It’s easy to fall back on habits. But “we’ve always done it this way” is a pretty weak excuse when you think about it.

Here’s an example from an earlier work experience. When I first started working for the Santa Monica Rent Control Board, I learned that once a year we sent a postcard to all 26,000 rent-controlled units. The postcard contained information about their current rents. In my third year on staff, our new Public Information Manager decided we were no longer going to send the postcard. Instead we inserted the information on rent levels in our newsletter.

I wasn’t surprised that his decision met with strong internal resistance. All the long-term staffers in the public information team told him residents would be upset if they didn’t get the card. It took a bit of persuasion, but eventually he got approval to test out his idea.

The result?

If I remember correctly, we received about four calls asking what happened to the postcard. Four calls out of 26,000 households. In other words, almost no one missed it enough to complain. The major bonus: by not sending the postcard, the agency saved several thousands of dollars in postage and print costs.

As marketers, your job is to challenge your own assumptions and test out new ideas. Not everything will pan out, but but sometimes you get surprised.

Here are some additional ideas to consider.

1. Changing when and where you connect with your audience.

This could mean changing the frequency with which you reach out to your audience. For example, instead of a quarterly newsletter, you switch to monthly.

Or it could mean changing the style of content you share. Instead of a detailed report for example, you create an infographic. Or instead of a 4-page illustrated brochure you create a two-minute “how-to” video.

2. Growing your in-house capacity to develop specific types of content by providing custom training.

Perhaps you already have great writers on your team. They are total pros when it comes to long-form content like your annual report. Unfortunately, you’ve discovered that they have no idea how to write for the web. You can hire someone to tackle the projects that they can’t or you can hire someone to provide the training they need. Both are valid options.

3. Revising your existing structures, routines, or systems.

Adding new content responsibilities without assessing the impact on how you currently function can be a recipe for disaster.

The reality is that allocating sufficient time to test out new ideas and produce relevant content may require adjusting existing staff schedules and establishing new routines. While some people will eagerly embrace your changes, others will not. You also have to adjust your timeline in order to build up support while you implement your ideas.

Adopting a testing mentality requires a willingness to question or change the status quo.

What new ideas or processes are you incorporating into your content marketing strategies?

Share your experiences in the comments.And if you know someone who is looking for ideas to change how they connect with their existing supporters, be sure to share this post with them!

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