Painless Pivoting: Reacting When Your Content Plan Isn’t Yielding Expected Results

Posted on March 17, 2015 by Jenna I

pushthatcarWhat do you do when your content marketing strategy doesn’t work? Scrap the entire thing? Start from scratch? Well, you could, but you probably don’t need to. The art of successfully pivoting involves changing direction without necessarily changing the core of your content plan. Sometimes all you need is a gentle touch to refocus on your goals and achieve the results that you desired.

Identifying Where You’ve Gone Wrong

There are many areas in which a content marketing plan can go wrong — in fact, that’s why it’s so important to create a comprehensive marketing plan in the first place. But sometimes approaching complex topics in simple ways is the best way to start. Ask yourself the three following questions: What did I want my customers to do? What are my customers actually doing? And why is that happening? Your goal is to find the smallest possible change to your content strategy to address your “why.”

Here is an example: you want your customers to engage with you through social media, but you find that instead they are simply bouncing from your site. A knee jerk reaction to this lack of social media conversion could be to create large volumes of new content directed towards your social media accounts. But this might not be necessary.

Through analysis, you could notice that a large amount of your users are coming in through product reviews and then leaving your site because they have already found the information they need. Simply increasing the prominence of your social media accounts is not going to help in this situation, because the customer is no longer interested in further engagement. But what you could do is prompt the customer directly through these product review pages — promise them more information about the product that they are interested in and similar products. You can increase social media conversion without drastically changing your content publishing strategies.

The Difference Between Salvageable and Insufferable

Until now we’ve been assuming that your content marketing strategy is basically suitable to your goals. In a perfect world, that would be true; we don’t live in a perfect world. There are times when you do need to cut and run, and there are some strategies that simply cannot be saved. Is your marketing targeted to the entirely incorrect audience? Has your product or service changed in an inherently incompatible way to your current messaging? If you go through the above steps and see that the changes you need to make are substantial, a complete revision of your content marketing plan may be in order.

When your carefully laid out plan isn’t working, it can be easy to give into frustration and simply start throwing things at a wall to see what sticks. But putting some thought into your pivoting can be rewarding long-term. It’s often not enough to find a strategy that works; you need to understand, on at least a basic level, why that particular strategy worked and which strategies would not have worked. As you move forward, this knowledge will make you far more capable and agile.

Jenna I is a technology writer, programmer and gamer. When not working, she is playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. She has been playing for 600 hours now and probably requires some form of intervention.


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