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Content Marketing 102: Measuring Success and Maintaining Creativity

Elisabeth O'Donnell

Elisabeth O'Donnell

After learning the basics in Content Marketing 101, I wanted to dive a little deeper into how content impacts business. I circled back with Content Strategist Manny Veiga and asked about reaching the audience, measuring success and maintaining creativity.

Q: Most members of the audience probably aren’t checking a company’s website every day for new content. How do you make sure you’re seen and heard?

A: It’s tough. About 10 years ago the central strategy was working search engines to steer people directly to the company website. Companies would publish a ton of content with a ton of keywords, hoping the page would rise to the top of the search engine results page.

That’s still part of it, but search engine competition has become so intense that distribution is mainly off-platform, largely utilizing social media. For content you really need eyeballs on, a big avenue is paid sponsorship on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. An alternative to paid social is encouraging people already invested in the company (customers, employees) to get the snowball rolling by sharing. Another paid option is a media partnership.

Certainly, the last thing you want to do is publish it and simply hope that someone comes across it someday.

Q: How does developing content differ between B2B and B2C?

A: The strategy is hugely different. However, in both cases you’re dealing with people and their emotional triggers.

For example: Beyond budget, what are an IT buyer’s priorities? They probably want to make their own life and their employees’ lives easier, help the company function more efficiently, and look good to their boss. All normal human emotions. They care about the nitty gritty details, but they’re more compelled by the same emotions that regular consumers have when subscribing to a fitness app.

The major difference is the form of content. If I’m looking at a fitness app, I’m probably not going read a white paper, whereas someone making a big IT investment would benefit from a white paper that includes the cost, benefits, features, etc. Comparison shopping requires deeper detail for B2B decisions.

Also, B2B purchases involve many people at different levels of a company. As a content developer, you’re producing content for the IT manager to evaluate the tool, then something else to help him present that tool to his procurement manager, and something else to deliver to the CIO.

But at the end of the day, the motivations are still pretty much exactly the same.

Q: How do you stay creative and engaging while working toward a specific business goal? When you’ve been working with the same client for a long time, how do you stay fresh?

A: A lot of content leans on trends and news, on both global and industry scales. There are also many tools we can use to find out what the audience is searching for. You can plug in topics like blockchain or AI and see what related questions people are asking, which helps inform editorial strategy. Keyword research is really important as well, because it gives a backend foundation.

Ultimately, you should be writing pieces people want to read, so you have to figure out what they want to read.

Q: How do you measure how impactful content is?

A: There are really two forms of measurement: individual measurement and program measurement.

Individual measurement is more classic types of measurement, such as page views or downloads. Content success within a campaign also relies on pitching to the media and publishing on social media (which could have had a paid component).

It’s important to track classic metrics on individual content, but also to look at the program holistically and ask: How did that campaign perform? Did it lead to revenue? Did sales increase in the first quarter because they had all this new attention?

Q: How does doing content marketing set a company apart from others who might not be putting as much effort into content?

A: I can’t imagine not doing some form of content marketing right now. It’s really hard to get noticed, especially in industries like the tech space. How do you get noticed among a million other similar companies in your space?

You have to distinguish yourself. Content can help you develop a different type of personality. It doesn’t have to be blogging or podcasting, it could be strictly through social media. Content is an avenue to develop authority and trust with your audience. If you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re probably facing an uphill battle through direct sales alone. If you are seeding the world with your ideas, more people come to you.