh start to you, as it does to many people. The slow summer is behind us and fall is that time to start over, like when you started the new school year. So if you want to jump-start your content marketing effort for the balance of the year… like it’s the first day of school, what are you going to do? New haircut? New clothes? New Trapper Keeper? (C’mon, you know what that is, don’t you?)

Those efforts aren’t going to be as effective for jump-starting your content marketing efforts as they were for impressing your classmates on day one (and I think the Trapper Keeper was only impressive for a very short window of time). Here are eight things you can do to jumpstart your content marketing efforts like it’s the beginning of the school year.

Be ready. For the first day of school, know where the locker is. Have a decent outfit picked out. Scope out who is in your classes. Have it together enough not to embarrass yourself. Be ready for the rest of the year with your content marketing efforts, too. Go back to your content marketing plan (please tell me you have one of these) and revisit your goals, strategy, and see what you’ve already accomplished. Have you veered off course?  That’s not a crime, but get back on track or readjust the plan with any new objectives. But either way, make sure you aim yourself in the right direction to reach marketing and business goals.

Extra tutoring:
Build Your Content Marketing Plan: A 10-Step Guide

Impress the teacher. Going back to school, it’s always good to try to get some points early so that the teacher likes you even when you have an off week and forget some assignments. Treat your audience much the same way. Publish consistently and work to impress them with quality content. Be engaging so that if you happen to have an off week — like maybe you can’t actually get around to that blog post — they still come back to you.

Extra tutoring:
Checklist: 17 Mistakes That Can Doom Your Blog Posts

Do your homework. New school year, turn over a new leaf — actually DO your homework this year. Getting your content marketing strategy right requires homework, as well. If you launched into your strategy without doing research on your competitors, you don’t need to assume it’s too late. Find out what kind of content your rivals are producing, what’s on their social media channels, and where they pop up in search on Google. Do some analysis to see where the windows of opportunity are. Then use the last quarter of the year to take advantage of the information.

Extra tutoring:
How Competitive Research Can Improve Your Content Marketing

Mind your Ps and Qs. The proof is in the pudding. (How many clichés can I put into one tip?) Teachers look at the details. Readers notice when you are sloppy about them, too. Check sources, do your research, get the grammar right, and do your proofreading. Shoddy content turns an audience off quickly. Shoddy work earns bad grades. Simple.

Extra tutoring:
The 7-Step Editing Checklist
8 Tips to Proofread Typos Out of Your Content
Checklist: Top 10 Grammar Rules You’re Probably Breaking

Work on being popular. You want to run with the “in” crowd, right? Maybe be homecoming queen? Ok, maybe you won’t get there. Maybe you’re in the band (and there’s nothing wrong with that). But everyone tries. Do the same thing with your content marketing. Here it’s actually important and beneficial to come out as the cool kid, the popular one. Market your content, market yourself. If your audience and prospects know who you are within your industry and know they can come to you for quality information, you’ve done your job. You’re popular. You will be seen as a thought leader in your industry, leads will roll in.

Extra tutoring:
Checklist: Content Distribution in Eight Easy Steps

Memorize your schedule. It’s embarrassing to be that kid who is wandering because he doesn’t know what class is next. The same should be true for your content marketing. Know what’s coming next. Revisit your editorial calendar and make sure it still works for the goals you have established in your plan. If they have changed, adjust the calendar. Remember, it’s not etched in stone. But you should have a calendar to follow and you need to be looking at it frequently. Nothing should surprise you.

Extra tutoring:
Checklist: 10 Ways to Generate New Content Ideas
Why You Need an Editorial Meeting for Your Content

Figure out who’s going to help you. In school it’s possible that you knew who was good at math and who was good at English and you “borrowed” each other’s knowledge to get the work done. Luckily, in the business world having specialists is completely legit. Have you gotten through this much of the year patching it together yourself? If you only have the budget for a one-man show, that’s fair, but even then some freelance help from the right writer and/or editor can be invaluable to keep things moving and quality to the standard that will make you stand out from the crowd. The right team, whether internal or external, can make content creation and marketing work like a well-oiled machine.

Extra tutoring:
Who Should Make Up the Content Creation Team?

Get some technology. You don’t show up to class today minus a cell phone and a laptop. Think about adding the right technology to your content marketing efforts to really understand who is interested in what you’re offering and then keep them interested. Marketing automation is a great way to do that, but only jump in if you are ready and you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Extra tutoring:
Make the Marketing Automation Decision: A 5-Question Guide

Taking your content marketing efforts “back to school” provides an opportunity to perform a quick gut check — give yourself a grade on how’ve you done this year so far — and if you wouldn’t want to bring that report card home to mom and dad, make adjustments or start fresh. You can get your content marketing effort back on track or just give it a shot in the arm by doing a little extra credit.

Need more help than just extra tutoring can provide? Get in touch.

About the Author

Yvonne Lyons is Right Source’s vice president of content marketing, overseeing content strategy and creation for all of our clients. She ensures that all content produced at Right Source is of the highest quality and is aligned with our clients’ business strategy and goals. Yvonne received a bachelor’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University in writing and literature and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, branding and communications. You can find Yvonne on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn or read her other posts.

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