No matter if you are promoting your product, selling a service or trying to capture the attention of busy consumers, everything in marketing requires you to produce great content.
Still, we have so many questions about content, and in this article, I will answer some of the most important ones: how you can a create killer content strategy, measure content performance, and how to integrate content into your marketing mix for maximum efficiency.
When classifying the typical types of content we produce we will see that there is usually a close correlation between quality and depth. This means the more quality, the more depth, or research your content requires to be produced.
For example, a social media post may be something we create more quickly and requires less research, while a publication such as a whitepaper or an e-book will have more depth and quality.
"Quality content requires more in-depth research."
By exploring this pattern closely, we should be able to spot an opportunity? What if we add more depth or quality to a social media post, wouldn't we create an outlier? Take a look at this example which got some amazing results:
This post was boosted with a small budget and created phenomenal results.
Its the one awesome post that really does well much better than the rest. Rings a bell? Most companies are still posting multiple times a day low quality and low depth content that brings little results. But as soon as we add creativity to the mix our results improve exponentially. In today's competitive content landscape businesses need to focus on content that exceeds their baseline depth and quality in order to be seen online.
"Adding creativity will increase content quality."
What about video content?
You may have already noticed we skipped one important type of content that brings a lot of quality too.
Video content has been the buzzword for many years but is highly underutilized by many brands. While we all watch videos every day many brands are still hesitant to invest in this content type.
"Video content offers quality at less depth but increased cost."
Since video productions can be expensive how can we produce lower quality video but keep the engagement level similar to an expensive production?
The answer is to add relevance to the mix. We can create relevance through live video coverage and respond to real-time events. This does not require a high-quality standard but is still very engaging due to its timeliness.
In the below example we have created a live video campaign that resulted in high engagement by broadcasting a live event at a supermarket.
"Relevance trumps quality!"
We can now agree that creating great content requires depth quality relevance and creativity but how can we create such appealing content without breaking the bank? What should we start with? Should we focus on awesome social media campaigns or invest in costly publications and videos?
The solution is to start with the most complex content piece and then re-utilize it for all other channels. Create that amazing white paper with in-depth research and great graphics then turn it into individual articles press releases email campaigns and social media posts. This will not only create efficiency for your research and content production team but also ensure that all your communication stays within a certain theme.
"Create your masterpiece and chop it into content bites!"
Now that you created all your content from the one masterpiece how can you maximize it's exposure even more?
Let's take a look at the typical longevity your content has.
Your social post will usually vanish in a day while your email might float around the cyberspace for a couple of days your article may be found online for months but your publication could stay around for years.
"The longer your content is available to audiences the more visibility it will get."
This suggests to improve your content performance you could try and increase its lifespan to keep it online as long as possible.
Here are some ideas on how to do this:
We can increase the performance of your social content by simply re-posting it and making it either evergreen or re-utilizing it over time. https://meetedgar.com/ is a great tool for doing this type of rescheduling. By creating evergreen social media posts you can utilize the creatives you produce for a longer period of time and can focus your day-to-day efforts more on timely relevant content which will increase engagement.
To maximize your email efforts you can turn your one-off broadcasts into drip campaigns that are sent to new subscribers based on their schedule rather than yours.
Example: send an onboarding series about your company or services to every new subscriber as and when they subscribe to your list.
Remember every user is at a different stage of your purchase funnel and marketing automation is the perfect way to utilize this behavior.
Your articles should be evergreen (or at least green) by default. This means to focus on highly relevant SEO keyword optimized content that will be on the top of search engines for as long as possible to drive traffic.
In addition by cross-promoting your articles through the above mentioned social and email tactics you will drive additional traffic to them over time.
"Make your content evergreen to maximize longevity."
We now discussed what qualities tactics and channels to watch out for when creating your content but what content should you be creating in the first place?
The answer to this question is to carefully understand your target audience as they determine the messaging channels content experience and targeting you will have to set up in order to be successful.
Without the right messaging you won't attract the audience if we are going for the wrong channels we won't reach our users the content we produce needs to be personally appealing while our targeting needs to ensure relevance to our audience. And of course a great experience will increase conversion.
As we mentioned earlier at each point in time you have different people in a completely different stage of the customer journey. While one is still becoming aware of your brand anther one may already have purchased your goods and services.
By understanding the customer journey in detail we can create a more concise plan to tap into content opportunities.
Take a look at the following graphic representing the customer journey of a car dealership.
The first step is to write down what our customers are doing at each stage of the journey. What they do when they research when they check-in and so forth. You should also consider their emotions and feelings for each stage what are they thinking and what is the information they need? This will help you to ensure your content is a direct response to their thoughts and emotions.
What are the different touchpoints that they will be interacting with during each stage? Will they land on specific websites will they search on Google or call a hotline?
What are the channels that you are present on to capture their attention? Are you present on search engines are you offering articles etc?
Since you know what they are doing how they feel what they think and what channels they are interacting with it is easy to identify which content you should be producing. All you have to do is to create content that is highly relevant to your customer based on their persona and the stage they are in.
Don't forget the offer what is it that you are going to offer them at each stage how do you move them to the next stage one step closer to your conversion goal? What's the call to action (CTA)?
Tip: since the offer (CTA) can be different at each stage of the funnel you can use it to measure the impact of your content campaign.
Let's look at an example.
Your customers that are in the research phase are searching online for the best car garage in Miami the touchpoints here are search engines and the channels you use to capture their attention are Google SEO SEM and your Website.
What's the content you could offer at this stage? Maybe an article about what to watch out for when choosing a garage or maybe a top 5 blog post about the top 5 garages in Miami...
...you don't want to list your competitors?
'What's better? Being part of someone else's top 5 list or owning the top 5 list?'
There are two ways you can measure the success of your content and the first one is to clearly attribute conversions to your content or set a specific KPI for each offer. This is why at each stage you should offer something for the audience to take action and move to the next step. This action will be measurable and will show how your content is performing at each stage of the purchase funnel.
The second way to measure content performance is to look at each content piece individually and measure things such as:
All these points indicate if your content is performing. However keep in mind there is nothing more powerful than linking a piece of content back to an actual sale.
One of our customers used the likes shares and overall engagement to measure their content success and constantly ended up in arguments with their sales team as they claimed to be responsible in uplifts in sales over the given period.
'Hard facts are the best way to prove content success.'
However sometimes measuring the success of your efforts can take time.
Here is another example of why quality matters: the below content campaign we created was targeted towards expats that just moved to a new country. After two years without any updates the page is still on the first page of Google.
"Quality content always pays off in the end."
Should you create it yourself or hire someone to do it?
This is a difficult question to answer but here is my personal view on it: the person that understands your business the best is yourself to outsource or get someone else to come up with the stories that really matter can be extremely difficult.
Also your industry expertise is invaluable and it is not easy for someone from outside the industry to produce the same level of depth as someone who lives and breathes your expertise.
Of course outsourcing the creation of some funky social media posts or writing your content to perfection makes total sense but when it comes to creating depth it requires the insights of people that are subject experts and have a deep understanding of the material. Otherwise you may end up with cookie cutter material that is of no value to anyone.
A killer content marketing strategy always pays off since it helps you to add value to customers become more personal and relevant while achieving your business objectives.
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