Aaron Agius is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the award-winning global marketing agency Louder.Online.
Adaptability is one of the cornerstones of marketing, especially during periods of transition.
Whether your company is undergoing a merger, preparing to launch a new product or seeking out an untapped market, changing your content strategy can strengthen your brand identity and help you connect with your customers.
While the reasons behind a pivot can vary, the strategies needed to implement it are relatively consistent.
With that in mind, here are the steps you need to take when transitioning from one strategy to another.
Determine what type of pivot you need to make.
One of the biggest challenges in developing a new strategy is figuring out how big of a change to make. Will you need to redesign your entire content plan or just try out some new tactics?
If you’re looking to enter a new market, the change will likely be significant, while if you’re looking to boost engagement, it could be a more subtle shift.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when determining how to pivot:
• What are the main reasons for needing a new strategy?
• Which types of content are performing well, and which types should be removed?
• Does my content still resonate with my new audience?
• What are the content gaps I need to fill?
Your answers to these questions will form the basis of a content audit and help you identify the best way to move forward with your new strategy.
For example, if you’ve determined that blog posts need to hit a specific benchmark to be successful, and certain posts miss that benchmark by a margin of 25% or more, it’s probably time to refresh them or de-index them from your site.
Identify what’s working (and what isn’t).
A great way to determine what’s working is by analyzing your metrics against your KPIs. This should include site traffic to specific pieces of content, open rates for email marketing campaigns and engagement metrics for your social accounts.
Combined, these metrics will give you a closer look at how individual pieces of content are performing and how that performance translates across your owned and operated channels.
When analyzing performance for blog posts or white papers, Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools you can use. In addition to giving you an overall view of your site traffic, it can help you do a deep dive into how each piece of content is performing with readers, how much time users spend on your site and which articles are driving conversions.
To maximize your insights, it’s important to take a tactical approach. This should include having a hypothesis about your content, creating a report to help you determine if that hypothesis is accurate and taking action based on your analysis.
Next, you can measure the results and continue optimizing.
Develop a new content marketing plan.
Once you’ve done a deep dive into the data, it’s time to develop an updated plan. This should be based on your newly defined goals and take into account your corpus of high-performing content.
If you’re making a small pivot, such as introducing a related product or a new blog topic, you can weave this in without having to overhaul your existing plan. Although you may need to create a new category on your website, the content will probably align nicely with the blog posts and white papers you’re already developing.
If you’re making a bigger pivot, such as shifting to an entirely new market or changing your products, you’ll need to introduce this to your readers through a multipronged approach. This should include an email or social campaign or even the launch of a new website.
You’ll also need to approach your strategy as if you’re creating it from scratch. Some of the key steps to take include:
• Outlining your goals and identifying new KPIs.
• Analyzing any content gaps you need to fill.
• Doing an SEO analysis on new topics you’re planning to cover.
• Creating an editorial calendar.
• Developing an amplification strategy.
By creating a comprehensive plan, you’ll ensure that you’re developing targeted content designed to increase brand awareness and driving readers through your marketing funnel.
You’ll also be able to implement a testing plan and continue improving your content as you move into the next phase of growth.
Update your content to match your new direction.
With your new content plan in place, you can move forward with optimizing or taking down old pieces of content.
To maintain your search engine rank, it’s important to follow SEO best practices. If the content is still relevant but needs to be updated, refreshing or rewriting articles is likely your best bet.
If there are pieces that are no longer a good fit for your audience, removing them from search is likely the better option.
Another factor to consider is internal linking. Since older articles are often linked on other parts of your site, failing to update those links can cause user experience issues while also making your site less SEO-friendly.
Whenever possible, try to redirect underperforming content or de-index it rather than removing it completely. In the rare cases when the content truly isn’t relevant or could hurt your brand, taking it down is the best option.
The Upside Of A Pivot
Pivoting your marketing strategy is never easy, but the results are almost always worth it.
In addition to improving customer engagement, the right content marketing strategy can help you develop your brand and withstand whatever challenges come your way.
The key to doing it well is having meaningful metrics and consistently testing performance. Once you’ve identified which parts of your current strategy are working, you can adapt the remaining parts to fit your new goals and deliver the ROI you need.