So, 2017 is coming to an end. It has been a crazy year for all of us (and I bet it has for you, too), but it has also been a year of growth, creativity and teamwork. We even managed to have fun at some points!
Before reaching out for the champagne bottle and the grapes, though, it’s time to reflect on what we learned during the year. Taking some time to review our hits and misses of 2017 will help us assess what to repeat and what to avoid at all costs during the new year.
We’re days away from writing a new chapter in our agency’s history. You’re days away from writing a new chapter in your marketing life. We hope these lessons will inspire you during the new year and lead you to brilliant content marketing ideas in 2018.
1. Don’t be afraid to change things up
As marketers, our profession demands we stay on top of the latest trends and try on the ones that fit our goals best. Thus, embracing change is crucial to keeping our brands fresh and our customers engaged with us.
Last August, we revamped our Motion Ave. blog as part of a pretty awesome rebranding process of our website (soon!) and our social media channels (for example, follow us on Instagram) As part of the revival of our blog, we gave you five tips to succeed at rebranding.
We’re not going to lie, tearing apart our old image has been scary and challenging at some points, but once the end result is live, it will ultimately pay off. It even injected an extra dose of fun into our work that we didn’t know we had badly needed.
If you feel too scared to dive into a full rebranding process, we want to challenge you to do a thorough assessment of your brand and dip your toes into the big pool of change. Who knows, you may get excited and jump in with your clothes on!
This could be you!
2. Learn to say no
We understand: It’s not easy to say no, especially if you’re starting out in the marketing world and are eager to get a foot in the door of as many clients as possible. On the client’s side, you want to keep up with the demands of your bosses and other departments.
But one big thing we realized this year is that neither of these are worth it if doing so affects your ability to produce your best work. Without boundaries, you may find yourself burning out really fast and losing that marketing pizzazz that helps you generate new ideas.
It’s not only a fact of productivity, it’s also about your own well being. As long as AI doesn’t take over our jobs, we need to remind ourselves that we’re humans, with needs and physical limitations that need to be taken care of. If that means taking a power nap when needed, do it. If that means setting a more reasonable deadline for a tough project, do it!
Once you start setting boundaries, even if it’s a smaller one, you’ll realize that your productivity will skyrocket and your content will be fresher. And even if your customers don’t know about your crazy schedule, they will tell the difference.
3. Embrace Email marketing
2017 was the year of email marketing as a power tool for customer engagement, and just like working with a loaded weapon, you need to use it responsibly to achieve the intended results.
Last September, we gave you a list of the six mistakes you need to banish from your email strategy. These are things that kill all the hard work you put into writing that email and putting it into your email platform of choice. So, if you still make any of these mistakes, be sure to dump them (ghost them, I’d say) in the new year. You’ll see your numbers grow and build a vibrant community that’s looking forward to what your brand has to say.
If you never make these mistakes, high five!
We also have a challenge for you: experiment with marketing funnels and automation. By getting acquainted with what your buyer’s persona needs at each stage of their interaction with you, it’ll be easier to write timely emails that touch on those issues and keep them engaged. And, yes, we’ll talk a lot more about it in 2018, so stay tuned!
4. Inspiration is Everywhere
Picasso famously said, “inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
In a way, this is true, but how about expanding your sources of inspiration beyond your 9-5?
We’ve come up with great ideas at work, but also at the supermarket line, when traveling, in the shower, or even in our dreams. Remarkable things have popped out while procrastinating!
Maybe our boss won’t like this last point, but let me explain.
Inspiration rarely comes out when you’re sitting in front of the computer, staring at the blinking cursor or at the Photoshop pointer. It comes out when we go out and experience the wonders of the world around us. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to take a field trip every day. It means that you can’t force it to appear without giving it some fuel from real life.
Ideas that come out of a pleasant walk in the park, or watching a YouTube video that set off a light bulb in our heads are radically different from the ones we squeezed out reluctantly. See it in your own work: when was the last time you came up with a great idea while idly staring at the wall? When was the last time something in your environment gave you the EUREKA feeling?
I bet the quality of the former is not as good as the one of the latter.
So, embrace your inner Awkward Yeti heart and give yourself some time to go outside your comfort zone and let inspiration find you, even if that means going to the nearby kiosk for some candy. Maybe you’ll run into your great idea there!
We hope these four lessons help you build a fantastic 2018 for you and your brands. Bring on the new year!