2015 was the year of content transformation. More and more businesses started looking towards visual content rather than written content. One leading factor was that the average internet user’s attention span dropped below that of a goldfish.
So, here is where you should focus your content attention in 2016.
Creating more engaging/higher quality content
It all starts with a solid content plan, best represented by an editorial calendar. Whether you are planning content for social media, a newsletter blast or your blog, you need a consistent way of mapping out that content.
Simply defined, editorial calendars are tools used predominantly by marketers to schedule, keep track and control the publication of content across different media. You can create one on your paper notebook, use a spreadsheet on Google drive, find free templates to download and even use plugins for WordPress and similar platforms.
Starting an editorial calendar will keep you engaged with your content creation, help you think ahead and push you to do more research on timely topics. This will inevitably result in better researched and more engaging content.
There does NOT have to be a sales pitch in every piece of content that you write. Consumers have never, in the history of digital marketing, been more repelled by sales newsletters, landing pages and pop up ads. Adblock has become the most used browser plugin, with an ad blocking growth rate of 43% per year for a reason. Don’t add to that reason.
Your content must give your audience the chance to get to know you better and like you (or your brand). Be informative, be creative, be useful. Don’t tell people to buy your socks because they are awesome and currently on special for $4.99! Tell them that socks are the most purchased clothing items and yet the least donated clothing item in North America. Tell them how wearing socks saves lives, be creative!
Higher quality does not mean to spam your clients with higher discounts!
Here’s a few necessary steps to do that:
- Know your buyer’s persona. Know who you are writing this content for.
- Know what is trending and utilize it within your industry. “Three Reasons You Should Not Twerk While Wearing Songs on Hardwood Floor” – share that bad boy!
- Take advantage of BuzzSumo and similar content analytics and performance platforms. See what content is earning social media attention in your niche and make it better!
- Set Google Alerts, because you don’t want to miss a thing! I apologize for the lyrical deviation here.
- Start curating content. Hubspot has a great list of tools you can use in order to stay current with the content that matters.
Better converting visitors to website
It is time to take a serious look at your structured approach towards conversion optimization; assuming you want to see a large increase in sales, as reported by Econsultancy.com.
Making a landing page with a few call-to-actions is so early 2000s. The era of testing/adjusting/testing some more/implementing/and testing some more has already begun, I suggest you synchronize your watch.
There are three steps to structured approach towards conversion optimization:
Know what and how you are planning on structuring and improving. Locate the weak links in your funnel. Know where your traffic is bouncing the most and start planning a strategy of improvement. This can include:
- A/B testing landing pages or offers.
- Implementing a “Chat Now” form to answer queries more efficiently.
- Placing a security seal on your website.
- Changing the colour of your call to action button.
- Showing testimonials.
- Using shorter submission forms.
There are tons of places to improve your conversions, all you need to do to find them is look.
Once you’ve determined your leaks, start implementing the structured changes that you have set to do.
Measure your results by comparing to your previous stats.
Keep those stats in mind when re-structuring for conversion optimization:
- A one second delay in page load is shown to result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
- More landing pages = more business.
- Businesses have noticed up to 144% increase in product purchases by adding product videos.
- A/B testing For The Win!
Better understanding of what content is effective and what isn’t
Learning how to associate data and metrics to a specific piece of content is essential to any long term content marketing strategy. It is key to approach your analytics and measurement programs using the right mind set. Don’t just make sure that your “graph” is going diagonally up, make sure you understand what the “graph” represents.
Having said that, you need to be able to attribute the correct metrics to the corresponding pieces of content. For example, likes and shares are a suitable measurement indicator for visual content, such as memes, GIFs and short infographics.
However, a lot of audiences speak with their time. So, for written pieces of content, such as blog posts, press releases and articles, you have to look at bounce rates, time spent on page, frequency and engagement reports from your analytics tools.
In this sense, the most important thing is to identify the metric that will be used to measure the different types of content. This is something that needs to be done in the setup stages of your content marketing initiative. Think ahead, plan how to track your content before you release it.
Don’t limit yourself to Google analytics, there are other powerful tools for content marketing, such as HubSpot’s marketing platform.
Finding more/better ways to repurpose content
Why should you bother recreating old content into something else? The old expression “different strokes for different folks” is an effective answer to this question.
Your ideal customers might have a lot of common demographics such as age, location and family income. They also may share similarities in terms of interests and hobbies. However, it is quite likely that they enjoy different types of content when it comes to receiving information.
Repurposing your content (old, new and current) for different marketing mediums, allows you to expand your reach.
Some people prefer to read about statistics, others to see an infographic. Don’t forget that there are visual, auditory and verbal learners out there. They can all fit within your buyer’s persona. You just need to reach them via different mediums.
Here are some ideas how you can dust off some old content and transform it:
- Webinars, blog posts, pretty much anything written into a video.
- Internal data makes for great case studies.
- Create guides out of a collection of old blog posts.
- Turn your Q&A of FAQ into blog posts.
- PowerPoint presentations to Slidedeck.
- Turn interviews to more guides.
- Throw your visual content on Pinterest and create new boards.
- Any slideshow and internal data can be turned into an infographic.
- Any blog post and interview can become a podcast.
Create Visual Content
Humans now officially have a shorter attention span than the notoriously ill-focused goldfish. In 2013 Microsoft released a new study highlighting that our attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. Or, one second lower than the attention span of a goldfish.
B2B and B2C digital marketers need to make the switch to visuals, because symbolic language takes far too long. Here are a few compelling reasons why you need to make the move towards visuals:
- Brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than words.
- Web pages with captivating images receive 94 percent more views than pages that lack visuals.
- Pages that have embedded videos will on average generate 100 percent more time on site.
- Infobesity is real!
- People retain 58% more information when both the visual and the auditory senses are engaged.
Depending on the size and type of your business, there are a variety of ways to strengthen the collected knowledge about your audience.
Meeting up with customers over Frappuccino every Tuesday and Thursday to pick their brains might not be the right strategy for you. Especially if you are a part of a smaller businesses with limited marketing budget, or an eCommerce website that sells cat furniture.
Social listening, however, is a marketing research practice suitable to businesses of all sizes. In other words, monitor the digital media channels where your customers are most engaged. These can include social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram as well as forums and blogs.
Measuring content marketing ROI
The search query “content marketing ROI” returns 18,500,000 results on Google.
This is 18.5 million, mostly, non-actionable results.
For the sake of your business, or your clients, you need to learn how to place a dollar value on your content marketing strategy. Let’s take on-page content for example.
The easiest formula you can use is to calculate what your organic traffic would have cost if was Google Adwords traffic. In order to do this, you need access to your Google Analytics and Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool.
- Segregate your on-page content and only look at the organic traffic for the period of traffic that interests you.
- Determine the CPC (cost-per-click) for any primary keywords and key phrases. Do that for each separate piece of content.
- Multiply your primary search query’s CPC by the number of organic entrances.
- Extrapolate your results into an Excel file using a linear extrapolation formula. This will help even out the organic traffic which usually follows a shallow bell curve.
Get to know your metrics better, so you can attribute dollar values on consumption, lead generation and sharing metrics. There is a wide array of website metrics that can be used as KPIs (key performance indicators), such as unique visits, downloads, pages viewed, time-on-site, etc…
The most crucial part of glazing into analytics and metrics all day long is to be able to determine their actionable value. For instance, what percentage of unique visitors to a blog post jumped to your services page and requested a free consultation?
Remember, content can only be “King” if utilized the right way. Otherwise, it is just another peasant in a kingdom of chaos and anarchy.