As more companies move to embrace content strategies as part of their SEO efforts, we hear over and over again from all sources that the key to getting those content pieces found is about creating good content that users find engaging. Don’t worry about old school SEO tactics – write good content, and they will come. Not so easy, is it? Millions of items of content are generated online every day, and chances are not all of them serve the reader. And realistically, can we expect people to read blog content from every company they might purchase from? Would you, in your own personal time? Do you regularly read your own company’s blog?
In the absence of good strategy, content marketers sometimes end up using easy metrics to prove success, and those metrics don’t necessarily rely on the quality of the content. Using the wrong metrics to prove the value of content can result in false success reporting, and therefore masks the reality of wasted content efforts, and stops you from getting better.
Know The Right Goals
Content marketing needs to have a clear strategy behind it, and to carry that strategy throughout your tactics. Getting beyond shares and likes to understanding how content moved potential customers through the funnel and influence their decisions are the real keys to great content marketing.
Knowing the KPIs are critical before you set out to create great content. Are you trying to:
- Increase traffic
- Raise brand awareness
- Increase purchase / conversion
- Get subscribers?
Knowing what you want readers of the content to do is critical to creating great, focused content.
Check Your Analytics
Are you looking at the right metrics? For example, reporting only on page views without increased revenue may help you in the upper funnel, especially if you have a nurture program in place. But if those page views don’t translate to increased revenue…is the effort really worth it? Tying content to your key business metrics is the only way to see if it is really worth the time, effort and expense, or if your content strategy needs an overhaul. Did your content help a potential customer solve a problem? Did that customer make a purchase? A few analytics to check:
Bounce And Exit Rates
Look at your most highly prized content and check not only the bounce rate in your analytics tool, but also the exit rate. Exit rate tells you how many people left your site based on this content, and assess whether that means your content answered their needs, or whether you could have moved then down the funnel with a call to action to another page.
A Google Analytics behavior flow report lets you see wehre visitors started on the site and where they went next. Does real behavior align with what you thought would happen when you created the content. Are people finding your ghigh value content, and do they convert after viewing it? Do they convert more often thean people who never read the content, and therefore is the content worthwhile and contributing revenue?
Do you have good diverse content, from typical blog posts to webinars to tip sheets and infographics – which types of content are most likely to move someone down the funnel, and should you create more of that type?
Consider Another Content Solution
While we may focus on content that turns browsers into buyers, the more measurable and more efficient content might actually be after the sale. It can help you in upselling existing customers, or keeping them loyal. This is particularly true if your service or product might be upsold in other departments, for B2B marketers, or to friends and peers for B2C categories.
Consider sending existing customers tip sheets or videos with tips and hacks on how to get the most out of your product. In May 2015, Google reported that “how to” video searches were up 70% YoY, particularly in home-improvement, cooking and beauty categories – but increasingly, customers turn online to find solutions for products they already own. This makes fantastic shareable content and turns your content from disruptive or bothersome to useful. Useful content may get shared with potential new customers. Just be sure to include a call to action for a related product or service to capitalize on the shares.
Make it unique, and focus on the right content. Don’t be too repetitive and stay to the point. If you have great products, great custom content will almost naturally flow out of it and may be the best use of your time.
Great content looks easy to the reader, but is actually incredibly hard. Set yourself up for success by knowing the intent of every piece you create, measure the right things and consider adding to the scope of your content in the aftermarket for a well rounded strategy.
* Lead image adapted from premasagar