Content marketing is a very powerful tool bringing traffic to the site, increasing sales and empowering a brand name. That is why every site or company should have a thoroughly planned content marketing strategy.
The majority of companies use ROI (Return on Investments) for planning their marketing campaigns and evaluating the results. It is a powerful system that’s been working for many years. Evaluating content marketing results with ROI is sometimes quite tricky, but possible.
If you want to get the best from your content marketing strategy and to increase your ROI, the first thing to do is to create a detailed and logical plan (or re-plan your existing strategy if it doesn’t work right). Here are some steps you may take.
1. Define your goals
First of all, it is essential to understand that the effectiveness of content marketing can be evaluated differently depending on the goal of the whole campaign. If we are talking about selling content marketing, it can be rather ineffective if your goal is, for example, increasing brand awareness. Thus, the first step to evaluate the effectiveness of content marketing is to understand your goals and decide what results you expect. Content marketing without clear goals essentially cannot be successful.
Saying that selling content marketing is a successful content marketing is not right. It may be successful on a short-term basis while the initial purpose of content marketing is long term; it may bring loyal customers, potential clients, brand awareness, and authority, etc.
Every goal should be backed up by a certain number of metrics that you should use to evaluate the effectiveness of content marketing campaign.
2. Understand your audience
This step is quite tricky. To begin with, you need to understand your typical reader. You may actually be quite concrete here:
Patrick, 24 years old, drives Range Rover Sport 2006, has a girlfriend. He spends time and money on communication, talks about sports, music and cars. He drinks Budweiser; sometimes good whiskey (he thinks it’s cool). He wears Ralph Lauren shirts, but cannot afford other brand clothes, so he wears regular jeans and shoes. He believes that brand is as important as the product itself and that influences his behavior as a consumer.
It is important to have a clear image of your customers when you plan your content marketing strategy; so you need to make an analysis here. You need to find out what place your product, services or content takes in your customers’ lives.
After you understand the peculiarities of your audience, you can go to planning your winning strategy. There are many ways to make a plan, here are some templates.
3. Theme Planning
When you have a picture of your basic audience, you need to work out some sort of platform to interact with it. Arrange some brainstorming sessions with your team. Take a look at the question with different angles. For example, if you are selling time-management software for businessmen, your main theme may be productivity. You can also touch the topics of time management, self-development, discipline, etc.
4. Choose the channels and the content
Many content marketing campaigns fail because they try to do everything, be everywhere and use every type of content there is. Well, it might work if you have huge budgets, many offices, and teams. If your resources are not so broad, you need to make some logical choices. Decide whether you need a blog, what social media you want to conquer and what type of content you will use. It is better to focus on several types of content but do the best with them than to use everything sacrificing the quality.
The first point of this article should help you decide which type of content you need to use and where to distribute this content. If your goal, for example, is brand awareness, you should focus on your blog and social networks such as Facebook. If you seek conversions, you may opt for blog posts, press releases, etc.
At this point, you should turn your content marketing strategy into some sort of calendar or a step-by-step plan of releasing your content. This calendar may be created for a month, season or even a year; it all depends on the activity and seasonality of your niche. If you are in the fashion business, it is logical to be attached to seasons; if it is insurance business, it can be a yearly plan. You can create one topic for one month and develop it into small content pieces for every week, for example.
6. Improve your content
If you seemingly do everything right, but the results are not so impressive, maybe the thing is in the quality of your content. You need to understand that you cannot make it with a so-so content these days. People are as demanding as never before and they won’t read your post, watch your video, participate in your polls or look through your pics if they doubt they’ll bring any use to them. Your content should help people solve their problems, entertain them, inform them or even shock them. If it doesn’t bring any information or emotion, it won’t work.
If you have in-house writers, you need to rearrange their work, encourage their creativity and create a clear plan of topics and themes to cover. If they suffer from some kind of writer’s block, let them rest for a couple of days and gather the material they think would improve the situation. If it doesn’t help, maybe you should consider hiring new writers or seeking talented freelancers. If your utter goal right now is to improve your content marketing, maybe you should start with this.
7. Hire professionals
If your content marketing results don’t cover the investments, maybe you have a lousy content manager. In this case, you should either give him or her a chance to improve their skills and to come up with new ideas or you can hire new people. A good content manager is actually one of the most important things for a campaign.
8. Have a strict plan for publications
You need to be quite precise with the time you publish posts, send e-mails or post news in social networks. Knowing your audience will help you with that. Create a plan when to make publications and stick to it so that your readers see the important information and do what you want them to do.
As it’s been already said, content marketing is a tricky thing in terms of ROI. You never know for sure whether your investments will return when you start a marketing campaign. However, if you make a precise plan and think every detail through, your strategy may bring incredible results.
Disclaimer: All images are provided by author.