Some content marketers treat their content strategy as a blueprint—something unchanging and stagnant, as a series of rules and instructions to follow indefinitely as you build your campaign. Admittedly, this is an advantageous way to start; it helps you build a solid foundation and gives you a basis for comparison if and when you make changes in the future.
But as an ongoing setup, and a general rule, this stagnant, unchanging approach is fundamentally flawed. Instead, it’s far more effective to turn your content strategy into an ongoing experiment, so you can constantly discover new angles and gradually increase your overall ROI.
The trouble most people encounter upon realizing this is the dilemma of how to experiment, or what to experiment with. That’s why I’ve come up with this list of seven experiments to try in your own content strategy:
- A new audience. First, you could try targeting a slightly different audience, and you have a ton of options here. For instance, you could target an entirely new demographic, such as targeting business owners (if you haven’t been already), or you could target a similar demographic, but at a different stage of the buying cycle—such as during the initial information gathering phase rather than the late buying phase. Once you’ve decided on that (and make sure you do your market research here), you can opt to either add this demographic into your existing content strategy, or pivot your entire campaign. It depends on your budget or goals.
- A new medium. It’s always a good idea to experiment with new mediums, especially if you’ve been relying on the same ones for the past several months or years. For example, let’s say you’ve been relying exclusively on long-form written blog posts. Why not try dabbling in infographics or a medium with a photographic basis? Why not start producing videos? You could even experiment with more short-form written blog posts. Layer this new medium into your strategy, and monitor how those posts compare to your traditional means of content generation. This will speak volumes about the new medium’s potential.
- Fresh voices. You can also make your content strategy more “fresh” and inject it with new life by seeking new contributors for your blog. There’s never a shortage of guest bloggers looking for opportunities to gain exposure on new channels, so you won’t have to look far to find some potential contributors. Make sure the topics remain more or less in your niche, but don’t be afraid to dive into new material, or deviate from your “standard” voice. You may find engagement rates increasing after you layer these guest posts into your strategy.
- New distribution channels. Over time, you get used to the distribution channels you use most frequently. You might have even decided on a tight selection of channels based on their effectiveness in the past. However, new channels—such as social media platforms and content syndication sites—are opening up all the time, and even older ones are constantly going through changes and updates. It’s in your best interest to experiment with these new channels on occasion and see what kind of visibility and engagement you can generate with them—you never know what you might find.
- Paid advertising. Generally, I advise marketers and entrepreneurs to go the organic route when it comes to content promotion, relying on the strength of your material and the reach of your syndication networks to build your reputation. However, if you’re looking to reach some new areas or breathe new life into your campaign, you can give it a jumpstart by pursuing paid advertising. Facebook ads work best here, but Google is another contender; the goal is to funnel new traffic to your best work directly.
- Dedicated platforms. You can also try setting up dedicated platforms to new wings of your content strategy. For example, let’s say you’ve recently written an eBook—rather than simply listing it in your Resources section or offering it through your conventional marketing strategies, consider setting it up with its own dedicated website, or at least a landing page. Or, you could target a different audience (or even leverage a different personal brand) with a new, separate blog. It’s an alternative marketing strategy that can help you find new angles for your content experiments.
- Consolidation or fragmentation. Depending on the type of content you usually produce, you can experiment by taking what you’ve already made and reformatting it for a different function. For example, if you’re used to writing short- to medium-length blog posts, consider taking some of your best material (provided it fits a central theme) and stitching those posts together into a longer PDF eBook that you can offer as an incentive to your visitors. Or, if you’ve written more eBooks and whitepapers, consider breaking those up into individual posts that you can distribute and syndicate more easily.
Generally, you’ll want to try these experiments one at a time. If you try to stack too many of these on top of each other simultaneously, you’ll face great difficulty isolating which change was responsible for the change in results you witnessed.
Also, you’ll need a reliable way to measure your results—both before and after committing your experiment. Do this, and remain consistent with your trials and tweaks, and your content marketing results will get reliably better over time.