We all know that we need content to succeed online, and the better the content, the more we succeed. We’ve been told time and time again that content is king. But so many times we hear from merchants that tell us that blogs don’t work. They’ve tried content based marketing and it’s not worked for them, and therefore it won’t work in future.

Usually this is because they’ve written a couple of blogs and no-one has found them so they’ve given up. In this article we’re going to explore how content marketing works, what content marketing is and how to make one piece of content work for you in lots of different ways.

What is Content Marketing

Content marketing is the creation of relevant content and distributing that content to attract new potential customers and retain existing ones. There has to be certain criteria met for you to be able to market the content effectively.

  • It has to be high quality – We follow a 10x approach to content marketing. That means that if we’re creating a piece of content, it has to be at least 10 times better than the top competitors. Great content will be easier to distribute and better for the audience.
  • It has to be relevant – We’ve seen so many business owners writing extensively about how great their product is. But put yourself in the customers shoes, do they want to hear about your product at great lengths over and over again? Or would they prefer some relevant information that can help them out?
  • It has to be authoritative – Your target audience is looking for an authority leader. There are many reasons why becoming an industry authoritative thought leader is good for your brand. But the number one reason to become the authority figure, is to be able to confidently serve high quality content to your users that they can trust.

How to distribute your content

Once you’ve got your piece of content, it’s relevant and the best it can be, it’s time to distribute it. This is where a good content marketing strategy comes into place. Like all digital marketing campaigns, planning is the key to success.

Some pieces of content, or subject matters, might be easier to distribute than others. Planning this in beforehand will give you some key insights into what type of content you want to create and the subject topics. Here are some ideas you can use to help distribute your content:

SEO

Search engine optimisation can be an arduous task, but it can provide you with great opportunities to build an audience. Depending on the type of content you’ve created, you could optimise it further to rank higher in the search results. Basic SEO is something you can do yourself using a variety of free online tools. However, for harder to get keywords, you may want to use an SEO expert.

Email Marketing

You should be collecting email addresses and data via most your marketing plans. Email marketing traditionally was all about sending massive discounts and hoping people bought from you. But if you incorporate your content marketing in with your email marketing then you’ll grow an engaged audience who will be loyal to your products or services.

You can also include some high quality “evergreen” content pieces in with your automated marketing campaigns. Find out more about automated email marketing.

Social Media Sharing

Create a catchy headline with a featured preview image and get your content posted across your social media channels. Adding in some preview text will encourage users to click through and read the rest of your article. You can measure which types of content work best for your audience by monitoring the click through rate of articles on social media.
You could use some content to create a boosted article to target non-customers which will in turn grow your social media following and your email marketing.

Paid Search

You don’t have to promote your content just on social media. Sometimes, it might be worth promoting it on Google, YouTube, Bing and other search engines. Depending on your industry, this might be a refreshing article to read when your users are searching. Be careful that you don’t cannibalise your product adverts and that the articles you’re promoting are read worthy. This can be especially effective if you’re using retargeting across your advertising channels.

What to Do After Content Has Been Distributed

You’ve created some incredible content, optimised it for Google, spread it about on social media, included it into your email marketing campaigns and boosted it in some ads. What do you do next? This is where a lot of merchants fall down, it’s at this crucial stage of content marketing that you need to measure the performance of your content. There will always be somewhere in the marketing strategy that can be improved, whether that’s the SEO ability of the content, the engagement factor or the relevancy.

Tips to Measure Content

Measuring content allows you to improve upon it and measure and test again and again. It also allows you to build up a picture of what content is right for your audience and what doesn’t work. Here are some key indicators to help you measure the success of a content marketing strategy.

  • Measure bounce rates – Use Google Analytics to measure bounce rates from different sources to work out where the content isn’t relevant enough. A bounce rate is the amount of people that have landed on the page and left after viewing just one page. This can be an indicator of not having relevant enough content on the page. Perhaps the bounce rate is particularly high on mobile devices, this would indicate that the design and/or the speed of the site is sub-par on mobile.
  • Measure SERP position – Measuring your average position for new keywords will give you some indication as to how well your new piece of content is doing in the search engine results page. Use Google Search Console to gain some insights, or sign up to SEMRush for a more detailed analysis of content and track keywords over time.
  • Measure sign up rates – If the content is so good that the reader signs up to join an email marketing list, then you know that the content has done a good job. So measure different content types on your site and see which ones are getting the most email sign ups. This will give you an indication as to the medium and topic of the best performing content pieces.
  • Measure social shares – If a user is sharing your content on social media, it must be relevant enough for them to think it’s worth letting their closest friends and family members know about it. The value of an organic social share is high, so bare that in mind when you’re analysing content types. If a user has shared an item from your site directly, you can use Google analytics to measure how many visitors are coming from a specific social site and marry up the numbers from the social stats.
  • Measure email stats – If your subject line is enticing enough, you’ll see a bigger open rate. If the preview content is enticing enough, you’ll see a bigger click through rate. Optimise both the subject line and the email content to get more people reading your content.

    Use a/b split testing to see different variants of subject lines and content preview types. Do this across several email marketing campaigns to see if there is a positive or negative trend. You can then take the positives and split test a variant of that. Think of it as an “evolution” of email marketing where the best performing ones survive until you have a strong email game.

    Most email marketing platforms will have some in-depth analytics on email performance and user engagements, it’s worth delving into those to see if one piece of content is out-performing any others. Use Google analytics to filter out traffic coming from email that’s not using UTM tracking codes, and you’ll see how many people have come via a personally shared email rather than a marketing email.

  • How we do content marketing

    We have a very organic approach to content marketing that helps merchants form long-lasting and meaningful relationships with their customers. This approach has an effect that grows brand loyalty and ultimately, better conversions values. Get in touch to find out how we can help with your content marketing.

AUTHOR

Will Lynch

Will is Head of Marketing at ELS Media. He can be found fixing Google penalties, optimising eCommerce sites and creating automated email marketing strategies.