Monday, December 10, 2012

The great content marketing discussion

An imaginary conversation…

Firstly what do you mean by the term content marketing?
The term has been increasing in its usage for the last year and  especially over the last few months… but content marketing is usually known as the use of content (such as text and imagery) across an organisation’s owned channels (website, social networking page, etc.) to get users to a site and build engagement.

Isn’t this search engine optimisation?
No, SEO is about optimising a site (code, configuration, links AND content) to get a higher placement in search engines. Although content markers do need to consider SEO factors such as keywords, they aren’t really bothered about how sites are set up or algorithms for ranking.

So how do you get traffic via content?
You build up user traffic by being useful and relevant to the reader. This therefore makes your content more sticky (readable) and social (sharable).

So content marketing is a sub-set of SEO?
Well, not really. Content marketing also deals with topics such as internal linking to other content around a site to encourage the user to complete a specific goal. For example: to purchase a product or to sign-up for a service. 

So it’s about writing link bait then!
It’s all about producing quality content, not rubbish articles that pander to the lowest common denominator and get instant traffic based on sensationalistic headlines. The modern web user is very savvy and they tune out things they are not interested in any more, it’s an attention economy out there.

Then it’s about getting eyeballs to look at your page?
Yes, that’s right, you should write good and free content, which then allows it to be shared so it can work harder and reach a bigger audience for your brand.

But isn’t that syndication?
No, however the content that is written can be syndicated out, such as via an RSS feed.

So what Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) should a Content Marketing person measure?
Although usual website metrics, such as visitors, visits and subsequent conversions should obviously be measured, one important measurement of content marketing success is repeat visits from the same visitor. You should be able to find this information in your website analytics package and further segment it by the content areas on your site. As a rough guide, the more users come back, the more they’re engaged.

But doesn’t this affect conversion rate for an eCommerce site?
Yes, repeat visitors could affect your ‘look to book’ ratio, because just increasing the number of ‘looks’ to your site will make your site look like it is less effective. It is therefore just as important to look at how your content pushes users to convert (book).

So how will this area evolve?
Content Marketing Optimisation (CMO) is not a term currently well known, but a lot of people jumping on the content marketing bandwagon right now will quickly be asked to justify their investment of time, 3rd party copywriting, etc. 
So just as SEO took a while to emerge as a longer-term disciple that observes, learns and improves the bottom line; so content marketing optimisation by using insight gleaned from analytics packages will tell website owners what content is working and what is not.
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