Keyword association, primary conversions and social listening: 3 routes to content marketing ROI
Every marketing campaign needs to show a return on investment (ROI). Whether its yourself, your boss or your client someone always wants to know if your marketing spend is getting results.
But there is no universal ROI and it can mean different things from one organisation to the next. Every brand has its own goals in mind for what it wants its marketing strategy to achieve. ROI for content marketing campaigns is just the same.
Organic search has traditionally been a common metric for measuring the success or otherwise of your content marketing. Now that you’re putting all this great content on your blog, is anyone reading it? Are more people finding your landing pages in search? Do you hold onto visitors longer?
For some brands, search traffic is a given. What they want to see is evidence that investing in content marketing is increasing their conversions, while others see content marketing as an opportunity to grow their online footprint and influence relevant conversations on social media.
In this post we take a look at these 3 common ROI measures and offer some tips for measuring them and optimising for them.
1. Building keyword associations in organic search
Providing lots of useful, relevant and high quality content on your website remains the best long-term tactic for attracting more visitors from Google’s organic search results.
Whether it’s landing pages that provide meaty, in-depth information about your products and services or regular blog content that digs into the themes and topics your audience cares about, your content marketing strategy can deliver sustainable improvements in search traffic.
Content you create also has the ability to influence search rankings through associated keywords. Producing a high quantity of content that mentions keywords people use to search for your products closely followed by your brand name can begin to form an association between the two when Google crawls your content. This can influence search results, suggested results, and rankings.
Rand Fishkin, founder and former CEO of Moz, the leading company in inbound marketing, discusses how this works in the below Whiteboard Friday video. He also goes into some depth about how branded search queries can affect your conversion rates.
If users see your brand as a trusted authority, they may start to include your brand name in their search queries. If a high volume of these searches occur, Google then begins to associate your brand with keywords related to the products or services your company offers, and will push your landing pages higher in search rankings as it assumes they will provide appropriate answers to queries.
As described in the video, this is achieved through publishing a large volume of content on relevant topics and presenting your brand as an authority in its field with thought leadership content.
2. Optimising your content for primary conversions
As well as winning more search traffic and influencing how your brand appears in search, your content marketing should also be supporting your primary conversion objectives.
Primary conversions are, put simply, what you would ideally want every visitor to your website to do next. E-commerce sites usually want you to buy their products, whereas B2B sites might want you to book a demo or request a call back.
For some brands, traffic isn’t the problem. They want their content marketing to deliver more of these primary conversions either by attracting different types of visitors (people more likely to convert) or helping to push visitors towards their calls-to-action (CTAs).
One of the best ways to improve your chances of converting website visitors into customers is to get at them as early as possible.
Google’s famous The Zero Moment of Truth Macro Study revealed that 88% of consumers research a product or service before they buy, which means that most have have already made up their minds before they go to actually make the purchase.
Content marketing provides an opportunity to get your brand in front of potential customers during this all important research phase. By providing useful and relevant information that helps them understand the products you sell or that taps into related topics they might be searching for you can start to build a relationship that will pay off when they’re ready to buy.
If your organisation is agile enough to engage in real-time marketing you will also have opportunities to catch your prospects at just the right time. Real-time marketing gets you access to stories and events that have caught the interest of your target audience and gives you a chance to serve up personalised or highly-relevant content that can help get more eyeballs on your CTAs.
3. Driving social reach with organic and paid content campaigns
Some brands just want to be loved. Rather than search traffic or clicks on their CTAs, these brands measure their success by their growing reach on social media. How many followers do they have? How active and engaged are those followers? Are people talking about them and if so what are they saying?
It’s the last bit: social listening, that’s really interesting. Twitter followers are easily manipulated and Facebook likes no longer guarantee an audience for your content. But tapping into conversations on social media and using them to help decide what kinds of content you should create can be a great way to maximise the return you get from your content marketing.
Check out these examples of social media listening in action. These brands all jumped on opportunities presented by relevant conversations happening on popular social sites to interact directly with potential customers or create highly targeted, responsive content.
The example from Zappos involved a conversation where the actual brand name wasn’t @mentioned at all, but by broadening the criteria for its social listening, the online retailer was still able to get involved.
Actively participating on social media in this way allows you to influence how your brand is perceived. Without a voice on social media the conversations still happen – just without you involved. Carefully targeting your contributions to relevant online discussions can prompt people to regard your brand more favourably, increase awareness and find those more engaged fans and followers.