I’ve run literally hundreds (260+) content marketing campaigns for businesses of all different sizes. From a small cosmetic clinic run by one person to Australia’s largest car dealership and a large banking institution. Some of these have driven enormous gains in rankings, traffic, leads and brand awareness – and some didn’t.
Content marketing has created a cultural shift in traditional advertising. You have probably all heard of the saying ‘Content is king’, this is not always the strategy to believe.
“Content is not king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies you’d choose your friends – if you chose the movies we’d call you a sociopath.”
“Conversation is king. Content is just something we talk about.” – Cory Doctorow.
Content is a new paradigm, challenging the way traditional media engages with real people. The challenge for businesses is to be creative in developing content ideas as an alternative to TVCs, print ads and billboards. You need to forget tradition and start creating consumer experience and engagement through content, data and technology.
I’ve outlined in this post my experience and learnings from all these varied campaigns in the last few years, I’ve also linked in the article a ton of resources, templates and materials that will be you cracking on your content marketing program.
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional advertising and generates around 3 x as many leads. Demand Metric
Research and Define Your Audience
Year on year site traffic growth is 7.8% higher for content marketing leaders. Aberdeen
In order to deliver engaging and entertaining content that is relevant to your customer, you must first have a solid understanding of the audience you are targeting. By profiling these customers you will be able to create targeted and relevant content that will actually speak to them.
Depending on your industry and your business, you may have multiple different ‘customers’, each of which will have a different profile, meaning you will need to create content that specifically speaks to them, rather than being too general. A great way to think about these different customers is to ask yourself some questions about your customers and write down a profile or persona for each of them that describes their lives and the way they act.
For example, customer one may be a 40-year-old mother, with two children. She works full-time, and is very busy and time poor. Therefore, the means in which you communicate to her would revolve around making her life easier. Below are some questions you can ask yourself to begin defining these persona’s. Download our Competitor research and marketing analysis template here to assist with this process.
- Who are our current ‘customers’?
- Age, sex, marital status, kids?
- Where do they live?
- What does their day-to-day life look like?
- Where do they work?
- What industry are they in?
- What is their income level?
- What is their education level?
- What are their pain points in life?
- What problem does your product solve for them?
- What do they aspire to?
- Where do they do their research for a new purchase? Friends and family? Online?
- How and where do they consume content? Social media, print, online blogs, forums?
- What format best suits? Video? Imagery? Blog articles?
- What is their buying decision behaviour?
- Do they take longer to convert, or are they quick to make a decision?
- What is their perception of your product/service?
Another way that you can begin to get accurate insights into your customer and target market is to look into your Google Analytics, if you have it connected to your site. From here you can understand information, such as, are they male or female, their age and location. You can also draw out data around whether they’re using mobile, laptop or tablet, and their time spent on site, as well as days and times that your site generally gets the most traffic. This will help you to determine how to deliver your content as behaviour differs across devices. Those on mobile may prefer shorter and sharper content, as mobile is often used on the go. Whilst desktop may prefer more in-depth content, as they have more time to digest it.
Furthermore, check out our detailed guide on How to Perform Competitor and Market Research here.
How to Entertain & Engage Through Content
The technique of content marketing is to distribute relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly understood target audience, with the objective of driving profitable customer actions. Content relies on three main elements; format, topic and tone.
The format of your content can be anything from blogging, to photos, videos, online quizzes and much more. It is something users can share across their social media platforms to engage with their target audience.
When choosing a topic for your target audience it can include three different types. Before you pick a topic you must examine your marketing place; marketing position, product offering and perception; basically you need to make a story through your brand. You need to know your audience’s interests in order to be proactive of the content opportunities you can use when creating your strategy. This can be through three different content types.
Hygiene – This content is the same as ‘evergreen’, it literally can stand the test of time and will always be aligned with your products and messaging. E.g. If you owned Toyota and wrote content on ‘The Best Way To Wash Your Car.
Hub Topical – This content is in real time and is entertaining. This means you need to be aware of your target audience, do the marketing research to see what is trending and make sure your target audience can relate to it. This content is more likely shared across loyal user platforms and in the best-case scenario, go viral.
Hero – Digital marketing should always be aligned with other marketing campaigns. This content topic works best when the client uses campaign alignment to create hero content around an event (this element usually needs a bigger budget to deliver).
Don’t be boring!
I highly highly recommend mixing up your content with infographics, videos, downloadable templates, memes and quirky aspects that make you stand out from the crowd. Infographics are a really effective way to communicate a huge amount of content in one image.
Driving Profitable Customer Actions
Content marketing works primarily across owned and earned media. All digital marketing companies serve paid media such as: search engine marketing, Facebook Advertising, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. However, creating and amplifying your own content can be used to create deeper relationships with customers.
Consumers prefer to know the brand on a personal level before converting (the consumer buying process). With engaging content directed to the right target market you are able tell an engaging story through your brand.
Having a friend or stranger deliver a brand message online through social media is 1.5 to 2 times more likely to influence behaviour than delivering the same message in a TV ad (Nielsen, 2016).
Marketers who prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts (HubSpot, 2016).
The most important objective that you need to remember is what are you trying to achieve through your content marketing campaign? It is important to analyse your audience through research tools such as Google analytics, to observe path to purchase of your content marketing strategy.
Researched and informative content on topics relevant to your audience from 500-2,000 words
A section on your website that can contain regular information on your industry, personal reflections and can include videos, links, infographics and checklists
A factual and extensive resource focused on a highly researched topic or pain point
An informative in resource that can be used for lead generation and marketing activities and to assist with current customers or clients pain points
These are a succinct way of adding value to your audience and can be downloadable on your site, shared on social media or used in email marketing campaigns
Responses to common questions and topics of interest for your audience that can assist your customers see things from another person’s perspective
A great way to build a following for your brand and includes regular instalments that can be received by your subscribers automatically
Creating a video series for your audience is a highly engaging form of marketing and with the growing popularity of video will help you achieve cut through
A list of frequently asked questions on topics and areas of consideration for your customers. This can also assist with customer service and internal resource management
This is a great way to visually represent a topic in a friendly way and is a great visual resource on your website and to share on social media
Content & SEO Go Hand in Hand
Using content as a large source of your search engine marketing campaign will raise your Google rankings. Google’s algorithm is constantly changing, Google loves unique creative content more than anything. In 2016 an ever-growing proportion of Google’s ranking factors relied on great quality content. Content affects your Search Engine Marketing in the following ways:
- It improves your social metrics – no-one shares poor, un-relatable content!
- User, usage & traffic/query date, this means that users interact with your content depending how good it is. e.g. traffics/usage signals from browsers/toolbars/clickstream/quantity and CTR of queries
- Domain level keyword usage e.g. exact-match keyword domains and partial keyword matches.
- Domain-level link authority features. The quantity of links to the domain providing the trust and authority of links (e.g. Page rank).
- Lastly if you create your own content you’re not likely to get penalised from Google!
Measuring Content Marketing Success
After all that hard work and time you’ve invested into creating a well thought out content marketing strategy in order to engage your customer, it’s imperative to have strategies and metrics set-up to be able to measure the success of the campaign and gain insights into what content is working best, so you can continue to tailor your content for the best engagement. Google Analytics provides us with a wide array of tools to be able to drill down on data and figure out what is really working.
Google Analytics Metrics
Users: the total number of unique visitors to a particular page on your website. Is your content drawing in new visitors?
Page views: the total number of times a specific page on your website has been viewed. This will help to show which content pages or blogs on your site are the most visited. It is important that this content is highly relevant.
Time on site: the amount of time users are spending on your site. If this begins increasing it shows users are more engaged.
Bounce rate: the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site after landing on a page – ie. they don’t stay and visit additional pages on your site. Is the content on pages with a high bounce rate relevant, does it need to be updated? Whereas a low bounce rate on pages could show it is highly relevant.
Pages/session: the total number of pages on average a user visits whilst on your site. This is a strong indicator of if they are engaging with the content on your site.
Social Media Metrics
For social media content, again, there are a number of metrics to help measure the quality of your content and whether you are engaging with your customer. Three key metrics are:
Shares: this may be Facebook post shares, retweets, repins or shares of blog content you have created depending on the channel that you are using. Shares show that users find content relevant and want to pass it on to their network.
Comments/Likes: Depending on the platform you are using, comments and likes also are a metric to measure engagement. Take note of the posts across social channels that garner the most comments and likes and start to recognise trends. That way you can continue to serve similar posts to continue engagement.
Follower Growth: Keep track of new followers across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Google My Business. This shows customers are open to your content marketing.
Subscribers & Email Marketing Metrics
If users consider your content highly relevant they may subscribe for updates. This builds a list of loyal readers and is highly effective in building repeat customers. What e-mail marketing content works best for you? Keep track of:
The number of people opening your email marketing.
The number of people clicking through
Conversions from email marketing
The change in number of subscribers
This will work to increase your organic traffic over time, and hopefully bring in additional highly relevant leads.
Once you have an understanding of how your content is performing based on the different metrics outlined above, you can begin to tweak and refine your content as you will develop an understanding of what content your audience finds most engaging and repeat that process to create an honest connection with your customer.
Already have a digital marketing strategy in plan without content?
How you decide to deliver your content marketing campaign is up to you, however, you need to stand out…. stop trying to sell, try to entertain! Tell your brand story today.
Talk to us at Be Media today, we can help you come up with a content strategy that aligns with your overall company goals and objectives!