Viewing content marketing strategies through a performance marketer's eyes can help marketers see that each piece of content needs to be created with performance in mind.
Plenty of articles are out in the market now questioning the return on investment (ROI) from content marketing. How can you prove value? Is content marketing only an engagement tactic? Can it drive my bottom line?
These questions stem from something that tends to get lost in all of the clutter at the content strategy stage. All of your content must be created with performance in mind. Every article, every video, every addition to your core website, and all content you put out in social media must be focused around strategic objectives. Do you know what drumbeat social media messaging does for your overarching business goals? Sure, you grow your Facebook followers, but with the reduction in organic viewability, it would be tough to not spend that same budget on running a Facebook Custom Audience retargeting campaign that will drive revenue. Is someone reading your brand's article on baking the best cupcakes going to help you sell more tires?
Let's walk through three places that should go in the top of your content strategy.
Revisit Business Critical Content
Love it or hate it, search drives a lot of business for most brands. Before you start creating a drama miniseries on YouTube with some product placement scattered in, do a content GAP analysis on your website. Start with a big build-out of all possible branded keywords and progress deeply into non-brand. How many of the branded keywords alone have rankings outside of the top two to three positions? These people are already interested in an aspect of your brand, yet your website doesn't have content to satiate the informational needs of these high-converting consumers. Put the "10 best" articles on hold and fill the gaps on your business critical content deficiencies first.
Optimize Your Video Content
Check YouTube's Keyword Tool for these same keywords to get an idea of how much native traffic you could be getting with proper video creation and optimization. Extra points if you are checking Google SERPs for the higher volume queries to see if video results are triggering. It might be time to focus on providing more information through video on your products and offerings before you pay more money for engagements. Don't get me wrong, engaging content can be very strong for a brand, but investing in the revenue drivers first can help fund new messaging types.
Social Media - Earned and Paid
Some brands are really great at producing good social content that people find engaging. Most aren't. This is a time to do what you do well. The concept of drumbeat content on social channels is painful. Facebook realized that most people on a social network want to stalk their friends rather than see some "like-bait" from a brand, which is now why you have to pay to force someone to bear witness to posts about cute puppies from an aftermarket automotive parts company.
Your brand should still inform people of great offers, share great news about your brand, and should definitely be ready to handle news that can harm the brand. Do this and do it well. It might be worthwhile to assess your budget for social and possibly drop drumbeat content. Take that money and do great posts that users will share without you having to ask, with creative that is pushing something that drives revenue to your company.
Great content can mean a lot of very different things, but if you only are focused on jumping onto the content marketing bandwagon because you think you need to, you will be stuck trying to justify the ROI.