Content Marketing is the New Business Storyteller

I recently conducted a Content Marketing workshop for the Birmingham American Marketing Association. It was so well-received that we thought a follow-up blog might be in order!

We discussed the following:

  1. A thorough understanding of what Content Marketing is.
  2. Statistics to help you convince your executive team why Content Marketing is important for your business.
  3. The best ways to distribute content, and
  4. How to measure how well your Content Marketing performed, and measuring the number of influences and new prospects your content was directly credited for.

Content Marketing is more than just blogging

Content Marketing involves so much more than just writing a monthly blog. In fact, many other sources of information, such as eBooks, white papers, videos, infographics, special reports all make up the thing we describe as Content Marketing, as long as its goal is to educate, inspire, and inform your prospects of things that are important to them (and maybe even keep them up at night).

Businesses often find it hard to know how to get started creating great content. Truly, with most marketing initiatives, it involves starting with a really strong Content Marketing strategy, followed by creating a Content Calendar for at least the next 4 months, so you’re never stuck with what to write about, or how your PR and newsletter campaigns coincide perfectly with your Content Marketing Program.  Finally, it involves knowing exactly what is compelling, relevant, and exciting to your target market, and you will want to do quite a bit of online research to figure this out.

Content Marketing statistics that will make your management team sit up and take notice

There are several different industry metrics regarding Content Marketing that are so astounding they just can’t be ignored.  For example, did you know…

    • …70% of buyers view 4 or more pieces of content when making a considered purchase
    • …71% of buyers trust brands that provide useful information without trying to sell something
    • …Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without blogs.
  • Content marketing versus traditional marketing costs between 55% to 65% LESS and yet drives 75% more leads!

 

In case your leadership team thinks that Content Marketing is just “writing a few things” and putting them up on your website, they will certainly think again when exposed to these compelling statistics.

If you build it, they will not necessarily come: the importance of distributing your content.

The key to success with content marketing is to make sure that your target audience has an opportunity to “consume” it.  Certainly posting your blogs on social media is a first step, but there are many other methods of distribution you might not have thought of:

Content Marketing-specific display and social ads get your content in front of the right people, at the right time

Content marketing display ads can be a very effective method of getting your content out in front of the right people –at the right time.  Take advantage of the tremendous targeting opportunities that are offered by the Google Display Network (Ads) and Facebook. But a content marketing ad should look VERY different than a traditional display ad.  Remember:you’re not selling anything at this stage; you’re offering up targeted content for people to read when they’re entering and moving through the sales funnel.

Successful display ads feature the headline of the blog post, the graphic that you’ve used in your blog, and a very simple call to action of Read More.  This is the reason why Bell Media’s content marketing ads tend to perform 24% better than traditional digital display ads.  All you’re asking people to do is to READ something, and that’s a pretty easy call to action, right?

Electronic newsletters are powerful content distributors

Even though electronic newsletters have been around for awhile, they’re still one of the most powerful ways to distribute your content out to your clients and prospects.  If you haven’t developed a very strong list of prospects’ email addresses yet, start today.  At the very least, you probably have most of your customers’ email addresses (especially if you’re B2B), and that’s the right place to start.  

Make your electronic newsletters relatively easy to consume by:

  1. Featuring 2 or 3 of your recent blog posts.  Don’t post the entire blog post in the newsletter.  Rather, use the headline and picture from the post, a sentence or two that sums up the blog and intrigues the reader, and then a hyperlink to Read More. This method is easy to consume and drives traffic back to your website.  
  2. Only include one or two soft calls to action at the end of the newsletter.  You want this newsletter to be informative, educational, and compelling. Too many sales messages can dilute the value of attempting to be helpful to your customers and prospects.  

Retargeting

If Content Marketing is the cake, then retargeting is the icing!  Once you’ve been successful with one of the above methods of distributing your content and getting people to your site to read it, retarget them again after they leave your site for added brand awareness.  That way, you’ll keep your company and your content top of mind, increasing the chance that the reader will return to your website and take some kind of meaningful action that indicates their interest in your products or services.

Measuring the performance of your Content Marketing campaigns

It is not enough to have a “gut” or anecdotal opinion of how well your Content Marketing campaign is performing – you must quantitatively measure it.  Otherwise, you’re just writing content in a vacuum, with no way of knowing what improvements to make, what to write more of, what to write less off, and what really knocks people’s socks off!  

You will learn that Google Analytics is your best friend here.  If you’re not yet familiar with how to navigate Google Analytics to get the numbers you’re searching for, I recommend that you take Google’s free course on Google Analytics.  Create a custom dashboard of some of your favorite metrics, and then you’ll have the numbers you need at your fingertips.

Here are a few of my favorite metrics, although there are plenty of others:

Total website traffic impact during a content distribution campaign

For many of my clients, the traffic we drive to their site during a content distribution campaign makes up a HUGE amount of their overall website’s traffic!  Measuring total site pageviews and then showing how many of those pageviews came from traffic to your blogs will convince even the biggest skeptic that your content is valuable, consumable, and encouraging people to click on other areas of your site as well.

 

Goals (“conversions”) from your content marketing efforts

Measure how many website conversions took place from content distribution traffic that landed on your blog and took a desired action.  Not sure if you have Goals set up already in your company’s Google Analytics or how to set them up? Check out a step-by-step on how to do this here.  

In addition, study your website to see how many different ways customers can interact with you, showing you that they are interested in potentially doing business.  Do you have a sign-up form for your newsletter? Do you have a form-fill for people to ask for more information? Is your phone number “clickable” from a mobile device?  Read this article to get a better idea of some additional conversion points you might add to your site so that you can measure meaningful conversions.

 

Assisted conversions from content marketing

Did you ever go out on a date, fall in love, and get married all in the same day?  Well most of us didn’t!  Same goes with your prospects.  They want to be woo’ed, nurtured, and they will want to really take their time to make the right buying decision.  So, to see the impact content marketing has on this woo’ing process, you’ll want to measure assisted conversions. An assisted conversion shows the pathway from the moment someone clicks on your blog until they eventually come back to your site and take a meaningful action (or, “convert”).

For example:let’s say your content marketing digital ad drove someone to your blog post.  This person reads the blog post; maybe they go to another page or two on your website, and then they hop off.  You retarget them with an ad, and they click on it, exploring more of your website. A few days or weeks go by, and they decide to check you out again, this time by directly typing in your website’s URL.  This time, they fill out a form to get more information. So, even though content marketing wasn’t the “last click”, it was crucial along the path to the customer “converting.” This is my favorite metric to track with content marketing that’s been distributed in one of the above ways.

 

Where do your blog posts lie on a page ranking chart?

Another nugget of proof that your content marketing is driving relevant, targeted traffic to your site is to see where your blogs rank against other pages on your website, during the period that you were using a content distribution method.  Many times, your blog (or blogs) will show up in the list of top 10 ranked pages. Again, more information to prove to your management the popularity of your content, and the value that content is bringing to a prospect’s overall experience on your website.

 

Content Marketing is a critical part of your 2019 overall marketing plan

Hopefully, we’ve demonstrated to you that expert statistics demonstrate the value of Content Marketing in terms of bringing your organization new business.  

  • We’ve shown you some really great facts about how content marketing drives meaningful business outcomes.  
  • We’ve discussed all the different ways content marketing helps a prospective customer travel down the sales funnel on their pathway toward being a customer.  
  • And finally, we’ve discussed ways to quantitatively analyze your success, and how to use trends and indicators to help you refine the process going forward.     

A well-executed content strategy has no beginning and ending – it’s an ever-growing, ever-learning endeavor that continues to provide resources to your prospects and sets your company and its management up to be Thought Leaders in your space.  

Many content marketing strategies fail because it’s a lot of work executing on all of these variables above.  The truth is, the majority of Bell Media’s customers turn to us to help with their content marketing – NOT because they don’t believe in it; NOT because they’re not talented writers, and NOT because they don’t know how to measure it.  They’re just too busy!

So if you find yourself in that conundrum, don’t hesitate to reach out to me and I’d be happy to share with you how we’ve worked with other clients to drive sales leads and achieve their business objectives.      

 

A free gift for you: some downloads to make your Content Marketing efforts smarter, more organized, and more effective

 

If you ever have any questions about what you’ve read today, or you just want to do some brainstorming, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me:

Phyllis Neill Rush, Director of Content Marketing, Bell Media

prush@gobellmedia.com

Cell phone: 205-903-6325

 

I thank the Birmingham AMA for permitting me to share my knowledge of Content Marketing programs, and we all hope you’ll follow us all on social media!

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www.linkedin.com/in/phyllisneillrush

 

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Bell Media is a leading digital marketing agency that is focused on delivering desired business outcomes for clients. We are a Google Premier Partner, and a 4X Inc 5000 Company, with offices in Montgomery, Birmingham, Nashville, and Houston. We consult with businesses to determine their exact business objectives, and then we recommend the best product mix to help them achieve their goals. Check out more of our thought leadership in the Blog section of our website.

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