2022 Learnings to Inform Your 2023 Content Marketing Plan

It’s almost 2023. Before you watch the ball drop on December 31st, it’s important you take a minute to look at the work you did in 2022 and evaluate its effectiveness. The end of the year is when many of us take a well-deserved break from the daily grind. While we may be absent from our Slack channels for the next week or two, now’s not the time to step away from our customers and prospects.

It’s a perfect opportunity to share the success your clients and business had in 2022. Whether you’re creating a video, interactive landing page, or eBook, take this opportunity to showcase what you’ve learned throughout your campaigns.

Look at the data from the content you produced over the past year. Did your pieces perform the way you expected them to? What needs to be updated or optimized for better SEO performance? Assess how your content performed. Once you understand what worked and what didn’t, apply these findings to your 2023 strategy.

Analyze and Optimize Your Content

Content Marketing Institute (CMI) predicts that companies will spend less on paid content and focus more on organic ways to gain audience share in the new year. And to make that happen, you’ve got to ensure your SEO optimization strategy is ready.

If you haven’t audited your content in a while, it’s time to ensure the content you create works as planned. But if you produced a lot of content in 2022, assessing all of it can feel daunting. Content auditing tools like Semrush can automate the process and highlight which pieces of content need quick updates, extensive rewrites, or removal from the site altogether.

Giving your personas a once-over is also an excellent place to look if you want to optimize performance. The pandemic changed a lot of how buyers think and research, and it’s essential to make sure your content connects with today’s audience.

Evaluate Your Content’s Impact

When using a full-funnel strategy with several touch points along the way, how can you truly know the effectiveness of each piece of content? Contently pioneered the content maturity model to map out a content marketer’s journey to world domination (just kidding). But it does tell you where you stand with your content marketing programs. The model includes four stages: crawl, walk, run, and fly.

  • Crawl: If you’re in the crawl stage, you focus on building and engaging your audience. To do this, you’ll want to create an SEO strategy and measure your audience reach (unique visitors, page views, etc.), audience engagement (average attention time, social shares, etc.), and SEO effectiveness (number of keywords ranking).
  • Walk: This is where a content program moves from awareness to lead generation. You’re starting to understand your SEO strategy and move toward a comprehensive lead generation plan. This is where you carve out a share of voice in the market.
  • Run: In this stage, you’re refining content’s SEO value and attributing success to content through single-touch attribution.
  • Fly: This is the ideal stage. Multi-touch attribution finds its place here, and every piece of content in the buyer’s journey is mapped back to ROI.

If you’ve recently started evaluating content’s impact on the business, you need to start at the crawl stage and move through the rest of the steps in order. There are no bonus points for skipping ahead. Evaluating content effectiveness is critical for bringing in new customers and showing the value the content brings to the table.

Content Marketing Trends to Prepare for in 2023

Make sure to look at the trends for the new year and evaluate how you can best leverage them for your team’s success. Marketing has historically fallen behind the curve in adopting new technologies. This is your chance to get ahead by evaluating your needs and seeing how you can incorporate them into your team. As you look to the new year, here are five trends to keep your eye on.

1. Look at how AI fits into your team.

One of the biggest trends for 2023 is generative AI. And one of the biggest questions for marketers is how to incorporate AI into their processes effectively. AI can write blog posts and generate images, but should this cause your team a sense of doom and gloom? Not at all! Generative AI helps teams automate basic tasks and drive efficiency. If you’re not already testing AI tools with your team, it’s time to start.

2. Evaluate your MarTech stack.

In this season of economic volatility, everyone’s looking at their budgets and the tools they use to see what they can cut. When was the last time you reviewed your MarTech stack? anticipates companies will evaluate their current technologies to see if any efficiency gaps need to be addressed.

Before your throw your current stack out the window, it’s a good idea to take a deep dive into the products you already have to check out their capabilities and evaluate how your team uses them. A Gartner study found that companies use a little more than 42% of their stack’s capabilities, so it’s possible you’ve got the tools you need—you just don’t know it yet.

3. Do more with less.

The mantra of 2022 will be the same for 2023: “Do more with less.” We expect to see less budget for content, a shortage of in-person talent, and a desperate need to produce more despite the lack of resources.

Utilizing AI and MarTech to automate repetitive tasks and improve efficiency will help ease the burden on your team, but neither entirely solves the people “problem.” Hiring additional team members may not be possible, so you seek outside partners (freelance writers, designers, videographers, etc.) to build your team.

When you partner with a platform like Contently, you have a comprehensive platform for ideation, creation, review, scale, optimization, distribution, and measurement. Plus, you have access to over 160,000 top-notch freelancers who can help you scale your content program and act as an extension of your team.

4. Personalize content.

One of the key trends for 2023 is personalization. Content tailored to a specific buyer is becoming more expected as technology advances. Luckily, this is another place where AI can assist in helping. A simple example of personalized content is adding a first name to an email subject line, “Ali—Check out these new styles we think you’ll love!” to Netflix’s uncanny ability to recommend your next favorite docu-drama (based on your previous watch history, of course).

5. Create short-form videos.

Are you producing short-form video content for platforms like TikTok and IG Reels? Short-form and explainer videos are becoming more critical as audiences prioritize this medium for information. (This style of video is not just for entertainment!) These types of videos have the highest ROI in social media, and content marketers ready to leap ahead are jumping on this trend.

The future is bright with opportunity.

Content and technology are innovating at a rapid pace. While the needs won’t slow down, it’s essential you do. The “lull” between the end of one year and the start of the next is the perfect time to reflect on what you’ve done in 2022.

Celebrate your wins. Take time to evaluate how your content performed. What performed as well as (or better than) you expected? What didn’t perform as well? Implement the lessons you learn from this audit into your 2023 content plan.

Pay attention to what’s happening in the marketplace. Are there any emerging trends you can utilize? Evaluate how you can implement them into your content plan to stay ahead of the competition and be the go-to knowledge base for your target customer.

With reflection, evaluation, and trend projection, you can start 2023 off on the right foot and be in a position to make this new year the best one yet.

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