Three ways to crack the more vs. less marketing content conundrum

Running, in some ways, is a lot like content marketing. Why? With running, some articles say a walk would be healthier, while others extol the virtues of regular running – and it can be difficult to know which is best.

With content marketing you read headlines about the power of having ample content and the need to produce more of it and as quickly as possible.

On the flip side you’ll hear about plenty to temper that view, like the recent survey from The Economist Group which states that 3 in 5 global executives admit to sometimes feeling overwhelmed by the volume of content they encounter.

This very concept of more vs. less was explored at the Marketing Cloud All-Stars Debate I took part in at Technology for Marketing (TFM) in London late last month.

Chaired by the content marketing visionary Joe Pulizzi, the debate covered a lot of ground but what was prominent to me throughout the discussions was that our approach to the amount of content we create needs to be the same as our approach to running – tailored to each individual.

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1.Can you meaningfully measure the performance/impact of your content?

When considering your marketing mix, the programs you run and channels you use typically have well-established metrics.

Over the years, the subject of content marketing measurement has been discussed widely and yet, it may still feel like there are no clear or standard metrics to measure the impact your content investments are having.

While an organisation’s approach to metrics can certainly vary based on company size or industry, there is always a way to measure your content performance – and it starts by understanding your goals.

Maybe you’re using content to drive organic traffic to your website and increase your social media following – these are both very measurable objectives.

Some organisations, particularly B2B companies and consumer companies with considered purchase products, measure the pipeline impact of content which is essentially asking the question – how it’s driving prospects through the customer lifecycle?

To answer the questions ‘do I have enough content?’ is impossible to answer without having the ability to measure.

2. Do you have a content promotion process that supports the specific objectives of your content?

Having a content promotion plan in place ensures that, both internally and externally, the right people are aware of the existence of your asset.

For example, when we launch one of our big Definitive Guides at Marketo, we assign a dedicated project manager who is responsible for the promotion plan.

This plan covers how the content will be shared across our different channels, including social media, and how the guide will be promoted through advertising on different platforms to reach the right audience.

The key takeaway from this strategy is that you need to put as much focus on your content promotion plan as the content creation itself. Only when you ensure the promotion plan supports the asset’s objectives can you fairly judge the content’s performance or compare it against others.

Today, promoting your content is very different with all of the opportunities that native advertising, for example social media, presents. Reaching new and highly targeted audiences has never been so easy through digital advertising.

3. Does your content have relevance AND resonance for your intended audience?

Over the years, the well-known mantra of “content is king” has evolved into “content is king and context is queen,” which highlights that content alone is not enough to truly engage your audience.

Marketing success comes from sharing relevant content at the right time, with the right individual. But is there something beyond relevance?

It’s certainly essential and will get you attention but achieving resonance can get you action. Joe Pulizzi put it most succinctly in a Tweet which questioned “Does your #content make your audience want to get up & do something? #CMWorld”

The three questions above will help you evaluate some fundamental practices for measuring your content marketing investment.

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the questions, it’s time to take stock before creating more content and put strong strategies in place. It is important to recognise that there is not one solution to fit all and it may be trial and error to find the best content strategy for your organisation.

Peter Bell is EMEA Senior Director, Product Marketing at Marketo

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