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Future-Proof Your Content Strategy: 10 Best Practices for Acing Content Marketing in 2024

Updated: Jan 2


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Future-Proof Your Content Strategy: 10 Best Practices for Acing Content Marketing in 2024

As we approach the year 2024, staying ahead of the curve and future-proofing your content strategy has become more important than ever.


To assist you in navigating the evolving landscape and achieving success in content marketing, I have compiled a comprehensive list of 10 best practices. These practices have been identified as common pain points based on feedback from my previous and existing clients.


From strategic alignment to leveraging technology and embracing innovative messaging, these actionable tips will empower you to avoid repeating past mistakes and excel in your content marketing endeavors in the year ahead:






 


1. Transform Content Marketing in 2024: Go Beyond Content Creation


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Transform Content Marketing in 2024: Go Beyond Content Creation

Move Beyond Preferences and Desires


This timeless advice remains relevant: Stop creating content just for the sake of it. Without a valuable purpose, creating content based solely on your own preferences and desires serves no purpose. To capture attention and engagement, it's essential to find ways to create content that your audience truly finds valuable. As a content marketer, I find myself repeatedly emphasizing the importance of understanding your target audience's pain points, desires, and preferences before diving into content creation. Every piece of content should have a clear strategy and rationale, with specific goals aligned to your content funnel. Otherwise, it's like sending a message out into the wild, where no one reciprocates, resulting in wasted effort, time, and even money.



Embrace Short-Form Videos and Consistency


The difference between 2023 and 2024 lies in the increasing significance of content format, with short-form videos taking the lead. While in the past, content marketers like myself advocated for unique content across platforms, things are changing in 2024. A short-form video that performs well on YouTube Shorts may very well achieve similar or even better results on TikTok. However, the key takeaway remains the same: the quality of your content, in terms of messaging and meeting your target audience's expectations, matters more than ever. It's not about the production value or how polished it looks, but how effectively it resonates with your audience.







Quality Over Viral Trends and Competitor Imitation


Creating content that drives performance requires a strategy, rather than blindly chasing trends or striving for viral success. Impulsive content creation without a strategic foundation rarely yields sustainable results. Moreover, copying your competitors will not benefit your brand and may even harm it. In a world saturated with content consumption, audiences can easily discern authenticity and are more likely to connect with genuine brands that prioritize their needs over simply reaching into their pockets.







2. Foster Alignment: Strategically Unite Your Company's Efforts


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Foster Alignment: Strategically Unite Your Company's Efforts

Moving Beyond Departmental Boundaries


Content marketing has evolved beyond being the responsibility of a single team or department; it has become a company-wide endeavor. This is particularly critical for SaaS companies that rely on a product-led approach. In order to ensure a cohesive message and evaluate if the product can deliver on those promises, alignment is necessary among the product team, customer service team, sales team, and marketing team. Therefore, it becomes essential for all members of the company to have a clear understanding of the content strategy.



Uniting Teams for Effective Messaging and Product Delivery


Each individual needs to comprehend how the content strategy impacts their specific roles and even influences their key performance indicators (KPIs). Without this cross-department understanding, there is a risk that the social media team may unintentionally latch onto a trending topic that contradicts the overarching branding objectives of the company. Such misalignment can hinder the company's ability to achieve its desired brand image and goals.



Educating the Team on the Impact of Storytelling and Branding


Entrepreneurs are well aware of the numerous instances where PR failures have occurred due to insensitive branded content, resulting in negative sentiment from audiences. To mitigate this risk, it is crucial to educate the entire team and emphasize how the company's storytelling directly impacts the bottom line for each and every individual. By highlighting the connection between the content strategy and the company's overall success, employees can better appreciate the importance of their contributions and align their efforts accordingly.





3. Streamline Operations: Make Content Responsibilities Clear


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Streamline Operations: Make Content Responsibilities Clear

Streamlining Workflow for Success


Stop asking your marketing team to play catch the mice. No company should jump on new trends, platforms, or anything else without a unified process that justifies the investment of time, effort, and money. To achieve this, companies must establish a clear workflow for their content operations. This encompasses everything from strategy and content creation to repurposing, analytics, collaborations, outsourcing, refining existing content, and even content deletion.



Enhancing Content Performance through Clear Responsibilities


Having such a process allows the team to identify who is responsible for each task and effectively delve into specific content performances while identifying content patterns. Similar to conducting a science experiment, when too many people are involved with numerous variables, drawing reliable conclusions that can serve as actionable insights becomes highly challenging.



Leveraging Existing Assets and Patterns for Optimal Results



Moreover, without a content operations process, much content goes to waste. Content marketing is not solely about constantly creating new things. In my opinion, it's better to avoid reinventing the wheel. Instead, focus on consistently creating content that resonates with your target audience and aligns with your brand. Identify content patterns and elevate them through the creation of series or by implementing a scalable repurposing process. Chances are, you're missing out on numerous optimization opportunities and wasting money on creating new content when there's still plenty of potential in your existing assets that can be further leveraged.






4. Enhance Customer Journey: Identify and Bridge the Gaps


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Streamline Operations: Make Content Responsibilities Clear

Unveiling Audience Perceptions and Closing the Gap


So many companies assume they know how their customers perceive them. The truth is, different departments provide different justifications because they have distinct key performance indicators (KPIs) and agendas to fulfill. It's crucial to be realistic and monitor how your target audience travels through your content marketing or sales funnel by establishing the customer journey in advance. Recognize all the available touchpoints and gather metrics that reveal their level of engagement. Don't limit yourself to last-touch attribution alone, as that penalizes the hard work put into content, especially organic content. Having such clarity is detrimental to a brand's ability to convert leads because customers nowadays expect personalized reminders of why they should care about your brand.



Crafting a Comprehensive Customer Journey for Effective Engagement


That being said, some might argue that a linear customer journey is obsolete, and to some extent, I agree. However, that doesn't mean there shouldn't be any customer journey set up at all. While there may be countless ways for a customer to discover your brand, it's crucial for businesses to understand which touchpoints are the most practical and effective to maintain. This is how content marketing can truly impact the bottom line. Unless they understand the journey their target audience takes, businesses cannot establish better touchpoints or improve existing ones, leading to lost leads.



Leveraging the Customer Journey as a Catalyst for Growth


Having a customer journey is also essential for reinforcing staff morale. If employees don't see how their actions affect the business, why should they create, improve, or suggest alternatives for driving brand awareness? A customer journey may appear static, but it serves as an important document for the team to refer back to when striving to achieve specific metrics and goals. They can easily identify their bottom-funnel tactics and top-funnel touchpoints. Every campaign they decide to run remains consistent with the initial customer journey, rather than diverting existing audiences onto another path. Instead, it focuses on enhancing the overall customer experience for their audience.





5. Boost Conversion: Back Your Content Funnel with Measurable Metrics


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Boost Conversion: Back Your Content Funnel with Measurable Metrics

The Reality of Funnel Setup Programs


There are countless advertisements from service providers boasting about their funnel setup programs and guaranteeing the number of leads they can help you drive. While I won't debate their reliability, I want to emphasize that having a funnel setup is just the first step in the game. The most important aspect is gathering metrics and data for each stage of your funnel. In marketing, we often use the AIDA setup, but if you're in SaaS and adopt a product-led approach with a growth hacker involved, you might be looking at the Pirate Funnel (AAARRR).







The Key Role of Metrics in Funnel Optimization


Regardless of the approach you choose, testing and gathering numbers for each stage is crucial. It's the only way to calculate conversion rates and identify any gaps in your funnel. Once you have the data in hand, you can analyze the performance of your content and assess whether it aligns with your goals for each stage of the funnel. This analysis allows you to understand if your content is effectively guiding leads through the desired journey or if there are areas that need improvement. It's essential to evaluate how well your content is engaging and resonating with your target audience at each touchpoint.



Leveraging Insights for Further Growth


Sometimes, you may surprise yourself with unexpectedly high conversion rates and question if they are genuinely accurate. This presents an opportunity to explore further, whether it involves increasing rates even more or focusing on attracting a larger number of leads into the funnel.





6. Goal-Setting for Success: Combine Historical and Trust-Building Objectives


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Goal-Setting for Success: Combine Historical and Trust-Building Objectives

Setting Content Marketing Goals Beyond Competitor Comparisons


Many companies fall victim to the trap of comparing themselves with their competitors in the industry. Even worse, they use their competitors' frontend data as their benchmark. However, trying to achieve the same reach as your competitors is futile because content marketing is not about replicating processes. It's about unleashing the uniqueness of your brand and expressing it through content, so that your brand's unique proposition aligns with the desires of your target audience. If you can simply replicate your competitor's success, it means that your product offering is no different. Therefore, the only data that should be used to set benchmarks or KPIs is your own historical data.



The Importance of Reliable Historical Data in Content Marketing


This poses a challenge for many companies: how can they gather reliable data? The only way to do so for content is by creating categorized content. When you create content on an impulse without a particular structure, framework, or process, you end up with different content styles every time. This makes it impossible to determine whether the platform, subject matter, words, visuals, or other factors contributed to the success or failure of the content.



The Role of Qualitative Aspects in Content Marketing Success


While historical data based on reliable content test groups is vital for achieving content marketing success, companies must also recognize the importance of the qualitative or creative aspect of content marketing. Ultimately, content marketing is about building trust and driving traction. If your content creators or in-house marketers don't prioritize this as their guiding principle, the content will never be able to convert high-quality leads. At best, it will generate a lot of traffic, reach, and perhaps even go viral. However, it's important to remember that virality alone cannot sustain a business or provide for your team's needs.





7. Embrace Technology: Automate and Trust Your Processes


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Goal-Setting for Success: Combine Historical and Trust-Building Objectives

Defining Its Role and Aligning with Your Needs


Everyone has been discussing the potential of AI in content production processes, but what I find intriguing is how rarely people discuss the role they envision for AI within their broader marketing perspective. Do you expect AI to handle everything, or are there specific tasks that you've been longing to outsource and delegate? The key here is not only to recognize what you need to do but cannot justify investing your time in, but rather to treat AI as a candidate and assess its strengths and compatibility with your needs. To identify this, you must have a detailed and comprehensive overview of your content operations workflow. Otherwise, you may end up asking AI to perform tasks that may not be worthwhile for anyone or anything in the long run.



Staying Committed to Your Content Marketing Strategy



Another factor that hinders people from achieving content marketing success is their lack of faith in the process. Once they have everything set up and a relatively clear path to follow, they suddenly deviate and start making changes to their strategy. That's not how a strategy works. It's akin to fighting a war. Your soldiers are prepared and understand their roles. Of course, you can allocate resources and adjust their paths, but the overall objective remains the same. In my opinion, most businesses that claim content marketing isn't for them are simply individuals who have set themselves up for failure because they couldn't see the process through and stick with it for it to yield results.



Choosing the Essential Components of Your Content Marketing Toolbox


For any content marketing strategy to succeed, you need the right tools in place. Personally, I find a CRM and a CMS to be crucial. Take the time to carefully select the tools that best suit you and your team, and don't fall into the trap of sticking with something you're accustomed to (such as an Excel sheet or a free software) simply because it's familiar. Once you feel that the tool you're currently using no longer effectively supports your content tasks or is consuming too much of your time without generating the desired results or metrics, it's time to make the decision to seek a change.







8. Storytelling Matters: Make it the Heart of Your Marketing


Understanding the Value of Customer-Centric Content Marketing



3 years ago, when I first started Joyce Tsang Content Marketing, I began preaching a message that still holds true today, in 2024, and will continue to be relevant in the future. It's crucial to understand that customers are not primarily interested in your product; they care about the solution it provides for their problems. Despite this, many companies still approach content creation as if it were merely a digital version of their product manual. However, this approach is ineffective.



Moving Beyond Descriptions


A comprehensive content strategy should include buckets that allow the company to discuss branded content, such as product features and service details. However, the execution of these content pieces should not merely revolve around providing descriptions. First and foremost, always consider the hook based on your target audience research. While you can certainly use your product's capabilities as a call to action driver or create tutorials showcasing how your product is superior to your competitors', never kickstart the conversation with a feature. Instead, begin with an interesting and relevant hook that naturally leads into your sales-enablement or branded content.



The Power of Storytelling in Content Creation



Secondly, always approach content creation in content marketing with a storytelling mindset. You don't have to start with "once upon a time," but strive to make it personal. The easiest way to achieve this is by sharing personal experiences. This doesn't have to be limited to industry thought leader-style opinions; it can be as simple as incorporating client testimonials, interwoven with what you want to showcase about your product or highlighting achieved data/outcomes. This approach takes your audiences on a journey rather than bombarding them with sales messages that consist of nothing more than a list of features.






9. Break the Mold: Think Outside Traditional Messaging Methods


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Break the Mold: Think Outside Traditional Messaging Methods

Traditional Messaging vs. Content Marketing Messaging


The biggest difference between traditional messaging and content marketing messaging is that the former relies on outreach as the initial point of contact with potential customers, while the latter uses attraction to generate customer interest. Traditional messaging often involves cold outreaches and advertisements. However, a common misconception among leads and clients is that the same approach can be applied to content marketing, with only a difference in content style that is more "target audience-driven." In reality, content marketing should begin with a strong organic foundation, utilizing paid ads and campaigns as acceleration tactics. When the order is reversed, brands find it difficult to abandon ads and become trapped in a cycle of increasing ad budgets.



The Power of Key Messaging Platform


Therefore, a smarter approach to utilizing content for brand marketing is to first establish your brand's key messaging platform. This refers to the message you want to convey to your target audience, one that they will remember after interacting with your brand. Although it may seem challenging, this can be achieved easily through storytelling and repetition. Influential individuals in the industry utilize the same technique by documenting the defining stories that shape their brand, the people they serve, and the outcomes they deliver. They consistently produce content that reinforces these messages. As an example, I have been recognized as an expert and passionate content marketer through this very technique.



Breaking Free from Corporate Messaging


Another aspect that brands and entrepreneurs should consider adopting is a less corporate style of tone and manner. Often, it is the clients themselves who impose limitations on how they express their messaging. Phrases like "We're from a traditional industry," "Our offerings are not sexy," or "Our target audiences aren't young people" confine marketing messages within a box. The key is to communicate as you would with an individual or an audience of one, without being afraid to inject humor and entertainment at times.






10. Seek Expert Input: Delegate for Strategic Content Marketing Insights in 2024


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Seek Expert Input: Delegate for Strategic Content Marketing Insights in 2024

Delegate for Strategic Content Marketing Insights


Many business owners excel in their field, delivering impressive elevator pitches and engaging with leads and potential clients in face-to-face conversations. However, the online realm presents a different challenge. Online attention spans are fleeting, and it requires quality and consistency to capture and maintain audience interest. Writing a well-crafted article or creating valuable videos alone is not enough. Successful content marketing requires strategic insights and a thoughtful approach.



Expertise as a Key Advantage



One of the most effective reasons to delegate content marketing tasks is the expertise involved. While entrepreneurs can certainly invest hours in online research and even utilize AI for marketing execution, this is a time-consuming process. Moreover, the digital landscape is continuously evolving. Understanding algorithms, search techniques, and awareness tactics are crucial for the success or failure of your content.



Avoiding Missteps with Professional Content Marketing


Sending out the wrong content can have a detrimental impact on your brand. Even prominent brands occasionally make mistakes that lead to PR controversies. While you may think your company is too small to cause a significant impact, sending out salesy, irrelevant, or repetitive content can alienate potential customers. There is an art to content creation and distribution, and professional content marketers provide valuable insights and expertise in executing these strategies.



Joyce Tsang Content Marketing
Joyce Tsang Content Marketing

In conclusion, I hope this article has provided entrepreneurs with a clearer understanding of what it truly means to implement content marketing effectively. My aim is to inspire new strategies and approaches that can help your business leverage the power of content to drive growth.


If you ever find yourself in need of assistance or have immediate questions, I invite you to book a free diagnosis session with me. It's an opportunity to connect directly and address any specific concerns you may have.


Additionally, feel free to explore the wealth of knowledge available in my other blogs and videos. They delve deeper into the value that content marketing can bring to your brand.

Remember, content marketing done right can transform your business and propel it to new heights. Embrace the power of compelling content and watch your brand thrive!

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