Guest Post: Measuring Your Content Campaign

Guest Post: Measuring Your Content Campaign

These days the tools to measure digital marketing campaigns are developing almost  as quickly as the marketing campaigns themselves, which means that you can truly see how your content is working for you. The trick is knowing where to start. TAKE IT PERSONALLY No matter how sophisticated analytic technology becomes, there will always be ambiguity when it comes to measuring your online marketing force. You likely can’t compare your statistics with Nike, but you can determine if your presence – and sales – are increasing as a result of your content initiatives. START STRONG Before you start measuring growth, determine your starting point and set some relevant goals. Do you want your social media interactions to convert into 5x more sales? Do you want viewers to visit one more page per visit? Do you want to double your database through newsletter sign-up? Do you want 60% of leads to be driven by social media? There are no hard and fast rules about which statistics will be right for you. Take the time to consider company organization, departmental goals, marketing resources and appropriate timeframes up front to establish a solid base for your plan and your analysis. WHY WAIT? Once you’ve started to deploy your content campaign, you can get straight to measuring. The sooner you start seeing patterns (and success!) the sooner you can adjust your campaign to capitalize. One of the best things about content marketing is that you can always make updates along the way. Focus on these three big elements to cover a solid foundation in your analysis. 1. Social Growth “Engagement boils down to interactions between individuals and content.” Evan LePage, Hootsuite It all comes down to reaching more people and engaging them in your brand. Traditionally, reach would have been measured purely in followers, and engagement in likes, comments and shares, however different value can be attributed to different forms of engagement. When analysing your social presence, ask yourself if your audience is truly invested in your content. Are they personally promoting your brand within their own social circles? Are they following you on all platforms, or are there tendencies towards certain accounts? Are they ultimately interested in spending money? Hootsuite suggests several analytics tools, such as Topsy, PeerIndex, and their own uberVU, to help determine who your most valuable followers are. As you start to see where your key engagement is coming from, adapt your investment of time and money accordingly. Are certain accounts stronger? Are certain times more prosperous? Does organic online engagement (ie: actually communicating with your fans) drive traffic? And last, but certainly not least, where are viewers accessing your content? If you still need inspiration to make your web presence mobile-friendly, keep an eye on how many people are viewing your content...

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How to Leverage Your Brand through LinkedIn

How to Leverage Your Brand through LinkedIn

When you think social sharing, you likely don’t think LinkedIn. That’s because the publishing option on this business professionals’ network has only been in effect since February 2014. Before last spring the site – mainly used as an online recruiting platform – didn’t allow users to create their own content. Now that the opportunity exists, it’s one that you should seriously consider in your own content marketing campaign. WHY? First of all, LinkedIn users are unique. 59% of LinkedIn users don’t visit Twitter, meaning that your inclusion of this additional social avenue will help you to reach brand new consumers. Second of all, LinkedIn users are active. 40% of LinkedIn users check the site daily, and 8.33% American users even do so from work. Meaning that your content has a higher likelihood of being viewed more frequently throughout the day. Finally, LinkedIn users are affluent. The average sales value for visitors referred to a company by LinkedIn is measured at $44.24, meaning a small investment (mainly of time) in this low cost marketing platform will have a high rate of return.   WHAT? LinkedIn’s news feed offers a space to a) share updates, spreading what you believe in, and b) publish fresh content, further exploring those topics most meaningful to your brand. Similar to Facebook, published content becomes a part of your personal profile, and gets shared with your network. In her breakdown of LinkedIn tactics, Margeaux Brooks refers to the networking site as the largest group of professionals ever assembled. Sounds like a good group to start with. Which leads us to… HOW? When it comes right down to it, leveraging your brand through LinkedIn requires a similar strategy to most social networks we’ve discussed before. 1. Photos first According to Craig Smith, author of A Small Business Guide to Generating Leads on LinkedIn, having a profile picture on your LinkedIn account will increase the likelihood of views by 11x. The same visual appeal applies to the content you post. Catchy photos are a strong way to inspire viewers’ initial engagement with your posts. Since they’re clearly so important, stop thinking of images as an afterthought and start making them a priority. 2. Headline Hunting A good headline is right up there with a catchy picture when it comes to initial reader attraction. Not only do good titles have SEO strength, they inspire readers to want to learn more. But don’t leave those who delve deeper disappointed.  The content must add value, engage, entertain and encourage readers to click on internal links and hopefully “follow” you. 3. Move to Mobile 47% of LinkedIn visits are made via mobile devices.  With push notifications drawing smartphone users back to the app and mobile sites, this should come as no surprise....

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5 Easy Steps to Content Marketing Success

5 Easy Steps to Content Marketing Success

Okay, so you’ve read the success stories and forecasts and you’re starting to buy into this whole content marketing concept. But where to begin?   It all starts with a single step… 1. PLAN PLAN PLAN I said it before, but it’s worth repeating:  A goal without a plan is just a wish. Click To Tweet  So, before you jump into content marketing, write down the answers to these 4 questions.  They will form the basis of your content marketing plan. a) What product/service are you looking to promote? b) What defines “success” (i.e. Key Performance Indicators – KPIs) for you? c) Who is your target audience? d) Where can you engage with your audience online? And as much as the answers to the first 2 questions are important, it’s the audience who ultimately decides if your content marketing is worth its weight in words. Mark Schaefer, author of Return on Influence sums it up pretty well, “If you create [a] human connection that can lead to loyalty, that trumps everything.”  Smart marketer! The power of content marketing is in the trust of the people. Click To Tweet 2. Create an Editorial Calendar In Step 1 you defined your audience and where they live online; so now use that knowledge to determine what they value in terms of content and then give it to them.  Sounds simple, but without a plan (there’s that word again), you’ll quickly discover that one of the biggest pressures is figuring out how to create enough content to nourish your business on a day to day basis. But before you start stressing, start sketching.  Build an editorial calendar based on the topics that interest your audience. Quality First: Chasing viral content is a dangerous game—one that may briefly increase search-ability, but one that won’t engage long term consumers. Invest in learning what content is most valuable to your audience and influencers and then deliver it (source: Content Marketing Institute). Don’t Pass By, Prioritize: Just because one idea is deemed timelier over another, doesn’t mean both shouldn’t be shared. Schedule your posts when they will have the most impact, but remember timing isn’t everything when it comes to engaging content.  Evergreen posts are powerful magnets specifically because they aren’t “timely”.  If you’re inspired to write a post, it’s likely someone will be inspired to read it.   So post at your pleasure and see what happens to your marketing metrics. Plan Social Strategy: Content Marketing newbies may think that being active on social networks is enough, but social is a tool to share engaging content (yours or someone else’s) — not a replacement for it.  Engagement without content is short-lived.  Engagement around content is a hook. 3. Be Consistent Every marketer knows that consistency is king when it comes to brand management.   And the...

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4 Tips to Help Improve your Email Marketing

4 Tips to Help Improve your Email Marketing

Did you know that today is International Thank a Mailman Day — an interesting worldwide observance given how the use of traditional postal services continues to plummet, and costs soar accordingly. These days when we think of  mail, it is more often email that first comes to mind. So on this very special day, what better opportunity to delve into the wonderful world of eNewsletters. What, Why, How When it comes to building digital marketing plans, eNewsletters are almost always included in the marketing mix. In fact 83% of B2B marketers regularly use eNewsletters to communicate with prospects and customers, making them 2nd only to social media among most popular tactics. Effectiveness, however, is a whole other story. The average eNewsletter is only 58% effective, ranking significantly lower among communication platforms That doesn’t mean that eNewsletters should face the same extinction as their physical counterparts, but rather that marketers need to learn and follow best practices in developing, executing, monitoring and continually improving their campaigns. So, are you ready to rock your email marketing?  Then check out these 4 tips… #1: Develop your Database The first step towards delivering quality eNewsletters that boost your business, is developing a targeted database. With the relatively new CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) regulations strictly monitoring the way businesses reach out to their email audience, it’s absolutely crucial you invest time into building a legal list of contacts. You might think that buying a list is the fastest way to prospect profitability, but it’s the exact opposite. Even if the contacts in the database meet your target audience profile and could really use what you offer, people hate getting emails from companies they don’t know.  Sure they may have opted-in to emails from some other company, but not yours.  And by the time you’ve emailed them, they’ve probably been spammed to death by other list buyers. So don’t spark the spam police and alienate prospects with quick and dirty email tactics.  Engage customers and prospects through their favorite channels and social media networks with content that educates, engages and entertains.  Wrap that up with contests, offers and giveaways (that require them to provide contact information to participate),  and you’ll have a high-value email database that will help fill your sales funnel. #2: Do the Prep Work Like any content marketing program, planning and preparation are paramount to success. Setting up an effective content and eNewsletter delivery calendar can take some time, but without one, your eMarketing efforts will not have the impact or results you desire. Ask yourself these questions and do the research to find out the answers if you don’t already know… What is your goal for your eNewsletter?  This should drive your “Call To Action” (CTA) in communications with your audience. What topics are more likely to attract your...

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Golf’s Content Marketing Champion

Golf’s Content Marketing Champion

As we gathered around TV screens, mobile apps, or twitter feeds to watch Patrick Reed defeat Jimmy Walker in a playoff at Kapalua this weekend, it seemed especially fitting that NBC and the Golf Channel air the annual tournament of champions. After all, the biggest winner of 2014 was the NBC/Golf Channel partnership that hit content marketing out of the park. Wait a second… wrong sport. The Hyundai Tournament of Champions invites all PGA Tour winners from the previous year, to duke it out for an early season win. Well, not to take anything away from Reed, or Walker (or even Canadian Nick Taylor, who looked promising early on), but the closest anyone came to a Grand Slam in 2014 was golf’s primary television network itself. (With 4 Emmy nominations to prove it.) Scott over at Eat Sleep Golf explains all of the exciting statistics, but read on below to see how Golf Channel’s success is based on brilliant content marketing. Understand Your Audience 2014 named Golf Channel the most affluent ad-supported television network, for total day and primetime combined. Golf may have the advantage of a high average audience income (the highest, in fact, at more than $100,000) but—as we like to say when we get a good bounce—you’ve got to be good to be lucky. And when it comes to reading their audience… these guys are good. 😉 Be Creative with Content The Golf Channel proved just how well they understood television viewers back in 2003 when they combined a traditional sport and reality tv. 21 seasons later, The Big Break continues to prove that offering your audience the content they crave pays off. But their creative programming doesn’t end there. Those seeking a personal story (all 2 million of them) loved Arnie, the 3-night event depicting Arnold Palmer’s career—including his savvy establishment of the Golf Channel itself. Those looking for a little news (and maybe a little eye candy) tuned into The Morning Break in unprecedented numbers, nearly tripling the timeslot. Those wanting the inside scoop on their favourite tour players (and a laugh) swear by funny guy David Feherty’s studio show, Feherty. Time and time again Golf Channel has filled an audience void so that those high income viewers never need to channel surf. Understand your audience and create content they can’t resist. Click To Tweet Mobile Matters Arguably the best move Golf Channel made in 2013 was to offer live streaming for mobile devices with the Golf Live Extra app. (We aren’t all free on Major Sundays.) Since Golf Live Extra was launched, over 183 million minutes of golf programming have been streamed—proof that mobile access was a critical niche among Golf Channel viewers. Recognize Success One of...

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Look Back to the Future for Digital Marketing

Look Back to the Future for Digital Marketing

As you return to your office and begin sifting through emails this week, there are three story themes monopolizing the internet worth a deeper look when planning your 2015 marketing plan…     1. 2014 review Whether personal or corporate, the New Year is an opportunity to look back and learn from successes and failures of the past 12 months. Nostalgia aside, this is a great practice for businesses hoping to find some guidance in planning their marketing initiatives. Lucky for us, when it comes to digital marketing campaigns, success is directly measurable through a variety of analytics (e.g. click-through rates, page views, time spent visiting, popular posts  and sharing statistics).  This data is critical to understanding what worked in your marketing tactics and what took a nose dive.  So make sure you review and analyze it carefully before moving on to… 2. 2015 planning It’s no secret that we all love to set New Year resolutions, but it’s also no secret that these resolutions are often dismissed as nice ideas that are bound to be broken.  So forget resolutions and start thinking objectively about building on past successes and avoiding pitfalls of poor planning or execution.  Put together a plan with SMART objectives. From a content marketing perspective, 2014 taught us a few things many of us didn’t know in 2013 and reinforced a few things we did. Here is a summary of lessons learned and an action plan of how to move forward in 2015. Social Makes Cents The power of social networks continues to grow because they offer businesses increasingly valuable connections to their target audiences. Despite Facebook and Twitter’s never-ending “social tweaks” to make more money for their investors at the expense of users, communicating with your target audience through social still offers two key advantages to traditional marketing schemes: Lower initial costs (Inbound marketing costs 61% less per lead than traditional marketing streams) Higher organic search leads (ultimately resulting in higher ROI) Source: Hubspot The ongoing growth of social won’t come as a surprise to anyone with a smartphone or a sixteen year old.  To illustrate the momentum of social, consider this: In 1999, 80 billion consumer photos were taken on film. In 2014, 800 billion photos were shared on social networks. (Source: Andreesseen Horowitz) If you’re one of those business owners or marketers who still “don’t get social“, it’s time for you to face the future.  And the future is social. Quality Content is Critical Despite the frightening futures of print magazines and newspapers, the written word is most definitely not dead. People are consuming information at a higher rate than ever and the key to marketing your brand is ensuring that your content brings them real value....

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