2024 content planning––a rough guide
By Tracey Wallace
Start with your team’s needs
First things first, you need to talk to your team. What kind of content do they need to do their jobs better? Do they have a wish-list of topics or formats? In what channels do they use their content––email, social media (paid or unpaid), etc?
Even better if you have a product marketing team and can leverage their persona and painpoint documentation so you can map your content, in its various formats, back to specific painpoints for specific personas. Bonus points if you can do this at each stage of funnel.
BUT I know so many teams don’t have this, and you don’t want to be left on your heels for 2024—wishing you had budget, but having never made the case for it.
So, here are some places to start:
Budget for video, and repurpose
Video continues to be one of the best performing content assets out there––across channels. Paid teams love it, organic social teams love it, sales teams love it, etc.
Now, the cuts of vdeos that each of those teams want will likely be different. So, you need to understand the use cases for video in those channels, the ideal length and topics, etc.
Case study or customer storytelling videos are a great place to start, since most channels will use these. You can leverage organizations like Testimonial Hero to build out these assets for you––or you can do them in-house.
But plan for various takes to support business narratives as well as various cuts for those narratives for specific channel use cases.
From there, you’ll want to write out a case today, and can even leverage a company like Content Remix to take your video file and write out a blog post based on the content. Just make sure you differentiate your blog narrative from your case study.
Then, think through where you’ll host these videos. In my opinion, YouTube is a great option since you can leverage YouTube SEO and even YouTube Shorts, both of which pull through (or will pull through) to Google’s SERP. Some organizations will need to use tools like Wistia or Vimeo in addition to YouTube to capture on-site video engagement metrics. I don’t have a horse in that game for which platform to use. Both have worked well for me in the past!
Take account of what you already have & begin to test theories
A lot of content marketing teams have a lot of content that they’ve produced. Now is the take to take inventory.
What did you produce this year and/or over the years that is doing well (i.e. driving traffic and leads, or being used by your internal teams) and what isn’t doing well?
For the pieces that aren’t doing well, how can you scrub them to make them better––or tear them apart and put them back together targeting different keywords, or telling different narratives, or interviewing new folks to get new perspectives?
Because these pieces have been on your site for a little while, they are the best ones to experiment with. In other words, they will give you a sooner lift than net new pieces if the new angle, format, or whatever else you change starts to work.
- Want to test out shorter form content? Start with these pieces.
- Want to test out new narratives? Start with these pieces.
In fact, you can start in Q4 so that you have baseline metrics for Q1.
Just remember––if you are testing, you need to measure against a goal. Goals for content marketing are typically traffic or lead gen, but can also be MQLs. Be sure to closely monitor and track these pieces for that goal (and report out on it clearly with your larger team).
Think about lead gen
I see it all the time on LinkedIn––folks waxing poetic about the demise of gated assets. And they might be right. But that doesn’t mean lead generation isn’t a forgone tactic for B2B. Here are a few other options to think about:
- LinkedIn lead gen: Advertising downloadable content on lead gen (typically short form content) that folks can download on LinkedIn without ever getting pushed to you site.
- Interactive lead gen: Tools like Ceros (on the high end) and TypeForm (on the lower end) help to enable this kind of work. These can be tools like quizzes embedded in content or throughout your site to collect additional information on your leads (including their emails) in exchange for value added content. Or, this can be “free to read” content that has a pop-up to download the full verion after someone is halfway through. There’s lots of different ways to do it.
- Online conferences & webinars: These can be a lot of work, but they also drive a lot of leads––and can be repurposed for additional video content on YouTube or organic social clips. What tools might you need to accomplish these well? Start those demos now.
- eBooks & white papers: Don’t believe the internet when they say something is dead (hell, the internet said email marketing was dead for years and its very alive and well). Focus on creating maybe 1 ebook or white paper per quarter. Something that is super high value, that you can build blog content off of to push back tot eh download, and that your team can really rally around for that quarter. Make sure it aligns to your quarterly narrative or solves for sales objections. Whatever it is––test it out and test it out well. Really promote it. Really give it a chance. Really follow up on those leads. And test for yourself if these work or not anymore.
Clarify your goals
And finally––though honestly this should have been the first bullet––clarify your goals for 2024. What will your content marketing team be responsible for?
- Content-attributed revenue?
Get clear with your executives on what they expect from content, then work with your team to understand personas, pain points, common sales objections, and your overall narrative and approach for the next year. Then, and really only then, should you be putting pen to paper to build out a plan for 2024.