If you've ever created a piece of content for an inbound marketing campaign then you know it can take a lot of work.
And you want to get the most return out of the work you put in. You want to feel good about that new eBook you just published!
On a hunt for that satisfaction, inbound marketers are continuously creating content to attract new prospects, but for good reason, 62% of marketers say they are more successful this year than they were last.
But it seems to be getting them into some trouble.
As customers become develop higher expectations they become harder to reach and more demanding. They want good content.
When companies notice thier content marketing results dipping as a result of this, they tend to try and solve the problem by publishing more.
Increase your law-of-averages. The more content the higher the chances of conversion.
Turns out this flawed process is a result of not having a clear view of your content's potential and purpose.
Content marketing is an owned asset that compounds overtime, earning assets (customers) and decreasing churn. In other words it's a strategic function of the business to acquire and retain better customers, longer.
When content is viewed as simply, "content", it loses it's purpose. This only produces content when a specific request is made — usually as an attempt to quickly boost results versus creating content that will add lasting value.
When content is viewed as a tool for sales efficiency it loses it's potential. The potential of content marketing is in the compounding nature of investing in owned assets. Content that creates lasting value and produces ideal customers is not developed for quick wins rather what the customer wants and needs.
To avoid falling into these traps and not getting the ROI you're looking for, focus on iterating your content based on customer behavior and feedback. Follow these 10 best practices to continually improve your inbound content.
Best practices for continuously improving your marketing content.
1. Define the purpose, process and potential
Knowing the purpose of your content program is a critical part of all this. Why are you creating content, how do you plan to deliver value through content that will help you realize the true potential of carefully executed content.
Just as important as the purpose of your content marketing are the processes that run it. When content marketing is viewed as just the content iteself, it becomes a bandaid that temporarily heals. In this case content production is triggered by a request, meaning it may help the numbers at the moment but the return on producing the content with yield poor results.
To produce content that will continue to deliver results over time, you need to have processes in place to produce content, optimize content, and distribute content all as function of delivering a better experience to get a better customer.
Because the customer experience is a never-ending and on-going part of the business, these processes should be built around consistency.
2. Make fundamental assumptions
Making fundamental assumptions serve an important function here. They give you a sense of how well you know you audience and if you are creating content they actually want.
When making assumptions you want to keep a few things in mind, the kinds of questions you can ask to validate an assumption, the difficulty of validating an assumption and the consequence of making a wrong assumption.
You want to define these three traits for every assumption you make. This will be useful for prioritizing which assumptions you will need to validate first.
When you make an assumption about your audience in relation to your content, what questions could you ask them to determine if your assumption is right or wrong?
Then determine how difficult it will be to validate each specific assumption. Remember not all assumptions are created equal.
Finally, is it a big deal or not if your assumption is wrong. If I assume that my audience only likes eBooks, I better get be right. Because if they don't like eBooks but love infographics, a lot of money, time and opportunity will have been wasted.
3. Collect user feedback
Does your audience like your content? Do they get value from it? Are they willing to share it their friends?
Answering questions like these is the purpose of collecting feedback. We want to gather feedback from users closest to the point of digesting the content.
Asking users how important a piece of content is to them or how they would react if they could no longer engagement with your content. These are powerful questions that can allow you to deliver greater value.
4. Monitor user behavior
The way your users digest content and how they interact with it can tell a remarkable story, providing you with an intimate perspective of your user. Knwoing how people interact with your content can help you steer their future actions.
Setting up and tracking custom events on your content pages can tell you what people are doing and how much of thier behavior you can predict.
7. Determine method for documentation
Content marketing involves consistent production of content with lasting value. To organize and manage content planning, content production, content delivery, content iteration and content analysis on a rapid cycle, documenting all our moves is critically important.
These notes and formal documents will provide organization and transparency but also expand knowledge.
Documentation is one of those processes that serves two purposes. One, it records what is going on. Think of it as a transcript for activity. Two, it forces you to pause and think about what you are documenting. This process shortens learning curves and promotes atonomy.
8. On page content
This one is a new process we are beginning to test ourselves. The idea is to get access to data about how users experience and digest your content.
When they download an eBook, whitepaper or some kind of checklist, you lose the ability to measure interaction.
By keeping the content on a webpage, we gain access to all the analytics about how some engages with the content. This allows for faster iterations so you can focus on adapting with your audience by making quick changes versus sparadiocally flooding your audience with subpar content as a result of deteriorating results.
Marketers take content marketing seriously but sometimes without considering the entire picture.
Content marketing is a marketing and advertising strategy designed to enhance the customer experience. It shouldn't be repositioned as another tactic to call on when needed.
To consistently produce content that your customers can engage with and that you can actually measure the roi of, you have to put the right systems in place and define the function it'll serve.
Without those things your content can easily get lost in the deep sea of content that gets deeper by the minute.
Want to improve your content marketing? Request a content assessment to determine where you can immediately make improvements.
What other advice would you add for improving your content over time?