I’m a huge proponent of reportable metrics and live to help my clients increase conversation rates, SEO ranks, page views, time on page, number of pages visited, and social shares while decreasing bounce rates. But I truly believe that numbers only tell half the story. The other half of the story is about improving the user experience for your visitors, building awareness for your brand, and being recognized as a thought leader in your industry.
There is still a lot you can’t measure in content marketing, no matter how sophisticated your analytics and social listening tools are. To ensure your brand-aligned web content resonates with your target audience, you must make sure the rest of your digital marketing efforts match up, and that the emotional experience of your brand is on point. Here are three best practices to consider when evaluating your recent content wins and losses.
If the user experience of your website leaves something to be desired, you have an issue. Website design has come so far in the past few years, yet some organizations are still stuck in their ways with clunky, hard-to-read text and impossible-to-navigate user interfaces. Taking the time to make your site as clean and intuitive as possible will keep visitors on your pages longer. Start by having a consistent stream of quality content that is easy to access, and then consider how internal linking structures can organically push readers to pages that matter most to them. This gives your company instant credibility and helps keep a visitor engaged.
When building brand awareness, make sure you’re investing in quality content writing. To stand out from all the other companies online, you need to produce original content that ranks in search, is shared across social media, and sparks conversation. Increasing your brand awareness might not immediately add to your bottom line, but it makes visitors more likely to think of your company when they are ready to convert. This is why I advise my clients to look beyond conversion metrics when evaluating their content campaigns. While it’s important to see high-level pieces of content converting site visitors and later driving revenue, short-form articles that tell unique stories have value that may not be immediately quantifiable to your bottom line. If people are reading and sharing these brand-awareness pieces, they will later opt-in for long-form content when they’re ready to buy.
Thought leaders are considered the most respected and successful individuals and companies in their industry. To me, a thought leader is an individual or company that questions the way things work and offers unique ideas, solutions, or opinions on the status quo. These ideas then generate buzz, create intrigue, are spread throughout media channels, and ultimately put a spotlight on the organization or individual that created them. Being known as a thought leader in your space adds instant credibility and builds love for your brand. But you can’t become a thought leader overnight—you have to take the time to understand your market and audience. Once you’ve done so (though it is an ongoing discovery), broadcast your ideas and embrace feedback. This is the true mark of a thought leader.
Content marketing is about more than the standard reporting metrics. While these are important, they only tell half the story. Don’t overlook the benefits of original content writing, distribution, and amplification.