Author   |    Speaker   |    Chief Content Officer

New Year, New You: 3 Things Every Marketer Should Be Doing in 2014

Last week, my MarketingProfs colleague Corey O’Loughlin and I gave a talk on what content-savvy marketers can do in this new year to impress their boss, get ahead of the curve, and tighten their bottom (line).

January is, of course, a time of reset and renewal and 2014 resolutions: a time to re-examine your goals, reconsider your tactics, and refocus your content marketing and social media efforts. (January 17th is also the National Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day. But that’s not you, is it? You’re better than that.)

The set up was this: Your boss has a vision for what’s important in 2014. (That was me.) You need the tactics to make that happen. (That was Corey.)

Together, we delivered ideas you can use to get your content marketing plans in shape and give your social media strategy a makeover.

And, for the record, the throwback ’80s fitness photo of Corey and me that accompanied the presentation was 100 percent photoshopped.

The full deck is embedded below, but here are three things I’d emphasize that every marketer should be planning for this coming year. (In the deck is also 10 things you can shed.)

Real-Time Relevance

Best-in-class marketers have the ability to produce content real-time. Oreo and 360i might’ve invented this category, but you can tap into it.

You don’t need to set up a situation room at the Super Bowl and hope that the lights go out. Look at DiGiorno’s hilarious live-tweeting of The Sound of Music: Real-time means that you are able to tap into conversations that relate to you or your business and are already happening on social networks. Two great recent examples: Ben & Jerry’s, which drew attention to itself with commentary when Colorado legalized retail marijuana sales; and Kapost, which inserted itself into the conversation about Oracle’s acquisition of Kapost competitor Compendium. One B2C, one B2B.

New Year, New You takeaway: Do you have the ability and agility to produce same-day commentary around relevant news stories?

Tools to use: Google Alerts, Hyper Alerts, your brain (because not all news stories are marketing opportunities—as Scott Stratten points out regarding this unfortunate promotion on Martin Luther King Day.)

Video: Quit the Excuses

Video is hard. Video is expensive. We don’t have a video studio.

All of those excuses are no longer valid in 2014. Instead, every content marketer needs to have video as part of her plan this year. And I don’t say that lightly.

Why: ComScore says that video is one of the most consumed content formats online; YouTube is the second-largest search platform. What’s more, video is current and fresh and the center of tremendous innovation (both creatively and in tools).

New Year, New You takeaway: As a marketer, don’t you want to get in on that kind of tremendous momentum? Video is getting a whole lot easier to produce. Tim Washer and I record our regular video show over Skype and publish to YouTube. But there are many mobile and social video apps along with desktop tools that can ease the pain of video production.

Tools/platforms to check out: This list is far from comprehensive, but here are a few at various price points and levels of sophistication: Vine, Instagram Video, Wordeo (“lite” creation/social apps); GoAnimate, Moovd, Wideo (animation tools); KnowledgeVision (online presentations); Vidyard, Brightcove, Wistia (for hosting and robust analytics).

Voice and Tone: Content’s Secret Sauce

I’m waging a war on writing mediocrity in 2014. I’m not talking about adhering to the rules of grammar; I’m talking about upping the importance you place on what you say, and how you say it. As a cornerstone of good writing (along with other things!), voice and tone are hugely undervalued in content and social media. Together, they constitute the secret sauce of great content, and I expect that more companies will pay attention to both in 2014.

What do I mean by “voice and tone”? Voice conveys the personality of a brand or a company, and tone conveys the content’s “attitude.” You probably learned about both in literature class, but they apply equally well in a world where every one of us—not just professional writers—is publishing.

New Year, New You takeaway: Content marketing is a tremendous opportunity! But not if you squander it and end up sounding like every other company on the interwebs. You have personas for your customers: Do you have one for your brand? If you covered up your visual identity on any piece of content you create, would your audience recognize it as coming from you?

Tools/platforms: Create a persona for your company. Who are you? Who are you not? There really are no tools here, aside from a giant whiteboard and company stakeholders all in the same room together.

There’s lots more to consider in the deck, below—including content curation, rallying employees on social media, and honing in on the data you really need… as well as a look at the 10 Things You Can Most Definitely Shed in 2014.

Check it out:

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15 Responses to New Year, New You: 3 Things Every Marketer Should Be Doing in 2014

  1. Ann, thank you for sharing these diverse tools & platforms for real-time & video marketing. Having a trusted source vet and identify them saves so much time.

    Your post syncs up perfectly with this 01/23/14 eMarketer article: Content Marketing a Struggle from Start to Finish –

    Curating, creating, and publishing differentiating content remains an ongoing challenge. Thanks for saving us time in the “finding” so we can focus more time on the “making.”

    • Ann Handley says:

      Good add, Tony. Thanks. I talked about the value of curating *and* creating in the seminar Corey and I did. Essentially, with the volume of content being created growing exponentially, being on top of news/developments in your industry, commenting on why it matters, and sharing it becomes a valuable skill.

      Thanks for chiming in here!

  2. Ann,
    This is a terrific list of what marketers need to do to “step it up” in 2014. I too hear the same excuses you mention.

    The one must-do that resonates most with me is video. There is just no excuse anymore for marketers to tell stories through video. The barriers of entry are gone. The most progressive marketers are hiring talent with video production and editing skills. YouTube and Google+ are integrated. The video moons are aligned. Every marketer should jump on the video band wagon.

    • Ann Handley says:

      “The video moons are aligned” — nicely put. We’ve been predicting video’s coming of age for years — and I think 2014 is when it finally happens, for the reasons you state and I talk about above.

  3. Thanks for the name check, Ann!!!

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  6. Ray Hartley says:

    Hello from Australia Ann, and thanks for the piece on video. As a consultant to law firms, and one in particular, I have been pushing hard for video content on their website; however I must report that my pushing has only exhausted me and not convinced them. I am still a believer however in a profession that needs to innovate as much as we need to breath air, it is a tough gig. Ray

  7. Prashant says:

    Totally agree with “Real time Content production” , We are already done with web 2.0 where it was all about social content. The situation now is such that marketers have to be alert and adaptive to whats going on real time.

  8. Adam Dukes says:

    Great post, Ann! I can relate to the video excuses as I have come up with them all, probably for over a year now. It’s funny when I suggest a client to use video and they ask — do you use it? I have created a few, but not consistently.

    I have a live online video “show” debuting soon. It’s something new, something different and I hope it works. Only one way to find out, right?

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