It’s common for clients and in-house content marketers to shift their focus and retool their strategy after the initial launch. Managing SEO, inbound links, and social traffic is a learning experience, and many realize that their goals have changed.
Unfortunately, changing your plans can get expensive when it’s not done right. Here are a few ways to improve your content marketing to meet your goals, without driving your budget into the ground.
Evaluate Your Goals and Target KPIs
While all businesses care about the bottom line, it’s a common mistake to expect your content to immediately tie back to sales. Instead of community building, many companies focus on immediate ROI and leads generated per post. Instead of launching your content marketing plans with sales goals in mind, consider improving these KPIs:
- Views and Impressions: how many people were introduced to your content and your brand messaging?
- Shares and Engagement: how many people shared your content on social media? Who commented or liked it?
- Industry Audience: which industry leaders or peers interacted with your content over potential clients?
In many ways, your content marketing will behave more like your traditional print and TV buys than the rest of your digital marketing campaigns. If you focus on cost-per-impression and create quality content that gets shared hundreds of times, then your marketing will reach more people and have better results.
Focus on the Customer, Not Just Your Business
Instead of approaching your content with a business-centric perspective, focus on the customer. Start your ideation sessions with a list of what the customer wants, likes, hates, and needs. Underneath this list, break out possible content ideas that would solve those problems. Finally, pick out what business products and services can tie in with the content. This makes your content more helpful and interesting to potential customers. For example:
You want to promote your new space heater, so you write a blog post about its features and uses. The customer isn’t interested in the latest model, and ignores the post.
The customer wants to save on heating bills, so you write # Tips to Cut Heating Costs This Winter, and mention the new space heater as an option. This piques their interest as an alternative to central heating.
Listen and Learn How Your Audience Thinks
Realizing that you think differently from your audience is a harsh truth, but one that most content marketers face at some point in their careers. We’ve all created a blog post that the audience should love, but they inevitably hate. Others invest in long-form content for months, but discover that their customers prefer to watch videos instead.
Look at your past content and evaluate what has been successful and what hasn’t. Consider both the subject, format, and content type. List articles might languish while personal stories get shared.
Next, test these types of content for a pattern. Was that one viral infographic a fluke? Or are they one of the most successful marketing methods? By constantly testing and evaluating what is successful, you can start to create content that hits home runs with your customers.
The good news is refocusing your content strategy doesn’t have to get expensive. In some cases, you can make adjustments to future content that speaks to the audience better, or find better ways to explain the same subject.
Most content marketing growth comes from internal strategy and setting the right improvement goals. Focus on the right KPIs today and the sales will follow.