Effective content marketing is key to growing customer action and thus, profits, through the use of different, content-driven strategies. Though most companies have a general idea of what not to do when it comes to content marketing, they aren’t really sure about what they could be doing to better their overall approach. And, we don’t blame you. There are a lot of factors that go into successful content marketing, and it’s not really possible to narrow it down to just a few set tactics.
Familiarize Yourself with Different Types of Content Marketing
There are so many channels to push content these days. For starters, the most common approach is through a blog, that’s constantly updated with what would be relevant content. If your blog is your main avenue for content marketing, make sure you are up on your SEO and visuals game, as this is what appeals to people.
However, there are so many other ways to effectively market content, not through a blog. What about infographics? Memes? Videos? Interviews? Sharing customer reviews? Listicles? How-Tos? Partner links? E-books? You can probably think of a hundred more. The list goes on and on, and the more you utilize appropriately, the more you can be sure your content marketing strategy is working.
Research, Research, Research
Marketing research is imperative if you want to connect with your audience. Of course, if you don’t yet have your audience, this would be a great time to start figuring that out. Who is your product or company is directed towards? What are the specific demographics? Just knowing their age or location isn’t enough. You’ll have to do a lot of research so you can adjust your content marketing accordingly.
This doesn’t happen overnight. You need to understand this data on a whole new level. Remember, this type of information can always change, too, so it’s important to always keep the research constant. A software like ours can help you with this.
Map Out and Organize Your Content
Don’t just assume that once people come to your site, they are going to immediately convert. Additionally, don’t assume that once they’ve converted, they’ll stay on board and contribute to your profit. There’s a system to this kind of thing, and it needs to be handled with care. You have to ease in your leads, and differentiated content marketing is a great way to do just that.
Think of it as three levels. Initially, you’ll want to cater to your potential leads by sparking interest through your content. Level two, if this is not the first time this person has been on your site, then use content that can help you to start building a relationship with him or her. Lastly, if this person has already converted or they’re about to, then you want to use your content to ultimately have them take action.
Pictures Say 1,000 Words
We can’t stress enough what visual creatures we are. Use this very valuable piece of information to help create simple content that’s easy for people to understand. This is why infographics are successful, as well as inviting header images and thumbnails. People see a picture they like alongside a catchy phrase or heading, and they’ll be hooked. Just make sure the pictures are at least a little bit relevant.
As much as your brand looks promising, people trust others more than a few convincing words on a webpage. When putting your content marketing into play, it’s essential that you keep this in mind. The more human voices you have in your content, the better it’s going to be for you. This can be attained by displaying customer reviews, having bylinks on affiliate websites, backlinks and niche edits to previous content, implementing guest posts, and wording your content so it truly relates to people on an individual basis. Don’t forget to also use hashtags and tag things you care about, in order to relate to your customers on a deeper level.
Don’t Forget to Share!
Once you’ve written a strong blog post, created a beautiful infographic, or self-published your first e-book, get it out there! There are so many different ways to share your content, even when you’re asleep. Just schedule your content for when you want it to be posted, and make sure you do so on different social media platforms in order to reach a broader audience.
Tracking Success of Content Marketing Efforts
While there is always a bit of risk when deciding where to invest your content marketing budget, you can go a long way towards mitigating that risk by carefully tracking the success of your efforts. In a recent study, over 80% of companies surveyed say that they invest at least a part of their marketing budget into content marketing but the majority of those marketers struggle to measure their ROI. While most marketers are still measuring the success of content marketing through web traffic, that’s just one small piece of the puzzle and can’t be the only metric by which you measure success. Things like email signups, social media engagement and pages per visit are also valuable conversions by which you can measure the success of your social media campaigns.
So how do you track your success?
Focus on Measurable Goals
As with all of your marketing efforts you have to make sure that you sit down with your marketing team before you start your campaign for an in depth planning session. What goals are you going to focus on to drive your ROI? Remember, specificity is important here. Saying that you’re going to try to get more names on your email list isn’t enough – deciding that your goal is to increase your email list by 10% every month is something that you can actually measure against. Likewise, “increasing conversion” isn’t a real goal – increasing conversion rate by 25% within three months is.
Monitor Your Goals Regularly
Goal tracking is kind of like watching the stock market. Unless you’re an expert, you really don’t want to watch them daily. If you do, you run the risk of falling down a pretty deep rabbit hole that can be tough to pull out of. That said, you don’t want to let too much time go by between checking your metrics. Create a tracking spreadsheet and monitor the results weekly. Separate your list into Conversion, Reach and Engagement. This will allow you to focus your various types of content into these three buckets and determine what’s working and what’s not.
Developing KPIs for Your Content Marketing Plan
So which KPIs are worth monitoring? Facebook alone provides more data than I care to read and I’m a bit of an analytics junkie – I love this stuff and it’s still overwhelming. So here are the big ones that I monitor for my clients and for our internal marketing efforts.
New Website or Landing Page Visitors
I’m a firm believer that the ultimate goal of any content marketing strategy should be to drive people back to your website or landing page because, let’s face it, the percentage of truly valuable conversions that come off of Facebook or LinkedIn is so small in comparison that it’s almost not worth talking about. That said, the number of new people your content marketing efforts drive to your website or landing page should definitely be on an upward trend month over month, year over year, or it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Average Page Views per Visit
This is a big one that I’ve been working on lately since I’ve been working on an online magazine called Love the Backcountry. Since advertisers probably aren’t going to pay for ad space on a site that has people only looking at one page per visit, increasing page depth per visit is incredibly important because it’ll allow us to show potential advertisers that when people come to the site, they explore it a bit, which will ultimately lead to multiple ad impressions per visit. Similarly, page depth is important in other business and consumer websites for the simple reason that the more time they spend on your site, the more likely they are to contact you and the deeper into your site they explore, the more qualified they’ll be before the do.
Call to Action Conversion
This is obviously a big one because it’s where the “lead generation” aspect of content marketing comes into play. If you’re driving 5000 new visitors to your site or landing page each month but only 5 people are responding to your call to action then you really need to work on your landing page. An average conversion rate is somewhere between 2% and 5% so that’s the number that you should look for as a minimum. Once you’re there, you can start A/B testing to drive that conversion rate up but work with someone who’s versed in conversion rate optimization to at least get your conversion rates up to the low side of average. If no one’s converting from your call to action you’re just wasting your money.
Any analytics platform worth its salt should tell you where your traffic is coming from and knowing which traffic source is your strongest will help you focus your attention and resources on the platforms that matter. If LinkedIn is dominating Facebook and Paid Search is flailing against the strength of your Organic Search placements, where do you think you should be spending your money?
Social Media Interactions
I’m not talking about likes and favorites – those are vanity metrics that don’t actually mean much of anything. There’s a slight chance that they may lead to a small increase in brand awareness but don’t count on it – they really don’t matter. What you want to focus on are post clicks, shares and comments. This is real interaction and, while I have a difficult time seeing it as any serious engagement, it’s a good indicator that your content is working and being responded to.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Build yourself a spreadsheet and monitor these metrics once per month to make sure that you’re seeing an upward trend over time. Don’t panic if you see your metrics drop one month and them pop up again the next, there are seasonal considerations to take into account. Ultimately, you want two years of data so that you can measure your KPIs month over month and year over year – that’ll give you a much better look into how your content marketing campaign is performing.
Mission Suite can help moderate your content marketing before, during, and after it’s out there. Request a demo to see how easy we can make your content marketing initiative for you!