Content marketing can be a tough gig to get into, and the proliferation of this highly successful marketing strategy can often make your content writers feel a little swamped in an ocean of know-how and wit. But, you should fear not for the longevity of your content marketing strategy, nor for any perceived loss or inadequacy. Here are two unexpected, but powerful ways to improve your content marketing strategy.
1 - Experiment With Content Types You Publish
With content marketing, there's always a series of experiments going on. You're looking at the content your ideal customers are consuming, looking for the arguments and cases that will win them over, from a variety of sources. In truth, you're looking for content that is going to resonate with your audience and drive the kind of results you're after - namely, more traffic, more leads, and more customers.
One of the most interesting things about engagement rates with content is that it's not just the case that's being made that engages your readers: it's also the format that can make or break your content.
All of us have different learning styes; different methods of processing and consuming information, and when information is given to us in the medium that resonates with us most strongly, it sticks. For some of us, we learn just fine by reading text. For others, it's writing down that helps us understand and process new information. Some are visual learners, processing and remembering information best if it's accompanied by diagrams and images. Others still are aurally-based, preferring to hear the information spoken in order to remember.
With this information in mind, we can see that in order for content to resonate with our buyers, we can't focus on the letter of our words alone in order to stick to a wider number of readers. We need to consider our content type as well - how our arguments are made, in order for them to have an impact on our customers.
To that end, I would recommend that you try some different content types or formats from time to time. You don't have to completely shift your blog from text-based posts to a weekly video log, but it wouldn't hurt from time to time to try something new - experimenting with content types or formats can open the door to some pleasant surprises. For one, humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and we remember things with a visual basis better. This is a fact regardless of your learning style. In addition to this, you may find that it's just easier to use visuals to explain some features of your product or service, or that your content creators have a knack for building different types of content, or that your in-house industry experts are highly skilled at explaining the finer details of their profession in speech rather than the text-based content that you keep asking them to write.
Want an example of things to try? A media format that has been on the rise over recent years has been the infographic, which breaks down information into bite-sized chunks, conveyed in a visual manner. These methods of conveying new and exciting facts have been on the up and up since 2012, and, provided they are well-produced and well-researched, have the ability to reach millions when marketed to the right audience. If these aren't your style, then there are still a wide variety of content types to try out, whether they be the podcast or video tutorial, list-based article, review - there are more examples of content subject you can try listed here.
Not only should you consider some mild experimentation with your content types, but if you haven't purposefully branched out into different types of social media, you might want to consider that, too. Why?
Different Social Media Networks Can Be Significant To Your Ideal Customers
Who are your ideal customers, again? If your business has buyer personas - fictional representations of your ideal customers - you should have a good idea of how your buyers behave, including which social media platforms they use and for what. Each social media platform has its own perks and strengths, and as a result, different types of content that they naturally align with. If you're working to engage with your buyers through social media, you should try working with the types of content that their platforms of choice naturally align to, as well as doubling down on the content topics that your research shows will encourage better engagement.
2 - Measure Your Content Performance
The best way to measure your rate of improvement is to compare where you are now with where you've been and work your way forward. Which is just part and parcel of a content marketing strategy, really. But, it's really what you do with those numbers that makes the difference.
In order to drastically improve your content marketing strategy, you should not only keep track of the trends in response that your content is garnering, but you should also take note of the aberrations in your numbers too - the occasional blog post that either went viral or completely unnoticed. It's often these outliers that can tell you the most about your audience, and give you an insight into what they're really after.
Both of these results are actually more helpful than you think, because they give a clear indicator on what kind of content garners a huge response (and indicate that you should replicate it to a degree), and they tell you what kinds of content your buyers just aren't interested in (so, you should probably phase those out).
Measuring how your content is interacted with helps, not just in securing feel-good metrics like page views or email open rates, but because it helps you see where your marketing efforts need to be spent in future in order to see the best return possible. If you're looking for a way to measure how exactly content and web page interaction happens, you could look at a heatmap service, such as hotjar, which can track mouse activity and tell you how much of your content is being read, the topics and points that gain the most attention, and which of your call-to-action buttons your readers are most likely to hover over or click.
Here's a few things you can check when looking to measure the impact and performance of your content:
Landing Page Submissions
Landing page submission rates are helpful because they measure the amount of people you're connecting with who are actually interested in your business, to some degree. Perhaps at the moment they're just interested in the offer you've put behind your landing page form, perhaps they're keen to talk to you in the next 24 hours about what options you have that will suit their needs. Either way, it's the start to a real and fruitful interaction, and worth recording, not just because the number can make you feel good, but because landing page submissions give you a realistic idea of how many leads you have to work with.
Rate Of New Contacts
This metric can help you understand the generic shape of your success so far. If the rate of new contacts that you're bringing in jumps up, then you've probably done something right. If things are slumping and it's not just because of the time of year, you'll have the warning that'll allow you to do something about it before and come back better than ever.
Page Views And Traffic
Like I said earlier, there's not a whole lot that page views and traffic have to do with translating directly to a dollar sign or a number of clients, but the amount of traffic you're receiving does indicate how many people you've got visiting your website, and where they're coming from. Instead of using this number to prove the success of a content marketing strategy, use it to keep an eye on the success of your search engine optimisation efforts. If your traffic suddenly dips, you'll be able to check in and make sure you're following Google's guidelines for creating a visible and high-quality website.
Inbound links are great for two reasons. One, you've got someone else out there who thinks your content is good - good enough to share with their own circles, in fact. The second reason is because search engines pay attention to that kind of shout-out, and as a result, inbound links - which are when someone else links to your website on their website - can provide a solid boost to your website's authority with search engines.
Social Media Shares
Once again, social media shares are an indicator of reach, rather than being a direct translation to leads and customers. If you've got a large number of social media platforms and you're looking to focus just on the ones that are rendering you traffic and conversions, then social media shares can provide a good indicator of which platforms your ideal readers are actively engaging with your content over.
Conversion rates, like landing page submissions, are one of the more concrete metrics to pay attention to when it comes to noticing numbers-that-impact-your-bottom-line. The main difference between landing page submissions and conversion rates, however, is that the conversion rates are the metric with the biggest impact. Pay attention to how your other statistics influence your conversion rate, so that you'll be able to see and understand how each impacts the other.
Being willing to have a crack at previously untapped types of content can be your new gateway to converting and grabbing the attention of your ideal buyers. Be willing to experiment a little when you go all out on your content marketing strategy - you might just find something that either your team is really good at producing, or something that your ideal buyers really love. Start seek to find them where they're at, and meet your buyers with the perfect content.
Also, measure where you've been. Measure the statistics that make up your content marketing in the past and at present, and use these numbers to help you plan for the future. Do so wisely, however - as the metrics that make up your content marketing are indicators of different things, and you shouldn't let your entire strategy be dominated by just one set of numbers that may not have a direct impact on growing your business. Hold each of your indicative statistics in tension with the others, prioritise the ones that have a direct impact on your bottom line, and they'll be a solid help to planning and improving on your content marketing strategy.