When you stand at the start of a new year, there is nothing but possibilities for your small business. What do you want to accomplish in the next twelve months? Make the most of the next year by creating a plan to develop better content marketing skills.

January – Tell a better story

Telling a compelling story is the germane aspect of content marketing — sometimes you tell the story with a picture, but usually, words are involved in some way. This month focus on improving your ability to tell a story. Writing is the center of all storytelling, so make sure you examine the building blocks of writing. Use these tips to get started with your writing practice. Writing is a skill that develops with practice, so persevere to improve.

February – Create spectacular titles

A compelling title guarantees more readers. Just as the right cover can make or break sales on a newly published book, your title influences how many people will click through to read the rest of your article. This month practice writing irresistible titles that tantalize your readers and encourage engagement.

March – Write consistent blog posts

Now that you have grown in storytelling and creating titles, it’s time to put your newly honed skills together together. While consistency matters, quality keeps readers. Set up an editorial calendar that places some pressure on you and stick to it. Push yourself with an extra blog post per week and a few more social media updates each day.

April – Improve your social media presence

Many social media profiles are created in a burst of enthusiasm and then never reviewed again. Take this month to freshen up your social media profiles and to update your social media knowledge. It is important to maintain your proficiency by studying inevitable changes and the ways they may affect your best social media practices.

May – Integrate automation

If you haven’t already added tools to automate some of your marketing, this is the month to initiate that improvement. New tools can be intimidating, but once you climb the learning curve, the benefits will become quickly apparent. It may be tempting to dive into whatever service you read about first, but do some solid research. Different requirements need different solutions.

June – Practice promotion

You’ve spent the last few months boosting your core skills and understanding the tools that improve your ability to spread your message, so this month, it is time to focus on getting your brand out there in front. Whether you use press releases, sponsored posts, or your social network, use this month to focus on promotion.

July – Improve a skill

This month pick a skill that you’ve always wanted to upgrade and work on it. Even if you never plan on publishing your photographs, learning how to take better photos will improve your “eye” when you select images for your posts. Focus on one aspect of your skill building. For example, if you want to improve your LinkedIn skills, spend the month reading posts and ebooks on the subject. Or if you like the photography example, focus on understanding exposure. Pick one facet of a skill where you would like to see improvement and enjoy the month’s growth.

August – Enhance your email expertise

Okay, school is back in session. It’s time to get serious. You may be thinking, ‘I have been using email since the 20th century, I don’t need to develop my proficiency!’ However, email encompasses so many skills that there is at least one area where you could use serious improvement; your response time, the organization of your inbox, your ability to keep track of relevant and timely emails, your ability to track your networking and pitching efforts, your clickthrough rate on your email newsletter, or your personalized emails to clients. This month pick the most relevant category and get to work.

September – Participate in a podcast

If you have already been a guest on podcast, good for you. Maybe you are already thinking about hosting your own, but if you haven’t, just the thought of editing sound may have sent you off in another direction. This month test the podcasting waters by exploring what podcast are popular in your industry and find a podcast you could join in as a guest. If you love it, you may use this experience as an entry point into hosting a podcast yourself or it may be a one-time cross-promotional opportunity. Either way, the experience will enrich your understanding of podcasting and its place in content marketing.

October – Invigorate your posts with infographics

We know that images have a powerful impact when communicating ideas. Infographics can take complex concepts and convey them in a succinct and remarkable manner. Marketing trends show that powerful visuals engage audiences and result in higher conversion rates. To get you started, here are some ideas for creating striking infographics.

November – Develop an ebook or whitepaper

In order to affirm all the learning you have been doing this year, this month you will focus on sharing some of your insights. Take one thing you learned and expand it for your audience as either an ebook or a white paper that illustrates a key concept you gained this year. This is an opportunity to synthesize the information acquired over the last several months and studies show that teaching others what you have learned increases retention.

December – Digital marketing audit

What worked and what didn’t? In order to strengthen your practices and revise your marketing plan, take this month to do an in-depth investigation by auditing your digital presence. This analysis is vital for improved results and an opportunity to see where you saw your best progress. Your audit will tell you where and how you can continually improve your content marketing skills.

Congratulations are in order for those who focus on improving their skills day after day. Evergreen learning bolsters your ability to produce evergreen content. If you apply this plan to your year, you will see tremendous growth in your skills and much better content marketing for your business.