“Set It and Forget It” is a Recipe for Failure
It seems like every time I speak with someone about SEO there’s the common misconception that it’s something you simply “do.” You flip a few switches, change a few words around and bam, that’s SEO! Well, no. Not even remotely. If you were doing cold calls would you make a single call and then call it quits? Absolutely not (not that I’m suggesting cold calls are the best method of marketing!).
As with just about everything in life, minimal effort is going to breed minimal results. This post is going to outline the methodology you should approach content marketing with. I will simplify it into 3 steps that need to be undertaken to ensure a viable content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Step 1: Metrics
Before you even attempt to begin a content marketing regiment you need to know what the goal of the campaign is. Are you trying to raise awareness of your brand? Are you trying to bring people to a specific call to action? Do you want to sell a specific product or service? The goal of every campaign is going to be different, so single out a finite goal that you’re attempting to reach.
Next, understand the metric that best showcases your ability to reach this goal. If you’re looking at a campaign with the goal of having someone fill out a Contact Form, then “forms filled out” is a good metric to keep. However, you’re likely going to want to keep track of the amount of people who click the links in your ads and where those clicks are coming from. Think of your content marketing process as a journey – you want to know how many people take it and how far each one goes.With that being said, Google Analytics is a must have. If you don’t have a way to track your website metrics you’re essentially running your business blindly. There are similar metric gathering applications for most forms of social media as well. I’d recommend taking a look at something like Buffer so that you can work all of your social media from one location and track click rates easily. The goal should be to create a metric tracking procedure that is as automated and hassle free as possible. It is not an effective use of your time to do all of this manually.One final word of caution though – over analysis can be just as crippling as having no metrics. Don’t obsess over A/B testing. Don’t obsess about checking metrics every day. Data is only as good as the amount you’ve collected.
Content Marketing Step 2: Do or Do Not – There is No Try
You can hypothesize about something all you want but you’ll never truly know whether it is effective or not until you try it. Put something to work and let the data pile up. Chances are you’ll know pretty quickly whether you’re going to be successful or not – you’ll start generating leads/interest or you won’t. Let your campaign run its course before switching things up – there’s no point in calling something a failure after a day or two.Once you’ve let it run its course, make changes and start again. There should never be a lull with your marketing efforts – you need to be consistently active if you want to be successful.
Content Marketing Step 3: The Retrospective
What’s the point of running campaigns and gathering data if you’re not going to run a retrospective to analyse it?
So you’ve completed 3 campaigns now. You’ve got piles of data collected from each one of them, just begging to be used. Analyze each metric you set for these campaigns – what worked? What didn’t? You can spend a little bit of time hypothesizing why your successes occurred, but the important next step is to take the best aspects of everything you’ve done and create a new campaign using them. You’re no longer blindly trying things; you’re acknowledging the good and doing more of it. Just like you’re acknowledging the bad and doing less of it.Retrospectives are a lot more powerful with more minds at work on them as well. Don’t attempt to tackle this alone unless you absolutely have to. An outside view can bring some sober second thought to decisions you make about your next campaign.Rinse and repeat.
There’s a lot to know about marketing online these days and the best way to build your knowledge is by doing it. Get out there, make mistakes and learn from them. Adapt your processes and procedures based on what you’ve proven works. There’s a sweet science to marketing, so you should approach it with the scientific process in mind.
With that being said, not everyone has the stomach to tackle digital and content marketing, which is completely understandable. It requires a lot of time, effort and continuous learning to get good at it. If you want to reap the results without spending the time then we can definitely give you a hand. Check out the Services Page for more information on what we can help with. Either way, I hope this post was informative and changed how you view your approach to content marketing.