How to do content marketing: Part Three - keeping it going
It’s not called a content marketing strategy for nothing – you’ll need plenty of planning if you are to keep pushing out content that satisfies demand.
So you’ll need to devise a content plan that allows you to continuously generate engagement. Look at your subject from all sides, weigh up the pros and cons and always ask yourself what your ideal audience is looking for.
You’re not creating for yourself, you’re creating for your audience, so be prepared to make changes as you learn what visitors do and don’t like.
Have a look at the analytics to see how much traffic you are getting back. Look at conversions – is anyone taking any form of desired action? If you’re running a PPC ad campaign using your content, how much have you paid per visit and what’s the return? How many people came from social media and from which channels? What sort of action did they take? Should you flex the one that’s working or the one that’s not?
You need to understand what users engage with organically, where and when, and then what actions that content drives – how many visits to the website did it generate and how many of those resulted in engagement or a conversion? Did someone fill in a form or get in touch by phone?
If you’re producing content and brand awareness isn’t growing, is it time to reset the content you’re creating?
Target a relevant audience
You’ll also be able to check the bounce rates on landing pages, broken down by the source the visitors came from. It may turn out that visitors coming from Facebook, for example, are bouncing right off the page, so you’re getting no return on investment there.
That might lead you to see that you’re targeting an irrelevant audience, people who are not related to the service you’re providing. If you get the right consistency, the people coming through are more likely to find the information of use.
There can be a disconnect between content marketing and conversion where contact is not established using call-to-action buttons. By using event tracking it is possible to establish a picture of successes. It might be that a CTA button is pushed on a website, that a form is filled or that a tracked outbound link is followed to a website – all of that helps better define the source of the click and what encouraged that click.
You can also analyse channels in silo. That would mean, say, looking specifically at Facebook to see which content got the most engagement, then repeating that with all the other channels to establish what works where.
You may find that posing questions drives engagement. That could be a reactions poll on Facebook, for example, or asking followers of your Instagram Story what they would like to see more of. Ultimately, any analysis that can be done to establish what content performs best where is what should be used to inform the next steps you should take to change your content strategy so that it continues to perform.
Leave room in your strategy for the unexpected. Every now and again a news story or event will come along that fits exactly with your brand and what it is trying to achieve. This kind of news-jacking gets you seen by people who might not normally notice you. And it’s content that’s ideal for social media, seizing the moment as it does.
Remember, too, to interlink your content so people who have been engaged by one article or video can move easily on to something similar.
And make it easy for them to decide to engage – techniques such as adding a reading time to the top of a blog, for example, lets people know how much of their time you’re asking for.
Use your in-house experts
Don’t neglect the resources you can most easily tap – your in-house experts. They’ll be on top of what’s new and outstanding about your brand or product and keen to talk about it. But remember that what they say has to interest the audience you’re aiming for, too, not just those with expertise and a vested interest.
And don’t forget about your evergreen content – timeless blogs and videos that have worked before that you can push out at semi-regular intervals to lure in new customers.
You should also be making use of consumer-generated content. A lot of brands are nervous about using content from users and want to use their own photography and video, for example. But an Instagram account using natural imagery from people who like the brand is a good way to give back to fans – it makes them feel loved. It’s also an endorsement of the product.
It’s easy to overlook how simple this technique is – just reward people for spending money on your brand and you breed loyalty as well as reducing the physical spend.
The Golden Rule
Never duplicate content. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
Don’t rip-off someone else’s work and don’t just repeat your own.
The first will get you found out, while the second has no benefit to you because Google likes unique and relevant content and humans know when they’ve seen something before.
It’s a false economy – you’ll be found out and make your loyal audience tire of you.
Give them something that’s fresh, give them something that’s yours, and give them something they’ll want to come back for more of.
That is how content marketing turns visitors into customers.
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