At the beginning of a new year, it is natural to want to set resolutions both personally, and professionally for your organization. We all start out with the best of intentions, but trying to do too much too soon can set us up for failure in our marketing campaigns or outreach efforts. And while our marketing to-do lists are ongoing, it is important to review and assess our efforts so they are as effective as they can be. Here are some tips and recommendations for resolution success for the coming year.
Break it up
"I'm givng up chocolate in January." "I will read a new marketing book each month." Everyone has set resolutions that have failed. They may have failed in a week, a month, or may have never even begun. Have you considered breaking your resolutions into months or even quarters? Don’t feel you need to initiate each new addition to your plan right away. We know that setting smart goals when we want to effect a change can set us up for success.
Walk away from your computer and grab your phone
Schedule time each quarter to take photos that can be added to your content library. We’ve all used stock images and graphics for our social media and blog posts. There is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes it is almost a little too easy to use an image someone else has taken and optimized. Sometimes a more personal image of an organization or activity is the way to go. Take images of your local area and enviroment. You never know when you need one for a rainy day.
Listen to more podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to gain knowledge, inspiration and to see life from different perspective. I listen to podcasts on a daily basis. I have my weekly set list that I listen to and enjoy.
One of my goals for the coming year is to change up my ongoing weekly list. Don’t feel you need to choose a brand new podcast. I sometimes like to revisit podcasts that are on a break or I’ve taken a break from. Podcasts are also a great way to engage with your local community in a new way. Search for podcasts that are about your specific area.
Here are some podcasts on my list to explore:
- Nerdette – I love a good interview about something nerdy
- Brave Little State -VPR investigate community questions about Vermont
- Creative Pep Talk – Everyone needs a good pep talk
- Design Matters - Interviews with creatives
Work your editorial calendar
Content output for communications and outreach is never ending, so it is important to implement a planning and production process for your team. I am always looking for new social media fodder or new types of content that we can offer clients for their yearly planning. Do you have an editorial calendar? When was the last time you reviewed your yearly calendar with your team? Editorial calendars can help focus your communications efforts and work towards your yearly marketing goals. If you feel like your monthly enews is feeling like the same old thing, have a talk with your team and brainstorm.
Schedule content reviews quarterly, in January you may plan for a November blog post on a specific theme but by the time you get to November, you may need or want to address a different topic. Your editorial calendar should be a living document. Your calendar shouldn’t change just to change but you need to have the flexibility to assess and pivot when warrented.
Clean out your email lists
Without proper hygiene for your lists, your email marketing won’t work hard for you. If you haven’t segmented your lists, now is the time. Make any updates or corrections so that you can re-engage with your community. Starting the year out with a clean list can offer you a solid foundation for any communication with your community.
Learn something new
To be an effective marketer, it is important to be a continuous learner and have that curiosity factor. Now more than ever, there are so many opportunities for adding to your skill set. Have you wanted your team to incorporate video into your organization's community outreach? Consider taking a class on video storytelling. If you want to make a team-focused learning project, consider working with your communications team members to each take on a different aspect of the new effort.
Learning a new language, a new professional tool or a new skill is easier than ever before. I like to balance a professional skill with a personal skill. I’m currently working on completing the content marketing certification through HubSpot, but I know after completing that course, I may take an online class to work on my bread-baking technique on the weekends.
Here are some online options for learning.
And of course be sure to check out YouTube and Vimeo for the thousands of free videos that can help you learn anything from fixing your car to helping you troubleshoot your current Photoshop project.
Every new year offers an opportunity to learn something new and to clean out the cobwebs that have crept up over the previous year. The key to success is not to take on too much at once. Pick one new idea or task and go from there. You never know where one small step will take you.