It happens to even the best marketers. No matter how good your content is, how wide your audience has grown, or how many best practices you’ve followed, eventually you’ll get to a point where your audience seems to stop growing. You aren’t getting any more social media followers (at least not quickly), your readership has stagnated, and even your traffic fails to climb higher. You’ve hit a plateau, and even though it’s hard to accept, it’s a situation that happens to everybody.
Fortunately, you don’t have to remain in this position for long. There are a series of actionable steps you can take to cumulatively restore your audience-growing potential back to its normal levels:
- Try to find the root of the problem. Because content and social media marketing are such intricately connected strategies with hundreds of variables, it’s almost impossible to trace stagnated growth back to any one root cause—but you have to try. In the off chance that one mistake or one new addition is causing this plateau, your solution is painfully simple. For example, have you recently made a major change, like an adjustment to your brand voice or an incorporation of a new content angle? Have you slowed down your publication rate or brought on a new marketing team? If you can’t find anything concrete, don’t worry. It’s probably an amalgamation of things, and we’ll try to address all of them.
- Experiment with new mediums. It’s highly likely that your readers are bored. Even if there’s another factor influencing their lack of response to your ongoing work, the boredom isn’t going to help. Users are going crazy for visual content right now, and with ample new tools—like embedded videos in Facebook and Twitter feeds—it’s easier than ever to create it from scratch. Try engaging your users with more content formats to spice up your offerings; you’ll definitely attract a new segment of your target population, and any new assets you create will be permanent.
- Explore new topic ideas. If the new mediums aren’t helping, it could be a sign that the angle of your content is off. You may be assuming that your audience is interested in a certain string of topics related to your brand, but are they? It’s important to challenge your assumptions here, especially because what worked in the past isn’t guaranteed to work for the future. Conduct surveys, gather feedback, and pose new topics to your existing audience—you’ll quickly learn whether a simple choice of topics was a significant factor holding you back. If you’re struggling here, look to competitors, influencers, and industry publications for inspiration.
- Target a new audience. There are a couple of audience problems that could be affecting your stagnation. The first is that you’re literally running out of your specific demographic (especially if it’s highly specific and geographically centered). The second is that your content doesn’t target your audience as effectively as you thought. A potential solution to both of these limitations is to target a new demographic, one only slightly skewed from your original targets. For example, if you once targeted only Kentucky business owners, you could target Ohio and Tennessee business owners instead.
- Shift your focus to quality over quantity. It’s no secret that you need “good” content to be successful. But with today’s search standards and ever-increasing streams of competition, content that’s “good enough” simply isn’t good enough. You can’t pop out decent articles and expect to have a raving reaction—your content needs to be the best of the best, and if that means writing one great, touchstone piece rather than four smaller pieces, so be it. Quality matters more than quantity; you’ve heard it a million times, now start putting it into practice.
- Engage with new influencers. Influencers always serve as a valuable shortcut to audience growth. Usually, they’re called upon in the early stages of brand development, as a boost to build an initial foundation. However, don’t rule them out as a potential source to renew interest in your content efforts. Try seeking newer, bigger, or peripherally related influencers to engage with and help distribute your content. You’ll tap into a new pool of potential followers and gain some social credibility along the way.
- Get yourself featured on new publications. Guest posting is like a combination of content marketing, link building for SEO, and influencer marketing all in one neat little package. And with all the publishers out there, the sky’s the limit when it comes to advancing your cause in all areas. If you hit a wall, reach out to a new range of publishers, preferably national-level authorities with a foot in your niche. Even if only a handful bite, you could instantly get a boost in visibility and domain authority—and get in front of an entirely new audience!
There’s no rule that says you have to take all of these steps, and of course, there are steps that I’m missing. What’s important isn’t following a formula or trying to trick your way back into a healthy growth pattern; all that really matters is that you start taking action. When your momentum begins to slow down, the worst thing you can possibly do is nothing. Start making changes, one at a time, until you’ve found a pattern that can take you to the next level.