How to Root Content Promotion Strategy in Measurable ROI

How many times have you or your team created an awesome content piece, posted it to your site, and sat back in complete confidence, only to see a few weeks later that only a handful of visitors even saw your content?

You may have asked yourself,

  • Why did nobody share it?
  • Did we target the right keywords?
  • Was the content good enough?
  • Are we producing the right kind of content?

If you are one of the 86 percent of marketers who use content marketing today, there is a 93 percent chance that you do not consider your content marketing efforts “very effective”. There are many ways to fail at content marketing, but one of the most common ways is by starting and ending with content creation.

Doing that is the equivalent of producing the greatest TV commercial of all time and then only airing it for one day, between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., to the local news station in a town of 10,000. You and the rest of your team who had a hand in creating the commercial may stay up and watch it live but you can be pretty certain that almost nobody else in the world will ever see it.

So how do you skyrocket your content to reach more of your audience so you can actually create those relationships that turn prospects into loyal customers? How can you show your boss that content marketing is really worth it?

Enter: Paid Content Promotion

Like any holistic content marketing effort, strategy is critical to driving a successful paid content promotion campaign, especially one focused on providing measurable results. A good content promotion plan can be simplified into four major sections:

  1. Setting goals
  2. Understanding your audience
  3. Producing the right content
  4. Targeting and optimizing ads

Setting Goals

Setting goals is a critical first step and should be openly discussed and understood by all parties involved prior to kicking off work. Setting and communicating goals helps align expectations, focus efforts, and drive optimization.

Goals should be:

  1. Clear
  2. Measurable
  3. ROI-driven

ROI-driven does not mean that direct sales need to be measured from day one, though this would be a long-term goal. Because content marketing often times reaches prospects in the very early stages of their decision-making process, capturing email addresses or other contact information is a common goal.

Determining the value of an email subscriber can be a bit more difficult, depending on what email provider you use and how well you are tracking your current email campaigns. Keep in mind that someone who completes your “Contact Us” form likely has a very different value than someone who opts-in to your newsletter, and should be treated differently.

How to calculate (roughly) the value of an email subscriber:

  1. Calculate number of active subscribers
  2. Calculate revenue attributed to email over X months
    • Timeline will likely be different depending on sales cycle. If email subscribers typically purchase within one week, a shorter time period will be needed than if email subscribers typically purchase after three months
  3. Divide Revenue/Subscribers

If it is determined that an email subscriber is valued at $15, you will need to determine what your ROI goal is and ultimately your cost-per-email subscriber.

Understanding Your Audience

In this context, understanding your audience means more than just demographics and purchase behavior. Those are important and will be helpful later, but at this point what you really want to know is:

What are your audience’s pain points?

More specifically, what are your audience’s pain points that are so painful that they would be willing to provide you with their email address (or whatever info you’re looking for) in exchange for the answer?

Common audience pain points are:

  • Confusing product/service
  • Too many options
  • Limited knowledge

This deep understanding of customers will help you not only determine what content makes the most sense to promote, but also what language and tone should be used on the landing page in order to maximize conversion rate.

Producing the Right Content

Depending on your goals, not all content makes sense to promote. Especially with increasing web security concerns, users are placing higher and higher value on their email addresses. Along with higher value comes higher expectations.

If you want to turn prospects into customers, it’s critical to surprise and delight with your initial content and never underwhelm. A 600-word PDF that doesn’t provide much unique value probably shouldn’t be gated behind an email form.

If you want to capture an email address the following must be true:

Perceived Content Value > Value of NOT Joining Your Email List

Your audience is smart and knows very well that an email sign-up means joining a marketing list. Although the content may be free, the barrier of email privacy must be overcome with content that is so tempting it cannot be turned down. When this correctly executed and perceived content value is greater than the value of NOT joining your email list, conversion rates can exceed 20 percent.

Every situation is unique, but some of the content types that we have seen the best results with are (and are my personal favorites):

  • Case Studies
  • Whitepapers
  • Checklists
  • Buying Guides
  • “How-To” Videos
  • Webinars

Adding value through an initial content piece and then building upon that relationship with a well-thought-out lead nurturing process is what will ultimately lead to content marketing success.

In part two tomorrow morning, I will discuss the specific platforms you can use to promote your content online. We usually move to this step when we see that a piece of content starts to gain some traction from either an organic or a pilot promotion program – or both.

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