How to Predict and Measure Content Effectiveness
By Katie Parr
A lot of time and money is put into content marketing programs. So how can you ensure your content will be effective? And how can you ensure its effectiveness across the perspectives of search engines, your customers, and your business goals?
In this blog, we help you determine the types of content your organization should be producing, the types of data that informs content decisions, and how to align key stakeholders around your content marketing goals.
The True Cost of Content
The true cost of content might vary slightly from company to company, but certainly, the true cost will include the time it takes to plan, create, and develop the content assets. In terms of distribution, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of producing and publishing advertisements, or other activities involved in the content promotion process.
However, determining the true cost of content doesn’t stop there. What you really need to focus on when developing your content marketing strategy is how you can spend your money wisely so that over time, you’re getting the most value out of the activities that need to happen around content, and also ensure you’re getting a return on your investment. When your activities are aligned with your overall business strategy and goals, you can produce a lot of repeatable value from them over time.
What Content Should Your Organization Be Producing?
A big part of our job here at UPRAISE is helping organizations transform their approach to content. The initial phases of launching a content marketing program involve an analysis and audit of the current content efforts to gain an understanding of what’s going on. What we often find is that a lot of companies have accumulated tons of content over the years, but maybe 20% of that content is producing 80% of the results. This usually happens when there isn’t a clear strategy or consideration of the data.
When considering the types of content that you should produce, you need to ask and answer a few questions, such as: Who exactly are you trying to reach? What is their journey? What can you offer them in the course of that journey from a content perspective? What are you really trying to accomplish with the content? For example: Are you trying to change their perception of you? Are you trying to help them make a decision? Are you trying to just start a relationship by offering them guidance or useful tips to get them engaged in an ongoing newsletter or another kind of touchpoint? Without having those kinds of things clearly articulated, it’s difficult to align what kinds of content you’re creating and offering, which in turn makes it difficult to align the delivery and distribution of that content to the right touchpoints in the journey.
Use Data to Determine What Will Be Effective
As companies are beginning to realize how important content is to them—with things like the pandemic really exasperating this fact—we have an exciting opportunity to get more efficient with content by using data to really inform that efficiency and to better understand what has been effective so far, and therefore understand what might be effective in the future.
So, what types of data should inform our content decisions? Again, it depends on the organization, but we generally look at the behavioral analytics data, the perception and voice of customer data, and try to steer clear of vanity metrics. For example, if we see that we reached a lot of people with a piece of content, we then determine if those were the right people. We do this by answering questions like: Did we reach the right personas, the right segments? Did we have the kind of impact that we were looking for? Did we change their attitude toward us? Did we raise their awareness of us? Did we help people move from one phase of the journey to the next? Tools like Market Muse can help highlight what kinds of topics a brand could fill more effectively and what topics are popular, as opposed to just looking at the broad traffic data.
Align Stakeholders Around Content Goals
Content creators and strategists are posed with the unique challenge of writing for search engine success, writing to appeal to the clients and potential customers, and still needing it to make sense for the business.
To ensure that content is getting its fair share of the marketing budget, your company’s stakeholders need to understand that content is an investment, and what the return on that investment is likely to be. Make sure to involve your stakeholders in the strategic planning process and define clear questions that need to be answered on an ongoing basis in order to understand whether you are making progress on executing this strategy. You can involve stakeholders in figuring out some of those key questions, refine those questions, and take a look at what data you have available to find answers or shed light on the possible answers. You might not have all the data to answer every question, but you likely can make some progress and then identify gaps which will help you figure out how and where you might get more data to better inform your answers in the future. If you start to walk stakeholders through this process, they’ll be more likely to support your content efforts.
If your organization is interested in advancing its approach to content, UPRAISE is here to help! We’d love to talk with you about the progress we can make together in how we think about the cost of content and really making it a more prominent part of your organization’s budget. Contact us to get started.