Artificial intelligence, the rise of Gen Z in the workforce, tech booms and busts, and political extremism: 2023 was a year of opportunities, pitfalls, and trials for the content world.

To adapt and thrive, content professionals across all industries sought to mature their content operations, ready themselves for technology adoptions, and modernize their content strategies. The requirements to reach these goals have never been more strenuous, and 2024 holds its own challenges and opportunities for content professionals. 

We spoke with content leaders in various roles and industries to gauge what they think will change and remain in 2024. Keep reading to see some select predictions and plans from select content leaders with top companies. 

Establishing Content Governance Beyond Style Guidelines

Alli Mooney, VP of Content Design, Mastercard

In the coming year, I expect we’ll see more enterprise-level Content Design Systems — guidelines and standards for content that work in concert with a brand’s UX design system. To date, many Content teams rely on “style guides,” a format borrowed from Marketing and Editorial writing. But this guidance is limited. For one, it lives apart from the design systems that other designers rely on. Words are an integral part of an experience; they need to complement visuals and interactions. Then, there’s the shift towards “atomic content” which, like design more broadly, relies on small, reusable elements. This means that guidelines need to go beyond grammar and voice and evolve into patterns, strings, and components. Lastly, this guidance shouldn’t live off on its own (likely gathering dust); it should sit within the design system itself.

While it may be clear why we need content design systems, what they look like and how they’re created is still being imagined. But I think the when is 2024. In the coming year, we’ll see more companies develop and share them externally, spurring on more innovation in the space and hopefully better tools (I’m looking at you, Figma). My talented team at Mastercard is hard at work on one, and I’m excited to see what others come up with as well.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to End-to-End Content

 

Informed Optimization of Audience Experience

Lymari Morales, Associate Dean of Communications and Marketing, John Hopkins Bloomberg School for Public Health

We are in level-up mode. We see a lot of opportunity to fine tune our offerings, learning from our analytics and layering on the creative talents of our team. Ultimately, we want to optimize the experience our audiences have with our content—whether we are sharing public health knowledge or providing information about our School. Every year brings new tools and opportunities to learn, experiment, and finesse.

Read more from Lymari Morales: Content Visionaries: Content Operations Maturity at Bloomberg School of Public Health

 

Laying the Groundwork for an AI-Fueled Future

Lauren Whiteman, Colby Phillips, Meredith Deaver, Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz, AT&T

Our predictions and priorities for 2024 include thinking about how to harness the power of disruptive technologies like generative AI while executing on a vision for enterprise content governance and standardization. We know AI will fundamentally change how we read and learn. As content designers, we have essential skills to lend to this moment: understanding patterns, predicting implications, and communicating with precision.

In a future where AI is in play, whether generating raw content for review or reviewing content that humans create, we believe robust and centralized content standards, practices, and governance will be essential to creating and managing content across large organizations. We’re executing on a vision we set in motion two years ago for a content hub with coordinated governance, democratic participation, and centralized guidelines. Our work ahead is important and exciting, and getting those basics right will prepare us for future complex challenges.

Related: Artificial Intelligence and Content Whitepaper

 

The Way: End-to-End Effective Content

Colleen Jones, Founder and President, Content Science

Forward-thinking organizations will take end-to-end content from a vague wish to a prioritized initiative. The reasons for end-to-end content might vary, from orchestrating a start-to-finish CX (customer experience) to scaling content operations (including AI) to fixing problems in digital transformation to closing gaps in design thinking to minimizing risk (such as brand reputation or legal compliance). But the spirit of the solution will be the same. To borrow from a Mandalorian phrase, an end-to-end content approach is the only way to sustain effective content at scale.  

Read more from Colleen Jones: 5 Signs Your Customer Experience Problem Is Really a Content Problem

 

Ensuring Effectiveness in the AI Age with Measurement

Toni Mantych, Sr Content Director, ServiceNow

It will be important to ensure content is instrumented for measurement (of effectiveness, not just consumption) and that processes are in place to eliminate content that is ineffective and prioritize maintenance and expansion of content that is highly effective, as identified by these metrics and analytics.

Quality is always a priority. But in a world where AI and LLMs are potentially being trained on our content, we have to double down on ensuring what we publish is right. To balance accuracy, user trust, and product or content effectiveness with innovation and velocity, content teams and leaders must make an effort to implement effective content governance and measurement strategies.

Related: Modern Content Strategy: Letting Go of Unified, Leaning into Integrated

 

Promoting the Efforts of Content Professionals 

Erica Jorgensen, Content Designer, Chewy

In 2024, I plan to continue to promote and celebrate the work of content strategists and content designers and be very loud in doing so. This past year, as I promoted my book and conducted workshops, I’ve had the privilege of meeting content professionals from across the U.S. and around the world–Portugal, Argentina, Australia, Russia, England, Japan, and Nigeria. I love and appreciate the creativity, and tenacity of people who work in content strategy and content design. So next year, look for more shout-outs, compliments, and just plain bragging about the impact content professionals are having, whether it’s by creating brilliant, brand-new customer experiences or from driving impact for their company’s bottom line. 

Read more from Erica Jorgensen: Q&A with Erica Jorgensen: Author, Content Design Expert

 

Using Technology to Do More with Less

Cory Bennett, Sr Director of Digital Product Development, Sallie Mae

2024 is sizing up to be another Legend of Sleepy Hollow rerun. With economic conditions what they are, headless CMS and thoughtful content planning are one of the most efficient ways to “do more with less” when it comes to publishing and governing content at scale. The combination of AI with a headless CMS and a well thought out plan is a huge opportunity to squeeze efficiency out of workflows that are clunky and redundant. 

Related: 5 Signs It’s Time to Change Your CMS

 

Weighing the Pros and Cons of AI in Healthcare

Juviza Rodriguez, Sr Director of Consumer Health, March of Dimes

For those of us working in health communication, AI systems can help with a variety of tasks such as, condensing critical updates so that the public receives up-to-date information promptly and analyzing user behavior and preferences, which can inform content creation. But relying too heavily on AI for health information delivery undermines human expertise. This is especially true for content that’s translated into other languages— AI may not pick up on idiomatic expressions or culturally specific phrases. The result? Content that sounds unnatural or may be completely misunderstood by the target audience. Imagine an AI tool recommending culturally inappropriate treatments or reinforcing dangerous misinformation. The potential for harm is very real, particularly for vulnerable populations.

AI’s knowledge is only as good as the data it’s fed. Biases can creep in, perpetuating harmful stereotypes and exacerbating existing health disparities. For this reason, we must weigh the pros and cons before employing AI in our work, especially health information delivery.  

Read more from Juviza Rodriguez: Three Keys to Inclusive Health Content

 

Improving Health Outcomes by Improving Content

Christopher Jones PhD., Vice President, Content Science

As innovations such as telemedicine and AI make an impact on the health ecosystem, content becomes crucial. Whether it’s easy-to-access technical guidance for clinicians, a compelling public health awareness campaign, a story to illustrate an example or establish credibility, or proactive guidance and reminders for patients, content is becoming the difference maker in health outcomes. Smart health organizations will get ahead by forming (or updating) their content strategies and implementation plans.

Read more from Chris Jones: The State of the Health Ecosystem: Q&A with Content Science’s Chris Jones

 

Check out the full list of quotes in the slides below. Log in or subscribe to get all the quotes in an easy-to-download format

 

Stay tuned to Content Science Review and sign up for our newsletters to get more content insights, strategies, and breaking news throughout the year.  

The Author

Content Science partners with the world’s leading organizations to close the content gap in digital business. We bring together the complete capabilities you need to transform or scale your content approach. Through proprietary data, smart strategy, expert consulting, creative production, and one-of-a-kind products like ContentWRX and Content Science Academy, we turn insight into impact. Don’t simply compete on content. Win.

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