Developing and maintaining a blog is an excellent way for executives to establish relationships and engage with industry thought leaders. In this article, 5W PR CEO Ronn Torossian and others share tips on how executives can use a blog and other social media avenues to spark conversations and conversions, establishing themselves as a leader within their industry. Content marketing is not a novel phenomenon and has been used as a marketing tool by PR executives for years. Unfortunately, the results have not always been positive.
Following is a guide which will eliminate the disconnected messages, bewildering tones, and general chaos of PR marketing content produced by a business.
The goal of PR is to promote attention in a short amount of time. The results are often a sharp increase in audience response on the day or week of the PR push, followed by a sharp decrease. Businesses can build a devoted following using content marketing that is informative and compelling. Audiences will come to a website after a PR push, but they will stay with a company because of the information supplied by the content marketing. For this reason, PR professionals are converting their media publications into blogs and e-newsletters.
A recent Nielsen study found that expert content is “the most effective source of information in impacting consumers along all stages of the purchase process across product categories.” For this reason, experts recommend that businesses use a mixed approach to their content marketing strategy.
- Content should begin, if possible, with trusted information from convincing, third-party experts. These are the experts who will establish trust between your brand and the customer.
- Connect, involve, and establish your brand by sharing your story.
- Continually reinforce your content by encouraging user reviews and placing additional trusted content.
- Media outreach, using credible, third-party experts, achieves higher consumer engagement and conversion numbers. The greater the understanding of the content marketing continuum, the greater the success factor.
A research effort between Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs found that while 93% of marketing publishers use content marketing, less than 42% feel they are good at it. Almost 70% of content marketers indicated that they were challenged by the amount of time needed to produce enough content. Some sources found to be valuable for generating content marketing ideas, include:
- Document customer’s responses and questions and respond to their posts or write e-books responding to their questions.
- Construct different content applicable to each stage of the consumer’s purchase decision process. Include questions a buyer would ask and supply the information necessary to help buyers come to a decision.
- Create video tutorials.
- Research the most-discussed subjects and frequently asked questions involved in your brand niche. Write content in response.
More Content is not Always Better
Corporate blogs and social media mediums are where PR messages can be communicated rapidly, tactically, and effectively. PR personnel often struggle with just how to determine what content will increase traffic, enhance brand recognition, create an exclusive brand characteristic, and edge up conversion numbers. Not all content is good content; they should impart valuable information. It is important to realize that PR and content marketing have exactly the same goals. Content designed to inform the target audience about the business and its products must be interesting, compelling, captivating, and shareworthy. Having too much content will weaken your fundamental points and sidetrack your reading public. Avoid writing too much about numerous things. Think about just what you are trying to say in the article. Thoughtful articles, placed strategically, work best to direct and distribute your brand message. Audiences will respond to content that has substance, that they can’t find anywhere else, and that they can’t construct on their own. Be relevant, timely, and concise.
To determine if your content is right on target, take the following easy five question quiz developed by Torossian:
- Have you identified and narrowed down exactly what information you are trying to present?
- Have you determined your readership and modified your language and phraseology accordingly?
- Do you know what your information your audience is expecting?
- Have you conveyed clearly what you needed to?
- Have you told your audience just enough to keep them coming back?
Frequent Content in Different Forms
To keep the audience’s attention, produce new content frequently. Torossian recommends amplifying your message by placing it in front of them, where they can view it and absorb it. Professionals recommend generating and publishing new information, no less than once a week, on at least one of your social media avenues. Weekly publishing is a strategy that works well, as regular readers will return for new insights and new readers will be exposed to new information. Average content marketers use thirteen different content marketing outlets. The number one outlet is social media followed by informative pieces on websites, blogs, and e-newsletters. White papers, webinars, infographics, and case studies are also widely used.
Many successful content article publishers use new and old media at the same time to find audiences and initiate personal, significant material that is tailored exclusively for them. For blog publishers, stick to the following best practices.
- Make a detailed plan
- Monitor “unsubscribe” visitors which could indicate the audience’s disinterest or inability to assimilate the information provided
- Test out different post frequencies and post lengths to reveal the epitome of reader response
- Blogs, videos, infographics, and ebooks should demonstrate to your potential customers that you know how to assist them and that you want to help them work out their problems. Let readers know how you have aided others by including positive testimonials from current buyers. New buyers will come to know, like, and trust you, and come back repeatedly.
Analyze Customer Response
Marketing is ultimately driven by self-educated buyers looking for relevant, goal oriented, and useful information. Publishers need to investigate customer responses, identify new leads, review increased number of followers, social media comments, and what visitors are sharing with others. Determine what is working well and what isn’t. Marketing automation produces metrics which allow publishers to fine-tune, enhance, and target their content to information that consistently engages the audience. Tell your fans and potential customers that you value their input and feedback.
Investing in content marketing activities is essential in today’s market. Most experts suggest businesses should keep investing in their content marketing strategy, while moving up on the content marketing curve. Following these strategies, current diminishing returns could yield large incremental returns in the future.
Measuring ROI of Content Marketing
These days, at the core of digital marketing is data, which relies on metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), return on ad spend (ROAS), and cost per acquisition (CPA). To justify any sort of marketing investment, companies have to demonstrate to their top-level executives and decision-makers that the aforementioned metrics can translate into positive results for the company’s bottom line. Meanwhile, when it comes to content marketing, the measurement of return on investment (ROI) is more important than ever.
The main goal of most marketing efforts from companies is to grow the business at a low cost. That means companies that are looking to acquire and nurture leads have to rely on content marketing, and they have to keep track of the metrics that align with the overall company goals. Each campaign, strategy, and test should be producing a good return on the company’s investment in marketing, which means it should generate a positive return on investment (ROI).
When it comes to content marketing, there are three different aspects to any metrics a company decides to use , including deciding on what data points to track, managing and measuring those data points, and finally, turning the data into valuable insights for future campaigns.
Which Data Points to Track
Just because a company is able to measure certain data points doesn’t always mean those points are relevant. The best way to go about deciding which data points are important to the company and should be tracked is to identify the top measurement priorities as well as all the underlying data points that are necessary to support all of those measurement priorities.
The company should also establish its own benchmarks for the performance of those data points to get a better understanding of the analyses. Finally, it should also calculate all of the baseline costs that are involved in developing and executing the company’s content marketing plan. This should be done in order to calculate the return on investment at the end.
More specifically, the main thing a company needs to do is decide which are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are going to be tracked as evidence of the impact of the company’s content marketing campaign.
Measuring and Managing Data Points
While companies are trying to put a measurement program in place to track the performance of content marketing strategies, they should also decide on how often the data is going to be collected. If it’s collected too often, there might not be enough time to find any potential patterns from the consumers. However, if it’s not collected often enough, the company risks overlooking any problems that could be preventing the content from reaching the company’s established goals.
Turning Data into Valuable Insights
One of the go-to places for most companies when it comes to reviewing their website visitor metrics is Google Analytics. However, the data from those types of tools are aggregated, which only gives companies a big-picture perspective of their content’s performance. That’s why companies have to measure the impact of their content marketing efforts on more individual levels, which is where CRM systems become very helpful.