Are you struggling to produce content marketing in 2024 that meets your business goals? Filling your social channels with posts that get little engagement, let alone click-throughs? Feeling discouraged about how to keep up with the latest content trends and formats? Oh, I’ve been there.
Ten years into leading Forge & Spark, I have had the privilege of working with dozens of incredible purpose-led businesses and brands, to develop content marketing strategies and high-quality content that helps them achieve concrete business goals. Some of the more common goals we’ve worked towards include:
- Establishing brand presence and positioning
- Growing engaged and loyal followers
- Driving traffic to their website
- Sharing complex ideas in a way that resonates with their audience
- Creating successful social media campaigns
And in the interest of helping you kick off 2024 with a few fresh ideas on how to create better, on-brand content that drives results more efficiently and effectively in your business, I’ve compiled eight essential strategies to consider in the year ahead. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Strategy 1: Get Clear on Your Business & Content Objectives
Strategy always starts with clear focus. And in 2024 – when every dollar counts more than ever – it’s critical to focus on exactly the kind of business growth you’re most looking for.
For us, setting what we call Content OKRs, is the foundation of every strategic roadmap we create—for ourselves, as well as for our clients. This piece is all about first getting clear on a tangle business objectives you want your content to help you achieve, and then getting clear on exactly how to use content to get there.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are just a few examples of the kinds of content objectives we’ve seen include:
- Increasing website traffic (be sure to specify by how much)
- Achieving a targeted increase in social media engagement
- Generating a certain number of leads through content marketing efforts
- Using specific kinds of content (e.g., case studies, webinars, blog content) to generate a targeted number of leads
- Increasing brand awareness by a specific percentage by following a particular course of action (e.g., by creating and promoting high-quality content that resonates with the target audience and positions the brand as a thought leader in the industry).
The critical factor here? The more specific your goals, the better your content strategy can be tailored to reach them.
Strategy 2: Harness the Power of Video
Video marketing is powerful – 92% of marketers who use video report a positive ROI.. That’s because video content is quick and easy to consume, making it a favourite even among audiences who haven’t traditionally been YouTube fans.
Videos allow brands to convey their message with personality and emotion, which can establish a deeper connection with their audience.What’s even better is that creating and sharing videos is now more accessible than ever. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and even LinkedIn prioritize video content, so more people see posts with video than those with images or only text. Google’s algorithm favours pages with video content, too, which gives your SEO efforts a serious boost.
We saw just such a boost this past year, in supporting the University of the Fraser Valley’s Continuing Education program with a campaign to recruit new students. Compared to the campaign the year prior which relied on long-form content and social posts and which did not feature video storytelling, this year’s campaign captured and told the stories of 5 different UFV CE students—and more than doubled the click-through rate we’d seen in the previous year’s campaign.
Another fabulous aspect of video content is that it can serve as a kind of ‘anchor’ piece of content. We often, for example, use video storytelling as an anchor piece for our clients’ monthly content batches and story packages, breaking down a great video story or piece into shorter pieces, Reels, and Stories on social, and videos can be shared on many channels too, including websites landing pages, social channels, and YouTube.
Strategy 3: Invest in SEO
In the past, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies tended to focus on keyword density and link building, often sacrificing the quality of the content in favour of higher rankings on search engine results pages. This led to a flood of low-quality content that felt spammy, and that often provided little value to the reader. Some content creators would stuff as many keywords as possible into their content, resulting in awkward and sometimes unreadable writing.
Fortunately, as search algorithms have evolved, so has SEO strategy—and with it has come an increasing focus on the quality of content. Today, search engine algorithms prioritize high-quality content and penalize manipulative link building practices, so the focus has shifted to providing valuable and relevant content for users.
What’s more, Google has been cracking down on what is considered high-quality content in order to combat the rise in AI-generated “spam” content. In 2024, content marketers would do well to pay close attention to content’s Engagement Rate in GA4 (Google’s revised version of bounce rate) and its click-through rate, as measured in Google Search Console, to ensure that all content being published is readable, skimmable, and above all else, actually engaging for your unique audience.
More than ever, then, businesses in 2024 must invest in creating high-quality and relevant content if they want to rank well in search. By shifting your strategic focus to quality over quantity, you’ll likely improve their SEO while also providing genuine value to your audience. And the bonus: you’ll also help to elevate the conversation out there. And bless you for that.
Strategy 4: Live Your Purpose in Your Social Content
Purpose-led brands are increasingly using social media as a platform to build genuine content and connections with their audiences, rather than simply promoting products and services. This shift—which we see building even more momentum in 2024—means creating more authentic and relatable content that truly resonates with their audience’s values and beliefs.
Take 12 Days of Giving, the sustainable gift guide we recently produced for our client Genus Capital, a values-led boutique investing firm that focuses on ESG and impact. Each Genus team member shared a suggestion for holiday shopping from one of their favourite B Corps, which we packaged into a long form article, supported by a rich series of posts across Genus social channels. Does the company have any affiliation with the recommended brands? Nope, but these helpful and thoughtful tips were a hit with their audience, forging connection through shared passion for supporting businesses that commit to doing good in the world.
As audiences around the world are putting pressure on brands to be more socially responsible, and as those brands invest in ‘walking the walk’—truly committing themselves to creating positive impact—expect to see much more of this kind of content on brands’ social channels. Some brands are using their platforms to raise awareness and take a stance on social and environmental issues, while others are actively engaging with their followers about important social issues.
The lesson here: by genuinely representing your purpose strategically in your social content, you’ll be going beyond just building a following—and adding heft to the impact you’re making in the world.
Strategy 5: Thoughtful Use of Influencer Marketing
Another trending social media strategy for purpose-led brands is the very strategic use of partners and influencers. Rather than working with celebrities or big-name influencers, for example—which could damage rather than support your brand if the intention is not clear and the wrong folks are speaking for you—purpose-led brands might, when it makes sense for their brand, consider partnering with micro-influencers who align with their brand values and contribute to a conversation. They should also, it goes without saying, have a following your brand would like to engage with.
By working with people and partners who are passionate about the same causes as your brand, purpose-led companies can reach highly engaged audiences that are likely to connect with your brand and its values, too. You might also be able to tap into the unique storytelling and authenticity that these influential collaborators bring to the table, creating more impactful and genuine content for your social media channels in the process.
Strategy 6: Consider and Optimize for Voice Search
With the rise of smart home assistants and voice searches, optimizing content for voice search is becoming a necessity in 2024. As more people turn to virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Home to search for information, brands need to adapt their content and SEO strategies accordingly. This includes incorporating both keywords and natural language into website content, as well as ensuring that pages load quickly and are mobile-friendly.
Voice search optimization also extends to creating content that is conversational and easy for virtual assistants to understand. This means using simple and direct language, answering common questions, and providing concise information.
By optimizing for voice search, you can ensure that your content is easily discoverable by a wider audience, increasing brand visibility and driving organic traffic, too.
Strategy 7: Repurpose Your Content
Sooo… this isn’t exactly a new thing in 2024. But – like a LOT of your content – it deserves fresh consideration.
Repurposing content involves taking old or existing content and turning it into something new and fresh. The goal of repurposing content is to make it relevant and valuable to your audience after it’s been published. Repurposing content can help save time and resources – rather than creating something new, you can simply refresh an older piece in order to reach new audiences.
Purpose-led businesses can repurpose their content in unique ways to further promote their values and engage with their audience. Here are a few ideas to get things rolling:
- Create a series of social media posts or graphics using key quotes or statistics from existing blog posts or reports. This can not only highlight important information you’ve already considered and created, but in doing so you’ll also be creating visually appealing content that can be easily shared across platforms.
- Turn customer testimonials and reviews into visual content such as videos or infographics. This showcases positive feedback about your brand, AND gives your audiences a sense of who you are and why you’re considered great by real people.
- Host a live webinar or Q&A session on a topic related to your brand’s purpose or mission. This can allow direct interaction with your audiences, and provide you both with a point of connection and perhaps passion that truly matters-—all in an engaging format.
- Collaborate with other purpose-led businesses to create co-branded content, such as a joint blog post or podcast episode. This not only expands reach but also allows for cross-promotion and potential partnerships.
The gist here is that by repurposing content in creative ways, you’ll be able to communicate your values while connecting with your audiences … AND save time and resources, to boot.
Strategy 8: Measure the Right Results
Remember Strategy 1? Once you define your most important Objectives and the Key Results you want to achieve, I urge you to focus your reporting and analysis on those OKRs first.
I’ve seen many content marketers waste a whole lot of time measuring pretty much everything. Don’t get me wrong: measuring results is crucial for any content marketing strategy. It allows you to track your progress, analyze the data, and make informed decisions about how to improve and optimize your content. By measuring results, you gain valuable insights that can guide your future strategies and help you build credibility and trust with your audience.
But if you focus first on the metrics that actually matter to your business, you’ll be taking a step towards efficient reporting, saving you and your team time and significant energy, while also keeping the bottom line top of mind.
Pro tip: We not only prepare data points in our reporting (so that we’re tracking our key results month over month) but also accompany each report with analysis, and recommended actions. It takes time, but it’s the thinking associated with your reporting, rather than just the data, that’s going to deliver true content results.
So … Are You Ready for 2024?
To be clear, you don’t have to tackle all these strategies at once.
I suggest starting small: choose just one strategy to experiment with in your first month, or quarter. By incorporating even one of these strategies into your content marketing efforts in 2024, I predict you will see an impact—enabling you to focus on your own impact out there in the world.