Your content strategy shouldn’t be a statue—something you construct with great care, leading to a permanent establishment for your brand. Instead, it should be an organic living thing, growing and changing all the time. Our world changes often; new technologies roll out daily, trends come and go in mere weeks, and user preferences change quickly, without warning. Your content strategy needs to be continually reinvented if it’s going to stay relevant in that kind of world.
So how do you go about reinventing a content strategy? It sounds complicated and intensive, but there are a handful of ways you can reshape the foundation of your content campaign with relative ease:
Take a look at your strategy as it existed before your intended changes; what made it stale? If you’re too close to the campaign, this can be hard to spot, but try examining each critical area of development from an outsider’s perspective. Do you notice a pattern in your topic selection that hasn’t changed for months? Do you notice any forms of syndication that are repeated ad infinitum? There’s a reason your reader engagement metrics have stopped growing (or else, you’ve realized it’s time to upgrade your campaign), so try and sniff out what’s actually doing the damage in the conception, creation, publication, or syndication phases.
It’s never a bad idea to try a new medium, especially if you’ve limited yourself to only one or two mediums in the past. Today’s users crave more engaging, visually arresting material, and purely written content isn’t as strong as it used to be in attracting and retaining new visitors. If you’re exclusively producing written content, consider throwing in more embedded images and video into them. Create infographics, videos, and other visually significant items, or go the audio route with podcasts or interviews. You don’t have to produce these new mediums 100 percent of the time, but they should be used occasionally to spice up your production value.
If you’re stuck on ideas of how to reinvent your own content strategy, look to your competitors. It’s a bad idea to merely copy one of your competitors’ strategies (since originality is a major indicator for success), but feel free to take inspiration from them, and combine elements from different competitors’ strategies in new ways. For example, let’s say one of your competitors has found success with a new interview series and another competitor seems to engage with its audience effectively with a new tutorial series. You could feasibly put together an interview tutorial series that invites industry authorities to share their best tips for success.
Series are big crowd pleasers; they provide some level of consistency (which keeps loyal readers coming back for more), and simultaneously give them something new every week (or however often you publish). Plus, you’ll have an automatic starting point for all your new pieces within that category. If you want to become known, or simply reenergize your audience, experiment with a new feature or series that keeps them wanting more. “Why,” “how-to,” interview, industry analysis, and “top 10” lists are all examples of popular series to consider—but try to think up your own!
Some of the most successful content marketers are the ones who open new doors, or lead new lines of thinking. If you’re tired of the same old subjects or the same recycled direction, try to break new ground in an area relating to your industry. Start by reading industry publications and news—are there any emerging topics that haven’t yet been explored? Are there common topics with rocks unturned? Are there limited resources for a specific subject within your industry? Take advantage of them.
It’s hard to keep your content campaign fresh when you rely on the same individual or team of writers to consistently produce new content. Consider inviting new voices to join your team—these can be new regular contributors as employees and freelancers, or one-time contributors as guest posters from other external industry sites. The goal is to get new voices and new ideas into your content stream, so the logistics are up to you.
It seems like an obvious suggestion, but most content marketers miss it. Your end goal is to make your audience happy, so why not just ask them what they want directly? Talk to some of your best clients or your most loyal readers, or pose a public question on social media—ask them what they want to read and see from your brand, and you’ll probably get some insightful responses. Use those responses to guide a new direction for your campaign; you’ll be almost guaranteed a win.
Apply these strategies to your content campaign, and you’ll end up with something fresher, more appropriate for your audience, and ultimately, more effective. Take the time to regularly evaluate the strength and direction of your campaign; if you notice your growth start to taper off, or if user engagement begins to sag, take action proactively before the problem worsens. This audit, if done consistently, can keep your content campaign fresh for years to come.