What’s the goal of content marketing? The answer depends on what you want to achieve in your business.
For most companies, the goal of content marketing is to get business results – outcomes that drive profitable action.
Remember that content marketing is a long-term strategy – a marathon, not a sprint. You likely won’t see instant results. But if you’re patient and consistent, you should get substantial results that make a big difference in your business.
The proof is in the numbers:
- 91% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing.
- 78% of CMOs consider custom content the future of marketing, and 90% of consumers find customized content helpful.
- Content marketing is more cost-effective than traditional marketing – generating three times the number of leads for every buck spent.
Today, we’re diving into how to get better content marketing results for your business. We’ll start by looking closely at the results you’re already attaining. Then we’ll share several ways to improve your efforts moving forward to achieve better outcomes.
- Before developing a new content marketing plan, you need to understand where you are now and your goals to take your business to the next level.
- If you don’t clarify your strategies and know-how to get the results you want, your content marketing efforts will fail.
- To get better content marketing results, publish focused website content, build trust with your audience, focus on quality, continue to evolve, and share your content everywhere your audience is.
What Content Marketing Results Do You Want?
Before strategizing ways to improve your content marketing efforts for better results, you need to recognize where you stand currently. That begins with measuring the results you’ve already achieved.
Start by defining your top KPIs (key performance indicators). We recommend focusing on the following metrics. You can always add more later, but every content marketer should include these five essential KPIs.
- Traffic: Without consistent traffic to your website, your content marketing efforts will fall short. Start measuring your monthly website traffic and unique page views so you can track progress month over month.
- Conversions: Tracking conversions will tell you how many leads you’re gaining from your website. Choose what you want to designate as a “lead.” It could be subscribers to your newsletter, anyone who fills out a form to download an ebook or a sale.
- SEO performance: Track SERP (search engine results page) rankings for focus keywords over time. The higher your rankings are on SERPs, the more traffic and lead you’ll get.
- Engagement: Analyze the average time spent on your website and the average number of page views per session. These metrics will tell you how engaging your content is. Also track shares, likes, and comments on your social media platforms to learn what’s resonating best with your audience.
- Authority: The higher your website’s Domain Authority (DA), the more likely your website will rank on SERPs. Use Moz’s free Domain SEO Analysis tool to measure your website’s DA. To improve this metric, focus on enhancing your website’s overall SEO, including linking to high-quality external resources and getting links to your website from high-authority sites.
Once you’ve used these metrics to take stock of your achievements and understand what your content marketing strategies currently look like, you can set goals for the future.
7 Ways to Get Better Results from Content Marketing
It’s time to dive into several tried-and-true strategies to enhance your efforts. Follow each of these best practices to build a strong foundation online and improve your content marketing results over time.
1. Follow a Smart Content Marketing Strategy
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
In marketing, if you don’t have a strategy – a roadmap to follow – your content marketing efforts will undoubtedly fail. CoSchedule found that marketers who proactively plan their projects are 356% more likely to be successful.
Developing a solid content marketing plan involves:
- Knowing your target audience
- Setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely) goals
- Identifying your KPIs
- Conducting a content audit of your assets
- Brainstorming new ideas
- Picking the best channels for distributing your content (website, email, social media, etc.)
- Choosing the best formats for your audience (blog posts, infographics, emails, social media posts, etc.)
- Creating an editorial calendar
- Establishing your budget
- Content production, distribution, promotion, and management
- Analyzing and measuring performance
This list may seem overwhelming, but you can start small. Start where you are today and grow steadily from there. As you begin creating, promoting, and measuring content consistently over time, you’ll start seeing better results.
2. Build Trust with Your Audience
If you want to build trust and relationships with your target audience, you must first understand them. When you understand them, you can give them what they want. And if you give them what they want consistently, they’ll start relying on you and considering you an authority in your field.
Begin with getting to know your audience as well as you can. Answer these questions:
- What is your target audience looking for?
- What questions are they asking?
- What words and phrases do they often use online?
- Where do they spend time online?
- What are their challenges and pain points?
The more you can learn, the better. Start with keyword research – using tools like Keyword Trends and Semrush. Conduct interviews, send out surveys and talk with your sales team to learn more about them.
Next, make sure the content you produce follows a consistent tone and style and speaks directly to your audience. Use your brand identity – your core values, mission, and business goals – as your foundation.
Everything you produce should reflect your brand identity so people recognize your content for its consistent look and feel. That way, they’ll know what to expect – which is a good thing.
You’d trust a company that posts quality, in-depth blog articles every Monday more than a business that publishes articles randomly that range in tone and quality, right? So will your target audience.
3. Focus on a Specific Niche
Is your blog vague and scattered? Do you post random content on social media and send out sporadic emails? Maybe you’re always experimenting with different content formats – like infographics, ebooks, and whitepapers – hoping something will resonate better with your audience and attract visitors from search engines.
It’s time to narrow your focus and simplify your efforts. Remember that consistency is a crucial ingredient to content marketing. It won’t work if your tactics are all over the place.
Start by focusing on your target niche and identifying a handful of overarching topics you want to focus on when developing new content. Think of these core topics as the “pillars” of your website.
From there, you can zoom into each overarching category and develop a list of subtopics that fall under your pillar topics. Your subtopics should closely relate to your main topics, creating more focus, organization, and clarity on your website.
You’ll help your audience and Google better understand the purpose of your website. You can also link similar content together, increasing the number of internal links on your site. And people can dig deeper into a topic that interests them.
Let’s say you run a marketing agency. Your primary services are social media marketing/advertising and SEO. You want to rank higher for Facebook Ad-related keywords. In this case, you could choose “Facebook Ads” as a pillar topic and write about various subtopics to support it, like “How to Target a Specific Audience on Facebook” or “Running Video Ads on Facebook.”
This content marketing strategy will help you enhance the customer experience, increase your website authority, and improve your rankings on search engines.
4. Create Superb Content
Are you spending enough time on content creation? Are your writers and editors industry experts? Do they produce excellent content? Are your messaging and tone consistent? Do you go in-depth and offer creative resources that target your audience? Is your content better than your competitors’?
Here are several buzzwords to help you create excellent content for your target audience and drive more traffic to your website.
- In-depth: Writing in-depth content that’s focused and engaging can help you rank higher on SERPs for specific keywords. The “ideal blog post length” increases yearly. In 2020, it was 2,100-2,400 words, according to HubSpot.
- Edited: You should always get at least two sets of eyes on every piece of content before it’s shared. If you don’t have an editor on staff, consider outsourcing or designating your best writer to proofread content before you hit publish.
- Factual: If you’re making claims in your content, you better have proof to back them up. Link to quality, reputable, original sources. Use Alexa’s free website traffic statistics tool for helpful insights on website quality.
- Consumer-focused: Superb content is written for a specific person – your buyer persona. Your content should focus on answering relevant questions, addressing challenges, and connecting with your target audience in a powerful way.
- Original: If you’re curating content, make sure to rewrite every concept in your own words. All content you create should be as close to 100% original as possible. Use various reputable sources to compile your research, and incorporate your perspective and brand personality in every piece. Use a plagiarism checker to ensure you don’t accidentally copy something that already exists online.
- Optimized: Incorporate focus keywords intelligently. Write an engaging meta description and title and accurate alt text. Use header tags correctly and include a CTA. Add internal and external links so readers can learn more.
5. Evolve Over Time
As a marketer, you know the game is constantly changing. Social media and search engines often change their algorithms. The general way we do business today is vastly different than it was 20 or even 10 years ago.
COVID-19 has thrown even more challenges into the mix, forcing businesses to rethink their business models and output methods. What used to be face-to-face interaction has evolved into remote human engagement and digital self-serve (McKinsey & Company).
As soon as we think we’re back in control, someone or something throws us off-kilter, forcing us to adjust abruptly. It’s vital to stay on top of content marketing trends and the latest developments in your industry. If you don’t, you’ll fall behind your competitors.
Here are five ways to stay on the cutting edge:
- Keep up with Google algorithm updates.
- Conduct customer research.
- Read blogs and news sites like Kissmetrics, Business Insider, the Moz Blog, and MIG.
- Check out research papers by Forrester and Gartner.
- Talk to your sales team often.
6. Take Your Content Everywhere Your Audience Is
If you take all of our content marketing advice except this, you’ll waste a lot of time and money. After creating quality, optimized, and targeted content, make sure the right people see it.
Inbound marketing works. But it can work faster and be more effective if you give your content a boost by promoting it.
Share your content on social media, YouTube, and SlideShare. Send it to your email subscribers and ask them to share it with their family and friends. Consider paying to boost your posts on Facebook or create targeted ads on LinkedIn.
Don’t only share it with your email subscribers and social media followers once. Keep resharing your content overtime to get it in front of more eyes and build engagement.
Another smart way to make your content go further is to repurpose it. If you have a piece of content that gets tons of traffic and engagement, consider repurposing it to attract new traffic.
Let’s say you have a blog article that gets consistent traffic and leads. You notice people are skimming the content, however, rather than reading through and spending more time on the page. Here are several ideas to make your content more consumable:
- Create an infographic and share it at the top of your blog post and on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
- Develop a video and embed it on your website and share it on Vimeo and YouTube.
- Turn your blog article into a slideshow that you can share on SlideShare.
- If it’s a long article (or several articles on the same topic), you could convert it into an ebook. Give people the option of downloading a PDF rather than reading the post online.
- Record a podcast covering the same topic.
Get Real Results by Following an Effective Content Marketing Plan
Stop wasting your time and money on marketing efforts that continually fall flat. Start attracting quality traffic by consistently publishing content your audience craves.
Marketing Insider Group is a content marketing expert and thought leader. We’ll create a customized content marketing strategy that addresses the pain points of your business. Our affordable Content Builder Service packages include targeted weekly content that will help you reach, engage, and win loyal customers.
We’ll take care of strategy, content creation, promotion, and measuring your results over time. You can focus on running your business.