A Digital Marketer’s List of 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

People who make resolutions are 10x more likely to achieve their goals than people who don’t. 16 to-do resolutions for marketers – and one to-don’t.
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Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?

About 45% of us do. But only 8% of us stick to them.

There’s a downer. I mean, if you’ve only got an 8% chance of actually sticking with a resolution, why bother?

Well, perhaps there is a reason to bother; here’s another stat cheery enough to turn that around:

People who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve those goals than people who don’t make them.

Anything that can 10X my odds of achieving my goals sounds good to me. I hope it sounds good to you, too. So in order to help all of us marketers get better, be better and do better, we’ve put together this list of marketers’ resolutions for the New Year.

May it 10X your clickthrough rates, 10X your ROI… even 10X your office happiness.

Here goes:


1) I will have a documented marketing plan, complete with a documented content marketing strategy.

Marketers with a documented plan get the best results. 53% of the most effective B2B marketers and 58% of the most effective B2C marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. Compare that to the least effective B2B marketers; 40% of them have no strategy at all.

2) I will not publish content I would not want to read, engage with and share … even if I didn’t work at my company.

This is a tall order, but it speaks to the level of quality we should aim for. So ask yourself: If you were not at your current job, and you came across the piece of content you’re about to publish… would you share it with your own audience?

We may not be able to say yes to that every time, but it’s something to aim for. If you find yourself falling short of this a lot, maybe it’s time to publish less, but better quality, content.

3) I will not use click-bait headlines.

(Not that you would have, anyway. Not you.)

4) I will have a documented editorial mission statement.

This is one of the new quality markers from Joe Pulizzi at the Content Marketing Institute. He talks about it quite a bit in his new book, Content Inc. It’s also a new question in the most recent CMI and Marketing Profs’ 2016 Benchmarks Budgets and Trends study.

Most marketers don’t have one. But the ones that do tend to be more successful. 48% of the most effective B2B marketers and 50% of the most effective B2C marketers have a documented editorial mission statement.

5) I will plan my content out ahead of time.

Through the use of an editorial calendar. Even a low-tech one.

I will be realistic about the schedule, too. I will add a few days of padding into any project that requires more than two weeks of work. I will ask everyone involved what their estimates are (not mine) for how long each part of the project will take. Just so there are no last-minute rushes. Just so maybe I won’t have to whisper, “How fast can you turn this around?”

6) I will not bombard my audience with sales pitches.

I will truly try to be useful to them. I will provide them with easy-to-understand, useful content in at least 50% of my communications with them – and more often if management lets me.

7) But I will add a call to action to the end of every piece of content.

Because while I don’t want to bombard people with sales pitches, it is okay to ask them if they’re ready to move to the next step.

8) I will spend at least half as much time promoting my content as it took to plan and publish it.

Because I do not want my content to be among the 50% of content published that gets less than 8 shares. The whole point of the content is to get to in front of my audience. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do that.

9) I will reformat every piece of content I publish at least three times.

Because this is the single best way to maintain high levels of quality and still publish at the rate we need to keep the content engine running. Reformatting/repurposing my content at least three times will put me in the upper 19% of marketers who repurpose their content.


10) I will be on the lookout for things we can stop doing.

There are so many new things being thrown at digital marketers. It’s easy to fall into an “add this and this and this and this” mentality.

That’s not going to stop. Balance it by letting go of things as you can. No need to be an axe man or a militant minimalist. But no need to beat a dead horse, either.

Possible things to stop doing:

  • Participating on a social media platform you aren’t getting results from
  • Managing an eight-step content approval process, when a three-step one would do
  • Running reports people don’t really need
  • Attending unproductive meetings
  • Attempting to keep up with an out-of-control inbox

11) I will see that my freelancers get paid on time.

There are many articles about how to get good work out of freelancers. Here’s a hint from a decade of freelancing experience: See they get paid promptly. Not much else you say or do will build more loyalty than that.

12) I will track everything to the best of my ability.

Key phrase here: “to the best of my ability”. You don’t have to waste weeks coming up with the most detailed, perfect, amazing tracking system. Just set up something good enough to help you make decisions based on data, not on guesses.

13) I will do more A/B split testing.

Again – like the tracking – you don’t have to test everything tiny little thing. But do establish and stick to an ongoing testing program.

Have patience with it. Sometimes it takes quite a few tests before you get miracle results. Or even good results. That’s why the “ongoing” part is so important.


14) I will appreciate, cooperate, and partner with IT.

Marketers and IT people have been frustrating each other since computers ran on punch cards. And while it may be inevitable that there’s always going to be some friction between the two departments, try to minimize it. Everyone will be happier. You all might get to go home earlier, too.

15) I will appreciate, cooperate, and partner with the Sales department.

Marketers probably get along with Sales better than with IT, but there’s still friction. From the marketers’ point of view, Sales doesn’t use their materials. And they worked HARD on those materials.

From the Sales department point of view, the leads aren’t good enough. How hard could it be, with all that staff and all those resources, not to deliver better leads?

Get past that. We’re all on the same team.


16) I will not leave negative, nasty or snide comments on blog posts, in forums, or anywhere else on social media.

This shouldn’t have to make the list. It should be our default setting. But alas, it’s still happening. I am still seeing grownups – professionals – lapsing into nastiness. And I’m not talking about the kind of sites where the comments are a war-zone. I’m talking about comments on reputable industry blogs.

Come on, everybody. The world is tough enough. Play nice.

*I lapsed on this one last year. Even after I waited a day to cool off. Here’s to better luck next year…

17) I will say thank you more often.

Maybe it’s a nice comment on a blog. Or saying thank you for a retweet. Or endorsing someone for a skill on LinkedIn.

But what a fine to-do item to have on your task list every day: Thank someone for something.

It wouldn’t even have to be online.


Today marketers have more tools, channels and insights available than ever before. And we need them. There’s more competition than ever before. Our audiences have never been as distracted.

But that’s all OK. So long as we can improve our game and focus on what’s important, there’s no reason 2016 shouldn’t be an awesome year.

If you’re having trouble picking where to focus your efforts, consider the statement below. It’s paraphrased from the bestselling book, The One Thing, by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan:

“What’s the one thing I can do that would make everything else easier or unnecessary?”

Answer that and you’ve got your resolution.

Extra credit

Want to really make sure these resolutions stick? Write out a plan to do them. Put it where you can see it every day. Then, when it’s the second half of January and you’re lapsing back into old habits, you might get inspired to stick to at least a few of these.

What are your resolutions for the coming year? Tell us about them in the comments.

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