Setting your 2023 marketing strategy? You’ll need to do more than just brush the dust off last year’s plan if you want to be successful.
We’re finishing up yet another year of extreme turbulence—Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Great Resignation, and the impending recession and its tech company layoffs, to name a few of the concerns. Meanwhile, brand communities are still learning how to connect and engage with each other amidst their remote and hybrid work worlds. Empathy will be critical for earning your community’s trust, and you’ll need to look at your tried-and-true strategies in entirely new ways.
Tips For Improving Your Content Marketing Strategy in 2023
To help you prepare your 2023 marketing strategy, we asked our #ContentChat community to reflect on the past year and share one lesson they learned or something they think every marketer should know.
Check out all of their tips below. What advice would you add? Tell us in the comments below or by using #ContentChat on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Tailor Your Content for the Format
“I learned that it’s important to write differently for blogs, YouTube videos, and podcasts. The commonality is that you need to have a hook in the beginning to catch people’s attention and strong CTAs at the end.
However, the difference among the three is the set up and middle part. For blogs, you can start with something general, then move to specifics. For videos, you need to shorten the general overview and get to the specific content as quickly as possible. For podcasts, if it’s solo, tell it as a short personal story, but not too long. Again, get to the specifics after your quick set-up. If it’s a podcast interview between two people, make it casual like a conversation. The podcast host needs to prepare the questions in advance, then improvise as it goes.
Although writing matters in blog posts, well-prepared scripts and show notes are key for videos and podcast recording.” – Pam Didner, B2B Marketing Consultant | Writer | Podcaster
Don’t Be Afraid to Stop Doing Things
“When I started hosting #ContentChat on Twitter in 2016, it was exciting to have 50 to a hundred content marketing professionals participating in each chat, sharing best practices and getting to know each other. But, over time, our community’s enthusiasm for public conversations on Twitter waned. Yet, the desire to stay connected and exchange best practices didn’t. That’s why in 2023 we are adding LinkedIn audio to our Content Chat mix, giving people who are no longer spending time on Twitter a way to participate in the conversations. We are investing time in nurturing our #ContentChat Discord community to provide a day-to-day home for content marketers looking for a supportive—and private—place to connect with each other.” – Erika Heald, founder of Erika Heald Marketing Consulting
Keep Refreshing Your Content
“The value of the content refresh just keeps growing. By now, most businesses doing content marketing have been doing it for years and have a ton of content built up. And at this point—no matter your industry—the last two years were packed with more volatility and change than any others in recent memory. That means the content library you built up got outdated fast.
In many cases, the bones of the old content are still good, but the details need updating to stay relevant. Plenty of businesses were doing regular content refreshes before the pandemic started, but the value of the practice has increased considerably in the last two years. Refreshes can produce impressive results with comparatively less work than creating new content. Keep creating original high-quality content, but shift some of your investment in 2023 to updating the stuff you already have.” – Kristen Hicks, freelance content marketing writer
Partner With The Right People Sooner When Creating Content
“Learning about content marketing is a continual process. In 2022, I didn’t learn anything new, per se; instead, I’ve discovered new ways on how we as content marketers can collaborate and integrate with other teams. Successful content requires full integration across the funnel, which means the what and why we produce content is as important as the how and with whom we produce it. I’ve learned that bringing the right people in earlier during the discovery/research phase of content helps us meet the audiences’s needs sooner in the creation process—ultimately streamlining production.
For example, my team was working with product marketing to create a series around workforce automation. Early on in the outlining process, we brought in an AE (Account Executive) to discuss our customer’s pains. We uncovered our content needed to very clear, with actionable step-by-step instructions v.s. a higher level ‘this is why you need this’ type of content. Our customers already knew they needed to fix their pain, but the complexity of HOW to solve it left them just doing nothing. It was up to us to simplify it for them. If we had asked the AE for feedback AFTER the plan was in place, they would have been reviewing a completely different storyline—one that would not resonate with our audiences.” – Amy Higgins, strategic, data-focused, content marketing leader
Creativity and Empathy Cannot Be Automated
“Invest in people, not platforms. Stay curious, but don’t get too distracted by the next new thing. As we’ve seen over and over again, a single person or company can break a platform or revenue model in a heartbeat. No matter how advanced AI may be or become, I’m convinced that creativity and empathy cannot be automated. Cultivate relationships and connect in ways that can’t be blown up on a whim.” – Carmen Hill, Content Strategist & Writer, Chill Content, LLC
Everyone’s Creating Content—Make Yours Stand Out
“Brands are now competing for eyeballs with the regular person on the street who is making their own content. Every man and his dog is creating content and posting it online. Some people have become so successful at it that they’ve quit their day jobs and become full-time YouTubers/TikTok/Instagram influencers. And these people, more often than not—are interesting! A brand has to compete with a lot of noise and more judgement and scrutiny from their audience. Nowadays everyone’s online. It can be a hairy experience to navigate for brands, which means content marketing must be done well and right.” – Caroline “Cazi” James, a global PR and brand specialist based in Los Angeles.
Help Your Readers Find Meaning In Their Lives and Work
“Content marketing in 2022 is a product of marketers re-evaluating what they want and need from the industry. With massive job moves, a refreshed sense for what is possible when it comes to the disruption of the status quo of work situations, and the (hypothetical) impending recession, it’s all about one thing: doing the right thing.
That may seem broad and sweeping, because it is. Content marketers have long been trying to build content to help people do their jobs better by playing matchmaker. But the people consuming their content are deep into a existential life review cycle that is asking them larger, more sweeping questions: are you doing the right thing for your family? your mental health? your body? your partnerships? your career?
After the pandemic in the early 1900s we saw the emergence of the Roaring ‘20s, and we’re looking to 2022 as the cultural impetus for the next Roaring 2020s. If content marketers are smart, they’ll take advantage of this fresh approach, this renewed sense of purpose, and start building content that help people find more meaning in their lives and work as the next year comes to crest.” – Maureen Jann, Advisor at NeoLuxe Marketing, 20 year marketing veteran, graduate from the school of failed startups, and curious soul
Take Video and Audio To The Next Level
“In 2022 I learned that more and more business people are realizing that they need to participate in the content creation process. However, they don’t know how to show up professionally—beyond appearing with the low video and audio quality that they’ve grown accustomed to on video conference calls. The notion that every company should be a media company means that the participants need media training, otherwise their professional brand can be tarnished.” – A. Lee Judge, founder/CMO, Content Monsta
Content Marketers Should Uncover Customer Needs
“This year, I moved from an editorial position at a B2B newsletter company to a much smaller organization that works with people and organizations seeking to strengthen their profiles on social media. Perhaps it’s just a personal revelation for me (vs. a ‘trend’), but I am struck by the challenge of helping busy people and purposeful organizations put themselves in the shoes of a potential customer or audience member. Content marketers can play a crucial role for these people by demonstrating (via metrics and anecdotal evidence) why it makes sense to spend time on strategy. And doing this is as much about people skills as it is about content marketing chops.” – Paula Kiger, Vice President of Special Projects at Digimentors
Build Relationships to Create Relevant Content
“Throughout 2020, I’ve realized this again and again: understanding your audience is way more important than nailing keywords. Because search is becoming crowded, focus on building relationships with your audience to learn what they struggle with and to share with them the content you create that solves their specific problem.” – Masooma Memon, freelance content marketer for SaaS
Reassess Your Social Media Plans
“Social media content marketing may seem like a low-hanging fruit, which it is. However, with increasing privacy concerns, a volatile social media landscape, and rise of niche communities, brands should focus more on using owned channels to market their content. As evident from the recent Twitter acquisition, social media has the potential to very quickly dilute a brand’s value and reputation, which takes years to build.” – Vasundhara Mohan, content manager, Boxwood Digital Marketing (a content advocate, strategist, and manager in a digital marketing agency)
Obsess Over The Reader Experience
“This year for me was all about obsessing over the reader experience. I poked holes in our current processes and found ways to strengthen quality. I published a book about my team’s approach to content style! I joined and participated in various communities where I benefitted from the knowledge of those with more experience than me.” – Maddy Osman, author & founder, The Blogsmith
Control Your Content Distribution
“With the Elonification of Twitter, and the possible banning of TikTok in the States, I learned more than ever that content marketers need to control the distribution of their content. That most likely means making email newsletters the center of the entire content strategy. Audience isn’t really audience unless it’s owned.” – Joe Pulizzi, Founder, The Tilt and Creator Economy Expo
Create New Content Experiences
“Content marketing is more than using traditional content types in the same old ways. Content marketing is about community. It is about new forms of content that we haven’t thought of before. Whether a college marching band forms your message at a football game (see Land O’ Lakes at a Purdue University game) or you create a branded online community for your customers, it is all content. It is what you do with it that makes it content marketing.” – Andi Robinson, Consultant, Hijinx Marketing
Focus On Satisfying Your Community Needs, Not Chasing Shiny Objects
“In 2022, I learned (or re-learned) that it’s all about the fundamentals, despite new technologies like Web3, NFTs, metaverse. Yes, stay on top of what new technologies can do for your marketing, but remember that it’s all about a deep understanding of your audience and staying focused on satisfying their needs. Take Google’s helpful content update. While it’s great that Google formalized how marketers can be ‘helpful,’ it’s all things we should have been doing from the beginning (i.e., for the past 10+ years).” – Dennis Shiao, founder of B2B marketing agency Attention Retention LLC
Upgrade Your Marketing Toolbox
Each of the above pieces of advice will help your brand reach and engage your community in more authentic ways. But here comes the next challenge—teams are increasingly expected to do more with less resources. So how can you handle all of your marketing priorities?
We love to use tools and templates that streamline our work and improve our business decision-making. Check out our 61 favorite marketing templates and tools for resources that will help with content marketing planning, content creation, executive thought leadership development, and more!