Marketers are creating more organic content marketing initiatives — fueled by SEO and insights gained through content performance metrics — to boost engagement and content effectiveness.
This trend was discussed in detail by industry experts at C3 2015 in New York, hosted by Conductor.
During his keynote, Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi noted that 90% of companies are using some form of content marketing; however, only 30% are saying their content marketing is effective.
According to Pulizzi, most content marketing initiatives aren’t focused on the buyers’ needs. "We're still thinking of content marketing as campaigns, we're still talking too much about ourselves and there are no clear goals or documented strategies."
Pulizzi states that effective content strategies should be built around three key components:
- The core target audience;
- What type of content will be delivered; and
- The outcome for the audience if they consume the content.
Developing content for a specific audience is critical, according to Pulizzi, because content that targets more than one persona will likely fail. "Pick one persona and maximize your content strategy around that persona."
Measuring Content Effectiveness With SEO Insights
A common misstep by content marketers is aiming to measure each individual piece of content separately from the start of their campaigns, experts noted. It's important to focus on how content is impacting an entire channel — ultimately identifying that the engagement taking place is organic and beneficial to the target audience.
During his session, Haslam highlighted how his company was able to increase its profit margin by 264% between July and September 2015 through an organic search strategy. Haslam noted that his company benefits from having the insights from his SEO team to understand their audience and create targeted content that resonates with them.
"It's unfair to hand a brief to your content people and say 'we want something like this,'" said Haslam. "SEO people have the insights; this insight needs to be shared with the people who can benefit from it — including your content team."
Ultimately it's important for content marketers to deploy the right visual content to the right channel, in the right format at the right time for the right audience, according to Jake Athey, Marketing Director for Widen Enterprises. "This guarantees that you're bringing value to your target audience."
Leveraging Intent Data For Content Creation
As target audiences continue to move away from interruptive forms of engagement, the role of marketing analytics has grown more crucial to creating content that starts the conversations buyers want to be having, according to Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager for Microsoft.
"Machine learning is what's going to be important," Forrester noted during his session. "We're producing an exorbitant amount of data; you can now give Big Data to a computer system and it will go find patterns."
Those patterns have to be identified in order to produce the content that buyers need to move along their buying journey, experts noted.
"If you create content on that path, you'll attract the right people, retain their attention and sell them much more easily," Forrester noted.
Data can also create that human-like feeling that B2B buyers strive for during the buying process. This approach has grown especially crucial for display advertising, since it has grown more difficult for marketers to prove that any interaction with these ads are genuine.
"You have to add the human component to understand if those ad views are really valuable to you company," noted Mark McMaster, Head of Global YouTube & Brand Activation at Google, during the closing keynote session. "[Advertising] is going to move to a place where true engagement and intent is necessary to prove if an audience member is valuable to the company."
One method for creating more personal content is leveraging a video format. Vikram Bhaskaran, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Pinterest, noted how the social platform has seen a surge of video consumption on their site — and how marketers are leveraging video to gain their audience's attention.
"We see video as a big part of the site," noted Bhaskaran. "Usefulness is crucial to content success, and video has a compelling way of displaying usefulness to audiences."
However, this type of personalized video content isn't possible without the proper insights into their ideal buyers. Making sure that content is "organically discoverable" is critical, according to Bhaskaran, and Pinterest has turned into a social presence that can help companies identify what is important to their audience.
"Many consider Pinterest just a social network, but people pin what they care about; companies and brands understand that they have to have a deep understanding of what people are searching for and what their intent is," Bhaskaran concluded.