Posted on March 22, 2015 by Larry Levy

Altimeter Looks At Measuring Content Marketing in a Fundamentally Different Way

The challenges and importance of measuring content marketing results is central to what we do at Appinions, and so we’re excited to see the new Altimeter report “Content Marketing Performance: A Framework to Measure Real-World Impact.” Susan Etlinger and Rebecca Lieb do a great job in this report explaining the challenging current standards and practices for measuring content marketing results.

AltimeterCover

Content Results Must Be Measured
The report begins with a great definition of the problem: “…there are few to no standards that adquately capture the impact of content on the business, whether from a reputation, revenue, operational, or brand perspective.” Twenty five pages later it concludes by stressing the importance of finding better solutions: “There is no content strategy without a measurement strategy.”

We couldn’t agree more.

The Appinions Attention Analytics platform addresses a central theme of the report –  the fact that the diversity of content marketing channels and the endless ways consumer consume and share content cannot be captured and reflected by the simple volume counting metrics (clicks, follows, downloads, etc) that most marketers use to attempt to measure content marketing progress and results.

Measuring Aggregate Impact Rather Than Component Performance
The metrics that come from web analytics packages, social media monitoring tools, and campaign-based platforms are focused on measuring the individual elements of diverse and campaign based content marketing program. They may have the ability to ‘role up’ results for a series of releases, or to summarize the actions causes by a particular channel, but they’re ultimately providing feedback about components of your overall effort not the results of the aggregate effort. In contrast, the Appinions Active Attention Index provides a single comprehensive measure of content marketing impact across all activities and all channels – exactly the kind of solution the report strongly advises.

The key to creating this universal measure is that in order to calculate our attention index, we look at the full spectrum of reactions people have across news, blogs, and social media. So no matter what format your content takes, or where it is published, reactions are captured if they result in quotations in the press, discussions among bloggers, or tweets from customers. By finding all relevant opinions shared across the media landscape, the Attention Index is able to encapsulate and summarize the overall impact of your diverse campaigns.

Measuring Brand Health
Altimeter uses the term “Brand Health” to summarize the first and most fundamental layer of recommended measurement. They define this category as the “attitudes, conversations and behaviour directed towards the brand” and it represents the class of measurements that Appinions most strongly and completely delivers to content marketers.

In fact, our Attention Index is a more comprehensive measure of the brand health issues the report discusses than any of those they employ in the included case study or in the supplimental ‘Metrics and Insights’ list – although the Appinions platform does provide each of those metrics as well. To learn more about how Appinions delivers the “Who-What-Where” group of metrics they recommend, check out our ‘Data Drive Content Marketing‘ white-paper which includes details and examples.

Share of Attention and Other Benchmarks
In the report, Altimeter notes the value of tracking metric changes over time. This has long been an Appinions best practice, as we encourage early-and-often benchmarking for attention levels and attention share in a marketplace, for your brand, for brand thought-leaders as well as the comparative tracking of competitors. Measuring the impact of your programs in terms of each of these facets, is a powerful way to guage the overall effect that your diverse content marketing programs are having across your marketplace over time.

Recommendations
The Altimeter Report concludes with four valuable recommendations:

  1. Measurement must be the foundational principle of content strategy.
  2. Every measurement strategy must focus on business outcome.
  3. Know your metrics and your data.
  4. Be realistic about organizational capabilities and tools.

Using the Appinions platform to anchor content marketing measurement is a powerful step towards implementing these four important recommendations. Using your Attention Index as the central measure of your program, makes a metric-driven ‘foundational principle’ clear for the entire organization. The rich nature of the supporting Appinions data provides each member of the team with actionable insights that support their desired business outcomes.

To learn more about the Appinions platform and schedule a personal demonstration, contact us today.

Posted on March 12, 2015 by sgoldner

Why Content Production Is More Important Than You Think It Is

By Steve Goldner

Businesses need to blog. Sure you expect to see a comment like that on the blog for a content marketing brand. But let’s examine why that really might be so.

Probably the best reason to blog is that it helps to establish a brand or individual as a subject matter expert in a particular field. Assuming the brand or individual has strong knowledge and expertise in a specific area, blogging helps to reinforce the entity as a thought leader for relevant topics. So long as you look to add value for your audience and not use a blog to push your product, blogging helps to build relationships and trust.

great content

Blogging is definitely a way to help your audience build affinity for your brand, but did you ever stop and think how blogging can actually help you? How many times during the week do you have a thought about something that happens in your profession? Do you take time to think it through and detail a solution or position? When you are committed to blogging you force yourself to think it through and work out details. You realize this information is important to your audience. As a result of completing a solution or thought for your content production, your knowledge and expertise actually increases. I think this commitment to content productions makes content marketers work through more solutions than an inactive content producer. Not only that, content marketers sharpen their thoughts and become more attuned to their profession. The preparation and action of content production takes you deeper into your profession. The fact that you have thought through the topic and detailed a solution or stance now makes you better prepared for discussions on the topic whether they are online or offline.

Another important aspect is that when you write an article on a topic, you now have a documented stance and position. When you engage in conversation with others, often the same topic comes up. Point people to what you have written.

There are other reasons content production is very important. It provokes conversation and engagement. And when you continuously deliver content in a topical area, your SEO and listing on Google increases.

Content production creates many advantages for your brand to get out in front of your target audience and be visible. If you continue to deliver valuable content, you increase the overall user experience for your brand. Establishing this emotion with your target audience increases consideration and loyalty for the brand. It may even produce some advocacy or word-of-mouth marketing for your brand. If an audience member really likes your content, they are likely to share it.

So there are definite compelling reasons to be committed to producing content. Think of it as continuous brand recognition. But as I stated, blogging will make you a better product/service marketer as well. It will force you to stay abreast to the issues, challenges, and solutions that your target market requires. It allows you to be more externally focused and not so caught up in your company’s internal world and agenda.

Tune into the target audience world outside of your company and give your audience a reason to want to stay engaged with your brand. Blog away …

Make It Happen!

Steve Goldner is the Content Advisor for Opinions. This article is part of the Content Marketing Series he is covering to help marketers get better ROI from their efforts. Appinions is a data driven content marketing platform providing clarity on content generation and distribution.

Posted on March 8, 2015 by sgoldner

Content Has Longer Life Than You Think

By Steve Goldner

How much time does it take to produce content? An article – a few hours. A picture – a few seconds and maybe an hour of planning ahead. A video – okay, that takes a bulk of time.

How long does it take to produce a post? A couple of minutes at most.

But here is the kicker … what is the lifespan of a Facebook post? From a couple of hours up to maybe 12 hours. A Tweet? Maybe 15 minutes.

But content such as an article or a video – that has lasting value. Content that is a story, entertainment, or something that educates can be referred to for years. You will find you that when you engage with your audience, topics comes up that you have already covered in your content production. If you take time to compile a worthy story, document a helpful solution, or enlighten your audience, then you have produced something that has continuous value to people for a number of years.

content life

I have been blogging since 2009 so I will give you a couple of personal examples. Just to set the stage, I blog on digital/social marketing and marketing in general. My objective in blogging on The SocialSteve Blog is to be viewed as a digital marketing thought leader, to build connections and relationships with professionals to extend my network – no hidden agenda.

Probably the most successful article I wrote (Know What Successful Social Media Looks Like) was written almost three years ago. I still get references to the article and click-thrus to that content. The fact that I know it is a topic that many want to still read about means that I continue to periodically share that article on Twitter and LinkedIn. It still generates a decent amount of interest, which means my brand continues to build awareness, affinity, and trust.

Other topics may lose their relevance as culture morphs and associated content may not have the same shelf life. But that does not mean they are perishable. I have covered the changing nature of Facebook as a marketers tool since the beginning of my blogging. Readers of The SocialSteve Blog have been conditioned to expect the most current and forward thinking direction for Facebook marketing as a result of reading my blog for years. Old content establishes you or your brand as a thought leader on a given topic. Your audience looks for your continued commentary as changes evolve on given topics.

Now this “content” I provide here is not meant to highlight my personal blog, but I do mean to give an example to demonstrate what can be accomplished with your brand. If you ask why your company should commit to blogging and content, there is a simple answer. Kickass content increases awareness, consideration, and loyalty for your brand. It drives referral and advocacies. And unlike advertisements and postings, content can last for many years and be recycled.

Make It Happen

Steve Goldner is the Content Advisor for Appinions. This article is part of the Content Marketing Series he is covering to help marketers get better ROI from their efforts. Appinions is a data driven content marketing platform providing clarity on content generation and distribution.

Posted on March 5, 2015 by sgoldner

In the 80s it was Storyboarding; Today it Is Storytelling – What’s Changed?

By Steve Goldner

storyboard storytelling

I remember early in my marketing career the CMO for the company I was working for asked us to report to the “war room.” I had never heard of a war room in business. According to Merriam-Webster, a war room is a room where battles are planned and where people meet and exchange plans, ideas, information, etc., in an active way. This was exciting … we were actually going to do some marketing strategy and planning as opposed to the usual operation of just responding to RFPs (request for proposals) and sending out sales guys.

So the first activity we went through as a marketing organization was to storyboard our client purchase decision and sale path. At that point, we went from military culture of having a war room to Disney culture of storyboarding. Like I said, this was early in my marketing career and I was puzzled. But the more we got into it, the more it was beginning to make sense.

Wikipedia defines a storyboard as “a graphic organizer in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture …” From a business perspective, storyboarding is used to turn vague ideas to executable solutions. If you want an excellent guide to storyboarding see Google Ventures’ Jake Knapp “The 8 Steps To Creating A Great Storyboard.”

In the world of content marketing, how many times have you heard “storytelling?” Just about everyone on the content marketing bandwagon emphasize that brand content should not be advertorial. It should be storytelling-esque. Audiences are much more open to reading and hearing stories than stoic corporate literature.

Now many marketers have a problem getting out of the corporate-agenda mentality. Especially when it comes to producing content that will resonate with their audience and be shared by their audience. Storyboarding is a fantastic way to get to storytelling. Chart out a storyboard for your customer’s/client’s purchase journey. Detail different stages where targets seek different types of information. Detail different emotional feelings they are likely to have at different points in their journey. Once you have done a solid storyboard of their journey, examine various phases within the storyboard timeline. Find the parts that lend themselves well to explanations, anecdotes, and human interests stories. Use this information to create a handful of mini-storyboards. These mini storyboards are actually “acts” in your “business motion picture.” Find the customer journey segment opportunities to provide help in an entertaining storytelling-like way. Share experiences you have seen from other customers at that point. Share stories describing how you came to a solution at that point. What were the motivations behind your product or service solutions? What were some interesting points and perceptions you learned along the way? How did your early adopters react?

This activity of storyboarding is likely to unveil epiphanies that lead to your storytelling. The key point about storyboarding as it relates to storytelling is that it allows you to visualize the path and journey you want to traverse your audience through. Once you have that in place it is now up to you to produce material that plays like a short motion picture. You can do it. Throw away your corporate speak and just be you.

Make It Happen!

Steve Goldner is the Content Advisor for Appinions. This article is part of the Content Marketing Series he is covering to help marketers get better ROI from their efforts. Appinions is a data driven content marketing platform providing clarity on content generation and distribution.

 

Posted on March 1, 2015 by sgoldner

5 Examples of Content Marketing Excellence and Why

By Steve Goldner

 

In the past 20 or so articles, I have given you information and rationalizations to help you become a better content marketer. (For starters look at the content marketing playbook – Content Marketing 101 through Content Marketing 112). Now I want to give you five examples of companies that have done an excellent job with content marketing. Each company is very different … I want to demonstrate that it really does not matter what business you are in. You can deliver great value to your target audience via great content.

Farmers Insurance Group

Farmers Insurance 1

 

Farmers Insurance 2

 

Farmers focus is to deliver education on home safety and driving. Makes sense. They sell homeowners and auto insurance. Their content is completely aligned with the value their product delivers. They used a little known actor (J. K. Simmons) as their professor of safety. That is, J. K. was little known when they contracted him. Now that he swept many awards as a leading actor (including an Oscar), everyone knows him. Pretty forward thinking on the behalf of Farmers. If you go to Farmers’ site you will see a Farmers Inner Circle, which includes an extensive library of helpful tips around home maintenance and repairs, budgeting, auto care and insurance, and more. As a result, the site captures approximately 1.5 million unique visitors per month. Not bad for an insurance company. Consider all these visitors leads or loyal customers.

Birchbox

Birchbox 1

 

Birchbox 2

 

I always say that brands should think like a publisher. And Birchbox does exactly that by producing “The Magazine.” The Magazine provides valuable tips on grooming, hair, and the latest trends. The content they deliver is true to their brand as it focuses on personal style. They produce many pictures so The Magazine feels more like a “look book” then content pushing their products. This helps Birchbox stand out in an extremely crowded online retailer space. This results in almost 8 million unique visitors to their site per month and almost 8 Million views of their videos on YouTube.

American Express

American Express

 

Through American Express’ OPEN Forum, AMEX helps small business owners succeed. They provide advice for small businesses on leadership, marketing, finances, and many other business issues. They provide both original content and user-generated content (UGC). I really like OPEN Forum for two particular reasons. First, it demonstrates how easy and successful content marketing is for a B2B company by providing answers to solutions rather than pushing product. This is really important in making a target audience comfortable and winning them over. Second, is the use of UGC. Tap into your audience and let them help other users. The OPEN Forum delivers great results – over 16 million unique visitors per month and one-quarter of a million link back referrals.

Red Bull

RedBull 1

RedBull 2

 

Red Bull is one of the leading content marketing companies. But they do not talk about their product. They reinforce the lifestyle of a Red Bull drinker – a highly active extreme sport enthusiast. Many are familiar with their sponsorship and live coverage of the Stratos Jump. 8 million have viewed it. But go to their site on any given day and you will find other content on BASE Jumps, workouts, motor biking and a whole array of extreme sport activities. Red Bull has won almost 1 billion YouTube views and over 400 thousand referral links (awesome advocacy) to their content.

IBM

IBM 1

IBM 2

 

IBM is a technology company looking to deliver products that make “A Smarter Planet.” IBM provides an exhaustive library of case studies, technical resources, analyst papers, and executive briefs that it shares with everyone on their site. They also cover topics on technological innovation and advancements on their “Building a Smarter Planet Blog.” IBM is a great B2B example of a company sharing their solutions to strengthen their brand position and perception as a technology leader. They have won over 20 million views of their videos on YouTube, drive over 1.5 million unique visitors to their site and have almost three-quarter of a million referral links backs to their content.

These are five pinnacle examples of companies doing an awesome job with content marketing. You may not drive results to the magnitude of success as these companies have, but certainly you can reach relative great results with your content marketing when done right.

Make It Happen!

 

Steve Goldner is the Content Advisor for Appinions. This article is part of the Content Marketing Series he is covering to help marketers get better ROI from their efforts. Appinions is a data driven content marketing platform providing clarity on content generation and distribution.

 

 

Posted on February 26, 2015 by sgoldner

The Practice of Digital Ad Blocking Magnifies the Importance of Content Marketing

By Steve Goldner

Ad blocking technology removes ads from the Internet via a browser extension. Two of the most popular extensions are Adblock and Adblock Plus. These extensions are available for every browser. According to ClarityRay, a recent acquisition of Yahoo, about 9% of ads were blocked from a sample set of 100 million impressions.

ad block

While some big companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are paying ad block software providers to unblock ads on their websites, ad blocking should be a growing concern by digital advertising brands. Whether you agree with ad blocking or as a digital marketer you feel like someone has just unplugged your conduit to your target audience, user behavior cannot be ignored.

It is estimated that 144 million Internet users worldwide currently have active ad-blocking software. This is about 5 percent of all Internet users. In the US, that figure is projected to be in double digits. (Figures are found in a recent report from Adobe and PageFair.)

BI ad block chart
(Source)

The growing trend of usage of ad blocking must speak loudly to marketers. Marketers must understand their audience. The spiked increase of ad blocking usage means that the audience has spoken and their voice is getting louder. The audience is saying that they do not want to be interrupted by ads on digital channels they frequent. They do not want brands to infringe on their digital experience.

This creates a huge challenge for marketers. Marketers want to go to the channels where their audience goes and influence them there. But at the same time, the audience is saying, “I don’t want you to show up there.”

I think the real issue is the manner in which marketers show up. It is like they show up at a busy party and try to say, “Stop what you are doing and listen to me.” Try that the next time you go to a gathering. People will definitely take a WTF attitude and be turned off.

The answer to this problem is for marketers to show up where their audience congregates, but do it on the terms of the audience they wish to win over. What does your audience want? They do not want blatant ads thrown in their face. They want help. They want to be entertained.

What if you thought about giving your audience exactly what they wanted? Don’t you think you would have a better chance of winning them over as opposed to being abrupt and pushy? Develop content that they will value. Deliver content that answers problems in their lives. Content they will want to share with others. Be a helpful reliable resource.

I am not suggesting that content marketing is a powerful alternative to display ads because I am blogging on a company blog that helps marketers with a data driven content marketing strategy and plan. My recommendations are driven by empathy for users. The audience has demonstrated a growing and trending behavior of using ad blockers. Rather than simply taking my suggestion, examine your audience. Understand what motivates them and disenchants them.

Make It Happen!

Steve Goldner is the Content Advisor for Appinions. This article is part of the Content Marketing Series he is covering to help marketers get better ROI from their efforts. Appinions is a data driven content marketing platform providing clarity on content generation and distribution.

Posted on February 22, 2015 by sgoldner

Why Content Marketing is an Imperative Part of Digital Marketing

By Steve Goldner

Content Marketing within Marketing

Wikipedia states “Marketing is communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.” But if we want to win over a target audience, pushing advertorial communication in their face certainly is not the answer. Today, we call that interruption marketing. It just does not work (by itself).

If we take a further look at audience behavior we learn that less and less are getting product information from the places they did so twenty and thirty years ago. That was from media channels such as TV, print, and radio. People learn to tune out TV commercials and fast-forward through them. Print, as an information source, is replaced by digital. Many people view “TV content” via digital devices. When we look at audience behavior, it is no surprise that digital marketing is growing and will continue to grow.

US Digital Marketing Spend
Source

Digital marketing leverages the ubiquitous use of electronic devices such as PCs, smartphones, tablets and game consoles. Digital marketing is delivered via websites, e-mail, apps and social platforms or networks.

Digital is more than a marketer’s tool. Digital is also the way our society and culture communicate. And this communication spreads wide and fast. The user habits of the millennial demographics have greatly influenced all other age demographics across age, gender, income-levels, geography, you name it. Even in countries and regions that never had telecommunications infrastructures, wireless digital communication is widely used. People have access to and use of websites, email, SMS, apps, and social networks. They communicate and share information and advice via digital devices and platforms.

If we take into consideration the way people use digital today and we look to have brand awareness, evaluation, consideration, sharing, and advocacy across the digital spectrum of websites, email, apps, and social networks, we see that content is the ONLY marketing deliverable that crosses the entire digital range. Content pieces or references to content can be present in all these digital delivery mechanisms. Content can be shared among individuals (friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, or within communities) across all parts of the digital communication spectrum. Just take a look at the uses for content marketing (as provided in a whitepaper by IBM):

IBM Content Marketing
Source

Content marketing is the most valuable segment of digital marketing because it is threaded across all aspects of can be present in all digital platforms. Content marketing also allows integration across other digital marketing elements such as SEO, email, display, and social. It is no wonder that 77% of marketers will increase content production in the next 12 months.

Newscred produced a very interesting post where they sighted “56 Reasons Why Content Marketing Works.”

They summarized their detail by stating:
1. Content marketing is necessary to efficiently build your business
2. Customer acquisition requires many simultaneous tactics
3. Blogging, email marketing, and social media are the main drivers of brand engagement

This is spot on. The simultaneous tactics required for customer acquisition (and retention, loyalty, and advocacy) are solidified by a cohesive content market strategy, plan, and execution across the main drivers of brand engagement. If you want true synergy in your overall digital marketing, you must have a strong content marketing presence. It is not hype that dictates this, but rather audience behavior.

Make It Happen!

Steve Goldner is the Content Advisor for Appinions. This article is part of the Content Marketing Series he is covering to help marketers get better ROI from their efforts. Appinions is a data driven content marketing platform providing clarity on content generation and distribution.

Posted on February 19, 2015 by sgoldner

The Dirty Little Secret of Content Marketing

By Steve Goldner

dirty little secret

The dirty little secret of content marketing is that the title or headline of your content is more important than the content that follows. Case in point … If I had titled this article “The Title of Your Content is More Important than the Content that Follows,” there is less likelihood that you would have clicked through to a posting of the article. The simple fact is that a provocative heading increases interest and attention to what you have to say. You have 1.5 seconds to get the attention of and attract your targeted audience.

But the implications of a heading for content go way beyond the need to be provocative. Lets first examine how people really use or consume content. We need to understand the motivations for people to read, click thru, and share content. The motivations are not the same for all of these.

To begin, there is one segment of the target audience that consumes content to learn and is seeking help within their professional or personal life. These people value insights, guidance and tips. They are likely to read or view your content if you help to solve challenges they face. That is their motivation for consuming content, but their motivation for sharing the content is completely different. They will share content if it reinforces the persona that they want to be viewed as. They are likely not to share the content if they believe it makes them look uninformed or inferior to their peers. It is like a bumper sticker on a car. People use them to tell the world, this is what really matters to me. This is what I stand for.

Now I just made a key point about why people might share. This brings us to the second segment of the target audience your content resonates with. Some people never consume your content but simply share it based on your title. Their share is much like the bumper sticker the might have on their car. It demonstrates to their audience how they want to be seen. Think about the development of headings and titles for getting your content shared, independent of whether the content is actually going to be read by the sharer. For example numbers in headings often get shared, like, “6 Trends that Define the Future of Digital Marketing.” People share content to reinforce their persona for two general motivational factors. 1) They want to help someone else with something they believe very strongly in, or 2) it further helps to define their personal brand.

Even when people consume your content, they often do not finish it and get to the end. (Are you still reading this – ☺.) Chartbeat assessed user behavior across 2 billion visits and found that most people who click don’t read. 55% of users spent fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page. (Source) So this means a) that you need to get your important information up front, and b) you need to provide concise content that keeps your audience engaged through the end. It also means that your content title or heading drives initial awareness for your brand. That may be enough for your brand objectives. If you want to build affinity for your brand content, you will need to produce stellar content through and through.

But title is equally as important as the entire remaining part of your content. Think about it.

Make It Happen!

Steve Goldner is the Content Advisor for Appinions. This article is part of the Content Marketing Series he is covering to help marketers get better ROI from their efforts. Appinions is a data driven content marketing platform providing clarity on content generation and distribution.

Posted on February 15, 2015 by sgoldner

5 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing is NOT Working

By Steve Goldner

content marketing not working

Content marketing creates awareness and advocacy for your brand if performed correctly. But far too many marketers find that their efforts are not delivering successful empirical results. If you are concerned about the results that you are not achieving via your content marketing efforts, consider the following five reasons why many are not reaping desired results from content marketing endeavors.

1) A lack of understanding what your audience wants and values – about four years ago, I penned an article “The Most Important Word for Marketing.” It highlights the importance of empathy – “the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.“ Whether it is content marketing or any other discipline in marketing, empathy for your audience is the most important factor of success. Understand your audience. Play to their concerns and interests.

2) You talk about you, not what your audience wants – Remember, if you are trying to attract a target audience, it is about their needs and interests. Not your agenda. As discussed in “Content 103: Leveraging Your Brand Position to Produce Compelling Content,” winning content is the intersection of what the brand stands for and what the audience values. Yes, you want to tell your brand story and display your brand expertise, but content must be developed to deliver value to your audience.

3) You do not have a distribution and proliferation plan – producing great content is only the beginning. Great content is worthless if it does not get seen. You need to have a plan to get the content exposed, shared, and proliferated. Successful content proliferation comes from a strong social and influencer marketing strategy and plan.

4) You are not implementing the right tactics to allow your content to be easily shared – are you making it easy for your content to be shared? Do you have share buttons on your content? Are you reaching out to the people that you know that value your content and have a significant network? Do you know the media channels and influencers that carry the topics you cover? Cover the details that will help your content to travel.

5) You do not know what success looks like – what are the realistic outcomes of content marketing. In the article “Content 108: Content Marketing Metrics,” I talked about measuring the stages of the sales-marketing funnel. The funnel stages are awareness, consideration, sales, loyalty, and advocacy. You should not expect sales to be a direct outcome content marketing. But certainly awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy are realistic and compelling outcomes of content marketing. These stages tee up sales. See the Content Marketing Metrics article for the details.

Some say, “don’t sweat the details.” But actually you need to work the important details to make your content marketing drive results. And if you work the details as suggested above, I guarantee you it will be no sweat getting a successful content marketing plan implemented.

Make It Happen

Steve Goldner is the Content Advisor for Appinions. This article is part of the Content Marketing Series he is covering to help marketers get better ROI from their efforts. Appinions is a data driven content marketing platform providing clarity on content generation and distribution.

Posted on February 12, 2015 by sgoldner

Content 112: How to Determine Which Content is Driving Success for Your Brand

By Steve Goldner

In the last installment of the Content Marketing Series (Content 111: What Does It Mean to Produce Data Driven Content?) I touched upon the need to look at the traffic statistics and source of driven traffic. In another article in the content marketing series, Content 108: Content Marketing Metrics, I defined the parameters that you should measure. And in yet another post, I shared, “How You Know Your Content will Pay Dividends.” If you look at the intersection of all the parameters and measurements outlined, you can determine which specific content is driving success for your brand. Let’s break it down …

First, let me list the different ways people engage with content. A number of years ago, analysts at Forrester Research developed a model for social participation stages called the Social Technodemograpics.

Content 112-1
Source

The stages show the way people engage with social content. The group actually put percentages of participation for these stages based upon a brand category. The point I want to make to you is that individual behavior differs across a target audience. You need to recognize this and look at metrics of the different stages as success for getting content consumed (with the exception of inactive, of course). Maybe the simplest way of measuring content success is to collect data on four parameters – the number of views, shares, comments, and references. But remember. Individual behavior may be the reason why the numbers for the four parameters vary. The relevant consolidated total is often telling.

Now notice that I stated, “Individual behavior may be the reason why the numbers for the four parameters vary.” Having blogged for over six years now, I have learned something else that is very important. Your content stylization type and title often dictate whether people will share, comment, or reference the content they have viewed. For example, something entertaining often gets a relatively higher number of shares. Something very insightful gets a high number of shares and references. Friendly banter and telegraphed questions often yield many comments.

You really need to understand the psyche of individuals to be able to motivate certain actions on your content. I’ll give you an example. If I am trying to talk to CMOs, I give them information that is helpful to running their marketing organization successfully. They will definitely read the material if I reach them on their channels of participation, but they are not likely to share, comment, or reference the content. Many CMOs do not want to say to other people ”I am enlightened by this information.” As a leader in a subject matter domain, they do not want to be seen as not being in the know. And that is okay. I am looking to enlighten my readers, especially CMOs, but I should not expect much sharing from the top of the marketing pyramid. If they want to have a private connection and conversation with me, I am all for that. It need not be in the public domain.

So as you assess whether your content is driving success for your business, understand people’s behaviors. Understand how the content you produce can influence certain behaviors (or not). Then as you collect empirical results be smart about what the numbers are telling you. Interpret the data you have collected and understand its meaning. Literally examine the type of content you have produced, where it has been distributed, and look at traffic, shares, comments, and references to get a data driven picture of your content success. Play around a bit and learn how different nuances in your content change empirical results. It takes time to build a strong following with content production. But once you have achieved this, you know you have accomplished loyalty and likely advocacy. And that is the ultimate success of marketing.

Make It Happen!

Steve Goldner is the Content Advisor for Appinions. This article is part of the Content Marketing Series he is covering to help marketers get better ROI from their efforts. Appinions is a data driven content marketing platform providing clarity on content generation and distribution.

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