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Timely tips for creating a smashing 2024 content plan

Our clients tell us that they’ve been up against it throughout December – and now into January. A combination of pre-Christmas deadlines plus the expectations and aspirations a new year brings, can lead to important tasks being put on the backburner. Like your 2022 content strategy. 

Perhaps you’ve been procrastinating on your content plan for 2022 and pushing it to the bottom of your to-do list? Or maybe you think you don’t have time? You might also think you’ve left it too late, as the month flies by…

The good news is:

  • While December may seem like the ideal time to plan for 2022, it’s a totally unrealistic time of year to squeeze this in.
  • Content planning doesn’t have to take long or be overly complicated.
  • A strong strategy doesn’t need to involve new ideas or content every single day of the year; far from it.

Follow our five top tips for creating a content plan that will see you through 2022 and make this your year for brilliant content!

Take time to save time

Every single client we’ve spoken to is snowed in under with work. And the year has only just kicked-off. There’s the festive backlog to deal with, alongside regular workload and new ambitions, targets – and pressure.

Prioritising time for your 2022 content plan against this backdrop may sound like a pain in the proverbial. But, hear us out: if you take the time now to plan and map out your content strategy for the next year, it will save you so much time as the year progresses.

Often it’s easy to think about content-planning time as ‘wasted’ or non-revenue-generating. And yet, a public-facing platform like LinkedIn is your most powerful (and free!) marketing tool. It offers you an enormous return on investment for each and every piece of content you share with your audience. As long as said content is stellar, of course. Maximising this resource by planning content in advance is a no-brainer for your business. 

More often than not, the greater the legwork up front, the simpler it is to create great content when the time comes – that really resonates. And let’s face it, you’re more likely to do it, if there’s a plan to stick to.

Repackage existing content

None of your content should be a one-hit wonder. Every article you write, video you post, infographic you design can be repurposed and re-formatted to make the most of what you’ve created. This way you get the best value for your time or money.

For articles such as listicles, you can re-use each point of your piece as separate social media posts, or expand on them to create a new article series. 

And you needn’t confine your content to one medium. Think creatively about how you can transform your written words and elevate them further. Infographics, podcasts, videos, articles, social media, e-books, blogs, editorial, Q&As, 60 seconds with – the mix can be as colourful as you like. And it sure does pack a punch to be varied and keep your audiences on their toes.

If you’ve released a report, why not create a short video of your CEO or expert thought leader, discussing the main findings ‘in person’ – and importantly, how those findings might affect your clients or customers. This is a fantastic way to get more collateral from your content. For longer reports, you could invite various contributors to dissect different themes on-camera, as a series. Or even packaged up as a podcast.

If we look at some of the statistics on podcasts and videos, it’s clear that they represent huge opportunities:

  • Podcasts are becoming more popular – 61.2% of people spend more time listening to podcasts than they do consuming TV shows; 59% of people spend more time listening to podcasts than on social media
  • COVID has made video more important – 68% of consumers say the pandemic has impacted the amount of video content they’ve watched online, with the overwhelming majority (96%) saying this has increased
  • Video marketing works – 78% of video marketers report that video marketing has improved their company’s bottom line

Be bold. Introduce a blend of media into your content plan to maximise the benefits of content marketing. 

Piggyback other events

Use the events within your company, region, industry or in the news to inform your content plan – and ride that wave.

Events like International Women’s Day are an opportunity for you to talk about the progress you’ve made with getting more women onto your Board or the steps you’ve taken to remove unconscious bias from your recruitment processes. Or how you tackle ageism in your workplace.

Perhaps someone is joining your team – that’s also an opportunity. Do a Q&A video with them (recorded on zoom or an iPhone is totally fine these days) or ask them to write a blog piece on their area of expertise. Again – the key here being about how their expertise will enhance your client or customer’s lives.

Is your business or team up for an award? Use that as a chance to shout about how much you value your people and celebrate their successes. And also, as validation that your clients or customers are in safe hands.

The important thing about any event you choose to incorporate into your content calendar is that it must be relevant to your business, industry and audience. Planning ahead should allow you to line up the most relevant contributors from across your business, rather than forcing you to react on the morning of International Women’s Day with that obligatory photo of the two or three women who were working in person in the office that morning.

Seriously, just don’t do this!

Tap into your inner quirky

The more colourful and quirky your ideas are, the better. The way people consume content has changed dramatically over the course of the pandemic. We know, yawn. But – it has changed things somewhat.

During the pandemic, Britons spent more time online than on anything else in their day, filling the void left by the removal of socialising face-to-face. There’s been a continued uplift in time spent on video streaming, listening to podcasts and scrolling social media.

One third (32%) of online adults now spend more time viewing video-sharing services than broadcast television.

People are spending more of their waking hours online than ever before. That may seem like obvious news. But, they’re perpetually saturated with content and marketing, so the competition is huge. 

To stop the scroll, it pays to plan and think cleverly and colourfully about your content marketing ideas. 

Be reactive AND proactive

All our tips up to now have been focused on planning, planning, planning. But remember not to let creativity be stifled by too much rigidity. Yes, we are in fact saying: have a plan, but also don’t….let us explain..

If there’s something to shout about, make sure you have the flexibility to do just that. Your strategy shouldn’t mean that you can’t celebrate when you launch a new product or service, something major happens in the world or or your industry you need to comment on or you send some of your team to space. (Ok, the last bit is unlikely, but we are emphasising the point).

Being proactive creates as yet unknown opportunities; being reactive allows you to be part of topical discussions that naturally occur and positions you as a thought leader. A great content plan will allow for a mix of the two. 

And that’s surely, where your business or brand wants to be?

Make January your time to plan for a great year of content

Perhaps December would have been the ideal time to create your 2022 content plan. But, with all the best intentions in the world, it’ll never happen. We know, because the same happens to TPW. Here we are writing a blog about content planning in January, when it should, of course, have been done in December 2021.

Right now is still the best time. Setting aside some hours before the month is up will allow you to create great content for the rest of the year.

So, stop reading this and strike while the iron is hot….