Continuing our new feature for Thursdays, today’s edition of the weekly recap in marketing focuses on content marketing — specifically how to improve your content marketing in an afternoon by making simple changes.
Improve your content marketing with legal notices
First up, we have a post from Michaela Kennedy posted on LinkedIn Pulse highlighting little changes to your legal documents that can translate into an SEO boost for your website.
Based on these recommendations, I recently added a page containing these documents. Check out the page and the links to templates I used to construct my legal notices obtained through reliable resources. I also added an SSL certificate (reflecting that little lock and https in the URL) because it’s also a ranking factor that’s gaining impact. I encourage you to do the same.
Improve your content marketing with metrics
Andy Betts for Content Marketing Institute suggests we’re spending too much time producing content and not enough time monitoring its performance.
OK, so this isn’t something you can do in an afternoon, but you can certainly spend an afternoon with your team reading this rather lengthy article and deciding how you can do a better job monitoring performance and creating an action plan to implement your decisions.
Recent B2B research from Content Marketing Institute illustrates the challenge:
- Production: 86% of organizations use content marketing
- Performance: 21% say they are successful at tracking the ROI of their content
Andy goes on to share 3 steps in the process of monitoring your content marketing performance.
To improve your content marketing, I’d spend an afternoon and assign each member of your team (or groups of team members if you have a large team) to one of these 3 tasks. Spend some time brainstorming ideas and the initial budget necessary to accomplish each task. Then, come back together as a group to discuss ideas generated by each team, select the ideas likely to generate the most improvement in the performance of your content marketing, then ask each team to develop an action plan for elements within their assigned task.
To gauge performance you, above all, evaluate your audience to harness a rich and multi-layered understanding of what it wants. Start with identifying the personas to develop a detailed understanding of each audience segment. Breaking down your audience into personas gives you the ability to develop targeted content and measure its success with the intended audience.
Andy suggests several metrics that monitor performance better than vanity metrics, such as Likes, Follows, shares.
Among metrics to improve your content marketing are:
- Brand lift – likened to brand awareness but broadly encompasses audience perception, rather than simply recognition
- Engaged time – goes beyond the time spent on page or site to actual time actively interacting with your content (For example, bounce rates are good indicators of how engaging a blog post is.)
- Average finish – identifies how many individuals read your content, eliminating those who skip it or exit early (less than 10 seconds)
- Audience loyalty – details the frequency or recency of returning visitors (over five times a month and you’re doing well)
- Content longevity – speaks to how long the content reaps rewards
Connecting the dots between your content marketing activity and your organizational objectives requires defining how to attribute the success (or failure) of your content marketing toward genuine business objectives.
Attribution is not just about looking at the performance of your digital channels. It is also about how you build, create, and attribute content that feeds into these digital channels.
Content attribution involves tracking the types of content and the individuals or organizational teams responsible for the content against the content’s performance. Attribution also involves who is sharing the content and how they are doing it.
Attribution requires mapping content marketing performance against organizational objectives. Building a funnel describing the customer journey helps. This conversion funnel keeps your team focused on crafting a strategy that moves prospects through the journey efficiently.
Matching content to the various stages in the customer journey acts to move prospects down the funnel more effectively and give you information about what you should measure to improve your content marketing. You can then score each piece of content, allowing you to optimize the performance of new content.
Your next task to improve your content marketing is to scale the task you’ve already accomplished.
Inbound marketing versus content marketing
Next up, we have Jon Cook over at Keynote Content with a discussion of whether inbound marketing and content marketing are the same things.
His discussion is reminiscent of mine on whether the difference between digital marketing and social media marketing was simply semantics. The answer in both cases is no and for very similar reasons. Jon goes on to say:
So, how do inbound marketing and content marketing play in the same sandbox? Inbound marketing is the engine (paid advertising, keyword targeting, social media sharing) and content marketing (blog posts, eBooks, email marketing) is what fuels the engine. Without the context of inbound marketing to position and promote the right content, even the greatest content in the world will struggle to find the right audience.
Use this change of focus from content marketing to inbound marketing in all its forms. Take the afternoon to improve your content marketing by updating your marketing strategy to include additional forms of inbound marketing — such as email marketing, social media marketing, or others.
Changes to Facebook making it harder to improve your content marketing
Lest we forget, content marketing isn’t just writing content for your blog, it’s sharing your own and curated content on social networks. And, Facebook just made it a little harder to gain traction with posts to its popular site. Specifically, Facebook made 3 changes to its algorithm that determines what you see on your News Feed and how far up that content appears:
- The first is improving the experience for people who don’t have a lot of content available to see. Previously, you wouldn’t see multiple posts from the same source in a row. With this update, if you run out of content but want to spend more time in News Feed, you’ll see more.
- The second update tries to ensure that content posted directly by the friends you care about—such as photos, videos, status updates, or links—will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it. If you like to read the news or interact with posts from pages you care about, you will still see that content in the News Feed.
- Lastly, many people don’t enjoy seeing stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post. This update will make those stories appear lower down in News Feed or not at all, so you are more likely to see the stuff you care about directly from friends and the pages you have liked.
Here’s what Jamie Wilkinson said about these new changes to the Facebook algorithm on LinkedIn Pulse this week:
… for organisations and brands, it will mean doubling down on the creation of content which is laser-guided in its relevance to their audience, meaning it’s useful, helpful, funny or emotional. If what you post doesn’t interest your target, you can be sure it’s less likely to appear in their newsfeeds.
Take this to its logical conclusion, and it means your brand will need content producers in the future if you are to have any chance of creating an organic impact with your stories, news or company information. It also means you’ll need an understanding of why people view and share content.
Can you use this to improve your content marketing in an afternoon? Sure, just change the way you think about posts on Facebook. Instead of self-promotion, think about providing something your audience will find interesting, funny, or that pulls at the heart-strings.
Well, that’s it for this week’s edition of our recap of marketing from the week.
In crafting this column, I scour the internet looking for insightful articles from lesser-known, but valuable, sources to highlight the great work they’re doing and give you some fresh perspectives on marketing to improve your market performance.
I welcome suggestions from you — simply send me the link or post a comment below and you might see your content featured in a future edition of the recap of marketing.
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