Business content must be short, sharp, effective, efficient and entertaining. But to make your content stand out among the seemingly never-ending array of op-eds, think-pieces and native content, simply having content that relates to your business or company isn’t enough. Below are five essential tips for getting the most out of your content marketing strategy.
1. Measure, reflect, react
Your web content could offer the secret behind human existence but without the right technology, tools and placement, no one would be the wiser. And data without analysis is just numbers. That’s why it is essential to measure the success of your content and adjust your content marketing campaign accordingly in order to maximise your ROI: Who is reading it, where are they reading it? How many views converted into sales? How can I gain more eyeballs for my posts? Thankfully, there are plenty of data analysis and marketing technologies which can help you understand all aspects of the content lifecycle.
Apps such as Zunos allow companies to learn more about their customers by using account-based management-centric metrics. The communications platform was designed for professionals to “stay aligned and effective with the knowledge they need to be successful”. The platform ensures companies can reach, enable and listen to their customers and respond in real-time. The engagement dashboard allows users to focus and engage with content that is relevant and also includes a quiz feature which allows users to complete assessments with embedded content. Users can track the progress of their campaigns in real-time as well as engage with their business communities and customers using the forum feature.
2. Target, personalise and adapt
Different customers have different needs and interests. Creating a catch-all solution - content and copy that attempts to appeal to everyone - is bound to neglect potential revenue streams. Personalising your content to empathise with particular audience segments can be far more effective.
Content marketing portal Contently is an account-based content marketing platform that allows users to "hyper-personalise" content for each audience. In a nut-shell, hyper-personalisation is the term being used to describe the consumer effects of big-data. Basically, with more data than ever before, businesses are for the first time able to apply “attributable analysis”. It answers the “why” of most consumer behaviour. Why did I buy an episode of Mariah Carey’s new reality show in the iTunes store at 3am on a Wednesday? What other purchases preceded that decision? What other content do I like?
For the first time companies can learn about the individual consumer behaviour of each and every customer, rather than relying on demographic data alone.
Clients have access to a network of more than 100,000 journalists, graphic designers, photographers, researchers, content strategists and videographers located in more than 60 countries and more than 1000 cities around the world. It boasts clients including Coca-Cola, GE and Expedia.
3. Don’t neglect your website
In many cases, companies will invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in content marketing but often neglect the content on their website, despite its importance as a lead-generation tool. Website personalisation app Triblio allows companies to customise the
user experience through their behaviour, industry buying stage and other characteristics. Its software can also create digital profiles and content for interest-specific email campaigns.
Website personalisation is a way to engage stakeholders that sales can't connect to through the purchase cycle to increase awareness, upsells, purchases and customer retention. For example, metrics on how many hours or days customers leave items sitting in their online bag before checkout is valuable data to have because that way you could potentially offer a discount to close the sale. Data on customers’ purchase habits - say, a penchant for hoodies or sneakers - means companies can deliver a targeted display to maximise sales opportunities.
4. A/B testing
Providing measurable value to your customers is really important. But to establish value you need to have something to compare it against.
In a nutshell A/B testing is a way to test to layouts or features against each other to discover which drives more sales or increases brand engagement (or [insert your business measurable here]). But it’s 2018. We’re way past A/B testing in what data is able to tell us. A more fitting phrase is A-Z testing, because companies shouldn’t be limiting themselves to polarities. Web layouts can be customised and targeted to individual customers and shareholders. There is any number of ways to display content to maximise your return on investment. The most important thing is to ensure you’re properly interpreting the results. This is where tools can be of benefit. Optimizely and can help you make sense of your customer insights and guide you towards an optimised sales and content strategy.
5. Questions to ask yourself when assessing your content strategy:
It may be a cliché to say content is king but clichés exist because they're true. Your content sits at the heart of any good marketing strategy but success comes with having measurable outcomes. To have that it's important to keep the following questions in mind when evaluating the success of your content strategy, whether it's web copy, interactive marketing, social media or thought leadership.
- Who is my core audience and does my content adequately address and engage with their needs? Marketing expert Neil Patel recommends creating customer personas and customising accordingly.
- Measure the traffic your content is generating. There are plenty of free tools available from Google Analytics to the metrics offered on social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Measure the bounce, conversion rate and average length of visits. These criteria will help you to assess whether the content delivers sufficient value to your customers.
- Can customers engage with our brand or business without visiting the website? Are our current customers being served adequately on social media? And are we using social to track new sales leads?
*Originally published May 19th 2017. Updated November 15th 2018