The 401 to Content Marketing KPIs for Better ROI

Content key performance indicators (KPIs): they will make or break your content marketing efforts. Why? Because when you do not consider the content KPIs that will go into your ongoing reporting – and ultimately your overall content strategy – you can make errors in judgment that ultimately will doom your content marketing efforts and those of your B2B copywriter

When you consider or communicate incorrect key performance indicators, you also run into making decisions based on a result that may or may not be true. When these results are reported, uncertainties can creep into your content strategy, and can ultimately derail your success. Let’s take a look at the most common content KPIs and what they can do to help you become a more successful online marketer

KPI Bucket 1: SEO Metrics 

An SEO typically uses these metrics to report on increases in performance in the search results, usually reporting these to their client, shareholders of their company, or their boss. 

These KPIs are valuable because they can track things like how a site is performing in the search results, its organic reach (or how much of a market share it is gaining in terms of keyword phrases), how many people are viewing the site, how much time people are spending on the site, and other useful metrics. 

When these metrics are reported incorrectly, the result can be bad judgment calls and lousy strategic decisions. This is not good for the SEO implementation as a whole. 

Say that you found a user spent so much time on the site because they were looking at certain content one month, but then the next month, they were not. While many things can cause this issue, it is important to rule out technical errors and related specific issues that can cause it. 

This is because a situation like this can also be seasonal, depending on the type of website we’re dealing with. If you make a change based on one month’s worth of metrics without considering the entire 12 months (or even a few years’ worth of data) you could make a judgment call that does not consider the seasonal aspect, and this can be bad for the future. 

KPI Bucket 2: Business & Conversion Metrics 

These types of metrics are extremely useful for calculating the business side of things. They help ensure that website metrics are translating to the most important business metric that determines whether a company keeps running: ROI, or return on investment.

Let’s not kid ourselves. SEO, content marketing, or social media marketing, while creative endeavors, are also business endeavors. These efforts need to be reported on accurately, succinctly, and in such a way that communicates the proper ROI to those in the know and in charge. This will allow a business to keep its doors open, so that it can continue running for the foreseeable future. 

The key is to always make sure that you can track the performance of these keyword phrases in some way. If there is no search volume, but there are other metrics associated with positive increases in performance (such as CPC – Cost Per Click on the PPC side – or market competition), this could be an indicator that the keyword phrase is competitive enough that it has some viability as an SEO keyword. 

Another business conversion metric to keep an eye on includes conversion rates. Conversion rates tell you the other side of how your content is really performing for you. If you have content on your site that has low conversion rates, and people barely sign up for your services, it may be time to consider A/B testing to identify where improvements can be made to ensure that the content improves in a positive direction. 

Yet one more important metric to keep reporting tabs on includes reviews. This is an important reputation management tactic that can make or break your website’s performance. Reviews form a perception of your business to potential clients. This perception can make clients want to do business with you, or drive you away. 

KPI Bucket 3: Social Engagement Metrics

When we think of social engagement metrics, we usually think about metrics involved with social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. And the former are correct in terms of how to think about these metrics. But did you know that social engagement metrics can also make or break an online marketing strategy? 

Think about it: social engagement is a major method of increasing a brand’s reach towards real consumers online for a reason: because this is where real people go online to hang out, chat, and get involved with their favorite brands, celebrities, friends, and discussions. 

It’s more than just a social platform – it’s a conversational social outreach explosion. Making sure that you tally the right social engagement metrics is an important part in the reporting of the effectiveness of your content KPI wins. 

KPI Bucket 4: User Engagement Metrics 

These metrics are important to a website’s performance KPIs because they tell us how effective content is and how effectively it is gathering traffic and drawing people to your website. Things like conversion rates, time on page, bounce rate, and page views can all be skewed or otherwise erroneously reported on, leading to errors in judgment about where to go next in the overall website content strategy. 

This is where errors in judgment and furthering your content strategy can be tricky, because if you don’t take into account that additional dimension, you could potentially see that 2,500 sales of a service were completed, but not that they were completed by one person. This is where things like goals in Google Analytics or UTM parameters can come into play. 

By tying social conversion metrics into the goal completions in Google Analytics, you can drill down more effectively into how someone ultimately completed the sale of those services through user engagement metrics. User engagement metrics are also useful for finding out what people are physically doing on your site. 

 

3 Barriers to Web Content ROI

There are some major challenges that stand between your marketing content and real marketing ROI. Here are three of the biggest ones and how to overcome them.

Not setting the right goals

Setting goals and understanding why you want to use content marketing to grow your business is crucial to your success. Without a ‘why,’ your content marketing strategy is doomed to fail before it even gets off the ground.
Just like you created a business plan and a mission statement when you started your business, you should do the same for your marketing. Write a brief statement that focusing on what’s most important to your business – and what’s not.

This statement will not only come in handy when you start creating content, but it will also be a game-changer when it comes to building an audience. Your content marketing mission statement should include:

  • A description of your target audience
  • What content you will use to reach them
  • The benefit they will receive

A model mission statement would go something like this: We help [target audience] with [business or personal goals] by providing [content type].

Now that you understand the importance of a content marketing mission statement and how to create one, it’s time to focus on goals. Typical goals include:

  • Boosting website traffic and growing your brand
  • Increasing sales by driving more leads via content
  • Influencing potential customers with thought leadership
  • Growing social media engagement with effective content
  • Streamlining marketing efforts to become more effective
  • Building an audience

While content marketing strategies can include more than one goal, it might be worthwhile to develop separate strategies depending on how unconnected the goals are. For example, one of our clients has a content marketing strategy for sending new leads to its sales team and an entirely different content marketing strategy designed specifically for recruiting and retaining employees.

Not selecting the right KPIs

Most of us know if we want to achieve our goals, we have to understand exactly what success looks like, and that means those goals need to be specific and measurable. That’s where key performance indicators (KPIs) come in. The right KPIs will help you understand if your content marketing plan is on track and help you identify what’s working and what is not. For example, if your goal is to increase leads, by how many and in what time frame.

If you want to generate 10 qualified leads per month for your sales team with a 50 percent conversion rate, it’s important to set the proper milestones (i.e., 100 raw leads per month). Your KPIs should include revenue and traffic targets as well since not all leads are created equal. You will also want to attach specific numbers to these KPIs. Here are a few KPI examples:

  • Monthly, quarterly or yearly revenue target
  • Number of qualified leads
  • Number of email signups for nurture campaigns
  • Measurable increase in site traffic (unique visitors, return visitors, etc.)
  • Move to Page 1 of Google
  • Receive a certain number of social media mentions or shares

The money you spend on creating and promoting content should also be included in your KPIs, broken down by campaign or asset, in order to keep tabs on your customer acquisition costs.

Not understanding your audience

With the fear of sounding like a broken record here, we need to stress the importance of audience building. Investing in building the right audience in integral to weeding out unqualified buyers and increasing conversion rates. Knowing your audience will also help you decide on the right content types.

For example, if your target audience spends a lot of time commuting in a car or on public transportation, a podcast may be far more effective at reaching them than an ebook or whitepaper. Building an audience requires three simple steps:

  • Assembling demographic information
  • Compiling customer feedback
  • Developing buyer personas

Collecting demographic information is the first step to building a high-converting audience. You’ll want to gather as much information as possible on your customers, email subscribers, and social media fans. If your business is conducted primarily online, tools, such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, can help with this tremendously. You can easily see your customer’s breakdown by age, gender, education and even income. Google Analytics will even provide insights into interest and search activity, to help you better segment your audience into categories (information seeker, just browsing, ready to buy, etc).

Why You Need to Target Multiple Personas in Web Content Creation

As a marketer or B2B copywriter, you know the importance of setting a goal for each piece of content you create. It could be industry or product education, or you could be pushing traffic to a landing page to increase sales. However, you need more than that goal to be successful. Establishing a clear audience for the piece is just as critical. Writing for everyone is writing for no one!

But what happens when there are multiple potential audiences for your products and services? No, the answer isnʼt to stress. The better approach is to create multiple personas, so you can strengthen the focus of your marketing messaging.

When creating content for different personas, you will leverage the needs, desires, budget, pain points, and other details from your persona in an effort to personalize your message and make it relevant.

While multiple personas arenʼt required for all companies, they are highly beneficial. For companies with multiple products, targeting different market segments and use cases, multiple personas are essential.

Another reason multiple personas is valuable is if you are looking to expand into a new market segment. While the customer in this new market segment might be purchasing the same product the perceived value proposition, use case, motivation to purchase may be unique to the new market segment.

This implies your content must be tailored to the new market segmentʼs particular customer persona in order for it to perform. In order to make these personas actually work, though, you need to establish pain points for each persona. Even if you have one core product with more than one use case, multiple personas will help you target the right people with the right message at the right time based on the particular use case of interest.

Taking this information, letʼs consider your target audience. Can they be clearly narrowed down into one audience, or are they spread across two or three market segments? Itʼs better to have additional personas that helps you narrow down into specific verticals or preferences rather than one ill fit persona that tries to match too many distinct characteristics.

How Can You Use Personas?

As a business owner, you can use buyer personas in just about every element of your marketing strategy. In fact, personas may even be used to create a new strategy or update your current one. While the uses for buyer personas are nearly limitless, there are some key areas you can focus on:

  • Content Creation, Marketing, and Strategy

Here’s the thing– you really can’t or shouldn’t write anything if you don’t know who you’re writing to. Developing content without a target audience runs too high of a risk of attracting the wrong readers or even no readers at all. When you know your audience, you can create content that’s interesting, and most importantly, valuable to them. As you use your buyer personas to create a content strategy, be sure to include the buyer’s journey in the development process. Picture it this way– your buyer persona, Recruiter Robert, is in the awareness stage of the journey. He knows he needs help managing talent acquisition and has heard of your company. However, Robert’s not reading to commit to any solution just yet. What type of content would suit his stage at this moment? A short how-to guide full of tips on attracting top talent would be much more appropriate and valuable than a full demo video on your solution.

  • Product Development and Enhancement

With buyer personas, you have invaluable insight into the kind of solutions your leads need. Let this information guide your product or service development and enhancement. Create new offerings and update your current services based on those buyer personas.

  • Sales and Communications

Knowing where your personas are in the buyer’s journey allows you to connect real leads with the right salesperson at the right time. Take the compiled information and analyze it carefully. What does it tell you about the lead’s communication style? Are you prepared to answer any potential questions or objections they may raise? Do you know when and how to follow up?

  • Personalized Marketing Efforts

There’s so much content on the internet that the one-size-fits-all approach is becoming all but obsolete. Leads are wise to, and frankly, irritated by ubiquitous messages. Instead of developing the same general message for each lead, personalize your content with buyer personas. Develop unique emails, blog posts, and opt-in landing pages appropriate to the persona and their place in the buyer’s journey. This technique ensures that your message is well-received and welcome.

How to Use Data to Craft Valuable Web Content

Big Data creates a wealth of opportunities for organisations, with an abundance of information available to help with marketing and sales. This treasure trove of data is changing the way in which we all do business. In this short guide we will explore the implications of Big Data and advanced analytics for your organisation.

Since the dawn of mainstream internet, Big Data has provided vital insights, enabling marketing and sales teams to better understand consumer behaviours. Companies who succeed at converting this data into market growth will generally focus on the following activities:

  • Identifying business opportunities using data analytics
  • Using the data obtained to make key business decisions and improve marketing ROI
  • Creating well-designed products and/or service packages based on data insights
  • Delivering these products into the marketplace
  • New technologies make the process of capturing data even easier, with the provision of interfaces to help businesses check and monitor customer trends.

Trends

The online risk, insurance and compliance magazine, StrategicRISK, estimates that there are approximately 4.4 zettabytes (4.4 trillion gigabytes) of information in the digital universe, with the number set to reach 44 zettabytes by 2020. From a revenue point of view, clearly the trend is showing no signs of slowing down.

Organisational change

New analytics tools enable better interpretation of data, however, to truly succeed you must address any organisational changes required as a direct impact of Big Data. For example; the evolution of job descriptions, with more focus dedicated to data and change management.

New Technologies

Business leaders need to consider which functions or departments are likely to benefit the most from analytics – and how the technology will be rolled out. Communication is the key to ensuring seamless business operations – get your employees on board with new technologies and processes.

Training

Taking into account any organisational changes required and the software needed to get the job done, it’s time to consider training. The onus is on managers and team leaders to identify any gaps in training and ensure that employees are not only clear on the tasks required of them but also receive adequate training to deal with changes to their job roles. This process can take a little time but with careful planning can yield dramatically positive results.

Real-world Examples

There are countless successful real-life Big Data applications to use as inspiration when formulating your own strategies, here are a few of particular note:

  • Customer Service – MagicBand (Disneyland)

The data-driven innovation MagicBand, pioneered by Disneyland and developed with RFID technology, involved interactions with thousands of sensors strategically placed around its various amusement parks. The aim of the endeavor was to collate stacks of big customer data and process it in order to enhance customer experience and gain insights to benefit long-term business intelligence strategy.

  • Customer Retention – Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is a great example of a company that uses big data analytics to drive customer retention. The company managed to build its data strategy in 2015 with a digital loyalty program. In an interview by the ADMA managing editor Alicia Tan, Justin De Graaf, Director of Data Strategy and Precision Marketing at Coca-Cola made clear that big data analytics was a key driver behind customer retention. The main loyalty program, My Coke Rewards (MCR), still runs and originally sprung into life back in 2006.

  • Improving Health – ResearchKit (Apple)

Apple’s health app, ResearchKit, turned phones into biomedical research devices. Researchers benefit via the collection of data inputted to user phones for use in health studies. Data such as how many steps a user takes in a day, or how a user feels after chemo, can be monitored and used to increase the number of participants a study attracts and the fidelity of the data. This is a great example of Big Data analytics for the greater good in addition to raising the profile of an individual company.

  • Targeted Adverts – Netflix

For a great example of a brand using big data analytics for targeted advertising, look no further than Netflix. The entertainment giant collects vast amounts of data from its 100 million + subscribers in order to run tailored adverts on user interests, for example, suggestions for a next film or TV series for a user to watch.

The examples above illustrate how Big Data analytics can be used across a wide scope of business activities with impressive results. With time and careful planning you too can reap the benefits of the vast pool of data now available.

3 Components of a Great Content Experience

The role of content strategy has evolved as the number of digital touch points has exploded across new platforms and channels. Think social media, IoT, AI-driven chat and voice experiences, and more still to come. B2B marketing leaders and strategists must think holistically about how customers engage with their content and how individual pieces of content work together to shape a consistent and considered customer experience.

Today’s customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. When it comes to digital content, this means frictionless, personalized experiences. That’s why content experience is deeply intertwined with customer experience.

Content strategy focuses on defining, measuring, and optimizing how content is created and distributed. The goal is to deliver consistent and relevant content that meets an audience’s needs. Among content strategists,
there is a growing focus on the overall content experience: How do customers engage with content at each step of their digital journey? Is their experience consistent and smooth, or frustrating and disjointed?

Marketers and content strategists cannot focus only on the quality and performance of individual content assets and marketing campaigns. They must consider the end-to-end experience they’re creating and optimize how users engage with their content. Content experience recognizes the connective tissue between content types—landing pages, social posts, banner ads, assets, chat, IoT, kiosk display content, even customer service talking points.

Content should be orchestrated to support the customer journey at each step. The goal of a well-designed content experience is to deliver the right information to the right person, in the right way, at the right time and place. To do this you must create content that is consistently focused on customers’ needs and top tasks on their digital journey.

In a content-saturated world, it’s harder to get your message across. The bar is now higher for quality, but that’s not the only factor. For content marketing efforts to succeed, your content must be surfaced in the right context. That means serving it up to customers and prospects at the right time over the right channel. Too often, that doesn’t happen, and the effort that went into creating content is wasted.

Customers expect personalized experiences (thank you, Amazon and Netflix) and content that maps to their current stage in the digital journey. They get frustrated when you drive them to a website that doesn’t match their interests and expectations or doesn’t acknowledge that you’ve
already had a conversation with them.

Between PCs, mobile phones, watches, and smart-home gadgets, our world is exploding with connected devices. The marketer’s challenge is to communicate with our audiences across multiple platforms in a consistent and personalized way. That requires a more holistic thought process and attention to the content experience.

Components of a Great Content Experience

What do superlative content experiences look like, and how can you engineer them consistently for your customers and prospects? When we put content experience under the microscope, its core characteristics come into focus. The content assets you create should, together, deliver an experience that reflects these components.

  • Progressive Content Experiences

A progressive content experience is one in which each touch point builds on the previous one, rather than repeating it or existing in isolation. In this example, we see a progressive experience from ad to website. When we know a user has clicked the ad, we recognize their interest, and we can progressively add more information—and incentives—to the conversation. We’re building a progressive experience based on what we know about the user.

By curating a guided journey, you’re deepening audience engagement by suggesting the next relevant piece of content to consume. Think “Recommended for you” or “You may also like.” Give your audience little prompts and nudges for the next action to take. If you’ve dedicated budget dollars to get someone to arrive at your landing page, the worst thing you can do is leave them hanging with nowhere to go (except off your website).

Properly structuring your content allows you to create it once and push it out automatically across multiple platforms—blog, social post, landing page banner, Google listing—to meet your audiences where they are. Structured content is a geekier topic than the other characteristics of content experience, since it depends on the technical, back-end setup of your platform or CMS. In essence, it’s about breaking up content into component pieces—title, image, rich snippet, reviews, category/tag, publishing date, location/map, and other structured fields. Structuring your content saves time and allows you to more easily create rich, consistent content experiences across channels

  • Connected Content Experiences

In a connected content experience, each touch point bears some resemblance to the previous one and maintains consistency of campaign messaging, personalization, or design. In this example, we see a disconnected experience: An advertising “takeover” campaign in a Washington DC metro station—with corresponding digital ads—focuses on the needs of this regional market (privacy and secure office space). But when users click to the company homepage, that connection is lost: the homepage contains generic messaging and does not reflect the messaging or style of the takeover campaign. This is a missed opportunity and the customer’s interest is more likely to evaporate.

You are competing for your audience’s attention with a veritable feast of sensory experiences, which is why it is more important than ever to draw them in with content that is fresh, immersive, and creative. Engaging content experiences take many forms—from virtual reality to collaborative storytelling that includes audiences in the process. Choose the right format carefully to create the best experience for your audience and to deepen their engagement with your brand.

  • Contextual Content Experiences

How your customers experience content depends on the context in which they consume it. To break through with the right message at the right time, you can serve up contextual, personalized content based on the type of device, time of day, location, journey stage, relationship with your company, or other factors. Giving thought to context is critical to delivering excellent content experiences.

When you understand your audience—their industry, role, behaviors, or preferences—you can serve up relevant content that resonates and converts. The magic of personalization gives you myriad options. For example, your homepage can display different hero banners for visitors who work in education versus healthcare or government.

5 Steps to Develop an Effective Content Strategy

To get started with a serious strategy or strengthen the one you have in place, take the following five steps:

Identify your ‘why’

The only way to produce authentic content that is valuable for your audience is to fully understand the reasons you do what you do. Then, and only then, can you identify what makes your knowledge, position, or message unique.

Ask yourself: Why is it important that you put your knowledge and expertise out there? What gap can you fill?

Determine your audience(s)

After you’ve looked inside to find your ‘why’, the next step is to make sure it aligns with the ‘who.’ Content marketing without an audience is simply creation for the purpose of creation.

And unfortunately, it happens. In fact, most of the barriers to success in content marketing identified by the Content Marketing Institute showed that it all came down to audience — and how you’re serving them (or not).

Only with a defined audience in mind — one that considers a buyer persona’s pain points, needs, and personalities — can you create a content strategy that focuses on producing content they need and will interact with. In other words, content that gets results.

Create SMART goals and define your KPIs

Center your strategy around core goals. If your goal is to create content because you’re “supposed to,” sound the alarms! Content marketing only serves a purpose with SMART goals in mind; goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results- Oriented, and Time-Bound.

Overall objectives will differ based on where you’re at in your business’ life cycle. What makes them SMART is defining them in a way that gives you key performance indicators you can act upon and measure. Let’s take one of the most common objectives of content marketing and break it down for you.

Align goals with company objectives

The goals specified in step three should, of course, support the overall objectives of the organization. To continue with our example of lead generation, this would support what is often a common objective of all companies: increasing revenue.

Not only does tying goals into overall company objectives encourage more buy-in organization wide, but it also encourages marketers to look outside the marketing silo to evaluate the relationship of content marketing to efforts by other departments within the organization.

Document, document, document

About that verbal strategy: it’s great to get the wheels in motion, but without a written plan, it’s tough to mobilize people and action around it. Put your plan in writing with a B2B copywriter. Maybe it’s in a shared Google Doc or Evernote. Or posted on your intranet. Post it. Share it. Then, document tasks, progress, and lessons. The only way to see what’s working is to track it, which requires documentation.

Only when you’ve taken care of the bruise left by not owning your strategy can you move on to heal the rest of the wounds from your content marketing.

How to Avoid the Dreaded Content Silos

B2B organizations are pouring resources into producing a lot of different content assets. These B2B content assets are living on a variety of different channels.

A well-optimized content experience allows organizations to strategically organize their content so the end-user can easily discover the information they need to continue along the buyer journey. What’s stopping them from doing so? The silo-fication of content.

Content silos are dangerous because they lead to “dead-ends” in your engagement path. A few common examples of content silos include:

Organizing by content format or type instead of topic

Let’s say your organization pours a lot of resources into creating white papers with a B2B copywriter. Think about how you organize those white papers on your resource center in relation to how your end-user is seeking content — no one wakes up in the morning thinking “Gee, today is a great day to read a white paper!”. Your end-user is far more likely to discover the right white paper by searching via topic as opposed to sifting through a pile of unrelated and irrelevant information in your “white papers” tab.

Letting your content pile up by date

Similarly, a content silo could occur if you’re letting your evergreen content pile up by date. Your end-user isn’t necessarily searching for your most recent piece of content. As great as your latest blog post might be, “new” or “latest” isn’t code for “relevant to everyone”. By letting your content pile-up by date, you risk leading your end-user astray from your engagement path because you’re enforcing recentness over relevance.

Sending your inbound traffic outbound

Another example of content silo-fication occurs when you send your inbound traffic outbound. For instance, your organization might be producing videos and posting them on YouTube. While tapping into your YouTube audience is a good idea, if you’re referring your inbound traffic from your blog or resource center out to YouTube, you risk losing them into a clickhole of obscurity (probably in the form of cute cat videos).

Create a content hub to avoid content silos

A well-optimized content experience involves the amalgamation and centralization of content for both the content manager and the end-user. By centralizing all content assets (in a content hub, for instance), the content manager can think of their content more holistically and strategically organize it to provide tailored content streams for the end-user, thus providing a more relevant content experience.

Key Ingredients You Need to Create Better Content

Producing great content that stands out and helps meet your business objectives takes a lot of work. Fortunately, there are some best practices
you can follow to make the process easier, while also dramatically increasing your chances of getting results.

Creating great content is a lot like cooking. Bring together the right combination of ingredients, and the result can be a triumph. Leave a few key ingredients out, and you might be left with a bad taste in your mouth. In this quick reference guide, we outline the nine main ingredients for creating better content.

Strategy

The first step to building a successful content program is developing a strategy to guide you. Unfortunately, many companies never do and, as such, they lack the organization and focus it takes to get real results. Developing and executing a content strategy with a B2B copywriter that works and delivers everything your company needs isn’t easy. All kinds of companies struggle with this. Fortunately, agile content development practices and technology can be very useful here.

Consistency

When it comes to creating great content, consistency is key. In fact, it’s a critical ingredient for building credibility and a strong reputation. That’s because it’s not just what you say that matters, but also how you say it. When your language, style, structure, presentation, and branding are
consistent, it helps create a unified experience that your customers are more likely to trust. Meanwhile, if your content is inconsistent, you run the
risk of confusing your audience and potentially damaging your brand.

Clarity

If your content isn’t clear, it can confuse your audience. That’s a big problem, especially if it’s designed to educate or help your prospects and customers. Not only that, content that lacks clarity can also increase your
expenses. For example, when customer-facing content is unclear, it results in more calls to customer service, ratcheting up costs and potentially lowering customer satisfaction. By contrast, having clear and concise content goes a long way toward helping your audience understand and recall the information that you’re sharing.

Voice

In business, the words we use are powerful and important. That’s because they establish your tone of voice — a critical ingredient for building a connection to your target audience. Your tone of voice gives your customers a clear impression of who you are as a company, and what it’s like to do business with you. It can also help differentiate your brand by giving it a distinct and recognizable voice. When your tone is consistent, your audience hears the same person speaking, whenever and however they deal with you. That’s a subtle but important way of showing them that you’re a consistent, reliable company.

Terminology management

Large organizations often have hundreds, if not thousands, of unique words and phrases that they use to describe themselves and the way they do business. Ensuring that those words and phrases are used correctly is critical to maintaining your company’s tone of voice. It also ensures that your content is credible and authoritative, and it avoids the kind of confusion that can erode brands over time. Being able to capture, manage, and enforce the usage of the right words and phrases is an important part of developing a mature content strategy.

Content governance

Content governance refers to the systems and processes you use to determine how content gets created and published within your organization. A good governance framework can be additive and assistive to content creators, can create alignment and clarity, and can increase the overall velocity of content creation. Content governance provides transparency into the process of content creation. It also adds visibility across the whole content machine. That makes it possible to identify issues, gaps, and challenges, and then eliminate them, resulting in a smooth, streamlined process.

4 Best Practices to Make Case Study Content More Effective

To be effective, case studies need to be credible. There are three main ways
to ensure this:

Incorporate the voice of your customer

Include first-person accounts and testimonials of what the company experienced while using your product or service. Make sure you get permission to use any testimonials you want to include, and always attribute them correctly, noting the name and title of the relevant person.

And remember that more often than not, the best way to get testimonials is to ghost write them for your customer, rather than asking them to come up with something on their own. That not only makes the process easier for your customer (who then simply has to edit and approve what you’ve written), it also helps ensure that each testimonial focuses on the
most important points.

Including a testimonial or two from a relevant stakeholder from inside your business can also help further personalize the case study and build credibility.

Create a well-written, clear, and concise document

As with all of your external content, make sure your case study is well-written, clear, and error free. This is especially important with case studies because you’re not only representing your brand, but also your customer’s brand.

And, if that representation contains errors, typos, or other quality issues, you’re associating your company and your customer’s company with that poorly written content. Make sure you have a B2B copywriter system in place to adequately review your content before you publish it, whether that involves human editors or some form of optimization technology.

Show tangible results

We touched on this earlier but it bears repeating. While stating what you did is important, it won’t get you very far unless you can also explain the resulting impact.

While qualitative results are great (we increased sales, customer satisfaction went up, etc.), quantifying those results is even better. By what percentage did sales increase? How much higher is customer satisfaction now than it was before?

Numbers can go a long way toward demonstrating tangible ROI, which in turn builds credibility.

Tell a relatable story

While credibility is certainly a top priority, to really ensure that your case study resonates, it needs to do more than simply relay facts. It has to tell a story. Practically speaking that means:

  • Making the case study relatable by putting it into the appropriate context so that your readers identify with it.
  • Ensuring that you have a strong narrative and adopt a conversational tone of voice.
  • Incorporating the elements of any good story: strong characters trying to overcome a challenge, ups and downs along the way, and a satisfying resolution.

If you can wrap your case study into a compelling and credible story, you’re all but guaranteed to create a highly effective piece of content.

3 essential content experience functions your CMS needs

By now, you probably have a good understanding as to why you should be focusing on providing a remarkable content experience, as well as the building blocks that you need to acquire to build it. You know it’s in your best interest to build a content experience, but what tools and technologies are actually required to build one?

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but if you want to build a truly remarkable content experience — one that allows for you to properly manage content, build an engagement path, generate leads, and leverage content across your entire organization — your current content management system (CMS) probably won’t cut it.

A traditional CMS is designed for building static web pages. Despite the number of plugins that are available to encourage engagement and lead generation, it can be difficult to fudge together and manage your content experience when you’ve built it from the same blueprint as Frankenstein’s monster.

In addition to aggregating and managing large quantities of content, as well as allowing your content to be leveraged from all corners of your organization, the solution you choose to build your content experience needs to be able to:

Provide a responsive experience

If your content experience isn’t accommodating different screen sizes, you’re in trouble. Thanks to Google’s Mobilegeddon update and the fact that the majority of content is consumed on mobile, you risk creating more leaks in your content experience if your technology does not facilitate responsive design.

Integrate with your technology stack

Modern B2B organizations understand the value of having the right technology, and more importantly, the value of having technology that seamlessly integrates with the rest of their technology stack. The results of having a disjointed martech stack can be dire — after all, if your content leads aren’t properly feeding into your marketing automation platform, you’ll not only miss opportunities, but will also lack accurate insight into your content marketing and lead gen performance.

Eliminate IT barriers

It’s difficult to separate IT from your organization’s technology; however, IT barriers are all too often the cause of massive productivity issues. Technology that inhibits a marketer or salesperson’s ability to perform nimbly and to the best of their ability is almost contradictory. It’s important to seek software solutions that empower your employees (especially for non-tech departments such as Sales and Marketing).

Conclusion

The concept of a content experience isn’t new, but B2B organizations — particularly, marketers — haven’t necessarily been putting forward the amount of resources required to properly optimize their content experiences. Perhaps it’s because the focus of much of our recent content marketing lexicon has been on creation, distribution, and insights. Or, maybe it’s because we have been limited by the technology that’s available to manage content.

Whether you’re leveraging content for marketing, sales, or success, your goal should always be to provide value to your desired end-user. Your content’s value shouldn’t be limited by the experience in which it lives — the experience is an integral part of the content marketing process, and, like any environment, can have a profound impact on your end-user’s behavior and, ultimately, your content’s performance. Allow your content to reach its full potential by building a remarkable content experience and hiring a B2B copywriter.

The Content Creation Best Practices of Pro B2B Marketers

To be effective, case studies need to be credible. There are three main ways
to ensure this:

Incorporate the voice of your customer

Include first-person accounts and testimonials of what the company experienced while using your product or service. Make sure you get permission to use any testimonials you want to include, and always attribute them correctly, noting the name and title of the relevant person.

And remember that more often than not, the best way to get testimonials is to ghost write them for your customer, rather than asking them to come up with something on their own. That not only makes the process easier for your customer (who then simply has to edit and approve what you’ve written), it also helps ensure that each testimonial focuses on the
most important points.

Including a testimonial or two from a relevant stakeholder from inside your business can also help further personalize the case study and build credibility.

Create a well-written, clear, and concise document

As with all of your external content, make sure your case study is well-written, clear, and error free. This is especially important with case studies because you’re not only representing your brand, but also your customer’s brand.

And, if that representation contains errors, typos, or other quality issues, you’re associating your company and your customer’s company with that poorly written content. Make sure you have a B2B copywriter system in place to adequately review your content before you publish it, whether that involves human editors or some form of optimization technology.

Show tangible results

We touched on this earlier but it bears repeating. While stating what you did is important, it won’t get you very far unless you can also explain the resulting impact.

While qualitative results are great (we increased sales, customer satisfaction went up, etc.), quantifying those results is even better. By what percentage did sales increase? How much higher is customer satisfaction now than it was before?

Numbers can go a long way toward demonstrating tangible ROI, which in turn builds credibility.

Tell a relatable story

While credibility is certainly a top priority, to really ensure that your case study resonates, it needs to do more than simply relay facts. It has to tell a story. Practically speaking that means:

  • Making the case study relatable by putting it into the appropriate context so that your readers identify with it.
  • Ensuring that you have a strong narrative and adopt a conversational tone of voice.
  • Incorporating the elements of any good story: strong characters trying to overcome a challenge, ups and downs along the way, and a satisfying resolution.

If you can wrap your case study into a compelling and credible story, you’re all but guaranteed to create a highly effective piece of content.

How to Build a Content Engagement Path

With the surge in popularity of interactive content platforms, many a B2B marketer and B2B copywriter are relying on interactive content assets to remedy their engagement problem. However, engagement is a bigger issue than achieving poll responses and quiz completions.

Engagement means establishing a meaningful connection and a long-term relationship with your end-user. While interactive assets can certainly help build these kinds of connections, it’s important to think of your content on a holistic level and focus on building an engagement path.

First, you can’t expect your end-user to take the time to sift through your content and find what they’re looking for (which is why strategic content organization is key to content discoverability). A truly great content experience is ultimately about designing for enduring engagement, content cross-discoverability, and customized content pathways that help keep things personal and relevant for your end-user.

Second, you need to encourage enduring engagement by enabling conversations using certain elements of engagement that will help to build a stronger relationship.

Organizing and managing your content to create tailored content streams that are highly relevant to your end-user is one way to encourage engagement. However, it’s also important to have a few aspects “baked in” to your content experience to facilitate and measure engagement. In all likelihood, you’ve heard of some of these tools before, but it’s important to understand how these elements work to promote engagement in your content experience.

Enabling comments

Commenting is one of the best ways to start conversations and, ultimately, understand whether or not your content is providing value to your audience by allowing the opportunity for feedback.

Of course, some brands (like Rainmaker Digital, née Copyblogger) have famously disabled their blog’s comment section to broaden the conversation using other networks and avoid wasting time cleaning out inevitable spam. It’s ultimately up to you and your organization as to whether or not you include comments to meet your goals.

Add social sharing buttons

Social sharing buttons are also a great way to generate engagement because they facilitate seamless sharing on social platforms, thereby allowing greater distribution and greater opportunity for your content to become part of a conversation.

Include exit overlays

Exit overlays are “pop ups” that are triggered by exit intent technology, which monitors visitor behavior on your blog or website. When a visitor shows the intent to exit — e.g., by moving their cursor to their top navigation bar, or to close a window — an overlay pops up to encourage them to stay on the site and take action. Exit overlays can be used to build subscriber lists, or offer exclusive content, or suggest content recommendations — the opportunities are endless.

Provide content recommendations

Part of building an engagement path means always providing a logical and tailored next step to keep your end-user engaged with your brand’s content. One of the easiest ways to do this is by implementing a content discovery engine that provides targeted content recommendations. Think of content recommendations as an automated system that lays the next content “brick” in your end-user’s engagement path. The path will continue as long as there are enough relevant bricks ahead!