Content is the driver behind all online marketing efforts. It is what search engines use to understand the purpose of your site, what entices people to click and what engages potential customers. Brands increasingly understand the value of content - according to the Content Marketing Institute, an estimated 86 percent of B2B organizations use it in their marketing. Unfortunately, many brands struggle to optimally employ it for their companies, as only an estimated 21 percent say that they are successful at tracking the ROI of their efforts.
For the content marketing track at Share15, we built an itinerary geared towards addressing this discrepancy and helping attendees see how to maximize content for their brands. Our speakers included representatives from The Home Depot, 97th Floor, Wpromote and several more major brands. These presentations did an outstanding job of exploring the topics at hand and helping all attendees understand how to succeed in marketing your content.
The demand for content: What is content marketing?
Understanding the types of content that are most meaningful for customers can make marketing ventures more efficient and profitable. According to our own research at BrightEdge, over 93 percent of search marketers say that they would increase their budgets for content by at least ten percent if they knew which types of content would be the most engaging for their audience.
At Share, we brought in some industry-leading experts that helped the attendees see how making this identification can become reality. During this session, key topics such as building content for different audiences, understanding demand and determining user intent took center stage. This wide array of speakers addressed what content marketing really is. We had the pleasure of listening to Erin Everhart of The Home Depot, Jesse Farley of Cabela’s and Michael Mothner of Wpromote. Their talks included some great points such as:
- Content has similarities to real estate - it must have a target, good ‘location’ and ‘curb appeal’ - so plan what you are going to do with your content and use it purposefully
- Content marketing is based on what customers want to know, not what you want to tell them
- Personas are necessary, but do not let your buyer personas get out-of-control and overwhelming
- Map customer personas to your buyer’s journey to identify important content
- Keep an eye on trends and use data to guide actions
- Use visuals, like infographics, to encourage sharing and to communicate relevant information
- Cultivate high-quality links when possible, but focus on links that are helpful from the perspective of the user
Content marketing models: What is content marketing?
Content marketing should not be a siloed activity that is an objective unto itself. Successful marketing your content requires understanding how content fits into the greater business goals. The content model will have to be customized for the company, which means determining the KPIs that have the most value for your brand.
Customer Geoff Angell also used BrightEdge to create and optimize content to advance the customers throughout the customer journey. His blog post on best practices for waste oil management is an example of top-of-funnel content that successfully brings new visitors to more mid-funnel content like the fleet transportation page and from there to a lead form. At Share, we welcomed Whitney Parker of Kroll, Natasha Persad of Prophix and Kent Yunk of Roaring Pajamas - leaders who are experienced in developing a strong content marketing model. Here are a few of the points that they made in their talks that were particularly memorable:
- identify a strategy by looking at questions you want to answer, the methodology and the data
- identify High ROI Digital Assets - online resources that are the most valuable to people when they are preparing to buy
- determine the KPIs most applicable to the project, such as the number of consultations, form submissions or conversions
- use data, such as keyword trends, to maximize the impact of the content
- set goals and monitor progress with concrete data, then make adjustments when needed
Content metrics: What is content marketing?
It is not enough to just produce enormous amounts of content. You will be wasting resources if you do not take the time to measure your progress and gauge how well it engages your readers and helps your brand reach its goals. You also want to make sure you measure the right metrics. Too many businesses waste time with so-called vanity metrics. These metrics are great for making people feel good - everyone likes to see that a few hundred or even a few thousand people read your articles.
The value from the content, however, comes from being able to translate those views into customers. You will need to determine metrics that measure the goals that you want to accomplish with your content. To explore this exciting topic we heard from industry-leading marketers Chris Bennett of 97th Floor, Kirill Kronrod of Adobe and Cade Burk of The Container Store. This presentation sparked many wonderful discussions that were enjoyed by all. Here were some of the central ideas from their talks:
- Data should be guiding campaigns from the beginning- find keywords and trends to create content
- Use keywords to create helpful, engaging content for the users and track success
- Note that keywords with ‘how-to’ tend to be very popular and strong choices for optimization
- To maximize content exposure, create user-focused content
Content marketing is a valuable aspect of any online marketing endeavor. It is the vehicle through which you communicate your expertise, engage your customer and build your case for why they should choose to do business with you. Using it successfully, however requires understanding the nuances of the customer, your business needs and content metrics. Our speakers brought these topics to life and we enjoyed listening to each talk. You might also like our recent piece on SEO marketing strategy.