Content marketing has been around for ages and its accelerated growth and use especially in the last few years shows that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. 89 percent of Americans use the internet to find new products and services and research potential purchases. The way consumers shop today differs vastly than they did even just 10 years ago. They are no longer swayed by overt, aggressive sales and advertising tactics—instead today’s buyers (both b2b and b2c) prefer to do the research and decide for themselves which vendor they want to go with.
All of this discussion points to the fact that it’s not enough to just come up with good content anymore. For your PR, marketing and communications strategies to be effective, you have to make sure that each piece of content you produce has a purpose, and ideally, that its purpose ties back to your business goals.
Currently, 70% of marketers say they lack a consistent or integrated content strategy. For those of you that camp working through a content strategy, here are some tips for creating an effective one.
The three main questions to consider here are what are the content’s purpose, format and topic? If the purpose is to generate leads, then you probably want an offer, or gated piece of content. The format of the offer could be a whitepaper, case study or template. In determining the topic of the content, you’ll want to focus on who you’re trying to reach, and what content will be the most helpful for them.
When producing content, always focus on mapping your content to your personas and where they are in the buyer’s journey. Your customers are busy people, so make it easy for them to consume your content by keeping it short. Lastly, the majority of your content should be educational versus promotional. At Hodges, we like to follow the 80/20 rule of keeping 80% of the content educational and 20% promotional.
Often we spend so much time producing a piece of content that when it’s finally ready we rush to get it up and out. Really, we should spend as much time on content promotion as we did with creating the piece of content. The idea is to maximize the shelf life of the content and leverage it via different distribution channels whether that’s through social media, marketing emails or your blog. (For tips on setting up a social ad campaign on a shoestring budget, check out our blog post)
What you analyze will depend on the format of the content and your business goals. Some metrics to consider when analyzing the efficacy of your content are number of visits, leads generated, social proof, shareability and inbound links. You could also look at things like content performance by topic or by format.
Then it starts all over. It’s important to keep up with planning your content to make sure you’re always feeding the content machine.
It can be daunting at first, trying to map out a strategy and process for your content and getting buy-in from the rest of your organization, but taking these steps will hopefully get you to the point where every piece of content you send out will have a purpose—whether that’s clicking through to your website, downloading a whitepaper or filling out a lead gen form—that’s tied to your bottom line.
(By the way: if you liked this post and want to know more about how to make your PR, social and content programs work better for you, sign up to receive our blog posts by email with the form below.)