Troubleshooting Your Content Plan
Learn how to troubleshoot common issues in your content plan to improve your content strategy.
To establish a strong online presence and engage with your target audience, it’s essential for your business to develop a sound content plan.
However, even the most well-crafted plan can run into unexpected obstacles along the way.
Whether it’s a lack of clarity about your target audience, limited resources, or a failure to consider SEO, there are a number of common issues that can negatively impact your content plan.
In this lesson, we’ll explore some common problems that your business may face implementing a content plan and provide solutions and ways to address these.
By understanding these issues and knowing how to troubleshoot them, you’ll be better equipped to create a content plan that resonates with your target audience and helps your business reach its goals.
This article is part of our Content Troubleshooting Guide where we help you identify and fix content-related problems in your business.
Step 1 – Troubleshoot Your Content Strategy
Most content-related problems are a result of not having a sound content strategy in place, so if your content is not performing or delivering results as expected, the first thing to do is troubleshoot your content strategy.
If you are sure that the problems you are experiencing with your content are not strategic-level issues, the next area to look at is your content plan.
Step 2 – Troubleshoot Your Content Plan
Here are some common problems related to your content plan that can affect your content’s performance and results:
Lack Of Clear Goals And Objectives
Without a clear understanding of what your business wants to achieve with its content, it can be difficult to create a content plan that aligns with the overall strategy.
A lack of clear goals and objectives in your content plan can be addressed by setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your content.
For example, instead of setting a goal to “increase website traffic,” a more specific and measurable goal would be “increase website traffic by 20% over the next quarter by publishing two new blog posts per week.”
Your business may not have the necessary resources, such as budget, personnel, technology, or time to execute its content plan effectively, thereby limiting the scope and reach of the content that you can produce.
For example, if you have a small marketing budget, you may not be able to produce high-quality videos or run expensive advertising campaigns.
To address issues in your content plan related to insufficient resources, your business must find ways to prioritize and optimize available resources.
This could be repurposing existing content, outsourcing certain tasks, or focusing on lower-cost marketing channels and activities like social media or email marketing.
Also, your business may allocate a budget for content marketing in its content strategy, but when the budget filters down to the content planning stage, the allocated budget may be insufficient to cover all that is expected to do. In this situation, your business either has to find or free up more resources or reevaluate its content strategy.
Lack Of Clarity Of Your Audience
Without a deep understanding of your target audience, it can be difficult to create content that resonates with them and drives engagement.
For example, you may create content that is too technical for a general audience, or not specific enough for a niche audience.
To address issues in your content plan related to a lack of clarity regarding your target audience, consider conducting market research to better understand your target audience’s demographics, interests, and pain points.
For example, you could conduct surveys or focus groups to gather information about your target audience or analyze customer data to identify patterns and trends.
For more information see this lesson on how to understand your target audience.
No Content Differentiation
If your business’s content is similar to that of its competitors, it can be difficult to stand out and attract and retain customers.
Issues related to a lack of content differentiation can be addressed by researching and better understanding your target audience, their pain points and interests, and creating content that addresses their specific needs and interests.
For example, if your company sells a weight loss supplement, you could differentiate your content by creating a series of blog posts on healthy recipes, workout plans, and success stories from real customers who have used your supplement.
Inadequate Content Distribution
Even the best content can fail to generate results if it is not distributed effectively. Your business needs to have a distribution plan that reaches your target audience.
Issues related to inadequate content distribution can be addressed by identifying the most effective channels to reach your target audience and utilizing these to distribute your content.
For example, if you are targeting young professionals, you could find that you’ll get better results distributing your content on LinkedIn and Instagram, while if you are targeting stay-at-home parents, you may find more success on Facebook and Pinterest.
No Content Measuring Or Evaluating
Without measuring or evaluating your content’s performance, it can be difficult to determine what is working and what is not, identify areas for improvement, and improve your results.
For example, you may produce a high volume of content but fail to track engagement or conversions, making it difficult to understand the impact of the content on your business.
To address issues in your content plan related to a lack of measurement or evaluation, establish clear goals and metrics for your content and track its progress over time.
For example, you can use analytics software to track website traffic, conversions, and engagement, or conduct surveys to gather feedback on your content and use it to improve future content.
Lack Of Content Focus Or Consistency
If your business fails to publish content consistently, you risk confusing, alienating, or losing your audience, and failing to establish yourself as an authoritative source in your industry.
For example, if you regularly produce content on different topics, you may struggle to build a following or establish yourself as an expert in any one area.
To address issues in your content plan related to a lack of focus or consistency, establish a content calendar that includes regular content topics, themes, or formats, such as a weekly blog post or a monthly video series focusing on one industry or niche, and stick to it.
No Content Integration With Other Marketing Efforts
To maximize the impact of your content marketing activities, you need to ensure that your content integrates with other marketing efforts, such as social media, email, and advertising.
Issues caused by a lack of integration with other marketing efforts can be addressed by creating a content marketing plan that aligns with your overall marketing strategy and goals.
For example, if you are running a social media campaign to increase brand awareness, you could integrate your content by creating shareable social media posts featuring the content and including the campaign hashtag.
Difficulty Creating Engaging And Relevant Content
Creating content that resonates with your target audience and aligns with the goals of your business can be challenging.
To address this issue, use data and research to understand the current content landscape and identify content gaps that your business can fill, and conduct research to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience, including their demographics, pain points, and interests.
Use this information to create unique and valuable content that addresses your audience’s needs and interests, and test and experiment with different types of content to see which resonates best with them.
No Sense Of Storytelling
Your content should be able to tell a story and engage your audience, instead of just being a series of bullet points or facts.
Issues related to no sense of storytelling can be addressed by incorporating storytelling elements into your content, such as relatable characters, a clear conflict, and a satisfying resolution.
For example, if your business sells a productivity app, you could create a series of blog posts featuring real-life examples of how the app has helped different types of users, such as small business owners, students, and stay-at-home parents to increase their productivity.
Not Enough Focus On Content SEO
Not optimizing your content for search engines can limit its visibility and reach, and cause your business to miss out on valuable organic traffic.
For example, you may produce great content but fail to optimize it for search engines by ignoring warnings and suggested fixes from your Google Search Console dashboard.
To address issues related to a lack of consideration for SEO, ensure that your content is optimized for search engines by reviewing SEO guidelines, including relevant keywords, meta tags, and alt tags.
Also, make sure that your site is mobile-friendly with a fast page loading speed, and has a clean and structured site architecture.
View our lesson on Content SEO.
Limited Understanding Of Analytics
Without understanding the metrics that matter, it can be difficult to assess the effectiveness of your content plan and make data-driven decisions.
For example, you may focus on increasing website traffic but neglect to track conversions or sales.
To address issues related to a limited understanding of analytics, consider investing in tools and training to help your team track and analyze key metrics and use analytics software to track website traffic, conversions, and engagement, or consider hiring a data analyst to help make sense of the data.
Content Plan Not Flexible
A content plan that is not flexible can limit the ability to adapt to changes in the market or the industry.
For example, if you are not willing to pivot your content strategy to reflect changes in customer needs or industry trends, your business may struggle to stay relevant.
To address issues in your content plan related to a lack of flexibility, be willing to pivot your strategy as needed to adapt to changes in your market or industry.
For example, conduct a content audit and regular reviews of your content to identify areas that need improvement and make adjustments accordingly.
Step 3 – Troubleshoot Your Content Implementation Plans
If you are not experiencing the general issues described above, you may need to drill further into areas of your content plan and troubleshoot elements of your content plan like:
Difficulty Creating A Content Pipeline
If you are experiencing issues creating and maintaining a content pipeline, this is most likely a content production issue.
Solution: Review your content production plan and troubleshoot issues related to having no content pipeline.
Difficulty Generating Leads
Content marketing is an inbound marketing strategy and it takes time to generate leads.
If your business is not getting enough leads from your content marketing efforts, this is most likely an issue related to content promotion.
Solution: Review your content promotion plan. You may need to troubleshoot issues related to lead magnets, calls-to-action, and landing pages to convert visitors into leads or use retargeting ads to target people who engaged with your content but haven’t converted.
Difficulty Measuring Content Performance
Measuring your content’s performance can be challenging because there are many different metrics that you can use and each metric may have its own strengths and weaknesses.
If you’re experiencing difficulty measuring your content’s performance, this could be an issue of content promotion related to not defining content metrics aligned with the goals and objectives of your business, or a content management issue related to not setting up systems for tracking your content’s performance.
Solution: Review your content promotion plan and your content management plan. It may help you troubleshoot issues at a more granular level.
For example, you may find that the issue is related to things like:
- Not defining common metrics used to measure content performance such as engagement (e.g. clicks, shares, likes), reach (e.g. views, unique visitors), and conversions (e.g. sales, signups). You may need to use a combination of metrics, rather than relying on a single metric (for example, engagement metrics and reach metrics) to provide a more complete picture of how well a piece of content is performing,
- Not tracking metrics over a longer period of time to identify meaningful trends and patterns in performance
- Not using A/B testing to test different versions of a piece of content and compare their performance, or
- Not providing your team with better training on how to interpret the metrics used to measure performance and how these relate to a desired outcome, such as driving sales or increasing brand awareness.
Creating a content plan that effectively communicates your brand message and drives business growth can be a challenging task.
When things aren’t going as planned, take a step back and assess the situation. Are your goals and objectives clear? Is your content differentiated from your competitors? Are you utilizing the right channels to distribute your content?
Hopefully, the simple yet actionable solutions to common content plan issues presented above will help you get your content back on track.
See the content troubleshooting guide for links to additional content-related issues, solutions, and resources.
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