How Do You Create Successful Content? Make It Matter.

Content is always an investment. This is true for all types of content. From creating social media posts to developing and publishing an eBook, when time and resources are being allocated, your company is therefore making an investment.

Companies usually have processes in place to evaluate how their products, initiatives and campaigns are performing. This is not a revolutionary practice—there has to be a way to ensure goals are being met and that the strategies for achieving those goals are still working.

But according to Content Science’s latest Content Operations Study, 65% of organizations are not regularly evaluating the impact and success of their content. The result: a blind spot for companies regarding their content effectiveness. In some cases, this represents a significant investment of resources.

The Importance of Content Analysis

In an increasingly digital ecosystem, companies have to work harder to stand out among competitors. Companies that do not keep up with the needs and interests of their customers risk losing them to someone who shows they know the audience better.

Knowing what content is successfully engaging your company’s various audiences (and what content falls flat) is more important now than ever before. Companies are aware of this. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of respondents to the Content Marketing Institute’s annual content marketing report stated that creating content that appeals to different stages of the buyer’s journey was a challenge. Additionally, 50% found it challenging to align content efforts across sales and marketing.

One way to alleviate these challenges: data and analysis. Implement processes that track how content performs and guide greater content and digital marketing strategies. Content Science also found correlation between content analysis and overall team success. Of the teams that evaluate the success of their content:

  • 87% have the flexibility to respond to change
  • 71% have clear goals and understand how to achieve them
  • 71% are empowered to take risks

What Makes Content “Effective”

The content you develop should be accurate, helping to meet company goals, and effectively engaging target audiences.

Defining “effective” starts by developing key performance indicators (KPIs) based on clearly defined, trackable and realistic metrics. Avoid prioritizing vanity metrics. These may look impressive but do not provide any real value. Instead, focus on areas where data can provide actionable insights.

Consider the following three overarching areas when developing your metrics:

  • Awareness. How is your content leading consumers to discover your company and products?
  • Engagement. Now that consumers are aware of your company and your products, is your content encouraging and enabling them to learn more about your offerings?
  • Leads. Learning about your offerings is one thing. Acting on that information is another entirely. How is your content driving purchases and/or subscriptions? How are customers being retained? How is your content enhancing their overall experience?

While there is a general consensus of what good performance looks like in each of these areas, every company may have a different definition of what is considered “effective content” based on their overall priorities. Have a clear consensus within different company departments regarding the goals of your content and what constitutes success.

How to Measure Your Success

In a recent webinar, Content Science founder and president, Colleen Jones, discussed various ways to measure and analyze the effectiveness of your content. This includes:

  • Benchmarking. Establish metrics that capture your content’s current effectiveness, and use this as your baseline. Then, define how content ties into your company’s goals, and determine what success looks like based on these metrics. This provides a clear way to show how performance changes over time.
  • A/B testing. Develop a deeper understanding of what resonates with your audience. Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach by split testing different aspects of your content. While this is more common with shorter-form content like email or social media, A/B testing provides a deeper dive into the “why” behind audience engagement across all forms of content.
  • Adding context. Always look for ways to take your analysis one step further. Instead of just reporting your metrics, determine the causes behind what you are seeing. Was something done differently? Are there other data sources (like customer feedback) that, when paired with your metrics, could provide additional insight?

The Future of Content

Consumers are faced with an unprecedented amount of content to discern from. As research from The Manifest shows, 51% of companies that invest in content are publishing content daily. This will only increase as businesses become more competitive, with 47% of respondents to the Content Marketing Institute’s report indicating they will be hiring or contracting content producers in 2023.

The best path forward for companies is to stand out. Determine how you will measure your content, and then make this the blueprint for what follows.

Bill Braun, Account Supervisor, The Bliss Group

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