This article will continue a three-part discussion of how to take a content marketing strategy and make sure it’s still working for you, including how to analyze, measure, and optimize as your needs change and grow.
Let’s start by thinking about why you became a content marketer. It was probably one or more of the following:
You wanted to create a conversation with your customers that didn’t always center solely around your product
You wanted to shape brand perception by illustrating other “sides” to your your brand’s personality and values that might not come across through more direct advertising
You wanted to gauge public opinion on topics and issues
Ultimately, it was most likely because traditional marketing & advertising wasn’t reaching everyone you needed to reach. It’s not by any means that direct forms of marketing shouldn’t be used or that they don’t work, but what we do know about great content marketing is that it augments and enhances the other efforts you are doing and you need both forms to truly be successful.
We also know that doing content marketing well has its own challenges like too many channels, or not enough time, resources or budget. In addition, it can be hard to measure the effectiveness of your efforts when you are publishing content on many channels, with different sources of analytics that sometimes cross the online/offline space. According to the Center for Media Research:
“Because they’re expected to find new ways to engage consumers across a continually expanding number of touchpoints, the inability to measure engagement from content, let alone across channels, means that they’re attempting to execute against their content strategy while blindfolded.”
According to RAPTmedia, 60% of marketers are unable to accurately measure the return on investment (ROI) on the content they produce, and nearly half are unable to measure content performance across all the channels they market on.
Content Marketing is a Commitment
What does it mean to be a publisher? It means that your brand plans, creates, distributes, and manages content. In addition to selling products & services, you find a way to connect with the problems your customers are facing and provide a solution to them.
Your content is free (sort of), but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. In the process of providing content, you have the ability to collect data from your customers. Episodic (multi-part) content gets people back to your marketing channels, and marketing automation streamlines their return.
Being a publisher of content that your audiences value and are seeking provides the basis for a long-term relationship with your customers and allows you to play a thought leadership/trusted advisor role amongst your audiences.
According to Jessica Lee from the Content Marketing Institute:
“Let’s face it: Magazines like Vogue and newspapers like The New York Times didn’t become successful without operating as a well-oiled machine. They didn’t sometimes publish content. They didn’t sometimes have all the resources in place. And they didn’t sometimes follow writing guidelines.”
Of course you will need to have all of the components of a great content marketing team in order to be successful. This includes having roles for both creators of content and editors. It also means having processes and guidelines that specify who does what, how it’s reviewed, and what happens when it’s time to publish. You also need to establish a lexicon that serves as an agreed-upon terminology that everyone understands. For instance what does “white paper” mean to everyone. Does it mean the same to everyone or will there be confusion about what needs to be produced? Finally, a strong set of brand and style guidelines will keep your content consistent and on message.
Category - Strategy