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January 3, 2013

Marketing Resolutions for 2013 – Hold Us Accountable (and Help Us Out!)

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Happy New Year! I’ve been told one way to hold yourself accountable to your goals is to post them publicly – but what’s even better is when you have a support system to help you get there. So Virginia and I were chatting this morning and we’re ready to share with you some professional marketing resolutions and goals for 2013 — and maybe you can help us out.

Hanging Out on a Trolley in San Francisco

Virginia Nussey and Jessica Lee vow to take more tourism-poster-ready shots this year when travelling to conferences together — like this one at SES SF 2012.

Aside from doing more traveling together to our favorite conferences (see left), we both have hopes of growing our skill sets, refining processes and continuing to develop professionally.

We hope you’ll weigh in with your goals, too, and then let’s do our best to collaborate! Who knows, maybe we can help one another accomplish our professional resolutions for 2013. What do you say?

Virginia’s Resolutions for 2013

I tend to shy away from resolutions because the new year seems like an arbitrary time to start doing something you obviously feel you should be doing anyway.

Yet at the same time, a new year resolution has something going for it: a built in metric for measuring success. And as we know, what gets measured gets done.

When you make a resolution for the new year, you have an easy date marker to check on concrete progress made at intervals throughout the year and get a sense of overall effectiveness one year out.

In addition to the time restraint, all goals are more likely to be achieved when they are measurable and concrete. These were chief qualifications as I set my professional resolutions for 2013. Have you found success with new year resolutions in the past? What characteristics do you feel a resolution must have in order to be achievable and not just a passing wish?

These are my professional resolutions. I’d love to hear yours along with your plans for how to make sure they get done.

1. Establish 3 ongoing guest blogging or cross-blogging partnerships.

Handwritten Letter

We ramped up guest blogging on the BCI blog in December, and through the course of arranging posts from guest authors and trading posts from others, I was reminded of how important guest spots are for every blog’s promotion and audience reach.

And so I’m setting a concrete goal for guest blogging in 2013. I want at least 3 blog partners to trade guest posts with every month. I’ve already got some guest partnerships brewing, but if you want in on the guest blog action at the Bruce Clay, Inc. blog, let me know.

It goes without saying that guests to the BCI blog must be experienced, expert-level, highly reputable Internet marketing practitioners.

2. Write down processes and become more efficient with client work flow.

Typewriter

Jess and I wear many hats in our dear content and marketing department. With all the sombrero swapping we do, defined processes are a helpful thing to have on hand during transitions between projects and handing off to other BCI team members. Written processes are also a critical educational component, internally and with clients.

So over the year ahead I want to polish processes for:

  • Keyword research in the SEO content marketing vein.
  • Content writing, including the subject research and discovery process and on-page keyword optimization.
  • Performance measurement of content starting from baseline SEOToolSet ranking reports and on to Google Analytics conversion path analysis.

With those processes in place, Jess and I will be in a happy place for efficiency and expansion opportunities.

3. Invest in a personal pet project where I can apply my professional skill set.

Businessmen Meditating

There’s a special kind of fulfillment that can be attained when your professional and personal interests collide. Coming up with the right idea to pursue is going to require some thought, but I know it’ll be worth it.

Understanding Internet marketing is a special skill in the world we live in today; not using it to further our personal projects and goals is doing ourselves a disservice.

Happiness in life comes from striking a balance in the various areas of our life. Hard working professionals are in danger of overlooking personal passions. I want to be sure to carve out more time every week for the activities and issues that interest me beyond Internet marketing. I want to dedicate my professional skills of promotion on the Internet to the things I care about.

Stay tuned for more details on this front.

Jessica’s Resolutions for 2013

I’m a huge fan of professional development and growth. I’m always trying to better my skill set, hurdle over personal barriers and think of new ways to look at how my discipline is growing and changing. So this year is going to be all about challenging myself to experiment with new things, testing new ideas and learning as much as I can.

1. Get better at analytics.

Highlighted Word on Paper

This has been on my list for way longer then I’d like to admit. I can find my way around Google Analytics OK, but it’s extremely important to what I do every day that I am able to quickly access the data and set up what I need in analytics to make more informed decisions about strategy. It’s especially interesting to me to be able to tie content to revenue.

I’ve been told that the Google Analytics certification is a great way to sit through the learning necessary to customize and get the most out of their analytics. So my first step is to get through the basic GA certification, start using it like a power player, and then explore more advanced learning in the area of analytics.

There’s so much to be learned, and I truly believe that we cannot get the most out of our efforts until we learn how to best use the data that’s available to us. I plan to explore mining data on just about everything I do, so that means lots of learning and doing with the right reporting.

2. Be more efficient.

Architect Plans

Every month that passes here at BCI is only getting busier and busier. With competing deadlines, projects and clients, and everyone working their heiny off, my goal is to find ways for us to work smarter.

Our content department is an interesting beast. We’re not *just* in the business of writing. We deal a lot with many other facets of digital marketing because they all interconnect. But on top of all this, we do have to write. So not only are we dealing with the more strategic side of content, but we toggle back to creating content as well.

I need more advanced tools and processes this year to make sure the content team has continued success, including exploring new tactics and making sure none of us burn out. So efficiency is the name of the game here.

I’m especially interested in exploring different ways of project management to make things “easier.” That includes tools for large-scale project management like scheduling people and editorial calendars. I also want to further explore lean and agile approaches to tackling projects, like sprints.

3. Start being more active in the community.

Community Badge

I love the fact that that we have a platform at BCI to share ideas and concepts – namely the BCI blog and search marketing conferences. That said, every year I vow to do more outreach and collaborate more, but it rarely happens at the rate I’d like it to. And it’s so frustrating!

Know how many group conversations on LinkedIn I see every day that I could contribute to but never do? Know how many queries I get from HARO but never answer? Know how many opportunities there are for me to collaborate with all the creative and talented people in the industry and I just don’t reach out on a regular basis?

So this is my goal: Start sharing more knowledge where I can; start being a part of the conversation more; start collaborating more; start listening more. It all sparks a creative cycle. Every time I spend a bit of my day being a part of the community, I get inspired.

I’m excited to be joining Search Engine Watch this year as a contributing guest author, and I hope to contribute more to the Content Marketing Institute in 2013, too. Looking for other opps, too — so please reach out if you have them!

Virginia is also doing more educational outreach, starting with guest authorship at the Online Marketing Institute. And we hope to forge many more relationships where we can be a more active part of the community we love. I hope to see more webinars, guest posting, speaking and/or teaching and other forms of educational content in our future.

4. Explore the relationship between content and user experience.

Tablet Reading

I think content as it relates to user experience is going to be very important in the future. So I’m interested in researching how user experience and content work together. I want to get to the bottom of how people like to consume content and why.

Some of the questions I need to explore are:

  • What makes a better learning experience for people and why?
  • What gets people excited about content and not overwhelmed by it?
  • What makes people react to one type of content over another?

I’ve been fascinated by user experience for some time. Google is highly focused on the user experience, and I think it’s only a matter of time before we’ll stop the more granular SEO tactics and focus more time on the user experience.
I’m really intrigued at how content becomes a part of this. And I want to start experimenting with how far I can push the limits of what I know is good for SEO in favor of user experience to see how content fares in those environments.

5. More experimenting and testing.

Audio Recorder and Notepad

This year, I want to take more risks with the content I produce. That means exploring new ways of writing (starting with a creative writing course I’ll be taking this month) and new ways of creating and distributing information.

I consider myself a pretty diverse writer, but I tend to fall back on a lot of “how to” in my blog pieces. To be honest, I’ve been somewhat hesitant to break away from that mold because people do seem to find that content very useful. But I want to start exploring other ways of writing that’s still useful, relevant and resonates with readers.

So that’s where I’ll need you, our reader, to weigh in on what types of content you like and want to see more of.

In 2013, I’m looking to find answers to:

  • What works better: shorter or longer posts? Do people really have the time or attention span to read lengthy pieces anymore?
  • Is curated content a good solution for us for certain content objectives?
  • Should we have more guest authors and user generated content? What’s the best way to approach this?
  • Do people like shorter posts? More in-depth posts?
  • Do readers react stronger to posts driven by:
  1. Storylines and experiences?
  2. How-to strategy and tactics?
  3. Posts or posts that touch on forward-thinking ideas and concepts?
  4. Fun, silly posts?
  5. Posts that don’t require a lot of time or thinking?
  6. Posts that have more video or imagery in place of text?

Another thing I’ve been meaning to do for a long time now is start my personal blog. I have soooo many ideas swirling around in my head that need to be unleashed in my own platform so I can have another testing ground.

And speaking of testing, I want to test more. That means getting savvier with the many tools and data that’s available so I can A/B and multivariate test.

Well there you have it. Now I suppose we’re stuck on making these things happen – eh, Virginia? If you’re reading this and you have important professional goals for 2013, vow to commit to them right now by saying them out loud! We’d love to be supportive in any way we can.





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