How to Pivot & Change Course as a Content Creator | 3 Steps to Starting Over
There are times when you simply need to take a pause, then start over as a creator and marketer. In this blog post, I share with you the exact roadmap I’m using to pivot and change course from being a digital marketer for small businesses to a content creator and YouTuber for my personal brand. Let’s get started.
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In 2016, I started my own digital marketing agency that focused on helping small businesses build their online presence through websites and social media channels. And although we enjoyed a good amount of success, I wasn’t happy — mostly because I wasn’t where I really wanted to be.
So in 2019, I closed my digital marketing agency and got a full-time job until I could figure out my next move. I kept my domain name and social channels in place as a
“just in case I want to re-enter the space”, and I’m glad I did.
Step One: Map Out Your Goals
The purpose of mapping out your goals is so you can reverse engineer your strategy and build a solid foundation on which to grow an audience and build your business. It’s the most crucial step in your strategy.
Set some time aside and determine where you’d ultimately like to end up.
- What do you want to achieve?
- Do you want to grow a personal brand?
- Do you want to grow a business?
- Do you want to go after brand deals? Build an online course? A digital
- Where do you want to ultimately end up?
Start by answering these questions. This helps you map out a strategy on how to get there.
Next… Which platforms do you want to create content for? Instagram? YouTube? TikTok? Pinterest? Your own website? A combination of platforms? Where do you want to start?
PRO TIP: Whether you’re pivoting and changing course as an existing creator or just
starting out on your journey, I recommend choosing a single platform at first. Once you get more comfortable with creating content and a schedule that works for you, then expand out to additional platforms. It makes the process so much easier this way.
Step Two: Develop Your Growth Strategy
Once you have clear goals mapped out, it’s time to start building your growth strategy.
Developing a strategy gives you a clear path to follow and helps you stay the course, so you’re not wasting your valuable time and resources creating things you HOPE will work.
It all begins with research. You’ll want to research your niche, so you can develop a
content strategy and design a format your audience will love.
Researching Your Niche
Start by looking at what other creators in your niche are doing, both well-established
and emerging creators. Really dive deep into this.
- What are they doing that works well?
- What patterns can you see in content that’s performing well for them?
- How do they structure their content?
Look at the different types of content they’re creating, and also at the content that’s not doing well. This is just as important. Why do you think it’s not doing well? You’re doing this to learn what types of content you might want to avoid.
Start Compiling a List of Hashtags
As you’re conducting research, you’ll want to start compiling a list of hashtags they
use. Relevant hashtags help the algorithms know what your content is about, so start building your list. Using hashtags helps with your reach and growth.
Developing Your Strategy
Once you’ve completed your research, it’s time to start developing your strategy. Here’s what you want to ask yourself — even before creating your first piece of content.
- What’s the main reason people would want to consume your content?
- Why would they want to watch or read your content?
- What type of content will you be creating? Entertaining? Educational? News-based?
- What format of content will you create? Short-form video content like Instagram
Reels and TikTok videos? Single image posts with expanded text? Multi-image
posts like Instagram Carousels? Blog posts? Longer form YouTube videos? A mix of different formats?
Related Article: How to Identify Your Target Audience
Once you establish the format and combine it with your research, you’ll have a clear picture of the type of content to create that will perform well.
PRO TIP: Have the majority of your content focus on a single format at first. This will help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, which is the number one reason why people stop creating content.
Focus on Creating Great Content, Not Gaining Followers
Develop a content strategy that drives growth, takes advantage of the algorithms, and
turns followers into an engaging community.
Most people, when they’re starting out, don’t focus on what they’re creating. They tend to focus more on gaining as many followers as possible. Some join engagement groups, utilize bots, etc. to gain followers. Avoid these tactics. They sabotage the benefits algorithms provide, interfere with your ability to create an engaged community, which algorithms also like, and make you feel like you’re wasting your time.
Instead, focus on creating great content your fans will love. It’s what will help you ultimately monetize your channel and build a viable business.
Use Algorithms to Your Advantage
Algorithms prioritize which content a user sees in their feed first by the likelihood that
they’ll actually want to see it. Here are some things to consider when creating content
to get a nice boost to your growth and reach using algorithms.
New Platform Features
If the platform you’re creating content for has a new feature, create content using that new feature. Platforms heavily promote new features, and they’ll reward you for using
them by giving your content priority in user feeds over those who don’t.
Some platforms have trending sounds. Create content that’s relevant to your niche using those sounds for an extra boost.
Hashtags tell algorithms what your content is about so they know who to push your
content to. Only use hashtags that are relevant to the content you’re creating.
Avoid using blanket hashtags like #fyp, #foryou, #foryoupage, etc. on TikTok, for
example. Hashtags like these confuse the algorithms and sabotage your growth
strategy. Don’t use them!
Advanced Strategy: Recommendation Algorithms
Here’s how to create a growth strategy that trains recommendation algorithms to have your content show up in those recommended-for-you user feeds.
Go back to the creators you studied and read through some of the comments left on
their posts. See if there’s any place where you can leave your own thoughtful comment. Don’t be promotional or spammy, just provide your point of view in some way.
Leaving thoughtful comments on another creator’s post will not only give you exposure to their audience, but it gives the algorithms data they can use to recommend you in relevant user feeds, providing additional exposure.
Step Three: Create your Content
Now that you’ve done your research and developed a strategy, you understand what type of content works and what doesn’t, and some of the tactics to use along the way.
It’s time to create content.
Look back at the content from other creators you studied and create your own, similar
content. Put your own spin on it. Replicating others’ well-performing content will help
you grow your channel, your brand, and your business more quickly.
DO NOT blatantly copy other creators’ posts. You’ve done research to see what works and what doesn’t, so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Make sure you EMULATE, not copy.
Whether you’re growing more than one channel at a time or creating content on a single channel in different formats, repurposing is a great hack to make the most of a single piece of content.
There are Stories on some channels, carousel posts on others, and even single-image posts.
Let’s use a TikTok video as an example here.
There are Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Pinterest Idea Pins, Instagram and Facebook Stories. Repost your TikTok video in places like these. Remember to remove watermarks when doing so. Platforms don’t like to promote other platforms. They will greatly reduce your reach or give you no reach at all if you don’t remove those watermarks.
You can also convert your video into different formats, like multiple images for an Instagram carousel or a single image post with extended text. Look to highlight a key
message or two and recreate it into a new format.
Commit to a Schedule
Posting content on a consistent basis is vital to the growth of your channel. It builds trust, your authority in the space, and community.
In the beginning, commit to one post per day. If you’re growing a blog or YouTube channel with longer-form content, I recommend posting once per week. This will give
you the exposure you need and help you learn and get better and better at creating
great content that works for both your channel and your audience.
Related Article: Why You Need a Content Calendar
Capitalize On Mistakes
Some of your content will be horrible! That’s okay. It’s part of the process. Each time
you fail is an opportunity to learn.
Take advantage of that opportunity and keep creating new content. And whatever you learn from one channel, you can adjust and implement on other channels.
What I’ve outlined here are the basics and simply scratching the surface of growth. There are, for sure, advanced strategies that you can employ — just don’t get too caught up in them at first.
Whether you’re pivoting and relaunching your strategy or simply starting out, focus on the basics first. It’s a powerful way to lay a solid foundation and contribute to your overall long-term success and growth.
Once you’ve reached the goals you’ve mapped out here and have a steady stream of new followers/subscribers consistently, then focus on more advanced strategies like algorithm triggers, hashtag strategies, audience research, analytics and optimizations, and paid advertising.