Oct 18, 2016

How to Maximize the ROI of your Content Marketing in 2 Simple Steps

by Digital Marketing Institute

Whether they are implementing a detailed plan or are yet to adopt it at all, most organizations are aware of the benefits that content marketing can bring to their digital marketing strategy.

Valuable, relevant, thoughtfully crafted content has the ability to target and engage specific audience segments, enhance a brand’s visibility and online presence, and generate and nurture high quality leads. Put simply, content marketing can support every stage of every business’s sales funnel, be it B2C or B2C, whatever products or services they offer.

75% of marketers are increasing their investment in content marketing.

Content marketing budgets are growing, and organizations are beginning to create specific positions for executives whose key remit is to manage a comprehensive content marketing strategy. According to Curata, by 2017 51% of businesses will have appointed a chief content officer.

During her keynote at the Content Marketing World conference in 2015, Julie Fleischer, former senior director for data, content and media at Kraft said that their content marketing ROI was four times greater than their most targeted advertising.

Yet despite the demonstrable power of creative content to maximize leads, conversions and ROI, many marketers struggle to effectively leverage its positive impact. For example, 87% of marketers surveyed by Forrester say they have difficulty producing content that truly engages their buyers.

It’s easier than you might think to maximize your content’s ROI. Besides ensuring that it’s informative and relevant in order to convince your audience, there are several simple steps you can follow to optimize your content in order to convert them.

Below, we’ve listed two key approaches you can adopt to easily and effectively increase the ROI of your content marketing efforts:

1. Be strategic about the volume of your content production

Sirius Decisions claims that between 60 and 70% of the content organizations produce goes unused. This indicates that although organizations know that they should be incorporating content into their marketing plans, they’re uncertain of exactly what they should be producing, or when.

Producing one piece of content a day won’t necessarily be any more effective than producing one a month. Regardless of how beautifully crafted a piece of content is, if it’s not targeted at specific audience personas, and distributed strategically, it doesn’t hold any tangible value to you. Internal content production resources are often limited, especially in smaller organizations, and if the process of creating fresh content regularly seems too onerous, this could obstruct essential senior buy-in. In order to maximize the ROI of your content, you need to be able to optimize your production approach.

Research your topics: the best way to maximize audience engagement with your content is to create it based on the topics they want to know about. Using a social listening tool such as Buzzsumo or analyzing the performance of your website content via Google Analytics which help you to identity your current top performing content. Buzzsumo will also help you to carry out competitor analysis so you can see what’s working best for your competition. It will also help you to identify trending content topics by industry.

These insights will help you to best engage your target audience, which increases the likelihood that they will convert and ultimately have a positive impact on your ROI.

Quality over quantity: sometimes less is more, especially when the content you’re creating isn’t relevant to your target personas. When the Digital Marketing Institute refined their content strategy in 2015, they went from creating 5 short form, news-style articles a week to one longer form article in an informative “how-to” format. This was because the Institute recognized that their audience was more compelled by in-depth, educational content that would help strengthen their digital skill set.

Furthermore, because this content was evergreen, and had a longer lifespan than a fleeting news story, the Institute was able to repurpose the content in a variety of different formats and contexts, which had a significant impact on its ROI.

2. Consider lead generation in your distribution methods

Historically, brands have often viewed content marketing as a channel to boost brand awareness – content marketing leaders are said to experience almost 8 times more site traffic than non-leaders. Slowly but surely, however, organizations have begun to acknowledge content marketing’s ability to generate quality leads and assist in closing sales.

Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, but it generates three times as many leads.

Content is one of the most cost-effective methods of generating leads, particularly in comparison to paid digital advertising and traditional outbound methods such as television and billboards, which cost even most again. Because of this, content marketing can often enjoy an incredibly low cost per conversion, which benefits ROI by extension. The extent to which ROI is impacted depends on how well your content converts. There are several steps you take to optimize its conversion potential.

Use organic CTA’s: one of the most overt ways in which you can use content as a conversion channel is by incorporating explicit Calls-To-Action. It’s common practice to include a CTA at the end of a blog post, ebook or video, as a final incentive for your target audience to convert. However, this type of CTA is entirely reliant upon a user consuming your content in its entirety, right to the end, which rarely happens. Not surprising when you consider that the average attention span is 8 seconds!

When HubSpot introduced a new type of CTA into their content they ultimately doubled its conversion rate. They found that seamlessly weaving in a Call-To-Action that sits naturally alongside the rest of the content was more effective because they seem less like ads, which sidesteps the issue of “banner blindness”. If you’re writing a blog article about content marketing, for example, you could reference and link to an ebook on the same topic. Not only does this generate a lead as users download the ebook, it provides them with valuable information on a topic that matters to them! As it happens, if you’re interested in learning more about how to excel in the field of content marketing, and the kind of skills you should focus on developing, you can download the Digital Marketing Institute’s free ebook here.

Consider gated content: We’ve mentioned downloading ebooks, which is a prime example of gated content. Gated content is when you place a piece of content, be it a whitepaper or a video, on a landing page that can only be accessed once a site visitor has entered their contact details. Putting content behind this kind of gate is the best method of direct lead generation. It’s valuable not only because it collects potential customer contact details that you can pass onto your sales reps, it can also be used to define the quality of your leads.

The fact that a user will take the extra step by sharing their contact details means they are sufficiently interested in the content topic. If, as previously discussed, you are strategic in your content production, you will be able to create pieces of content that relate to your target audience’s interests and needs and subtly demonstrate how your product or service can fulfil those needs. When a user downloads that content, you can be confident that they will be more inclined to consider purchasing from you than someone who had simply landed on the blog article without taking that next step.

​Next steps

Once you have successfully implemented our 2 step process to optimize your content’s ROI, you’ll be able to measure its effectiveness with regular reporting. Using analytics to monitor the performance of your content strategy will not only help you to identify its strengths and weaknesses and refine it accordingly, you’ll be able to put a tangible figure against your ROI. For more helpful insights on how to measure the success of your content marketing, you can check out the Digital Marketing Institute’s Practical Guide to Content Marketing Metrics here.

If you have any additional tips or insights into how to maximize the ROI of content, please feel free to share them with us in the comment section below!

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