Studies show that content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing. But before you focus immediately on the cost savings, it’s important to understand what exactly it is you’re doing and how to measure success.
The definition of content marketing is pretty simple—it’s using created content to increase brand awareness. Blogs, videos, social media posts, whitepapers or even memes all fall under this general umbrella. What’s harder to grasp is the right approach to have towards content marketing and establishing effective Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
The Big Picture
The first thing to understand is that content marketing has to be measured holistically. I once worked with a client who felt that if articles that he paid for didn’t directly translate into sales, then the article had failed in its marketing mission. Analytics data showing that the content didn’t generate a large number of clicks seemed to support his assertion. So the client cut back on the number of free articles he was publishing. But it turned out the articles were more valuable than he realized since overall visits to the website went down, with the inevitable downward effect on sales.
Fresh content helps make a vibrant website that has something to say.
Why would content that few people seemed to be paying attention to have that kind of impact? The information that was in the content wasn’t so indispensable. It was something more intangible. Fresh content helps make a vibrant website that has something to say. Removing it made the site look like just another domain that was thrown up to try and squeeze a few dollars out of visitors.
Know What To Measure
Appropriate KPIs might be:
- visits to the home page
- direct traffic (as opposed to coming from social or organic search)
- return users
- reader engagement (e.g. how long they spend on the page)
Those that allocate money for marketing budgets might resist embracing these concepts, and it’s easy to understand why. Their jobs are a lot easier when they can simply report that x amount of spending amounted for x amount of revenue. To understand content marketing it requires a paradigm shift.
It’s like a supermarket giving out free samples.
Content marketing has one core difference from traditional advertising. You give something (e.g. expertise in your chosen space) away up front while getting nothing in return. It’s like a supermarket giving out free samples. You’re trying to give website visitors just enough of a taste of what you do to persuade them to spend more money.
Another good analogy is that it’s comparable to a job interview. The website visitor is the potential employer, and putting your content out there in front is tantamount to asking to be hired.
It’s A Campaign
Understanding how content marketing fits into the overall sales funnel is imperative for developing the patience needed for this strategy to succeed. Studies have shown that it can take 12-18 months for content marketing to result in revenue. If the people that pay for acquiring the content don’t understand that, they’ll pull the plug on the project too quickly.
Know how your content fits into your overall strategy, measure it correctly and know what you’re talking about…be well-positioned to capitalize on the lower marketing costs and higher returns it eventually brings.
Content marketing is a way to allow the best to rise to the top—it only takes a big budget to run an ad campaign, but it takes actual industry knowledge and creativity to sustain a successful content marketing campaign. Know how your content fits into your overall strategy, measure it correctly and know what you’re talking about. That way you’ll be well-positioned to capitalize on the lower marketing costs and higher returns it eventually brings.
Have questions about how to better manage your Content Marketing ? Call 443.475.0787 or contact us today!