As an industry, content marketing is expected to grow to 412 billion by 2021, with an annual growth rate of 16%.
Content marketing is no longer viewed as an add-on to other marketing efforts. Now, it’s deemed as a strategic marketing approach to create and share valuable information along with an economical means of brand awareness.
Content marketing is hugely important to businesses across industries. So how can your organization use content to its full extent to lead and succeed?
1. Content Repurposing
By now, most companies have dabbled in content marketing. While blogs and social media content remain the most known forms, organizations should be more strategic to get mileage out of their efforts.
Some types of content can be more intimidating than others. There’s a lot of variety, and they all have different purposes:
- Infographics - Cut through the noise with a visual aid. HubSpot estimates that infographics are shared on social media 3 times more than text articles.
- Videos - Similar to infographics, videos are a great visual for an audience. They are also becoming a larger SEO tactic. Experts believe adding video to your content mix can improve the likelihood of reaching page one on Google by over 50%.
- Guides and eBooks - Well-thought-out content positions an organization as thought leaders. Guides and eBooks can appeal to decision-makers who are looking for subject matter experts in their industry. This can help them cross the line to conversion. Additionally, if cited by other companies, these assets can earn backlinks, an important SEO technique.
- Data-driven, long-form content - These are increasingly popular and important. Subject matter experts have an interesting perspective on content that qualified readers find interesting. Long-form content can improve time on site, site authority and SEO.
The challenge is, these types of content take hours to create. And, the more forms of content created means more time and money, right? Not necessarily. It’s all about leveraging content.
For example, can an infographic be reworked as a video script? Could the latest guide or eBook be used for shorter blog posts? Are there interesting graphics and topics within a blog post or eBook that can be turned into tweets or Facebook posts?
Additionally, most long-form articles, eBooks and guides can be repurposed quarterly or annually with fresh data and improvements based on user-generated content or social listening remarks. Remember, creating original content is crucial, but give it legs. No one piece of content should be a stand-alone piece.
2. Deep-Dive into Analytics
Measuring content performance, and gaining insights from the results, is the best way to grow a content marketing strategy. Analytics can be broken down into several buckets. This is an example of how analytics can improve your content marketing strategy:
Get to know your audience
This is especially important for companies in their early stage of growth, or that don’t currently have personas. Google Analytics breaks down who is coming to your site like:
- Where your audience is located
- What their interests might be
- How old they are
If your marketing team are running a PPC campaign alongside content marketing efforts, it’s important to know who to target. Demographic analytics can give those insights.
Basic reporting can also be used to try matching demographic insights with content creation. Is your content missing the mark, or right on target?
- Average time on page
- Unique visitors
- Page views
- Bounce rate
If content is created to focus on specific demographics, could these basic metrics be improved?
Social media is a critical space for any company. According to 2018 Pew Research, 68% of U.S. adults are Facebook users, and 88% of 18- to 29-year-olds use any form of social media.
With a potential audience that large, is your social media strategy as organized as it should be? Monitoring shares, audience growth, and comments can help generate deeper insights into audience and help refine strategy.
How closely do you follow your customer’s journey?
- Is your company earning customers through your well-crafted content then losing them after one page?
- Are you pushing them closer to conversion?
- Are your readers clicking on your content’s call-to-actions?
Monitoring lead specific metrics, and discovering ways to improve them, can generate new revenue and create new leads for your sales team.
3. Focus on Conversion Optimization
Closely tied to lead generation analytics is conversion optimization. Is content being created for the funnel?
- A top of the funnel audience needs entry-level content as they are dipping their toes into your brand. They are at the first stage of research and expressing interest, or the first step in the conversion process.
- From the top, customers should be pushed to the middle of the funnel. This content will need to be more directed and address specific pain points and provide solutions to retain engagement. Bear in mind, not every top of the funnel customer will get to this point, so it's important to begin filtering qualified leads.
- The bottom of the funnel, represents the most qualified leads. These prospects have made it to the end of the funnel due to your well-strategized content. This group is ready to buy so writing content with strong call-to-action, contact us, or lead form opportunities mean that soon you and the client will be mutually reaping the rewards of the process.
The funnel is a way of attracting potential customers, then grouping customers into a smaller pool they move toward their first transaction. By focusing on conversion optimization, it's possible to develop a content strategy which maps a journey through the funnel and aligns content with customer needs and tracks success via analytics.
4. Amplify and Promote
Creating quality content can be time-consuming and resource intensive, so it's crucial to ensure prospects and customers see it.
Social media is the most obvious form of content promotion, but to truly amplify content, a multichannel approach is needed. This includes:
- Paid strategy - This means applying marketing dollars toward proven tactics like PPC campaigns or native advertising.
- Owned strategy - This is the content that you’ve created for your brand, and you own it entirely. It’s the content that continues to bring your readers to your site.
- Earned media - This includes publicity of your brand or content gained by your reputation. For example, syndicated content, backlinks from other brands, or social shares by social media influencers. Some companies use platforms like Help a Reporter Out to promote their brand and provide industry knowledge for widely-read publications.
The purpose of amplifying content is to widen your brand’s reach while encouraging the audience to move through the content funnel.
5. Dynamic Customized Content
Dynamic content (also referred to as smart content) is a data-driven, and technical approach to content creation.
In other words, it’s a way a company can customize their user’s experience.
With dynamic content, messaging can change based on a user’s previous interaction with the site. For instance:
- New article recommendations can be tailored to specific visitors.
- Email marketing campaigns can have an intro and headline geared toward a particular user.
- Brands can hide or block content based on individual user needs.
The goal of dynamic content is to increase conversions through a relevant and customized experience. If businesses know where their customers are in the buying cycle, conversion funnel, or customer lifecycle, dynamic content can present information that is geared toward a customer’s logical next step, rather than presenting redundant information.
6. SEO isn’t Dead
SEO and content marketing are often separated as if they were two very different things. But, they should always go together.
SEO decisions can be informed by social successes, sales initiatives, and other components of your business. Tying SEO efforts to an existing content calendar is the smallest, but an often overlooked, way of leveraging this department. A few important SEO strategies to keep in mind include:
- RankBrain - Google is continuously trying to learn the best way to gauge user intent. RankBrain is the machine-learning version of this attempt. It is an algorithm that determines what happens after a search. How long does visitor stay on your page and how often is it clicked on? These two components tell Google if they are showing the correct results based on search terms.
- Long tail keywords - RankBrain has made one-word keywords nearly obsolete. Searchers are asking very specific queries in Google, and results are more intelligent. So, marketers need to focus on optimizing content to meet these longer versions of keywords and fully satisfy user intent.
- Create strong content - Content that is meaningful to your audience will always win. It’s not about keyword stuffing or trying to game the SEO system. The best type of content can cover an entire topic, in-depth, and leave the reader satisfied with the answer.
Putting it All Together
An example of a well-done SEO, in conjunction with other marketing efforts, is when travel giant Thomson changed its brand to TUI, the name of its German parent.
The challenge for the company was that it’s been branded as Thomson for over 50 years and half of the site traffic resulted from SEO activities. Therefore protecting SEO during the migration was integral in the transition.
The rebranding effort began by communicating the name change on a simple landing page. Eventually, the site grew into more pages featuring videos and articles describing vacation locations.
During the migration, TUI used:
- Diverse content forms
- Covered pertinent industry needs
- Focused keywords towards rebranding
- Optimized content that enticed visitors to stay longer
The combination of SEO and content marketing allowed TUI to quickly obtain higher rankings in search engine results. Within 6 months of the rebrand, TUI claimed their new landing pages had over 2 million visitors, who each spent over 11 minutes on average on TUI’s content.
When it comes to content, marketing and sales can combine industry knowledge for even more success. The best way for marketing to know which personas to target is to work with sales to learn what potential customers are saying in real-time. By working as a team, content marketing can drive more qualified leads and eventually revenue.
And finally, it’s important to maintain a quality threshold – regardless of budget. With so much content out there, it’s easy to create content for the sake of it. Produce high quality, targeted content that hits your audience’s pain points. The rest will follow naturally.