Andrée DesLauriers

Content marketing continues to trend in 2016 but how will it measure up?

As a marketer, I have a keen interest in trending marketing strategies that have the highest impact on business. It seems that content marketing will remain in the lead in 2016 as it did last year!

Many marketers have embraced this strategy for a while and will continue to include it in their marketing mix while experimenting with new ways to offer clients and prospects valuable information. It makes perfect sense when executed well and what’s more, it can contribute to influencing a sale.

This activity is similar to an integrated marketing program. When you target a specific audience, provide information about a product, solution or service that prospects are researching at various stages of their buying cycle, and move them into a lead generation funnel – it’s a win win strategy.

However, the challenge to a successful program is to create content with value and maximize its distribution.

Creating and selecting content with an objective: To develop a content marketing program, you’ll need to develop a sound strategy with defined buyer personas and create or find content that addresses their interests. The type of content you will offer them should vary, from high level to technical, as their search deepens in interest. The assets can either originate from your organization or selected from your third party vendors. Content creation is ranked as one of the most effective SEO techniques therefore planning keywords in your content will require special attention.

Measuring business value: Creating quality content takes time, effort and can be expensive. As budgets continue to shrink or remain stagnant, measuring and showing business value will be important to marketers to be able to sustain their efforts.

Make sure you insert content at the right time and place in your program. You should develop a detailed program workflow that will include call to action outlets at all stages of content consumption. This can lead to progressive profiling and help you better understand your prospects, their interests and needs. Measuring consumption will also help you track the effectiveness of your content and help you adapt future content development or selection to meet your audience’s preferences.

Some of the leading metrics you should aim to track are: incremental web traffic, Social sharing, time spent on your website or landing page, Direct Sales or opportunities, SEO ranking and brand awareness lift. This level of reporting will require more sophisticated tools than typically available in most organizations but are available in SaaS models and can easily be integrated.

Generating traffic: whether your content is on a landing page, your website, a social media platform, you need to build up traffic for it to be consumed. This can be done through an inbound strategy using Google Adwords to capture prospects’ attention while searching. You can build an audience through forms on your website or use an outbound tactic such as email to push the message out and link to your content in a more surgical way if you have a solid database and have email permission. A nurture email campaign can also push out several bite sized messages over an extended period of time and link to content. This will provide several opportunities to capture your prospect’s attention but pay special attention to the buyer persona and messaging.

Building an effective program: Depending on the size of your organization, you may need help from an experienced marketing agency to build the right program for your needs. This program can vary in size and evolve over an extended period to meet budget and production timelines all the while generating prospects.

In selecting a marketing partner, you may want to include tools to measure the success of your program in your selection criteria. A SaaS solution that integrates database, lead tracking, and content consumption measuring tools all in one place is a definite advantage.

Take the next step!

Go ahead and be passionate about developing content that solves real business problems and share your ideas and strategies using a variety of channels and formats. Your audience will pay attention to your company if they like the way you think and they will want to do business with you.

Welcome to 2016!

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