It’s a tough job for marketers out there. When you come across a high-quality piece of content, you wonder what it took to create it. As a content marketer, you’d wonder, “Why did this company create such great content? Does it get them more business?”
The answer is, great content educates and inspires the reader to take action. For instance, the Buffer blog teaches how to grow your brand online. Your resources on social media are so extensive that you are convinced they know this subject thoroughly.
Brands use content marketing to:
- Increase brand awareness while reaching new audiences
- Generate qualified leads by driving our target audience to relevant content
- Elevate the brand and align with industry thought leaders by producing high-quality content
Here are some remarkable insights, to boost your content marketing along with the objectives, metrics, and processes the best brands use to create high-quality content.
#1. Carry out a lot of research
SEMrush uses content marketing for:
- Brand awareness
- Leads and new user generation
- New payments
They support theory with facts. The research they carry out allows them to verify their expertise and conclusions with data. For example, their
Olga Smirnova, the product marketing manager of content products at SEMrush says, “We support the theory with facts. We carry out a lot of research, which allows us to verify our expertise and conclusions with data. For example, our Ranking Factors research, or our recent The Key to Content Success were based on a comprehensive analysis of data we gathered in our tools and through surveys.”
Olga discloses the 4 they use at SEMrush to create and execute this objective:
- We first start with a goal and set a target we want to achieve by investing in content.
- Next, we think about who our audience is, at what stage of the buyer’s journey they are at and, depending on the stage, what their needs are.
- We then develop a message we want to broadcast and create a content plan, which includes: the type of content, number of assets, dates for release, distribution channels, and human and financial resources.
- As soon as the plan is ready and everyone is aware of the deadlines, each member of the team begins to work on his part.
Set the main goal before launching a campaign. Then, look at the supporting metrics, variable for each goal.
For brand awareness, they look at the number of mentions, re-publications and the amount of traffic their content generates.
For new users, the number of unique page views, new registrations, amount of traffic and the number of leads are tracked.
#2. Create content that educates and inspires your readers
Ever since the Buffer social blog was started in 2011, their aim has been to help people with their social media marketing.
To fuel this, the Buffer team adds new ideas to a Trello board, and they choose what to write on, based on what is timely, the keywords having a high volume and the topics that seem valuable, based on the feedback from their audience and community. Each writer has the autonomy to take the draft and run with it. After a review and proofread, the post is scheduled to go live. They typically post 2-3 times per week on the blog.
To measure the success of their content marketing, they use sessions as the #1 metric. Additionally, bounce rate, time on page, pages per visit, and other engagement stats are tracked, quotes Kevan Lee, the VP of marketing at Buffer.
#3. Create a content ecosystem around the main topic
Sandra Chung, Mention’s head of content says they decide the main theme each quarter and invest a majority of their time producing one piece of pillar content (an industry report, microsite, ebook, etc.). They then produce other pieces of content to support it, such as blog posts, guides, visuals, and toolkits. The idea is to create a content ecosystem around the main topic.
She says the 3 most useful tools our team can’t live without are:
Hubspot – To manage all of their marketing automation with it, an essential part of their marketing stack.
Trello – To organize and stay on track of their projects.
Livestorm – To run all of their webinars because of its simplicity and ease of use.
She concludes with, “While we do track the traffic to our posts it’s not the most important metric we focus on. We are the most about leads generated, usually through an e-book download, webinar registration, or blog subscriber.”
#4. Do you use the content as a means to help your future customers succeed?
Content marketing gives CoSchedule the opportunity to help their future customers succeed. When they are successful, they have so many more reasons to use CoSchedule to organize their own marketing efforts. “So we like to be a role model of what’s possible for their own marketing operations,” quotes Nathan Ellering, the head of Marketing Demand Generation at CoSchedule.
To create such insightful content, they choose a core keyword and related keywords future CoSchedule customers actually search for.
- They write the piece.
- Design the piece.
- Edit the piece and stage it for publishing.
To track the effectiveness of a campaign, they measure the lead indicator most likely to influence profitable customer actions. It begins with website visitors > visitors from organic search > email subscribers > trial signups > MQLs > SQL > customers.
He says, “In order to influence a specific number of customers, we know exactly how many new website visitors we need to bring in each month. So the lead indicators give individual team members focus while ultimately influencing the lag indicator.”
I asked him, “What is the USP of CoSchedule’s content?”
“CoSchedule is the #1 marketing management platform for everything you need organized. So our content reflects that. While marketing blogs are a dime a dozen, we stand out by following a stringent standard of performance to position the tool we sell as the marketer’s ultimate organizational efficiency tool:
- Content core: The content topic must relate to the product we ultimately help sell (features, functionality, etc.).
- Keyword-driven: Our future customers have to discover us in a way they want to be marketed to.
- Actionable + comprehensive: Whatever other marketing blogs cover, we do it better. We will never ship a blog post unless it’s the best post on the topic it covers on the entire internet. No ifs, ands, or buts.
- Research-backed: Whether it’s our own research or curated, we back up claims and give marketers factual information to help them be as successful as possible.”
#5. Creating multiple kinds of content for various stages of the purchase funnel
“There isn’t one main objective for our content marketing strategy at Meltwater. We have a number of objectives that differ depending on the stage a client or prospect is present within the purchase funnel,” explains Perri Robinson, the head of marketing, UK and Ireland at Meltwater.
“At the very top of the purchase funnel, our objective is to create brand awareness. We do this by crafting light-hearted content, such as social media posts, YouTube videos, free tools, ebooks, and infographics. The aim of this type of content is to engage our audience so they share the content, with the objective of increasing brand reach and therefore awareness.
The next stage in the funnel is a consideration. This is when people who are aware of our brand (and most likely our competitors) are actively looking for suppliers to fulfill a particular need. We aim to create more specific and targeted content. For example, specific landing pages on our websites to drive AdWords traffic. Our objective here is to convert people who are aware of us and interested in what we do, into marketing qualified leads to send to sales.
The third step of the funnel is the intent. This is when a purchase is on the cards, but the prospect is still not too sure if they should go ahead with the transaction. We create content that informs them about how our clients currently use the tool and how we differ from our competitors such as case studies. Our objective here is to inform, rather than entertain.
Once a prospect turns into a customer, our aim is to continue providing them with value to ensure they remain satisfied. Customer experience is so important to us; we create lots of content for events and online webinars to help our clients build their own marketing and PR strategies. Our objective here is to convert customers into loyal customers, and loyal customers into brand advocates.”
Being at the forefront of the industry trends using our social media intelligence tool is their USP. They jump on trends before they go mainstream. An example she says is their event on Dark Social and their upcoming webinar on using social media as a PR tool.
What are the content marketing insights that have worked wonders for you? Please share in the comments below. Additionally, do you prefer doing the campaign yourself or do you prefer hiring a content marketing agency?