What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the tactic of delivering useful content to a target audience to encourage action. It is not selling a product or service, but instead offering relevant and valuable content to consumers to drive certain behaviors (e.g., purchase). If businesses consistently give great content to the people who are looking for it, those people will become customers, and stay customers. That’s the idea behind a great content marketing strategy.
Why content marketing?
The creation of original and compelling content is the foundation of a good digital strategy. It supports other tactics, including search, social, and email marketing, and delivers the right message to the right audience at the right time. If content is done well, it can engage users, build trust, and motivate action.
A great content marketing plan can do all of the following:
- Increase prospect and user base
- Guide customers through the sales funnel
- Improve SEO and search rankings
- Sustain or improve a brand’s reputation
- Position a company as an expert or thought leader
- Improve social media presence through engaging followers
- Establish brand advocates
The goal of content strategy and marketing is ultimately to drive sales and conversions and increase brand awareness and loyalty. But a content strategy takes more than just creating something, posting it online, and then waiting for the customers to come. To find out what works with your audience and what doesn’t, you have to track and measure your content.
So how do you measure content?
There are four main metrics to consider when measuring content marketing effectiveness:
- Consumption – which content is most consumed and how often?
- Sharing – who is sharing your content and where?
- Leads – who is viewing your content and what are they looking for?
- Sales – how many visitors actually purchased and what content led them to do so?
These metrics are based on behavior. It is more important to track users and what specific groups or individuals do when they come across your content than just total page views.
When tracking user activity, focus on behaviors that are indicative of intent to purchase. For example, look at conversion.
Conversion points help you track and measure marketing effectiveness because they tell you when action was taken on your site. When someone fills out a form or follows a call to action, a “cookie” can be attached to the user’s browser. When this happens, you can track the behavior of that user and monitor his or her path through your content. This allows you to see which pages and content pieces were viewed on the way to purchase. It can also give you insight into which digital channels (website, blog, social media pages, etc.) reach the most of your consumers and drive the most sales.
By creating unique content, distributing it to your target audience at the right time, and tracking what works and what doesn’t, you are on your way to results. As Google continues to change its algorithm to give better rankings to websites with quality, original content, your content marketing strategy is becoming even more important.
And don’t forget to incorporate your content marketing plan with your SEO and social media strategies — it really can make a difference when it comes to reaching people and creating brand advocates online.