The fundamental role of content is helping your brand to grow. However, in most cases, it becomes quite a challenge trying to gauge the impact of content not only on behavior but also on how your audience experiences your brand.
In this article, we will discuss six eye-opening tips for measuring and enhancing the impact of your content on your audience’s behavior and how they experience your brand.
1. Make Sure the Metrics You Focus on Match Your Goals
This one is a no-brainer, right? Well, it may be a no-brainer but it is not easy to do. Most content marketers enjoy staying in their comfort zone and focus on easily attainable metrics. As Dr. Daan Mutinga explains in his book Brand Metrics that Matter:
“…in the digital measurement space there tends to be a tail-wagging-the-dog mentality, in which those things that can be easily and comprehensively measured are measured and utilized, with the tough questions about their genuine value only being addressed later.”
Instead of focusing on the easy-to-come-by metrics like views, clicks, and bounce rate, roll up your sleeves and measure what matters to you as a business. Of course, first, you will need to define what those metrics are and decide if they match your business goals. For example, you shouldn’t set lead generation as your number one goal for the content you create and keep looking at social shares to measure its effectiveness. This is a typical manner in which content marketing becomes ineffective.
Let’s look at some examples of how you can match your metrics with your goals:
|Lead generation||(CTA) Click-throughs Conversions||Measure the bottom of the funnel. It is very important to get this one right as almost half of buyers will view 3-5 pieces of content before even considering talking to a sales rep –Demand Gen report 2016.|
|Sales enablement|| Sales conversion rate
Sales cycle length
Contract size ||All metrics in this category should be comparing leads that are nurtured with content versus those that aren’t. As content builds trust and minimizes barriers, expect superior numbers from leads exposed to your content.|
|Brand awareness||Social shares and following Article views||To accurately measure brand awareness you would need to perform an in-depth brand lift analysis. Brand lift is (the blanket term for a brand’s increase in customer or audience perception – contently)|
2. Tackle the Barriers and Enhance the Triggers
According to ‘The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2019’ by HubSpot, “only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates”. That leaves a lot to be desired. When it comes to increasing conversion rates, many marketers make the mistake of only focusing on the moment where the consumer is ready to click the ‘buy’ button. The consumer gets bombarded with extra discounts, related products, add-ons, and so on.
While these tactics help, content marketers need to take a look at the barriers and triggers that their content creates to achieve the best results. A great way to do this is by conducting surveys and focus groups. A very creative way you can research barriers and triggers your content creates is through co-browsing with the user and conducting in-depth interviews during these screen-sharing video sessions.
Take your local bus service for instance. Let’s say they are using inspirational content during the summer to get people to use the bus more often to visit the local attractions. The audience, which consists mostly of car owners, would have a mental barrier when it comes to taking the bus. The vast majority would not even know where to take the bus let alone how to buy a ticket and which bus line to take. By researching the barriers they would be prompted to add practical information to their inspirational content. This, in turn, would increase the likelihood of the user taking the bus to the local attractions instead of driving.
A key part of the research is determining whether the barriers and triggers that your audience expresses are based on reality or perception. By enhancing the triggers and reducing/removing the barriers, you get to move a bigger percentage of the audience from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel and improve conversion.
3. Don’t Rush the Sale
This point is somewhat related to the previous one. In the previous point, we talked about content that was inspirational but did not break the barriers that the reader might have. In the same manner, great content that does not have a smooth transition from inspiration to call-to-action will fail too.
The best way to have a smooth transition from inspiration to an actual conversion is by using the PAS (Problem – Agitate – Solve) formula.
In this stage, you first name the problem that your audience identifies with. Your research should enable you to describe your audience’s problem in such a way that they feel connected to you; as though you were one of them.
The second stage is as copywritematters.com put it is “where you pour salt onto the wound you’ve just pointed out.” You are trying to bring out the human emotions; remember that consumers normally buy because of emotions and not because of logic. Just don’t agitate too much that you scare the reader away.
You finish with the solution you offer to alleviate or even eliminate the problem. Show them the light at the end of the tunnel and what you can give them to make a positive change to their situation. Add a little more ‘oomph’ to it with testimonials and quotes.
So here’s how it will look in real life:
Problem: Finding the perfect anniversary present can be so stressful. The thought of buying a present that your partner does not appreciate is almost unbearable.
Agitate: Listening to tons of advice from friends and family can be confusing. Spending time on the internet looking at different options is exhausting. Then, of course, you have to deal with the logistics.
All of this will tear into your free time. And what if you still don’t find the right present?
Solve: Well; there is a simple way out of this conundrum. At any-ver-sary.com you can buy the ideal anniversary present for your partner in just a few clicks. No more stress, just sit back, relax, and let us take care of you.
4. Involve Your Audience When Creating Content
In the previous point, we mentioned doing research that will help your content connect with your audience when you talk about ‘the problem’. Another excellent way to do this is by actually involving your audience in the creation of your content. How do you do this?
Based on ‘The 5-Secrets Guide for Creating Remarkable Content on a Small Budget’ you can achieve this in the following manner:
Understand that your audience runs the show
Online users have become immune to brand messages. There’s just too much noise. They would rather listen to what their friends have to say about a product or service. So whatever you do, do not act like the know-it-all guy when you produce content for your audience; use empathy instead.
Listen to your audience
Understand your audience and find out what makes them tick. Get to know their motivation, wants, needs, and behaviors. Some of the best ways to do this are via social listening, surveys, and onsite search data.
Work with your audience
Turn your customers into brand advocates. Give them incentives to talk about the benefits they have attained from your products or services. This is the best type of user-generated content that you can have at your disposal. This is reinforced by the fact that your audience runs the show.
Talk like your audience
Do you ever wonder why under-cover police agents can easily infiltrate gangs? The most important reason for their success is that they speak and behave in the same manner as the gangsters.
If you want to get your audience to really trust you, you need to talk exactly how they do. This is why you should visit forums and sites like producthunt.com and look at how your audience expresses the problems they are trying to tackle.
Based on that, you will be able to create content that matches the way they speak and interact with one another.
5. Show Your True Colors
Your audience members are experts at detecting disingenuous brands. If you do not stay true to yourself as a brand when creating content, you will fail miserably. There is no other way of putting it.
Never, ever write content if you do not understand the emotion you’re expressing. This is why it is so important to do your research and to visit platforms where your audiences express their pain. As mentioned earlier, get the audience involved in the creation of content. No one else knows the pain as they do.
Be honest; if you are not an expert on an issue just say so. Invite external experts to address the issue on your behalf. There is nothing worse than pretending to be an expert at something. You will get found out and you will lose the trust of your audience.
6. Optimize the Impact before Going for Reach
It is natural for you to want to know if your best content has the potential to impact your audience. You might try to gauge if your content is driving the masses to consider buying from your brand for example.
Achieving a massive reach with your content is much easier than creating an impact. The good news is that most, if not all of your competitors, focus on reach. This allows you to focus on impact and cement your brand into the hearts of your audience.
Once you have created an impact, you can go for reach.
About the author
Alwi Suleiman is the Head of Content at contentmarketking.com. He has a decade’s worth of digital marketing experience. He has helped many companies in different industries achieve their online marketing goals.