content marketing

13 Fundamental Lessons to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy in 2018 (and Beyond)

We’re mere days away from turning the page on 2017. It’s been a fun year for me and hopefully my articles here on StartupNation have provided some knowledge about how to put together a successful content marketing program. As we look to 2018, let’s focus on the most critical parts of your content marketing strategy that will put you on a path for success.

Sure, there will always be new marketing trends, but what doesn’t change are the fundamentals. To find success in the new year, remember these critical tips.



  1. Tie your strategy to a real business goal

Easily the most common misstep we see is when a company chooses to focus on vanity metrics, such as page views, clicks, etc., rather than real business goals. Always start with a business objective and build a strategy from there.

  1. Use a framework

Every startup is different, and there is no out-of-the-box strategy that works for everyone. But there are frameworks that you can use to think about how to create value with the content that you’re creating, and they hold true in pretty much every case.

  1. Assemble the right team

Don’t invest in content marketing if you can’t assemble the right team. Not only do you need the right skills and experience, but you also need a team that is able to carry your content marketing from planning to execution, including outreach.

  1. Dig deep into your audience

If you want to create valuable content, you need to start by understanding who you’re creating content for. Develop in-depth personas to better understand the various segments of your audience and how you can provide value for them at each stage of the buying cycle.

  1. Don’t stop when you hit “publish”

All too often, companies think their content marketing ends the moment they hit “publish.” In reality, having a robust content promotion and outreach strategy for each piece is key to achieving the results you want.

  1. Set big goals, then break them down into small goals

We often set big, lofty goals, like getting a million users or driving hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue. This is great, but in order to make those goals realistic (and achievable), we need to break them down into small steps for weekly growth. Create a tactical plan and then execute.

  1. Steal what’s working

If your competitors or someone else in your industry is successful, don’t be afraid to steal ideas and direction from them. Obviously, don’t actually steal their content, but learn from what is working for others and apply it to your program.

  1. Choose the right yardstick

Setting goals and metrics is a critical piece for measuring your success. So, make sure you’re defining the right ones.

  1. Integrate content and social

Social media and content marketing don’t stand alone. They work together. Find ways to integrate your content marketing strategy and your social media strategy to improve the effectiveness of both.

  1. Learn from failure

There’s no shame in failing. Everyone does. But make sure that when you have something that doesn’t go according to plan, you learn from that experience and carry the findings forward.

  1. Change and adapt

As you learn, you’ll want to change and adapt your approach. Embrace that. It’s natural for your strategy to change over time and as you learn new lessons.

  1. Remember your strategy

Don’t get too lost in the tactical execution and lose focus of why you’re doing content marketing in the first place. It’s an investment meant to help you achieve a certain goal.

  1. Remember your audience

As we progress in content marketing, it can be easy and tempting to lose sight of the most critical aspect: your audience. Never forget them, because without an audience, your content is completely valueless.


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Use these tips to steer your strategy into 2018 and get on a path toward growth and success. Good luck! 

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