If you’re intending to use content to market a business (and, in 2014, who isn’t?!) you need a content marketing strategy that will both enable you to get the most out of your time and effort, and deliver business value.

It’s not rocket science, but so often marketers – under pressure to deliver quick results – are inclined to charge in with no content strategy, and little awareness of how their blog posts, email marketing, white papers, videos, e-books, podcasts, advertising, are supposed to fit into the ‘bigger picture’ of the business.

ASCERTAIN YOUR KEY BUSINESS GOAL(S)

Content marketing is a remarkably versatile practice that can be used to meet many aims. It’s up to you to decide which what they are:

  • Building trust and authority

This is the most obvious use of content marketing, and it’s a good one. When you create useful, interesting, and valuable content, your audience learns they can trust you. They see that you know your topic of expertise (arguably, this is of particular importance for B2B brands). Lack of trust kills conversion. An abundance of valuable content builds trust like nothing else.

  • Attracting new prospects

Your content has to be compelling enough that it attracts backlinks, social media sharing, and conversation. Why? Because that’s how new people find you. No matter how wonderful your existing customers are, you need a steady stream of new prospects to keep your business healthy. Remarkable content that gets shared around the web will find your best new prospects for you, and lead them back to everything you have to offer.

  • Move them through the Buying Cycle to Purchase

Whether they know it or not, your readers are constantly giving off signals about their needs and likely purchase intent from what they are reading online. Through using Content Intelligence, you can understand your prospect’s buying process and the problems they are trying to solve, putting you a better position to understand how to help them. With Content Intelligence, you can use your content to understand your readers’ interests and use this insight to optimize sales calls or use targeted content to influence them to purchase.

Or, perhaps it’s something else.

Frankly, the benefits of using content marketing to deliver business value are myriad.

By setting business goals, you are then in a position to not only create content that serves those goals, but also measure your content’s performance against those goals.

DEVISE THE RELEVANT CONTENT METRICS OF SUCCESS

Now that you’ve identified your goals, it’s important to setup a tracking system to measure your content marketing efforts and results. You know what your content is supposed to be doing, but how do you know that it’s doing it?

Of course, the metrics you measure will depend on the goals you set. However, there are several key metrics that should be monitored on a regular basis.

  1. Audience metrics

    • How many visitors or readers does your website have? Think in terms of unique visitors and returning visitors. This is a good measure of the volume of exposure for your content.

    • Where did the visitors come from (organic search, social media networks, etc.)

    • How many fans, friends, followers, connections, and email subscribers does your business have? How are these numbers changing over time?

    • How wide is the influence of your fans and followers?

  2. Content metrics

    • How many times was the content viewed or downloaded?

    • How much time was spent viewing the content? What portion of it was read or viewed?

    • Did readers take another action towards engaging with your brand? This includes email newsletter registration, blog subscriptions, contact request forms, white paper downloads, etc.

    • Did readers share content with their colleagues via social sharing including Facebook and Twitter? If so, how many?

    • Did readers go further into your content or website by following links to related articles and/or products? Did they put products in a shopping cart or contact you?

  3. Business metrics

    • How many purchases did the content marketing drive? It’s important to have a call-to-action and links to appropriate product pages to make this easier to monitor.

    • What is the average order size, both in terms of the number of products and dollar amount?

    • What are the revenues per reader?

    • What is the conversion rate? How many of the people who took some of the actions earlier in the process actually made a purchase?

    • What did it cost us to drive these sales? Consider all of the aspects of the marketing such as content creation, technical support and media.

Once you’ve got these sorted, you’ll be well placed to get cracking with your content marketing program.

It’s also helpful to remember that once you have your initial content marketing program underway, you can use Content Intelligence to learn from your audience’s content consumption and optimize your content strategy accordingly.

To learn how Content Intelligence can take the guesswork out of your content strategy, book a demo today!