80% of business decision-makers and 70% of consumers would prefer to get company information in a series of articles rather than an advertisement.

If you are looking for validation as to why you should either start, or continue with your content marketing efforts, then this statement really confirms the reason why content marketing is a crucial consideration in your overall marketing and sales strategy. See this infographic for more insight.

Empirical proof abounds to confirm that content marketing engages and retains customers, entrenches loyalty, facilitates information sharing, as well as attracts new customers.

But because it takes longer than traditional advertising for example, for companies to start seeing tangible results from their content marketing efforts, business owners after a few short months, all too often want to throw in the towel.

Unfortunately content marketing does not yield results overnight. You won’t have every potential or existing customer rushing to ‘comment’ on or ‘share’ your page on Facebook, or see reams of comments in response to your first few blog posts. Content marketing is something of a journey and to realise success, it is imperative to set realistic expectations and to remain consistent in your content marketing activities.

Mapping your success…

A solid content marketing strategy in conjunction with quality content, improves several things: Brand awareness, SEO, brand influence, customer engagement, customer retention and lead generation – to name but a few of its key attributes.

The question you need to answer is – what do you want content marketing to do for your company?

Are you looking for more leads, or are you wanting to boost your brand? Perhaps you’re simply looking to ensure your company uses a more accessible method to stay in touch with customers. Your goals will inform how you define your content marketing strategy.

If you’re not sure how to develop your content marketing strategy, speak to us, or read through a few pointers from the Content Marketing Institute

Determining ROI…

By defining what you want your content marketing efforts to achieve and then crafting a flexible strategy around those goals, you will find it much easier to really understand what rate of return you’ll be achieving through your efforts.

By completing the planning step, you will have decided what you need to measure. Your next step is then to take action and roll out your plan.

When defining and measuring activity in any area of a business, one would usually refer to the fulfilment of KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). We recommend taking the same approach with your content marketing. The data below should be captured on a monthly basis to enable you to analyse results and trends over time.

Your KPI’s: Firstly, set and measure your own actual activity:

  • Number of blog posts
  • Frequency of blog posts
  • Number of social media posts
  • Frequency of social media posts
  • Type of social media posts (links, photo’s, cartoons, promotions etc.)
  • Mailers and newsletters sent
  • Cross collaboration of content across media

Audience Activity:Once you are producing consistent activity, you should measure basic customer and audience interaction:

  • Blog post views
  • Blog visits
  • Blog post comments
  • Blog post links to website
  • Links to blog from social media
  • Links to blog from main website
  • Organic links to blog from search
  • Social media page shares
  • Social media post likes
  • Social media post shares
  • Social media interactions
  • Links to blog from newsletter
  • Links to social media from newsletter
  • Subscriptions to newsletter from website
  • Likes/follows on social media via website
  • Links to main website from blog, social media and newsletter

Tracking Leads: The next step is then to ensure that you track exactly where your customers are coming from.

Very often our clients forget to find out where their new leads have come from. Whether leads come to you through your website or through an article that they’ve read on your blog, it is important to note this information.

  • Leads from website
  • Leads from newsletter
  • Leads from social media posts
  • Leads from blog posts (determine which one if you can)

If you accurately track your content marketing activity, you will over the period of a few months, begin to see patterns and growth. This will help you to quantify the returns that your content marketing is yielding, and will help you to steer your content marketing efforts in the most profitable direction.

Understanding the measurement value…

While building your audience in the beginning is important,  your overall content marketing objective should be to engage, convert and then retain customers. How do you determine whether your efforts are achieving those objectives?

Instead of focusing purely on how many Twitter followers you have, or how many Facebook likes you’ve received, look rather to the deeper data for answers.

Regular Participation: Determine how many and indeed which individual customers:

  • Read your blog posts or comment on them
  • Regularly repost your Facebook posts
  • Share your blog posts
  • Download your eBooks, whitepapers and reports.
  • Retweet your tweets
  • Followers retweet your tweets

Quality is almost always preferable to quantity.

If you are a service based business, 2 or 3 large clients may be all that you need to achieve your sales targets.  So then by way of example, if your content marketing efforts help you reach just 15 regular blog readers and of those readers, 5 regularly share your articles with their network on a regular basis, and you attract 3 qualified enquiries from prospects through these activities – then your content marketing journey will have achieved a positive return on your investment.

By following the steps above and honing your consistent efforts, content marketing has the potential to bring you the sort of results that other marketing efforts could be hard-pressed to match.

If you need professional help to create an affordable, feasible content marketing strategy, give Garth Dahl or Shiraz Khatib a call on 021 556 5661 or email us: info@theformula.co.za. Remember that our marketing consultations are always free!

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