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How to Pivot Your Content Plan According to HubSpot Marketers



How to Pivot Your Content Plan According to HubSpot Marketers

Imagine this: as a content marketer, things are going pretty well for you — you’re confident about your upcoming campaign, the ROI from your last couple were stellar, and projections for the new one looked just as good, if not better, than ever before.

And then something happened, and you need to pivot your content.

Maybe it’s a sudden trend or global event that diverts your audience’s attention. Or, perhaps a competitor’s campaign launch has everyone talking, and you’re unsure if your current content strategy is good enough to outshine theirs.

Regardless, this shift has impacted your company directly, which means, your entire campaign is impacted directly.

With that being said, now you have to decide if you need to pivot your content plan — and quickly. But how do you respond to an event like this?

We asked HubSpot managers to give their insights about how to navigate major changes that alter your content planning. The HubSpot Blog also surveyed 1,000 marketers to learn more about their content planning practices.

In this post, we’ll learn what they have to say. We’ll go over how to identify when you need to pivot quickly, and strategies you can take in order to make that transition as smooth as possible.

How to Pivot Your Content Plan

When something major happens to alter your content strategy, think about how it will affect your business goals. After all, the content you’re creating reflects the goals of your business.

“The content HubSpot creates is intended to help businesses around the world grow better by addressing their current needs. When we have to pivot our content plans quickly, it is because those needs have changed quickly,” says HubSpot’s Vice President of Acquisition, Emmy Jonassen.

Let’s take a look at advice from Jonassen, as well as tips from managers across the marketing field — including Senior Social Media Manager Kelly Hendrickson, Global Brand Marketing Manager Alicia Collins, and Content Growth Strategy Manager Karla Hesterberg.

Let’s get started!

1. Know when to pivot.

Knowing when to switch up your content strategy is never an easy decision to make. There are a couple of aspects you should consider when you find yourself needing to re-work your content strategy, but first is knowing when the right time is to do that.

“The toughest part about pivoting your strategy is knowing when,” Hendrickson says. “As a social media manager, I would ask myself, ‘Right now, can we provide value to our audience?’ ‘Can we provide content that will be helpful and welcome in the social space?’

46% of marketers surveyed by the HubSpot Blog said they knew it was time to pivot because their previous content strategy was experiencing poor engagement.

If you’ve realized that altering your strategy will help you deliver more valuable, helpful, and timely content to your audience, then it’s a good time to pivot.

Ultimately, content plans should serve your business goals, but also deliver worthwhile content to your customer that’s timely. If your content isn’t providing a timely lens to customers, it might be time for you to pivot your strategy.

A content audit could be a good way to determine if you need a shift. Per the HubSpot Blog survey, 36% of marketers conduct content audits to identify gaps in their content strategy.

Take a look at your content plans. If your information aligns with your business’s goals, that’s great, but does it align with the times?

Instead of devoting all of your content planning to a new product launch, for instance, change up the frequency of your posts to include more content that can serve your customer’s needs depending on what’s going on in the industry, or in the world.

2. Put your audience first.

So, you’ve decided it’s a good time to pivot. How do you cater to the new shift in your audience’s lives, though?

Check your audience’s web behavior — you’ll find information that relates to what your audience is thinking about. For instance, if keyword search reports have indicated that keywords are changing from “local marketing tips” to “online marketing tips,” think of it as a clue that needs are shifting.

However, this shift isn’t exactly what you planned for — in fact, the content you’ve planned for is already scheduled, ready to go, and ultimately different from the results you’ve found from researching web behavior.

Hendrickson’s team was in the same boat. “In our case, we found we could provide our audience with helpful information,” she says. “But that information was not our previously produced and scheduled content.”

So, what do you do?

“We paused all publishing and pivoted immediately based on audience needs,” says Hendrickson. She and her team saw that they needed to rework how they catered to the needs of their audience with different content, so after some web behavior analysis, they found their answer. “At that time, an immediate need for our audience was tips about remote work and leading with empathy.”

She continues by saying, “We made that decision by looking at our audience, as we always do, and figuring out what challenges they were facing and prioritizing our changes there.”

HubSpot Social Media Manager discusses how to pivot contentAccording to a survey conducted by the HubSpot Blog, 46% of marketers have adapted content to reflect the issues going on in their customers’ lives.

When in doubt, start with your audience and put yourself in their shoes. What would you want to see from your favorite brands during certain times of year or periods of change?

If you have a large audience, it’s important to make sure your content addresses the needs of different groups you’re looking to serve. 38% of marketers surveyed by the HubSpot Blog said their biggest mistake when pivoting their content plan is focusing too much on one segment of their target audience.

As you look to pivot, take a holistic approach to addressing the needs of your broader audience.

3. Change your content lens.

We’ve talked a lot about how thinking about the customer will help guide your pivot decision and content planning. When you’ve got an idea of the type of content you need to deliver to your audience, the next step is the delivery itself.

“We need content and campaigns that are helpful and understanding,” Collins says. So while your content is framed around helping the audience, does the caption convey an understanding, empathetic point of view?

When you deliver content, you’re reflecting your brand and your brand’s goals. If one of your brand’s goals is to connect with your customer, you must change your message delivery to reflect comprehension of the situation.

Per the HubSpot Blog survey, 43% of marketers have changed the tone of their content to be more empathic and authentic in recent years.

“Companies and customers are operating in different ways — we can’t always assume that the same types of marketing will resonate,” Collins notes.

HubSpot Global Brand Manager discusses content pivotFor instance, let’s say a major cybersecurity issue upends your industry and is seen everywhere, from LinkedIn posts to newspaper headlines. Rather than shying away from the issue, consider how you might provide content that focuses on IT safety and security, or more generally, tips and tricks for successful online marketing and sales strategies.

4. Connect with other colleagues.

“During major industry or global changes, it becomes especially important that we understand our audiences’ needs so we can create relevant and helpful content fast,” Jonassen remarks.

Recall that Hendrickson’s team had to recognize the new needs of their target audiences, and discovered that remote work and how to lead during hard times was increasingly popular. From there, they were able to conduct research and figure out a plan.

However, if you’ve found that your team is struggling to collect insights, or you don’t know how, reach out to other colleagues to come up with a game plan that will be helpful to you. While your customers need actionable, timely, empathetic content, you need to understand how to figure out their other needs, as well.

“We start by analyzing user behavior, talking to our Sales and Customer Service teams, and interviewing prospects and customers,” Jonassen says.

HubSpot VP of Acquisition discusses content pivotSimilar to social media and branding, it’s important for team members working on customer acquisition to analyze how their customer will be thinking about their lives differently, so you can create offers that will be relevant to their new lifestyle.

If you find yourself struggling to deduce how your customer thinks because you don’t interact with them directly, think about the colleagues you have who do have a customer-facing role.

Sales and Customer Service colleagues are a great place to start — they’re in constant contact with customers, and because of that, will have a good grip on recognizing common problem areas among customers.

The best part about this strategy? It fits any business size. Even if your company is a small but mighty one, there’s at least one person constantly communicating with customers, and leading hiring efforts. They’re your front lines (and usually, talking to them is free, and less time-consuming than conducting multiple research quests).

5. Don’t overestimate your pivot.

When you recognize you need to shift, you don’t have to launch an entirely new product or completely re-identify your brand. In fact, that’s something you shouldn’t do.

Hesterberg states, “Don’t change everything at once. The worst thing you can do in a situation like this is pivot too hard and too fast in your rush to meet short-term needs.”

It can be startling to customers if a company overhauls their entire strategy overnight (Do you remember the “IHOb” fiasco?), and leave them confused.

My grandmother always used to say, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” a mantra that should apply to your pivot process planning. Changing what your brand stands for can be messy, time-consuming, and confusing for customers.

“Remember that content strategy is always a long game — your short-term strategy can’t compromise your ability to solve for the ongoing, long-term needs of your content property. Find key areas where you can be flexible to meet immediate needs, but know what you can’t budge on,” Hesterberg suggests.

HubSpot Sr. Growth Manager discusses how to pivot contentYour pivot should be a balanced addition to the strategy you already have in place. Half of marketers surveyed by the HubSpot Blog said when they last pivoted their content, their content plan changed a moderate amount.

In every campaign you make, one of your goals is most likely to serve the needs of the customer. Keep these tips in mind, and stay calm throughout the storm.

6. Get ready to experiment.

Digital marketing is ever-evolving, and new platforms and features can often be a driving force behind a content pivot. According to the HubSpot Blog survey, 68% of marketers have pivoted their content plan to leverage a new social media platform. We’ve seen this play out in real-time with more brands looking to capitalize on the rise in popularity of TikTok in recent years.

In addition to emerging platforms, jumping on new features of existing platforms can be a key part of a content pivot. Per the HubSpot Blog survey, 77% of marketers have pivoted their content plan to try leveraging a new feature on an existing social media platform, such as Instagram Reels

Experimentation and flexibility are important for content pivots. When exploring new platforms and features, it can take some time for brands to navigate what their audience wants to see on a new medium.

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How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?



How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?

The very first commercial advertisement was shown on TV in 1941. It was only 10 seconds long and had an audience of 4,000 people. However, it became a strong trigger for rapid advertising development. The second half of the 20th century is known as the golden age of advertising until the Internet came to the forefront and entirely transformed the advertising landscape. The first commercial banner appeared in the mid-90s, then it was followed by pop-ups, pay-by-placement and paid-pay-click ads. Companies also started advertising their brands and adding their business logo designs, which contributes to consumer trust and trustworthiness.

The rise of social media in the mid-2000s opened a new dimension for advertising content to be integrated. The marketers were forced to make the ads less intrusive and more organic to attract younger users. This is how native advertising was born. This approach remains a perfect medium for goods and services promotion. Let’s see why and how native ads can become a win-win strategy for your business.

What is native advertising?

When it comes to digital marketing, every marketer talks about native advertising. What is the difference between traditional and native ones? You will not miss basic ads as they are typically promotional and gimmicky, while native advertising naturally blends into the content. The primary purpose of native ads is to create content that resonates with audience expectations and encourages users to perceive it seamlessly and harmoniously.

Simply put, native advertising is a paid media ad that organically aligns with the visual and operational features of the media format in which it appears. The concept is quite straightforward: while people just look through banner ads, they genuinely engage with native ads and read them. You may find a lot of native ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – they appear in the form of “in-feed” posts that engage users in search for more stories, opinions, goods and services. This unobtrusive approach turns native ads into a powerful booster for any brand.

How does native advertising benefit your business?

An average Internet user comes across around 10,000 ads a day. But even physically, it is impossible to perceive this amount of information in 24 hours. So, most of them use adblockers, nullifying all efforts of markers. Native ads successfully overcome this digital challenge thanks to their authenticity. And this is not the only advantage of native advertising. How else does your business benefit? Here are just a few major benefits that prove the value of native ads:

Better brand awareness. Native ads contribute to the brand’s visibility. They seamlessly blend into educational, emotional, and visual types of content that can easily become viral. While promotional content typically receives limited shares, users readily share valuable or entertaining content. Consequently, while you incur expenses only for the display of native ads, your audience may go the extra mile by sharing your content and organically promoting your brand or SaaS product at no additional cost.

Increased click-through rates. Native ads can generate a thrilling click-through rate (CTR) primarily because they are meticulously content-adaptable. Thus, native ads become an integral part of the user’s journey without disrupting their browsing experience. Regardless of whether your native advertising campaign is designed to build an audience or drive specific actions, compelling content will always entice users to click through.

Cost-efficient campaign performance. Native advertising proves to be cheaper compared to a traditional ad format. It mainly stems from a higher CTR. Thanks to precise targeting and less customer resistance, native ads allow to bring down cost-per-click.

Native ads are continuously evolving, enabling marketers to experiment with different formats and use them for successful multi-channel campaigns and global reach.

Types of native advertising

Any content can become native advertising as there are no strict format restrictions. For example, it can be an article rating the best fitness applications, an equipment review, or a post by an influencer on a microblog. The same refers to the channels – native ads can be placed on regular websites and social media feeds. Still, some forms tend to be most frequently used.

  • In-feed ads. This type of ad appears within the content feed. You have definitely seen such posts on Facebook and Instagram or such videos on TikTok. They look like regular content but are tagged with an advertising label. The user sees these native ads when scrolling the feed on social media platforms.
  • Paid search ads. These are native ads that are displayed on the top and bottom of the search engine results page. They always match user’s queries and aim to capture their attention at the moment of a particular search and generate leads and conversions. This type of ad is effective for big search platforms with substantial traffic.
  • Recommendation widgets. These come in the form of either texts or images and can be found at the end of the page or on a website’s sidebar. Widgets offer related or intriguing content from either the same publisher or similar sources. This type of native ads is great for retargeting campaigns.
  • Sponsored content. This is one of the most popular types of native advertising. Within this format, an advertiser sponsors the creation of an article or content that aligns with the interests and values of the platform’s audience. They can be marked as “sponsored” or “recommended” to help users differentiate them from organic content.
  • Influencer Advertising. In this case, advertisers partner with popular bloggers or celebrities to gain the attention and trust of the audience. Influencers integrate a product, service, or event into their content or create custom content that matches their style and topic.

Each of these formats can bring stunning results if your native ads are relevant and provide value to users. Use a creative automation platform like Creatopy to design effective ads for your business.

How to create a workable native ad?

Consider these 5 steps for creating a successful native advertising campaign:

  • Define your target audienceUsers will always ignore all ads that are not relevant to them. Unwanted ads are frustrating and can even harm your brand. If you run a store for pets, make sure your ads show content that will be interesting for pet owners. Otherwise, the whole campaign will be undermined. Regular market research and data analysis will help you refine your audience and its demographics.
  • Set your goals. Each advertising campaign should have a clear-cut objective. Without well-defined goals, it is a waste of money. It is a must to know what you want to achieve – introduce your brand, boost sales or increase your audience.
  • Select the proper channels. Now, you need to determine how you will reach out to your customers. Consider displaying ads on social media platforms, targeting search engine result pages (SERPs), distributing paid articles, or utilizing in-ad units on different websites. You may even be able to get creative and use email or SMS in a less salesy and more “native”-feeling way—you can find samples of texts online to help give you ideas. Exploring demand side platforms (DSP) can also bring good results.
  • Offer compelling content. Do not underestimate the quality of the content for your native ads. Besides being expertly written, it must ideally match the style and language of the chosen channel,whether you’re promoting professional headshots, pet products, or anything else. The main distinctive feature of native advertising is that it should fit naturally within the natural content.
  • Track your campaign. After the launch of native ads, it is crucial to monitor the progress, evaluating the costs spent and results. Use tools that help you gain insights beyond standard KPIs like CTR and CPC. You should get engagement metrics, customer data, campaign data, and third-party activity data for further campaign management.

Key takeaway

Summing up the above, it is time to embrace native advertising if you haven’t done it yet. Native ads seamlessly blend with organic content across various platforms, yielding superior engagement and conversion rates compared to traditional display ads. Marketers are allocating higher budgets to native ads because this format proves to be more and more effective – content that adds value can successfully deal with ad fatigue. Native advertising is experiencing a surge in popularity, and it is to reach its peak. So, do not miss a chance to grow your business with the power of native ads.or you can do digital marketing course from Digital Vidya.

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OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons



OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons

A week or so ago, the extraordinary drama happening at OpenAI filled news feeds.

No need to get into all the saga’s details, as every publication seems to have covered it. We’re just waiting for someone to put together a video montage scored to the Game of Thrones music.

But as Sam Altman takes back the reigns of the company he helped to found, the existing board begins to disintegrate before your very eyes, and everyone agrees something spooked everybody, a question arises: Should you care?

Does OpenAI’s drama have any demonstrable implications for marketers integrating generative AI into their marketing strategies?

Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain (and give a shoutout to Sutton’s pants rage on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), or keep reading his thoughts:

For those who spent last week figuring out what to put on your holiday table and missed every AI headline, here’s a brief version of what happened. OpenAI – the huge startup and creator of ChatGPT – went through dramatic events. Its board fired the mercurial CEO Sam Altman. Then, the 38-year-old entrepreneur accepted a job at Microsoft but returned to OpenAI a day later.

We won’t give a hot take on what it means for the startup world, board governance, or the tension between AI safety and Silicon Valley capitalism. Rather, we see some interesting things for marketers to put into perspective about how AI should fit into your overall content and marketing plans in the new year.

Robert highlights two takeaways from the OpenAI debacle – a drama that has yet to reach its final chapter: 1. The right structure and governance matters, and 2. Big platforms don’t become antifragile just because they’re big.

Let’s have Robert explain.

The right structure and governance matters

OpenAI’s structure may be key to the drama. OpenAI has a bizarre corporate governance framework. The board of directors controls a nonprofit called OpenAI. That nonprofit created a capped for-profit subsidiary – OpenAI GP LLC. The majority owner of that for-profit is OpenAI Global LLC, another for-profit company. The nonprofit works for the benefit of the world with a for-profit arm.

That seems like an earnest approach, given AI tech’s big and disruptive power. But it provides so many weird governance issues, including that the nonprofit board, which controls everything, has no duty to maximize profit. What could go wrong?

That’s why marketers should know more about the organizations behind the generative AI tools they use or are considering.

First, know your providers of generative AI software and services are all exploring the topics of governance and safety. Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, and others won’t have their internal debates erupt in public fireworks. Still, governance and management of safety over profits remains a big topic for them. You should be aware of how they approach those topics as you license solutions from them.

Second, recognize the productive use of generative AI is a content strategy and governance challenge, not a technology challenge. If you don’t solve the governance and cross-functional uses of the generative AI platforms you buy, you will run into big problems with its cross-functional, cross-siloed use. 

Big platforms do not become antifragile just because they’re big

Nicholas Taleb wrote a wonderful book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. It explores how an antifragile structure doesn’t just withstand a shock; it actually improves because of a disruption or shock. It doesn’t just survive a big disruptive event; it gets stronger because of it.

It’s hard to imagine a company the size and scale of OpenAI could self-correct or even disappear tomorrow. But it can and does happen. And unfortunately, too many businesses build their strategies on that rented land.

In OpenAI’s recent case, the for-profit software won the day. But make no bones about that victory; the event wasn’t good for the company. If it bounces back, it won’t be stronger because of the debacle.

With that win on the for-profit side, hundreds, if not thousands, of generative AI startups breathed an audible sigh of relief. But a few moments later, they screamed “pivot” (in their best imitation of Ross from Friends instructing Chandler and Rachel to move a couch.)

They now realize the fragility of their software because it relies on OpenAI’s existence or willingness to provide the software. Imagine what could have happened if the OpenAI board had won their fight and, in the name of safety, simply killed any paid access to the API or the ability to build business models on top of it.

The last two weeks have done nothing to clear the already muddy waters encountered by companies and their plans to integrate generative AI solutions. Going forward, though, think about the issues when acquiring new generative AI software. Ask about how the vendor’s infrastructure is housed and identify the risks involved. And, if OpenAI expands its enterprise capabilities, consider the implications. What extra features will the off-the-shelf solutions provide? Do you need them? Will OpenAI become the Microsoft Office of your AI infrastructure?

Why you should care

With the voluminous media coverage of Open AI’s drama, you likely will see pushback on generative AI. In my social feeds, many marketers say they’re tired of the corporate soap opera that is irrelevant to their work.

They are half right. What Sam said and how Ilya responded, heart emojis, and how much the Twitch guy got for three days of work are fodder for the Netflix series sure to emerge. (Robert’s money is on Michael Cera starring.)

They’re wrong about its relevance to marketing. They must be experiencing attentional bias – paying more attention to some elements of the big event and ignoring others. OpenAI’s struggle is entertaining, no doubt. You’re glued to the drama. But understanding what happened with the events directly relates to your ability to manage similar ones successfully. That’s the part you need to get right.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader



The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader

Introduce your processes: If you’ve streamlined a particular process, share it. It could be the solution someone else is looking for.

Jump on trends and news: If there’s a hot topic or emerging trend, offer your unique perspective.

Share industry insights: Attended a webinar or podcast that offered valuable insights. Summarize the key takeaways and how they can be applied.

Share your successes: Write about strategies that have worked exceptionally well for you. Your audience will appreciate the proven advice. For example, I shared the process I used to help a former client rank for a keyword with over 2.2 million monthly searches.

Question outdated strategies: If you see a strategy that’s losing steam, suggest alternatives based on your experience and data.

5. Establish communication channels (How)

Once you know who your audience is and what they want to hear, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Here’s how:

Choose the right platforms: You don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform. Pick two platforms where your audience hangs out and create content for that platform. For example, I’m active on LinkedIn and X because my target audience (SEOs, B2B SaaS, and marketers) is active on these platforms.

Repurpose content: Don’t limit yourself to just one type of content. Consider repurposing your content on Quora, Reddit, or even in webinars and podcasts. This increases your reach and reinforces your message.

Follow Your audience: Go where your audience goes. If they’re active on X, that’s where you should be posting. If they frequent industry webinars, consider becoming a guest on these webinars.

Daily vs. In-depth content: Balance is key. Use social media for daily tips and insights, and reserve your blog for more comprehensive guides and articles.

Network with influencers: Your audience is likely following other experts in the field. Engaging with these influencers puts your content in front of a like-minded audience. I try to spend 30 minutes to an hour daily engaging with content on X and LinkedIn. This is the best way to build a relationship so you’re not a complete stranger when you DM privately.

6. Think of thought leadership as part of your content marketing efforts

As with other content efforts, thought leadership doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It thrives when woven into a cohesive content marketing strategy. By aligning individual authority with your brand, you amplify the credibility of both.

Think of it as top-of-the-funnel content to:

  • Build awareness about your brand

  • Highlight the problems you solve

  • Demonstrate expertise by platforming experts within the company who deliver solutions

Consider the user journey. An individual enters at the top through a social media post, podcast, or blog post. Intrigued, they want to learn more about you and either search your name on Google or social media. If they like what they see, they might visit your website, and if the information fits their needs, they move from passive readers to active prospects in your sales pipeline.

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