In a Content Rut? Try These 9 Content Strategies to Get Unstuck

Posted on April 17th 2014

In a Content Rut? Try These 9 Content Strategies to Get Unstuck

Are you a new business, a mid-size to large business, or any other size business with a stagnant online marketing campaign? Do you feel your online presence is not really going places yet? Let’s talk about how to get you on the road to success!

Here are a few ways to stop stagnating and come up with new, fresh material that will make readers love you:

1. Don’t Stop Your Yapping

content strategiesWe’ve all heard someone, somewhere say “stop your yapping” but when it comes to content marketing strategies, if you aren’t yapping you’ll start drowning. Talk about your content with other marketers within your company and start sharing ideas. Someone will have at least one idea, but are too scared to share. Opening up a sharing ground will be a great way to begin getting out of the stagnant content marshlandand beginning to create new content strategies that will be the bee’s-knees, the cat’s pajamas, and the best darn content out on the Internet.

2. Spot Those Problem Areas

Get your magnifying glass out and get ready to find those problem areas in your content. We know you really love what you have published and you just cannot understand why no one is reacting to your wonderfully crafted content. While it may be amazing and well written, if it is not bringing people in, there is a problem and you have to find it to move on.

When you begin to correct the problem area and find a new, impactful way to create content, Moz suggests that you create a small list of goals you would like to accomplish. They urge writers and marketers not to spread themselves too thin when creating these goals. If you are trying to juggle twenty semi-important goals instead of, say, five important ones, you will find yourself burning out quickly and the content will continue to be stagnant and not have any sort of impact whatsoever. Once you have found the problem, it is time to make a strategy.

3. Ender Didn’t Beat the Buggers With Luck

He beat them with strategy. If you do not know the story of Ender Wiggin, check out Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. In this story, Ender is chosen to be the leader of humanity in a war against an alien race referred to as “buggers.” Ender had to do a lot of strategizing and learning from his mistakes before he finally beat them at their game.

This goes for your content. You can’t just whip something up and expect it to go viral in an instant. If you constantly just write or create stuff and throw it out there without a strategy, you will see your content marketing campaign going stagnant and you will watch as your viewers back away with looks of consternation. Do not let that happen! Start working on that strategy and learn from your mistakes. Your mistakes are your best teaching tool. You will learn what needs to change if you are willing to open up your mind to take those mistakes as learning aids and not failures.

4. Everyone’s a Critic

The Internet is a lovely place of opportunity, but can turn into a stinking quagmire of criticism quickly. Many people say, “Avoid the comments!” because this is where most of the horrible criticism is but you should not let that bring you down and stop you from producing great content. Just because someone says it is awful does not mean it really is. Take a lesson from some famous, classic authors. One critic of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn said the book was, “No better in tone than the dime novels which flood the Blood-and-Thunder reading population.” Did that stop him from continuing to write his amazing novels? No! So, do not let those comments stop you from promoting your company and producing your content.

However, by avoiding the comments section your content will become stale. Within those horrible comments are some real gems of information. You will be able to learn what people like or dislike and can implement that into your new content strategy. Many authors have used negative reviews as a way to grow their writing, hence becoming national bestsellers.

5. You Do Not Have a T.A.R.D.I.S.

So stop acting as if you do. If you spend all day in meetings, chat with coworkers over lunch, and work through your mountain of emails every day, you will find your content is beginning to stink like a disgusting swampy pond. Swat those mosquitoes away and start managing your time. No time machine will be here to take you back and, according to the Doctor, you can’t cross your time stream anyway. Business2Community points out that humans tend to be more alert in the morning. Sure, we all may be groggy without our morning cup of coffee but we also do not have a whole days’ worth of worries and to-dos floating around in our brains. We can think much clearer in the morning and, in fact, many people come up with some of their best ideas in the morning. The first thing to do when you get to work is to carve out about 30 to 45 minutes to sit and think. Start brainstorming and you will see that you come up with some pretty epic ideas!

6. Become a Lurker

Lurking is creepy when done in real life but it can be very beneficial on the Internet. We aren’t talking about Facebook stalking, rather going to the different social media sites and looking at what is trending or what articles Buzzfeed and Upworthy are currently posting. Apart from Buzzfeed and Upworthy, HubSpot also suggests listening to new TED talks. TED talks are really interesting and provide amazing inspiration on a variety of topics. Gaining web inspiration is an excellent way to learn new information and to begin to spruce up your content marketing. While you’re at it, how about looking for inspiration from your competitors? We know you wonder why they are doing so well and now is the time to become Sherlock Holmes and find what they are doing. This will help you discover neat tricks for talking to clients within your niche market and you can also see what mistakes your competitors are making. This will show that they are human and give you a heads up about things that will not work, before you ever make that mistake. Pretty nifty, huh?

7. Try On a New Format

Sometimes, new clothes help make people feel amazing and buying new clothes gets them out of whatever rut they find themselves in. The same goes for a new format for your content. While text content is great, it is becoming boring for many readers. Try out a few new formats and see how readers react.

Social Media Today suggests a few formats that you can try to change up your content:

  • Videos and Photographs. Changing your content into a video or photo format, will standout to your readers. It is not something they’re used to so their attention will be grabbed and they will be more willing to stick with you.
  • Infographics. Infographics are at the height of fashion and you would be silly not to use this to your advantage. Create some content and implement it into an infographic. This format is easy to share and the more people that share it, the more readers you will acquire.
  • Question and Answer Sessions. People really like question and answer sessions. Let readers and clients submit questions to you and do a live webcast or do a video recording of you and your company answering the questions. This will help your clients feel like you are actually listening to them and this is a great way to encourage them to share more information about your company. Of course, always read the questions before doing anything live, some people really like submitting strange or inappropriate questions to sidetrack speakers.
  • Micro-Content. All that long content you have been working on might be your problem. Sure, lengthy blogs are great for in-depth discussions, but most readers want to make choices. Do they want to read something long today or do they just want a tiny bit of information? Utilize things like Twitter where you are limited to 140 characters and start putting out micro-content. You can share links, photographs, or tips/facts of the day. This will help engage your readers and keep them interested enough to read your lengthy content when you publish it.

8. Shift Your Focus

We see you over there with your nose glued to your computer screen. That’s cool. We understand that you are crafting content and are dedicated to making it the best content ever, but you are focusing on the wrong area. Yes, writing and creating content is important, but one of the most important things is building a relationship with customers. You may have started out with quality, compelling content and you now have a great client base due to this.

However, the reason you are “stagnating” and losing customers might not be just about the quality of your current content but how well you are relating to your clientele. Start focusing on your existing clients and make them feel involved. You are reading this because you feel stuck in a rut, so how about when you are finished reading you go and ask your customers what they would like to see. You will gain so much inspiration simply by asking people what their interests are and you will watch your clients feel appreciated to the point that they start saying, “You’ve got to give this company a shot, they are incredible!”  Once you’ve shifted your focus, you will begin seeing just how much inspiration you are gathering and you will get out of the rut. Do not fear your customers – learn from them.

9. Reading Creates Creative Content

People do not want to see bland content when they go to a website; they want to see something that is creative and fun. If you are trying to be creative and are stuck, how about reading some new-to-you books that are full of imagination? Books are great at promoting creativity and many writers find that if they have not read in a while, their writing reflects it. They also realize that their ability to come up with new topics suffers. Even if they are writing on how to install a kitchen sink or about some other construction project, they find that books are huge sources of inspiration. Try branching out of your comfort zone when it comes to reading, as this can give you new ideas or help you look at things in a new way.

“What if I’m not a reader?” you ask. Never fear, movies, television, music, and video games are other awesome ways to gain inspiration. Don’t listen to the naysayers who say all of those things dumb people down, because they really don’t. In fact, many newer video games have some absolutely amazing in-depth stories. Try playing a game like Mass Effect or Dragon Age where your choices affect the outcome of the game. This keeps you on your toes and stimulates your brain similarly to the way reading a book does.

Let’s Not Forget

We all get into content ruts, so do not feel discouraged that it is happening to you. Google will show just how many artists out there feel creatively stuck and you will notice that many copywriters are the same way. One last tip before we go is that while your company might be your passion, writing may not. Find people within your company who have a passion for writing or hire copywriters to help you. You’ll see your content improve significantly and watch it blossom into something beautiful. Getting a professional writer will turn that stinky, stagnate pond into a flourishing pond that is teeming with life.

(content rut? / shutterstock)

expresswriters

Julia McCoy

CEO, Express Writers

Julia McCoy is the manager/CEO of Express Writers, http://expresswriters.com. Since launching in May 2011, Express Writers has served over 2,000 clients and provided quality content for all industries, from tax lawyers to appliance repair contractors. Julia has 10 years of experience writing, a track record of academic achievements in writing, and is located in Springfield, Missouri. 

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