Content can be one of the trickier marketing tactics to prove the ROI on. What role did that social media post, article or new landing page play in influencing your audience to convert?
In a study conducted by CIM, it was found that only 43 percent of B2B marketers are successful in proving the ROI of their content. If your purpose for producing content is to generate revenue, it’s crucial to be able to prove the ROI of your content.
That being said, not all content is created to drive revenue. Often the purpose of content is to deliver a specific value such as driving website traffic, growing your social following, improving organic rankings or raising brand awareness.
Why are you creating your content?
It begins with your content objectives
Before you can accurately prove the value of your content, you must first understand your objectives. There are many metrics to track when measuring ROI and choosing which to track will depend on your objectives such as:
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase lead generation
- Increase customer acquisition
- Improve organic ranking
For example, tracking your social engagement metrics could be to achieve further brand awareness. Creating SEO optimised blogs could be to increase your organic rankings, or email campaigns could be created to nurture leads.
Defining your digital marketing objectives is the first step in proving the value of your content. Once you have defined your objectives, you can then set and track tangible metrics to prove that what you are doing is working.
Consider your targeting
Understanding exactly who your audience are helps to build a picture of who you want to place your content in front of.
Start by evaluating your current customers to build a customer profile or buyer personas. A study found that customer personas can help to make content and websites two – five times more effective and easier to engage with. These personas can be used to understand what motivates your ideal customers to better target them. Developing personas before creating marketing content ensures your efforts are in line with your target audience, enabling you to refine your brand’s messaging to resonate with the reader.
When creating personas, you may find you have multiple audiences to consider. It’s important to define which are your focus – essentially, which audience group is the most profitable to your business? Or are you trying to attract a new audience? If so, why – maybe there’s a gap in the market you’ve identified?
Create content pillars
Content pillars are defined themes that represent relevant topics to your target audience – they also form the foundation of your overall content strategy.
Insight gathered from technical SEO, competitor analysis and keyword research should be used to inform your brand’s content pillars. It’s likely you will have topics in mind you want to focus on, but it’s important that these are married up with the data to produce the most valuable content based on your audience’s search intent.
Using content pillars to underpin your content strategy helps you to:
- Simplify your content planning process: Creating a content calendar can feel daunting, especially when you’re first embarking on your content strategy. However, with SEO informed content pillars, you’re already halfway there. Content pillars make it easier to research and create blog topics for your calendar while being in line with what your target audience are searching for.
- Write authoritative content: Writing authoritative content is a key part of creating E-A-T content. By building content around core themes that your audience wants to read, you can demonstrate to Google that your brand is a trusted authority.
- Create consistent content: Consistency is extremely important when it comes to strengthening your brand’s messaging. By creating content with specific themes in mind, it ensures a consistent message from your brand to your readers.
Undertake keyword research
Keyword research is not only core to SEO but also to driving your content marketing strategy. A key part of creating content that performs is determining which keywords to target so you can write content that satisfies both your audience and the search engines.
What you want to rank for and what your audience actually searches can often be different. Keyword research allows you to understand the words and phrases used for searches relevant to your content pillars. This insight helps form targeted content so you can drive traffic with high conversion potential to your site.
However, keyword research isn’t just about search volume. It’s also an effective method for exploring the language your audience uses so you can write in a way that resonates with them.
Underpinned with a clear understanding of keyword search volumes and competitiveness, you can answer questions such as, what are my target audience searching for? What do they want to know about this topic? What is the search volume around this theme? This process can help you learn more about who your audience are and enables you to keep up with a continuously changing search landscape.
Plan your content distribution
To meet your objectives, your content distribution needs to be equally as effective as your content creation. Your content strategy needs to consider:
- Which channels are appropriate to your brand and audience? Which platforms do your audience spend their time on? This is an important part of understanding where your content should be displayed and where budget can be best used to promote it. Common channels include social media, your website, paid media and email marketing.
- What format will your content be promoted in? Content can cover a variety of formats from video to blogs to articles to social media posts. Consider which formats will best suit your content and whether the format will be suitable for the channels to decide on.
- When is the right time to promote your content? Consider the time and day you promote your content with your target audience in mind to maximise your efforts.
Content and your website
One way to get more value from your content is to ensure it supports your organic visibility and rankings. No matter how well researched, structured, and written your content is, if you don’t get the SEO basics right, Google will struggle to crawl and rank your page.
There are multiple benefits of writing content for SEO purposes. Doing so not only allows you to expand long-tail keyword reach and capture traffic higher up the funnel, but it also creates increased commercial opportunities.
Title tags, meta descriptions, headers and keyword optimisation should all be considered as part of your content strategy to increase your ranking potential. Combining technical SEO basics such as these with high quality content written to satisfy search intent and Google’s algorithm ensures you’re being the best resource possible for your audience.
An increase in your rankings is also a great measure of ROI success. These SEO metrics can easily be tracked or reported on using Google Analytics or other specialist SEO tools.
Find out the quality of your content compared to your competitors
Quantifying the quality of content can be difficult. Our Content Quality Score tool has been designed to unlock insight on your content, quantifying its quality on a scale of one to 100. This process makes it easy to spot where improvements can be made, allowing you to track progress as your strategy is implemented. Get in touch with our team of digital experts to find out yours.
Content and your social media
Social media posts are a key form of content. When writing posts, ensure you’re following best practice for that channel. For example, what’s the maximum characters you can use? Do you know what formats are available on each channel? Will you use high quality imagery, sliders or video content? Have you researched what your competitors are doing?
Once you’ve created your posts, take some time to consider how you will increase their visibility with users who are interested in your topic. For example, hashtag research should be undertaken to extend your reach and understand what topics are currently popular. Social platforms typically offer targeting capabilities allowing you to reach certain demographics, custom audiences, lookalike audiences or even utilise remarketing. Paid social advertising such as post boosts, sponsored content or ad campaigns can also be used to reach a wider audience.
Content and paid media
Writing effective ad copy is a skill. If users don’t click, they won’t convert.
When it comes to writing copy for your paid media ads, there’s a limited character count so short and snappy is a must if you want your ads to be successful. The aim is to capture attention and spark action in just these few words.
We advise taking everything you’ve learnt about your audience into account and applying this to your language, tone of voice and key messaging. Your CTA is also significantly important within your ads as this will play a role in whether a user chooses to take the action you want or not.
Be sure to also consider the landing page you’re directing ad traffic to. Even if your PPC ads are well optimised, your conversions will be destined to suffer is your landing page is poor. Here are some pointers on creating landing pages that converts:
- Keep the design simple: When a user clicks through to your landing page, avoid overwhelming them with a distracting design or unclear features. Ideally, you should aim for one CTA that the user will recognise as the conversion point and this should ideally be displayed above the fold.
- Communicate your USPs: Give the user a compelling reason why they should convert and clearly communicate this in your content. Consider your USPs and why a visitor should convert with you over a competitor such as competitive pricing or free delivery.
- Optimise for different devices: Do you know which device the majority of your audience uses? This insight can affect how your landing page is formulated and designed allowing you to optimise for conversions by keeping the most popular devices in mind.
- Identify new opportunities: CRO is a great way to identity opportunities to improve your landing page conversions, ensuring you get the most out of the traffic you’re driving.
Content and email
When it comes to email, there is a balance to strike between having enough content to engage the reader versus too much content that eliminates the need to find out more. Ultimately, the aim is to get users to click through to your website or landing page to learn more so avoid giving everything away in your email. Alongside the body of your email, you also need to consider the impact of your copy when it comes to creating catchy subject lines, click-worthy CTAs and engaging links.
Your audience plays a significant role in your email marketing too. Segmentation of your email subscribers into smaller groups based on set criteria such as location, interests and purchase history enable you to deliver more relevant, personalised emails to your audience rather than sending out a mass message that’s off the mark.
Evaluating content impact
The benefit of analysing your content is two-fold. Not only can you demonstrate the value and ROI of your content marketing to the wider business, but you can also take learnings from your previous activities to develop your future strategy. Here’s how…
Analyse the impact on your web traffic
If the aim of your content is to raise brand awareness, it’s essential to analyse the impact on your site traffic. Google Analytics is ideal for this, helping you collect data on:
- Traffic levels to individual pages
- Traffic sources
- Bounce rates
- Time on site
- Exit pages
- Ranking improvements
- Best performing content
When analysing your website traffic, it’s also worth tracking the path your users took once they engaged with your content. For example, did they click through to a different page, purchase an item, make an enquiry, subscribe to your newsletter or exit your website? This can help build a picture of how your content contributed to hitting your objectives, creating leads or conversions.
Learn from your social media
Social platforms are more important than ever for interacting with other people. They help us stay in touch, stay inspired and stay at the forefront of the latest news – something that’s been vital while human interaction has been limited. As a result, the likes of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter have also grown in importance within marketing strategies.
Each social platform offers its own analytical tools, whether that’s Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Analytics or Twitter Analytics. These tools make it much easier to gather data on your post’s engagement including likes, views, shares, comments and saves to understand how successful your content was in engaging and influencing your audience.
However, it’s important to look beyond vanity metrics alone such as your follower count. To really gain understandings from your social media, you need to consider how engagement has improved across various channels. Ask questions such as:
- How regularly do you post?
- How do your social feeds look in comparison to your competitors?
- How much has your following grown in the last three/six/twelve months?
- What kind of content performs best for you – imagery or video?
- What is the theme of your content?
- What type of content gets the least engagement?
- Do certain channels perform better than others?
- Are you using user generated content where relevant to your business?
Answering these questions helps you to understand what content is performing well and what is performing poorly. These learnings can then be applied across other channels to increase your engagement.
What does your email performance show you?
The data you can glean from emails shows what’s resonating with your audience. Analysing your email data such as click-through rates, email open rates and unsubscribes indicates engagement and appetite around that content topic.
You can also use your email marketing as an opportunity to test different copy. For example, keywords or ad copy could be used in your subject line as part of A/B testing to understand which performs best. Equally, segmenting based on your personas or dynamic content can be used to uncover which content has the most impact with your audience data before taking it to an even wider audience.
Proving the return of content with attribution
With a clear understanding of your content objectives, you’re in a better position to prove the ROI, or value, behind your content marketing. Heavily revolving around nurturing the conversion, content marketing plays a key role in encouraging people to visit your website and take action while onsite. This makes it an integral tactic to attribute properly in order to recognise how it indirectly increases your bottom line.
As a marketer, we expect you will understand the benefits of content marketing but getting buy-in from your senior management team may prove a challenge. If you want to know if your campaigns are actually driving revenue but can’t attribute value to your content, then your efforts are essentially wasted.
There are many ways to assign ROI to campaigns, but attribution should consider the different touchpoints of the buying journey to show the impact your content has had on driving a conversion. Connecting the dots to show exactly what’s working and what isn’t allows you to direct your budget to the most valuable channels. It’s important to choose the right attribution model for your objectives to accurately reflect the path to conversion and, subsequently, the role of content in achieving this.
So, do you know the value of your content?
We understand the power behind content marketing – it brings value to your business in more ways than one. Creating content that takes your audience and objectives into account makes proving this value much easier.
If you want to find out more about what effective content marketing can do for your business or would like to learn how your content could be hindering your digital campaign performance, contact us.