Any respectable content strategist knows that the most important thing about content is to keep learning: learning from your own successes and failures and from those in your industry, learning from social and content trends that are a part of the new, constantly-reshaped web, and learning from new studies about how people read, think, and approach content online. It’s a law of the content business—heck, it’s the law of the content business—that if you’re not constantly learning and adapting, you’re drowning.

A field-wide audit is what you need. And it’s not really something I can give advice on. You know your space better than I do (unless your space is CircleBack, and then I think I’ve got you beat), and you know what trends your audience follows, what they demand the conventions be, and how the content funnels have to work.

But, there are some larger things we learned about people interacting with content on the internet in 2014 that, I think, you’ll find fairly applicable to your strategy.


First Quarter Content Goals (if 2014 was any evidence of how things should be)

Goal 1: Direct selling in content is dead. In fact, it was dead in Q1 of 2014, 2013… too, but now, it’s really dead. Like, finito. Don’t do it. Leave that to email marketing, or, at best, build a landing page. You’re here to provide new, unique content.

Goal 2: Social marketing is in. Like way in. Think about Coke’s success with their “Sharing a coke with” campaign. I don’t want to get too far into it (I’ve got a whitepaper forthcoming on the topic), but using content to position a product that, when purchased and shared, creates real social capital / legitimate social interaction is a must.

Goal 3: Curation is the new creation. Thanks, in large part to Twitter, content curation is, according to sources, the next big thing. I suspect that you’ve started to see content aggregators popping up all over your social sphere, and it’s no accident. The reason is this: a LOT of good content now exists, and it’s becoming harder and harder to crank stuff out that turns heads. As such, content departments have divided their resources so as to create great content at the pace it demands (slowly) while still being able to share great content at the pace your audience demands it (oh so rapidly). It doesn’t hurt that sharing others’ content also makes it easier to build strategic alliances between businesses.

Goal 4: Make content people can see. Everyone’s been arguing this for years and years, that this is the year that visual content displaces written, and, for the sake of tradition, I’ll call 2015 the year of the image. Sure, we’ve loved our time with the infographic, we really have, but now that we’ve reached a saturation point, we’ll have to look elsewhere. Video? Slideshare? Who knows where we’re going, but my goodness are we going there.

By tackling these trends, along with those that’re specific to your industry, you’ll be in good shape for starting a new strategy, a new quarter, and a new year. Just, really, don’t forget that your industry standards and the web’s standards at large are interdependent—they need each other to succeed—and to build and make and create and curate accordingly.

What are some of your Q1 content goals?