Woman in a content rut

Content ruts. They happen to the best of us. You started your inbound marketing strategy off with a bang, each ebook or content offer earning more downloads than the last.

But somewhere along the lines, the growth started slowing down. Maybe you find yourself at a plateau and not sure what to do to shake things up. 

Whether you’re a seasoned inbound marketer or someone just learning the ropes, one way to get out of your content rut is to survey your audience to find out what content is most appealing to them now. 

Audiences change as they grow. What once interested your target market may no longer drive as many conversions or downloads. The trick is to grow with your audience by keeping track of what matters to them and rising to meet their interests as they evolve.

Start with This Template

We’ve found content preference surveys to be really helpful in our own marketing. Many of the major evolutions in the way HubSpot creates and markets content have come out of what we’ve learned from just asking our readers what they want. Recently we teamed up with SurveyMonkey to make a content preferences template, modeled after our own surveys, which anyone can use to get a better sense of what will work with their audience. Let’s start there.

Go to SurveyMonkey.com. If you don’t already have an account, you can quickly create one. There are four options for plans including one free option. Once you have an account, follow these steps.

  1. Click Create Survey
  2. Choose Start from an Expert Template
  3. Select Market Research section
  4. Scroll down & click on the Online Content Strategy Template

Introducing_Online_Content_Strategy_Template___SurveyMonkey_Blog

Use the template as a starting point, then add in other questions that are more tailored to your business. In the template you’ll find questions like:

  • How often would you want to receive information from our company?
  • When reading content from companies, which tone do you appreciate? (Select all that apply)
  • When you share information about companies and the products or services they offer, which of the following do you use? (Select all that apply)

Here are a few others you may want to consider adding in:

  • In what format do you prefer your content? (ebook, webinar, template, one-pager, etc.)
  • How long is the ideal ebook on [topic]? (1-2 pages, 3-6 pages, 7-15 pages, 15+ pages).
  • How would you rank the following in terms of importance in the business content you read? (strategic concepts, practical tactics, useful examples).

Once your survey is live, promote it to your audience via social media, email, your blog, homepage or other communication channels. If you’re trying to reach a new target market, you can also have SurveyMonkey send the survey out for a fee.

Use the HubSpot-SurveyMonkey integration to get more out of your responses.

When you get a good number of responses back, sit down as a content team and analyze the results. What trends do you see in the answers? What ideas do they spark for new content directions? You can do even more with the responses if you turn on the HubSpot-SurveyMonkey integration. This integration is free and available to every HubSpot customer.

  1. Go to the contact settings and review integrations menu on the side of the page.
  2. Use the toggle to turn on the SurveyMonkey integration. It will ask you for your SurveyMonkey account details.
  3. Find the content strategy survey you’ve created and hit the toggle to sync the responses to your contact database.

From there, responses given to your survey will sync to the profile of any contact in your database. Once the responses are in your database you can:

  • Create an email segment based on different preferences.
  • Use Smart CTAs or Smart Content to tailor the content on your website to match the specific preferences of each respondent. (Pro/Enterprise HubSpot Customers)
  • Run reports based on the survey responses and other information in your database.
  • Create a social inbox stream based on the responses in your survey.

Running a content survey can be a useful jumping off point to overcome a content rut. 

What other techniques have you tried to mix things up in your content strategy? How did you inform those choices with data?

See All HubSpot Integrations

Originally published Jun 10, 2014 9:00:00 AM, updated November 07 2017