It’s never too late for a comeback victory
Falling behind is not the same as falling over. If your business isn’t getting return for its marketing dollar, it’s not time to give up! It’s time to step up.
Because content is so flexible, there are myriad ways to fix a content marketing strategy that are low-cost and simple to achieve – even if you’ve fallen behind your competitors, it’s never too late for that come-from-behind victory.
Today we’re looking at how to perform first-aid on your content using four simple techniques.
1. Improve your content strategy
Is this you? “I’m creating content, but it isn’t driving results. People read it, but they leave straight after.”
Chances are, you’ve not got the right strategy in place, which means there’s no clear incentive for people to stay on your business’ website.
How do you create a new strategy for content marketing?
Content marketing ought to be data-driven, so it requires three very clear things before it can be successful:
- An overall objective: Objectives define what you want your website to achieve. Is it more leads, more traffic, brand trust?
- Specific goals: Each piece of content should have a clear goal – something for people to do once they’ve read it. It could be clicking a particular button, downloading a thing, signing up to a webinar. The content or layout of the website can then encourage this action (e.g. calls to action, banner buttons, etc.)
- Data to measure: Finally, you need a way to measure all of the above in order to define success. Leads and traffic seem easy – just look for increases in their relevant metrics. But how does one measure ‘trust’? Here is where you could deploy customer surveys to get feedback, or you could troll through social media comments to look for key phrases that suggest positive or negative emotions. Regardless, whatever your objective and your goals, you must know how to clearly measure them.
How will this improve my results?
Now you know what you are aiming to achieve, you can create content that furthers your goals. If you need to generate more leads, posting news-based blog posts isn’t going to cut the mustard. You need newsletters, whitepapers with download forms – anything that captures a lead. You can then use blog posts and paid ads to nudge users towards this other content.
More importantly, you can measure the results and objectively say, “This was a success” (or otherwise).
2. Find the right target audience
Is this you? “I feel like nobody is interested in my content, even when I promote it on social media. Lots of people look at it – I have high reach – but not high engagement.”
Oof, sounds like you’ve got a bad case of the wrong target audience. You’re right – people are seeing the content, but they won’t engage with it. That’s because it isn’t right for them, which means they aren’t right for you.
How do I find the right target audience?
Spoiler alert: This movie ends with your true love being under your nose the whole time.
To identify potential customers, you need to identify who your ideal user is. This can be done by creating a customer personas document using the following steps:
- Find customer data: Using Google Analytics, social media, your sale database and any other available information, identify who your best existing customers are. Capture as much detailed information about these people as possible (see? You knew who they were this whole time).
- Pick out the important bits: Who are these people, what is their demographic? What do they need or want? What frustrates them, or gets in their way? What do they ask? Where do they hang out online? What do they read? How well do they understand your product/service or industry? Answer all of these questions.
- Collect this information: By now you should see trends in the data – for examples, CEOs have ABC problems but junior executives have XYZ problems. Create a profile for each category you can define.
To learn more about personas, look at our User Personas guide.
How will this improve my results?
Now when you create content, you can ensure it matches the profiles you have made – and because you used data to create these profiles, you know that they are the right audience.
For example, if CEOs have a high level of knowledge and a specific set of issues, but you write a low-level whitepaper that doesn’t answer their questions, obviously CEOs won’t be interested. Now you can … you know … not do that.
3. Create better content
Is this you? “I’m writing loads of content – it’s even targeted at goals and user personas – but it either doesn’t rank or nobody engages with it.”
It might seem maddening to go through the techniques above and still not get traction, but chances are your content itself isn’t up to scratch. No amount of strategy will help bad content.
How do I make better content?
Here’s a checklist to help you see what you can improve in your content:
4. Maximise content promotion
Is this you? “I write some amazing, highly strategic stuff, but nobody sees it.”
People don’t know you write great content if they don’t know you exist. While it’s OK to rely on pure organic search traffic for long-term gains, this can be slow. Paid promos are a surefire way to get a sudden burst of interest in a key piece of content. If your audience and strategy are both on-point, this will likely also help you achieve your objectives faster.
How do I promote content better?
You need to promote the right content in the right place. For example, the same whitepaper will perform very differently on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and AdWords – you can probably guess why. Your different users hang out in different places and want to see certain types of content in those channels, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here.
To get smarter with promotion, go back to your user personas. What do people want to read, and where do they read it? Promote targeted content in those places, be it social media, search engines, or wherever else your users are.
- Bonus tip for marketers still struggling: If you’re promoting in the right place with the right content but still aren’t seeing results, it could be the ad itself at fault. Start tweaking the ad image, copy and target audience settings to see how it changes the results. Only change one thing at a time and A/B test against the original to isolate the issue (otherwise you might get good results, but have no idea why). Keep repeating this step until you’re satisfied.
How will this improve my results?
Promos won’t get you 10,000 extra loyal readers who will read your blog every day, but they can boost traffic to key pieces of content in order for you to more quickly achieve an objective. If you do this regularly, it’ll build overall brand awareness, which can in turn improve engagement in the future.