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5 Questions
Every Content Creator Needs to Answer
These are the five questions every content creator needs to answer, as well as the metrics that matter most and the tools that can assist along the way.
Question #1:
Why should you create custom content?

Short answer: Because it matters.

Long answer: A report by the content marketing institute indicates that a whopping 93% of B2B marketers now use content marketing as part of their overall marketing plan. Content can generate leads, increase thought leadership, and drive behavior like conversion or attendance. First, identify the why, and then map content to your buying cycle. Focus on the area that will create the most immediate impact, and then build from there.

Question #2:
Who are you creating it for?

Always remember your audience. Keep your target audience in mind as you create your calendar, and know that not all customers at each stage will be the same. Understand the customer journey from start to finish. That means go on that journey yourself and make sure it's not a bumpy one.

Question #3:
What resources are at your fingertips?

Regardless of your content team's size, there are options to help get you going. Check out this post by HubSpot on 16 free tools that make content creation easier. If you struggle with grammar and writing, then check out Grammarly, which comes with a handy Microsoft plug-in. Also, look beyond your department. Co-workers might have writing chops from a personal blog or valuable subject matter expertise.

Question #4:
How can you stand out?

If you draw a blank on what to fill your content calendar with, jump start the process with these questions.

  • What unmet industry needs can be addressed?
  • What gaps currently exist in your competitors' content?
  • What industry events can you tie into throughout the year?
  • What current events or pop culture could make for entertaining content?
  • Where can you play a lead role to capture your customer's attention?

Question #5:
Is it working?

A recent post from the Content Marketing Institute identified 8 key metrics for content marketers and we're here to break them down for you.

content consumption
1. Consumption
The number of readers consuming your content, the channels they use and the frequency of consumption. Those who are in the consumption phase are likely at the top of the sales funnel.
  • Website or blog: Look at page views, unique visitors, and average time on your site using a tool like Google Analytics.
  • Assets: Downloadable PDFs or white papers can be measured by the number of downloads or form completions using marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, or Exact Target.
  • Social media: Tools like bit.ly can help you measure click-through action.
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content retention
2. Retention
The effectiveness of holding your audience's attention beyond the initial contact.
  • Website or blog: Using Google Analytics, look at the percentage of returning visitors, the number of visits, the pages per visit, and the bounce rate.
  • Social media: Track your followers on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  • Email: Measure the number of unsubscribes or opt-outs from your email content.
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sharing content
3. Sharing
The extent to which content is being shared, by whom, and where or how they are sharing it.
  • Website, blog, asset and social media: SharedCount can help quantify retweets, "likes," and social media shares of your content.
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content engagement
4. Engagement
The key to understanding whether your content resonates with your audience. What kind of action (if any) are they taking after reading your content, and at what frequency?
  • Website or blog: Google Analytics can measure a user's session duration and page depth (how deeply into your site a person has clicked).
  • Social media: Tools like Disqus measure comments and social chatter around your content.
  • Direct mail: Add a PURL (personalized URL), QR code, or coupon code to track redemption.
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sales leads
5. Leads
As a prospect advances through your sales funnel, he or she transitions to a lead (middle of the funnel), and there's a new set of metrics. You'll want to see new leads generated, and existing leads touched through your content. Again, marketing automation and CRM tools like Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot, and Salesforce can greatly assist. If these tools are out of your price range, there are some great options for smaller budgets that can still make a big impact. Check out Greenrope, Hatchbuck, and Infusionsoft. divider
sales
6. Sales
The bottom of the funnel metric is where you'll want to look at the dollar amount and percent value of opportunities influenced or generated, and those ultimately won. Use a CRM tool like Salesforce or Infusionsoft to generate detailed reports that will give you visibility into all aspects of your company's sales. divider
production
7. Production
This is an internal metric to measure your content process. Track your team's performance against deadlines and goals and measure how long it takes to turn a content idea into a published piece. A simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet will do the trick. divider
cost metrics
8. Cost Metrics
This one helps you calculate the return on investment. If you can understand what it costs to produce and distribute each blog post, white paper, or email campaign, you can frequently refine your strategy. Cost includes staff time along with all stock images, design fees, and any paid distribution.
Content is a continual cycle, so review, refine, and repeat
gold arrow Start Small
You don't need to use all eight metrics at once. Start by measuring what's easiest first, and then grow from there.
gold arrow Top Down
The top of the funnel is often the easiest place to measure. Sharing and consumption metrics are readily available and don't require a marketing automation platform or CRM tool.
gold arrow Consistency Counts
Content is a long game. Content measurement happens over time, not just as a one-off immediately after you hit publish. Practice patience and persistence over a period of time. By doing so, you will identify which older content is evergreen, and what content needs to be retired or reworked.
By measuring content, you will improve your process and skills, but you will also prove the value of content marketing to the rest of your organization.
For more information or to discuss how to put your newfound knowledge to
work, email us at marketing@pfl.com or give us a call at 800-930-6040.
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