By Grzegorz Błażewicz, CEO & Founder of SALESmanago Marketing Automation
Content marketing is not only about creation and engagement, but also about understanding your audience, distribution of the materials and measuring their performance: the 3 most overlooked and underestimated parts of the process. Neglecting these can truly undermine your efforts! To avoid such situation, combine content marketing with marketing automation. Use the power of data and personalized marketing actions to deliver your content to the right person at the right time and measure the effectiveness of your pieces.
The content marketing paradox
Content marketing became a hype and a buzzword last years, yet more and more skeptics question its results: we create more and more posts, spend more and more time on writing, video making and editing, but what do we achieve? The sea of mediocre posts on the web. The pace is overwhelming!
We can see a vast discrepancy between resources needed to produce great content and effects it delivers, confirmed by research: “While 92% of firms say producing high quality content is valuable, just 54% of them rank their ability to execute this strategy as effective” (Content Marketing ROI report).
In other words, although we all know that content marketing should work, in many cases it doesn’t. Why? For Eric Slu, it boils down to the problem of originality: marketers must deliver something remarkable to see results. It’s not easy. And it’s not enough.
Measuring uniqueness of the content is hard and highly subjective, and marketers have a lot more to improve when it comes to their content. Mostly they ignore one or more from these areas:
All 3 can be addressed with marketing automation. See how.
1. Research: know your audience
Research doesn’t mean solely understanding the problem and learning as much on the issue as possible. The term refers also to understanding your audience and its needs. You might write great posts, but they won’t perform well if your audience doesn’t need such knowledge.
Understanding who you write to is crucial, so take your time to analyze your readers’ profiles in marketing automation system and in social media. See the sources of their visit, try to understand what they want and need. Check how they navigate your website, what they look for, what pieces they like most. Would they prefer quick tips or essays? Do they seem to have sense of humor? Do they choose education or entertainment?
Write test posts of various kinds and see how they perform. Take the customer data you already gathered and use it to figure out what type of content should work best.
2. Distribution: right person, right content, right time
If you don’t care about distribution, you simply waste time and money you spent on creating the post or ebook or video – and you know how much it takes to research, prepare and write a fantastic piece. You can’t engage audience if you don’t reach it!
Distribution is an umbrella term for everything you do to deliver your content to the right reader at the most suitable time. It involves practices such as:
- Scoring: the points assigned to user and stored on her contact card in Marketing Automation Platform represent the level of her engagement. Is it the beginner or a loyal customer? Thanks to that feature you can automatically tailor the content to recipients’ knowledge and needs in all channels.
- Real time suggestions: knowing visitor’s scoring and the content she consumed before, you can automatically pick the most relevant pieces for her in the real time.
- Lead Nurturing: your content should serve educational purposes – include them in your Lead Nurturing campaigns! Lead Nurturing is a cycle of messages in which you provide the new lead with a knowledge necessary to make a purchase. To fin step-by –step Lead Nurturing instruction, download free ebook.
- Targeting social media ads: you probably use social media to deliver your content, but you can integrate it with your Marketing Automation Platform to make sure each piece will be displayed to people who are most likely to need it.
Shortly speaking, marketing automation will ensure that your content will find the best audience.
3. Measuring: what do you want to achieve?
Content marketing is not (only) about the strike of creative genius or a muse that visits you and inspires with amazing post idea: a skillful professional sees it as both art and science. Hence one must set precise and measurable objectives for what you create, then track them and optimize. As Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets improved.”
In order to monitor the performance of your content, you might apply KPIs such as:
- Website (blog) traffic
- Returning readers percentage
- Time spent on website
- CTA conversion rate
- A number of leads from particular source (e.g. ebook downloads).
To sum up
Content marketing and automation complement each other and you need both to execute successful campaigns. Especially, take a closer look at the 3 areas I discussed: audience research, content distribution and measuring its performance to make sure you don’t waste money on creating content people don’t need and don’t read.