Content marketing is informative, entertaining, and helpful. But great ideas for content aren’t enough. Who decides they are “great”? The customer decides. How do we know the decision of the customer? Data–the more the better.
Content Marketing Starts with Creating Great Content
Your content must consist of compelling, audience-centric, findable, shareable stories. If you build it, they might not come. Content must be built with audience interests in mind so that they will find it and come share it with their peers. Once built, it must be published and promoted. Content does not market itself.
You measure the effectiveness of content marketing according to how often it is used and shared.
Content is Useful Only in Context
You can’t just create content in a vacuum. In digital media, content is only as valuable as the number and quality of references to it (links, social shares, etc.). It is more useful if it builds on existing work than if it duplicates it. It is more useful still if it is built as a part of a system of other content that answers specific questions in a several-step information journey. This is especially difficult for traditional marketers, who want to tell self-contained stories.
You measure how well connected content is, within its context, by performing link analysis.
Content Needs Information Paths
Chances are that your audience will choose a different path through your content than the path that you designed. That’s to be expected. Digital media and books are not the same. In books, it is the author’s story. The reader implicitly concedes this point and passively consumes the story according to the author’s agenda. Digital media need not be consumed in such a linear fashion. The digital reader or viewer is in control. It’s their story, and they’re piecing it together from multiple sources on the fly. This fact vexes some traditional marketers because, like book authors, they are accustomed to crafting media to be consumed serially.
You measure and track users through your content to create experiences that align with their journeys.
Great Content Speaks Your Customer’s Language
Because the audience builds their stories using multiple sources, you must use language that the audience understands. Though you want to tell your story, your story will not make sense ijn the context of the audience’s story if you don’t use common language. Coining your own terms can lead to jargon that’s confusing to your audience. It’s natural for marketers to desire unique trademarked names for their products, but when you need to explain too many words, your message loses its punch.
You learn the common language by conducting keyword research and by listening to social channels.
Content Marketing Requries a Publisher’s Reputation
As in all other forms of publishing, credibility is the currency in the digital world. A sure way to gain credibility is through transparency. Not only must you publish the truth as openly as possible, you need to avoid hyperbole and other forms of exaggeration. This can be especially hard for some public relations professionals who are used to telling only the “good stories.”
You can measure the credibility of your content by performing sentiment analysis and other forms of social listening.
Content marketing is emerging as the primary way many brands engage with audiences, to the degree that resisting content marketing has become a career-limiting decision. For example, only 12% of UK companies do not focus on content marketing.
Perhaps data-driven content marketing’s most striking aspect is its use of data to understand the audience. Data allows marketers to provide the content they need to solve the audience’s problems and to answer their questions. Are you making the most of it?