You’ve written your blog post and you’ve shared it on social media. Now you can sit back, relax, and let the web traffic and sales calls roll in, right? No? Not happening? You probably already know that one blog and a corresponding Facebook post won’t be the only thing you need to boost your business. Why not? Because content marketing is like a marathon, not a sprint.
Content marketing is creating, and distributing, material that informs, entertains, and compels audiences to become customers or remain customers. But, as I’m sure you’ve personally experienced, it’s a rare piece of material that after one reading gets a customer to sign up for life. Instead, content marketing draws a reader down a path of partnership with the brand, engaging them and hopefully turning them into a buyer and an advocate who will spread the brand’s message to others.
So as you begin to discuss with the higher ups and decision makers as to why you should commit to a content marketing plan, prepare yourself to answer these five common questions about content marketing.
How much content is needed to convert prospective customers?
There are many statistics out there saying how many pieces of content the average person needs to read before he or she converts. Some say three, others five, and still more say twenty. While I’d love to share my answer, all I can say is it really depends on your particular business and how much of an investment your products or services require. The key, however, is that fresh content enables your business to stay top of mind and relevant in the ever-moving social media feeds.
You want your content to lead to conversions, obviously, as this is the point of marketing, and the quicker people convert the better. But ultimately content is an ongoing effort. The demand for content production is never ending because customer needs change over time and your content should always address those. So think about content as a way to communicate to your audience, answer questions, and encourage them to consider your business as a solution to their problems.
How long does it take to build a strong audience?
I know you want to reach the largest number of people as quickly as possible, but authentic relationships online take time to develop just as they do in real life. So while you could buy likes, fans, and followers from the first person who offers to sell them to you, your engagement will be low to non-existent because those are not real people that you’re connected with. Real people want to learn about a product, understand how it’s relevant and helpful to them, and see who of their connections also are interested in your brand.
The best way to build your audience online is to follow some basic principles I mentioned in a prior post about expanding your online presence.
What kinds of content will convert the most people?
We’ve all clicked on the posts that say something like “This man had a transplant and YOU’LL NEVER GUESS WHAT HAPPENED NEXT!” But this kind of marketing is cheap and will eventually wear out your readers. When everything is presented as urgent and fantastical, your audience will lose trust in your brand as a credible source. Instead, be consistent and, yes, newsworthy, but not always ridiculous. Be true to your brand as well, because having a unique voice will carry you a long way in developing an audience who remains engaged.
In terms of content platforms like email, ebook downloads, videos, etc., experiment with different ones and see what works for your audience. Balance cost, time to produce, and success metrics. Perhaps your most effective piece of content marketing takes more time, so use that when it really counts, like around a promotion or new product launch. Then use other forms of content leading up to it to build anticipation.
What networks should my business focus on?
There is not enough time in the day, staff manpower, or resource availability to be on every social work that exists, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses. As a result, your business should focus on the network that, first, has your primary audience in the greatest quantity and, second, is a medium that best communicates your message. For example, Slideshare is a great and underutilized tool for to B2Bs. This might be a social network that you consider investing some time into if communicating through a presentation format is conducive to sharing your message. Check out this prior post on choosing the right social media platform for more information.
Why should I care about assisted conversions? Are conversions most important?
Rand Fishkin said it best when he compared conversions and assisted conversions to basketball in his April 25, 2014 Whiteboard Friday. You don’t just consider who makes the most baskets, but also those who assist. Online marketing should be looked at the same way. Everything is connected and one piece of content could greatly assist future sales, but perhaps those conversions come through a paid search ad or through an email campaign. The content that assisted should also be given credit because it might not have happened otherwise. Analytics are crucial to identifying assisted conversion values so you can focus your efforts on what is performing best.
What did I miss? What questions do you get asked about content marketing? Tweet your answers and mention us @spyglassdigital.