Content marketing is about creating content to drive website traffic and generate sales leads.
But how do we know if that content is driving revenue? How can we ensure it’s as effective as it could possibly be? A recent Chartered Institute of Marketing webinar aimed to provide a better insight into content generation that genuinely adds value.
Guest speaker, Danny Blackburn, content director at Stickyeyes, said the first thing to remember is the three different types of content possible to create: paid for, earned – quality content that is shared by others – and owned, i.e. on our websites. Then we need to consider why we are generating the content: to drive traffic, improve our search ranking and generate sales leads.
Google is making it much harder to game the SEO system by throwing a bunch of keywords into content. The search engine giant has been adding more rules each year that affects where content sits in the search rankings, leaving the creation of great content as the principal option to improve SEO.
What does good content achieve?
Danny explained that once you’ve created great content, embedded links will generate direct traffic to your site and potentially generate sales leads. If the content is genuinely good, it will be talked about, may be mentioned in the news or shared via social media. All of this contributes to generating brand awareness, direct traffic and sales. So, this is why great content works, but how do you ensure that it is great?
Generate word of mouth
The key here is monitoring. You need to monitor everything to understand audience opinion, perception, “hot topics” and how your content is received. Knowing what your audience likes and doesn’t like is vital to generating content they want to tell other people about. Word of mouth is so important in generating traffic and sales leads; Marketing Charts reported in a 2013 advertising survey that 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know.
Understand your audience
Guest speaker Julie Mahoney, head of content at OgilvyOne, said listen to what is being said and you’ll learn who your audience is, what they do and what affects their daily lives which can help you generate content that makes you a part of it. Monitor their reactions when you publish something, monitor when your competitors are publishing things and take note! If it works do it again, if it doesn’t you need to go back to the drawing board.
Identify your content needs
Content needs to be engaging to generate the word of mouth, yes, but it also needs to be functional; don’t forget about your products if they are relevant, keep your messages regular and consistent, and understand your objectives.
Remove your rose-tinted glasses
Just because you want something to work it doesn’t mean it will – focus on what actually works and do that well rather than wasting time and money on things that are untested. Put your content in front of someone who hasn’t seen it before and watch how they react; that should guide your decision whether to use it or not.
According to Julie Mahoney, another good tactic to use is scenario planning; knowing what situations could occur in our audience’s daily lives means we can publish content that is truly on topic for them and puts your company or brand in the limelight. B&Q is a great example of a brand that’s listening and reacting to its audience, referencing the recent 50 Shades of Grey release and the weather, the brand is managing to promote its products in a relevant and engaging way to its audience via Twitter.
Taking a planned approach to content will help you produce truly great content, get people talking about and sharing it and should begin to generate sales leads. But maybe we’ll leave the 50 Shades of Grey references to B&Q.