Posted on January 28, 2015 by sgoldner

Content 108: Content Marketing Metrics

By Steve Goldner

Brand content marketing should be soft and subtle on a product mentions. The content a brand produces should be helpful and/or entertaining to the target audience, and be free of direct ‘selling’ and blatant calls to action. But content marketing should not be regarded as an endeavor in which you naively just hope for results. You should be able to produce empirical data that indicates you are yielding results.

So if you cannot expect sales to be the end result of content marketing, what can you expect? And what should you measure?

All marketing efforts require metrics, and there are no exceptions for content marketing. Content marketing serves the progression of behaviors target audience move through as we work to tee up transactions. Let’s look at it in terms of the sales/marketing funnel:

content 108-1

In the funnel, content marketing can demonstrate empirical results with regards to awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy.

Measuring Awareness
You typically gain awareness off your site. If someone is on your site consuming content, they are probably already aware of your brand. Thus, awareness comes from mentions and discussions elsewhere; news and blog coverage, sites where you do digital PR and outreach to; and brand or URL mentions on social platforms or other media sources. The global metric here is the attention your brand is attracting within the active discussions of your marketplace.

Measuring Consideration
Once individuals become aware of your brand, they’ll want to check you out and learn more. Consideration can be as simple as viewing more of your content. Content lives on your site, and on the all the channels where you distribute and promote. Measure visits and views and shares and other indicators that your content is being consumed. Also look at the kinds of themes that are emerging within the discussion of your brand and products, watching for more conversation about issues where you focus or excel, or even capabilities that you’re highlighting in your content pieces.

Measuring Loyalty
You want to build a loyal set of customers and turn some of them into advocates. Loyal customers will remain engaged with your brand. They will write comments, interact with your content, and spend time consuming and sharing your materials. While raw numbers of subscribers to your site by itself is not particularly telling, looking at these trends AND looking at the volume and results of their engagement is a very positive indicator.

Measuring Advocacy
Engagement is very good to see, but having individuals that actually market your brand (word of mouth marketing) is the pinnacle of success. This can be measured by the micro-actions (retweets, shares, etc.) but more importantly by the emergence of new influencers – people or organizations who share opinions or amplify your content and get reactions to their efforts. Looking at overall sentiment indicators within total attention, or for key influencers is also interesting.

The funnel shows a linear sequence, even with its cyclic nature where advocacy re-feeds awareness. My experience examining customer behavior for the brands I work with reveals some slight variations. Yes, the funnel states are still there and individual consumers can traverse the funnel states in a linear fashion. But we see more and more variations away from a linear movement as shown in the diagram below.

content 108-2

As we examine the new construct of target audience relationships to change behavior and drive transactions, notice “conversion” is not part of the content sharing and social activities. Awareness, Consideration, and Loyalty states “tee up” a conversion. Content marketing is not a strong activity to promote a sale.

Awareness promotes consideration. Awareness can also drive a transaction. Consideration yields conversions and has a higher probability of invoking sales than simple awareness. After a purchase is made (conversion), valuable content can help to generate loyalty. Loyalty can result in repeat purchases as shown with a double arrow in the diagram above. Loyal customers can become advocates as well. You should think about post-sale follow up content and engagement to move your customers to a loyalty and advocacy state. And once you produce advocates you have a most powerful outcome. Advocates inspire awareness, consideration and loyalty. They work as the most trusted source of marketing for your brand.

So make sure you know your content marketing is delivering measureable success. Know what is realistic to measure. If you do not see positive results, modify your content strategy and plan.

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 January 25, 2015 by sgoldner

Content 107: How Do You Know Your Content Will Pay Dividends

By Steve Goldner

Marketing is a practice of calculated risks. Those that just do the status quo will never shine and stand out. The same can absolutely be said about content marketing. So the questions remain, 1) “How do you go about content marketing such that you know it will pay dividends?” and 2) “How do you gauge a plan to minimize risks and maximize results?”

content marketing dividends

The first analysis to be made is to determine the subjects and topics that will attract the most active attention. In Content 103, I suggested that the winning content was the intersection of what your brand stands for and what the audience values. It would be best if you had data-driven subject recommendations for your content planning. Research the topics that get the most attention from your targeted audience. Make sure your content development is driven by the subjects that garner the most interest. This allows you to consistently deliver content that the market is interested in and people will react to and re-share.

So the first thing to do is create great content that truly resonates with your audience. But it is not enough to simply produce great content. You need to determine how that content will get the greatest exposure. This really comes down to answering two questions. 1) Where should you publish and promote for the greatest impact? and 2) Who should you partner with to maximize visibility and exposure?

To begin, you must understand your target audience. What social channels do they participate in? You should have an active presence on various social platforms. Social channels should be used to proliferate the content that resides on your website or blog.

But you cannot rely solely on your social presence to drive traffic to your content. You need to determine other source channels where your audience goes to get information. You also need to determine the influencers (both people and organizations) whose voice and opinions are well respected and command a large audience. You need to push your content out to these channels and influencers. Okay, push is probably the wrong term. No one likes to have someone else’s agenda pushed upon them. Once you have identified channels and influencers, build a relationship with them. Make sure you understand their needs and what the value is that they look to deliver to their audience. Determine how you can help them. This is your opportunity to pitch compelling content. You should also consider paid media to promote your content and native advertisement to promote your brand.

Another way to win interest in your brand content is to identify existing groups and communities where conversations exist on topics relevant to your brand. Go there and join these communities. Listen – understand the needs and wants of the participants. Engage in conversation and softly introduce your brand and relevant content you have produced as appropriate to the existing dialog.

The last element of a complete and successful content marketing plan with calculated risk is measuring results. Understand your influence. Measure it. What is the volume of traffic to your content? How much is your content being shared? We will go deeper into content marketing metrics in the next article – Content 108.

Appinions is dedicated to helping marketers drive measureable results with their content marketing efforts. We believe that marketers need the right tool to help establish a data-driven plan that eliminates risk. Please let us know if you have challenges with your content marketing. We are glad to answer all questions and assist in anyway. We are here to help.

Now, be innovative. Stand out. Do so by having calculated the righteous path to success.

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 January 21, 2015 by sgoldner

Content 106: Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

By Steve Goldner

Before we start with a content marketing strategy, do a quick gut check … is your messaging strategy set. You know who you are talking to – check. You know the core values and personality of your brand – check. You are well versed with your brand’s style guide – check. Ok, you are ready for your content marketing strategy.

The content marketing strategy really consists of two elements – 1) the topics and stories you are going to cover, and 2) the places the content will be distributed. Once those elements are in place, produce a detailed content plan and identify potential brand category influencers.

As discussed in “Content 103: Leveraging Your Brand Position to Produce Compelling Content,” content topics should be the intersection of what the brand stands for and what the audience values. You can investigate the topics that resonate with your audience. The Appinions platform makes it easy to unveil topics that garner the most attention and influence for your brands’ category.

So where should your content be published? First and foremost, your content should be published in a repository on your website – a blog. You want to drive traffic to your home court so that interested individuals have a chance to absorb more of your brand. But at the same time you do not want to force people to have to go to your site to get the information that is important to them. Think of ways you can proliferate that content.

Understand the social channels where your audience goes. Post references to your content there. Determine the media sources that cover the topics you defined. You can spend time investigating the media sources for topics you will cover or simply use the Appinions platform to detail this information for you.

Now comes the part that so many find difficult to do – planning a content calendar. But actually, this is not a burden at all if you have already defined topics and distribution points. I like to encourage building an entire year’s plan because that allows a budget and plan to be set for not only article production, but photos and videos as well. You want to have topics well planned, but also have agility to cover unplanned content driven by current events and/or changes in the marketplace.

Once you have your content themes determined, decide on the cadence for each topic. How many articles will you produce, photos will be taken, and videos to be made each week? When you are considering content cadence, remember visuals work best. Think about your audience’s attention span. You can likely keep them interested with a number of photos, video and article per week. Think about which theme topics lend themselves best to articles, pictures and/or videos. Consider ways to generate UGC (user generated content) for some of your content.

I like to take the information I described and create two spreadsheets to determine a brand content calendar. The first spreadsheet lists each theme, the cadence for production, and channels where the content will be seen, as shown in the diagram below.


Use all channels that are appropriate for each content piece. Notice that in some cases, the actual content will not be posted on a channel, but rather the social channel is used to reference the content piece and provide a reference link. This is often done with blog articles and referencing them on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

Once you have built out the Theme/Cadence/Channel Content Chart, add spreadsheet tabs for each channel determined to use. On each channel tab, build a one-year calendar. Next, go back to the Theme/Cadence/Channel Content Chart and copy a theme, look at the cadence specified, and paste that theme on the social channel chart per the cadence specified. Do this for all themes and all social channels as shown below.


There is one additional element of a content strategy. That is determining who you should pitch your content to in order to win earned media. This is another area where the Appinions platform can help. Appinions provides you with a list of influencers based upon the topics you cover. You cannot really plan when you win earned media. It is very much at the hands of the media source that covers your topic and brand. But you should continually deepen relationships with key influencers to gain their support.

You build relationships with other influential media sources and people by taking time to understand their needs and what the value is that they look to deliver to their audience. Identify where and how you can help them. Then determine which content you have produced that is applicable to their needs and audience.

Now you have a strategy and a plan for your content marketing. You should be ready to crank out content that is compelling to your audience. In future articles we will address content market measurement and what it means to produce data driven content.

Make it Happen!

Next up – Content 107: How Do You Know Your Content Will Pay Dividends

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 January 21, 2015 by appinions

The Self-Service Purchase Funnel

Do you know why content marketing is exploding?

imagesIt’s the business world reacting to a radically different environment. In just a few years the world has become network-connected, mobile-first, and socially-focused. Each of those represents a massive change, and together they have altered the way buyers discover, understand and choose products.

In the face of this new world, marketers couldn’t keep doing what they had done before. Banner ads, brochures, and email newsletters were no longer adequate.

The digital world put buyers in the driver’s seat, and they’ve embraced these changes completely. The purchase funnel is now self-service. Armed with their browsers, news readers, and social networks, people now find new products and services, complete extensive research, make competitive comparisons, and gather feedback or recommendations.

They go from clueless to awareness to interested to expert before the marketers and sellers who they used to rely on for this progression even know they exist. In-fact, according to Lori Wizdo, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, “…today’s buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they reach out to a vendor.”

When buyers are in self-service mode, they’re data consumption machines. They read streams and feeds, consume and share articles, and seek out recommendations. What a perfect time to connect and influence!

This is why content marketing is exploding.

Now all you have to do is produce the right content, get it in front of the right people, deliver lasting value and instill your brand message, and somehow measure all of your efforts so you can prove that they’re working to justify your ongoing effort and expense. That’s where Appinions can help.

Posted on January 18, 2015 by sgoldner

Content 105: Messaging Strategy Before Content Strategy

By Steve Goldner

What is the difference between a messaging strategy and a content strategy? How should each be used?

A messaging strategy defines what you want your readers to feel and takeaway after reading your content. It also defines how you will engage with your audience. A content strategy is what you will write about, how and where you will distribute the content. It also defines the types (original, curated, UGC-user generated content) that will be used. You need to define a messaging strategy before you start a content strategy (or dare I say just dive into content development).

When you develop content for your brand, do you a have picture in your head of what your brand looks like? If your brand were a person, what would they look like? If you think about these questions, you are starting to get a picture of what a messaging strategy addresses.

content 105-1

Let’s focus on developing a messaging strategy here, and take on the content strategy in the next content post (Content 106).

Each brand should have a distinct identity called the brand identity. Think of a brand from a personal perspective. Take it a step further. Define a persona of your brand. Start by defining the core values of the brand. Once you have the core values documented, define the personality that supports those values and shall be used to represent your brand. Define a voice of the brand whether that voice is authoritative, nurturing, professional, comedic, or any attribute you believe is representative of your brand position and resonates with your audience.

Once you have the brand identity and personality defined, you need to make sure you have a brand style guide defined. Style guides have been used for numerous years. They are typically governed by the marketing communication organization. In today’s world, brand voices should come from many different subject matter experts in the organization. Independent of who is producing content, conversing, or engaging with the brand’s audience, the brand personality should sound, look, and feel the same.

Given the social world we now live in, we want to unleash employees to be brand advocates, but at the same time we want the brand to carry on a consistent look, feel, and voice. Thus, a modern style guide should include direction on format, colors, fonts, and any other aesthetic attribute for content and engagement. The use of imagery should be well defined – how and if videos, pictures and/or clip art is to be used or not. Standard logos should be made available to all. Editorial style and standards should be defined and internally distributed.

These elements are all part of a messaging strategy. “Marketing is far too important to be left to the marketing department,” as David Packard said many, many years ago. And this is more relevant today than when originally stated. We do want to leverage more experts in a company to produce content and engage with the brand audience. But we need a strategy and plan to punctuate and preserve the brand identity. Thus a messaging strategy must come before a content strategy.

Make It Happen!

Next Up – Content 106: Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

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 January 15, 2015 by sgoldner

Content 104: Social Audits to Drive Content Marketing

By Steve Goldner

If you want your content to yield positive marketing and business results, you need to make sure the topics you write about resonate with your audience. If you really want to drive positive results, you need to do some pre-work audits to determine 1) memes your audience is interested in and 2) topics your competition is covering.

But it is not just about the actual content you produce that guarantees success. You need to make sure your content gets distributed in the right places to maximize brand exposure. This also requires an audit.

There are three types of audits to be performed to help to produce optimal content as well as audience engagement with the content. Lets look at these three areas.

Social Meme Audit
A meme is the key themes and topics that drive the relevant conversations for a brand’s business. A Social Meme Audit identifies the themes and topics. Focus on themes and topics that are consistently repeated and shared. The Appinions platform helps you search for these memes by adding your brand name and product/service brand category to a query. For example, Samsung Galaxy Phones returns a topic cloud that looks like the following …

content 104-1

You can actually get the number of times topics and entities (brands, countries, applications, etc.) were mentioned, as well as the top individual conversationalists and hashtags used. The insights gleaned from the Social Meme Audit are combined with an understanding of the brand and marketing objectives to yield input into your content strategy.

Social Channel Audit
The Social Channel Audit identifies the specific channels on which the conversations relevant to the brand’s business are taking place. It also determines which channels are attracting the most engagement from the brand’s target audience segments. Moreover, it specifies where the conversations relevant to the brand’s business are occurring. The Appinions platform identifies the source of these conversations.

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But you can even take it one step further and see who are the influencers of the topics whether they are individuals or organizations.

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The outcome of this part of the audit is used to determine where your content should be distributed. It also helps you identify the people and organization that influence your audience buying decisions. This should help in your PR and influence marketing engagement strategies.

Competitor Audit
The Competitor Audit analyzes how competitive brands are involved in the conversations relevant to your company’s business. Identify which brands are participating in relevant conversations, how users perceive them and why. Look at competitors’ messaging, channel and content strategies and use the intelligence gathered to inform the Media Channel Plan, and Messaging and Content Strategies.

The three audits recommended arm you with data driven rationalization for your content strategy and plan. It takes the guesswork out of content marketing efforts. If you spend the upfront time evaluating a content plan driven by audience preferences, distribution channels to be used, and competitive analysis, you are sure to drive successful results.

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 January 11, 2015 by sgoldner

Content 103: Leveraging Your Brand Position to Produce Compelling Content

By Steve Goldner

Before you start to distribute your next piece of content ask yourself, “Is this media supporting your brand position?” What is the purpose of content if it does not reinforce what you stand for?

Content marketing is one function within the marketing department. All marketers in the organization should understand their brand’s position. Consider the following positioning template:

• For …………….………… [target customer]
• Who ……………….……. [key qualifier – form]
• Our product is a ….. [product category]
• That provides ………. [key benefit]
• Unlike ………………….. [main competitor]
• Our product ……….… [key point of differentiation]

The purpose of the positioning statement is 1) to know exactly who you are, 2) to do a gut check on your knowledge of your target customer and validation that you really deliver them value, and 3) to make sure you have distinct differentiation relative to your competition. It is not something you specifically communicate. Establishing a positioning statement validates you have something truly compelling. The late Peter Drucker once stated, “In most American companies, Marketing still means no more than systematic selling rather than its true meaning: Knowing what is VALUE for the customer!”

But wait. We are not finished. If you simply produce content that is all about pushing your position, it might not be compelling to your audience. In Content 102, we talked about determining the target audience for your content. Your content must address interests of that audience.

winning content

Content generation that yields best results moves your audience to consideration and loyalty for your product/service AND resonates with your audience. Thus winning content is the intersection of what the brand stands for and what the audience values.

If you really want to leverage your brand, position, and content marketing, lets go just a bit deeper and consider the importance of social sharing and advocacy. The relationship between brand content and social marketing is captured in the diagram below:

brand content

The brand is at the core of it all. A brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” according to the American Marketing Association dictionary.

As previously noted, winning content is the intersection of what the brand stands for and what the audience values. Brand content should address specific areas of interest for the target market and not necessarily talk about the brand or product/service. The topics covered should be tangentially related to brand offerings. Compelling content provides a reason for people to share some aspect of the brand.

Content sharing is part of everyday life and if the content that is shared is associated with the brand, that increases brand awareness and word of mouth marketing. Do not under estimate the importance of content as part of the marketing and social media strategies and plans.

When you have compelling content it makes it easier to engage with your audience. You can mention references to your content as similar topics come up in conversation. This starts the sharing momentum.

From a tactical perspective, make sure the content is easy to share. Consider social buttons and widgets incorporated on all communication and content.

As you start to see content getting shared, you will find specific people that actively share brand content pieces on a regular basis. These people represent potential brand advocates. Make sure you reached out to them … it may be as simple as saying thanks. Engage with them one on one. Learn more about the issues and topics that matter to them. Advocates are not only the greatest ambassadors of brands, but they also help shape the brand such that it is stronger and of greater value for your target audience.

Don’t just write content. Make sure it is a reflection of your brand. Make sure it will be compelling to your target audience. Research topics that are trending and resonate with your audience. Consider using the Appinions platform to provide data to zero in on content that will yield winning business results.

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 January 7, 2015 by sgoldner

Content 102: Determining your Target Audience for Content

By Steve Goldner


Before you start your content marketing efforts (or adjust if you are already producing content) you need to explicitly define whom you are talking to and engaging with. Hopefully you have identified the brand target audience as part of your overall marketing strategy and plan. But that is not necessarily the same audience for your content marketing.

Your content marketing target audience is likely a subset of your brand target audience. There are two key criteria. First off, your entire brand target audience may not participate in the platforms and networks where content is or can be distributed. Make sure you understand the digital behaviors of the entire brand audience and segment demographics with relationship to their digital activity.

Secondly, your content may need not aim at all digital participants. Maybe your strategy and supporting plan is focused on brand category influencers. Maybe it is prudent for others to spread the word and call attention to your brand. Make sure you have clearly defined goals and objectives and that your content is aimed at an appropriate audience to yield successful results.

Evaluate your content target market in groupings starting with the ideal customer (or influencer) and then branch out.

content 102

You want your position, message, and content to appeal to that ideal customer, but at the same time you want to attract a large enough audience to meet the required scale for business profitability. If we use the archery target as a metaphor, how far off the center circle do you need to address to win the right number of customers/clients/influencers while not watering down your content such that it is not compelling to the ideal group? You need to balance a desire to capture a large audience and at the same time remain most compelling to the bull’s eye limited audience.

Once you have identified your content strategy based upon your goals and objectives, and have defined your content target audience then you can define the subjects and topics that will attract the most attention. There are hundreds of issues and dozens of angles you can take with every new blog post, white paper, or webinar. Choosing what to write about is a big investment of time and energy, and (in some cases) promotional dollars too. This is a key area where Appinions can help. Appinions takes the guesswork out of content planning by providing multiple ways to get data-driven subject-matter recommendations every day. This allows you to consistently deliver content that the defined target market is interested in and people will react to and re-share.

You can drive great results in your content marketing efforts if you go about it the right way. Step 1 – define your goals and objectives. Step 2 – make sure you have clearly defined whom you want to speak to and engage with. In the next blog post, we will discuss “How to Leverage (and not to) your Brand Position and Value Proposition with your Content Marketing.”

Make It Happen!


Next Up – Content 103: Leveraging Your Brand Position to Produce Compelling Content

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 January 4, 2015 by sgoldner

Content 101: Content Marketing Goals and Objectives

By Steve Goldner

Nike was wrong … you shouldn’t “Just Do It.” At least that is the case when it comes to business decisions. More often than not, people just jump into the latest business trend without having set, defined goals and objectives.

In the past year, 57% of marketers reported custom content was their top marketing priority for 2014 (Altimeter Group, 2014) and at the same time 70% of marketers said they lacked a consistent or integrated content strategy. (Altimeter Group, 2014). Just look at the abundance of poor content marketing you see on any given day as you get your daily dose of digital media.

content 101

The goal of content marketing is simple … it is to gain awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy for your product or service. The content marketing goal is complicated by the fact that most consumers and business clients are turned off by blatant advertorial like media interruptions pushed upon them. Thus, the objective of content marketing is to accomplish the goal, but do so in a subtle way that does not feel like your brand is pushing your drug.

There are two forms of content that people appreciate to the point that it is so compelling that they may actually share it with their own family, friends, and/or colleagues. The first type is entertaining content whether in the form of a nicely written story, amazing picture, or enjoyable video. Brands need to think more like an author, photojournalist, or producer as opposed to an advertiser. The marketing department needs to evolve to be part media department, writing and producing pleasurable content. This content can have very soft brand undertones, but should really aim for entertaining the audience. Let the content be associated to your brand, not specifically about your brand.

The second form of content that will be compelling to your audience is informational and helpful. Have you identified problems your audience has? Areas you can provide guidance and help? Be a continuous helping hand to your audience. They will value your content. They will develop brand preference and loyalty because you are adding to an overall user experience they find useful. Thus you become worthy of their business. The information content works like a whitepaper in some sense. It recognizes or states a problem and then provides a solution. The brand can be subtly mentioned and hinted to be part of the solution. But once again, subtleness is key.

Your content execution must be driven by a strategy that answers content marketing goals and objectives. Know what success will look like ahead of time. Then measure results to determine if you are successful.

I will explain all the steps to deliver a winning content marketing program for your brand in this series on Content Marketing. While creating content is an art, defining the topics of coverage, distribution points, and potential partners for the content is a science. You just need the right tools. Equal parts of art and science yield excellence.

Make It Happen!


Next Up – Content 102: Determining Your Target Audience for Content

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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Posted on December 11, 2014 by Jonah Bliss

Measuring Content Marketing Success with Appinions’ Active Attention Scores

Quantifying your results is the capstone to any successful marketing campaign. Yet as we showed earlier in Measurements for Marketers – Defining Successful Content, a whopping 90% of content marketers are unsure that they’re being effective in measuring their content’s success.

Defining and tracking success is hard in any field, but in a space like content marketing the challenge is even larger. It’s a rapidly growing market with no clearly defined leader (unlike the way that say search marketing is dominated by Google) – meaning that there are many voices still making their cases about why their system is the “best.” As we saw, that’s left the content metrics field fragmented, and while the various measurement systems have made great strides in improving from their original form of newsroom centric metrics like pageviews and social shares, they still leave much desired. Fortunately, Appinions unique “Active Attention Score” finally gives marketers a number to assess their overall content success.

What Is Content Marketing’s Goal?

A recent survey showed that the goal behind most content campaigns is to build brand awareness (73% of respondents) and demonstrate thought leadership (45%). Given the subjectivity of these goals, measurement is inherently going to be a vexing question; but it’s clear that simple counting metrics like pageviews do nothing to address whether or not those objectives are being achieved.

Further, any metric that only speaks to pieces of content on an individual basis is not going to give marketers an answer to the big picture question of “is my content marketing working?” You may see that a few of your articles were popular, but are they adding up towards greater awareness for your brand, and an increased perception of thought leadership?

Active Attention – A Universal Metric of Content Success

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The crux of what content marketers want to know is how much attention is being paid to their brands, how that compares to key competitors and the industry as a whole, and how their content marketing efforts have increased that attention over time. Appinions gives marketers this exact insight, offering them an “Active Attention Score” that is universally comparable, letting you see how influential your brand, company, or product is, giving you the unique ability to compare that not just to your competitors, but anything of note – world events, marquee brands / products, truly anything being discussed by the world at large. Scores reflect both the quantity and quality of reaction garnered by the content and opinions you’ve shared, meaning the Wall Street Journal quoting your latest article would likely garner a larger jump in your score than say a few Twitter bots retweeting one of your social accounts.

By ingesting tens of millions of documents a day, parsing them with our proprietary natural language processing technology (based off of years of research at Cornell), and applying big data analysis, Appinions can measure how much attention is being paid to any given subject, finally giving marketers the ability to assess the aggregate impact of their disparate content marketing pieces.

Identify Unique Opportunities for Continuous Improvement

Finally having a score to understand your content’s success is powerful in its own right, but great metrics are always made stronger by being actionable: having directional feedback on how to take your current results and improve upon them. Appinions offers just that with our Opportunity Analysis tool.

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This tool lets you directly compare your Active Attention score to your industry as a whole, neutral news sources, key competitors, and executives. But the real power comes from not just the delta between scores, but the in-depth breakdown composing those numbers.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.25.45 PMHere, you’ll be able to see which people and organizations are discussing your industry (or a competitor) and not your company (or vice versa.) With this information you’ll know precisely whom your content needs to target. Paired with the rest of our suite you can create content addressing the exact themes these sources desire, or reach out directly to fill this coverage gap with a paid placement on their sites.

A Virtuous Feedback Loop

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.06.18 PMCombining Appinions’ Active Attention and Opportunity Anaylsis metrics with the rest of our powerful content marketing suite gives content marketers unmatched insight and power. Now you’ll know what to write, who to seed it to, where to make native ad buys, and finally – how your content is performing.

Instead of guessing about what your audience might want, you now have data-driven insights guaranteeing your content will resonate, backed by a scoring algorithm to show you exactly how much your content is succeeding.

Appinions doesn’t replace your existing content marketing framework, it augments your processes to make them stronger. Pair our theme analysis with your existing writing process to feed your writers the best possible stories to cover; augment your native ad buys with our source analysis to understand the best homes for your stories; improve your seeding of content with our influencer analysis to see who is most likely to appreciate and promote your latest work. And now you can finally complement your existing metrics, which offer you some insight into the relative performance of your content assets, with our Active Attention Score, so you’ll see the aggregate impact of your content marketing campaigns.

Are you ready to see how Appinions for Content Marketing can drastically improve your content marketing efforts? Chat with our sales team to schedule a demo today.

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