7 questions to help you evaluate your content marketing efforts
Updated: Jan 30
Marketing content is a hot topic right now. And for good reason. Executed thoughtfully and consistently, it can have a very positive impact on brand awareness, website traffic, lead generation, customer loyalty and retention, and sales revenue.
Every business wants to be in a place where prospects flock to their website and their phone rings off the hook (metaphorically speaking). However, as many have discovered, getting to this place is easier said than done. That's where a thoughtful content marketing strategy, consistently executed, comes in.
Why isn’t our marketing working as well as it should?
Recently, I was having coffee with the CEO of a new client (in person, no less). We were talking about her interest in ramping up the company’s marketing efforts with a bi-weekly blog and a whitepaper. I asked what they had done in the past. My client told me that they used to publish a newsletter. However, the results were disappointing, and it was discontinued.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra, former major league catcher & manager
As we talked further, a couple of things became clear. It was left up to the newsletter copywriter to suggest the topic in advance of each issue. The leadership team liked his suggestions and writing style. There were very few edits. When I asked whom they were targeting with this newsletter the answer was “Our customers of course and anyone else who subscribed!” I wondered aloud if they had conducted any customer or subscriber surveys to learn more about their audience and what topics would be of interest. The answer was no, although they recognized it was a good idea.
The situation in which this company found itself is not at all unusual. In my experience, many organizations put out newsletters, eBooks, and other types of marketing content with too little thought about what they want to achieve, whom they’re targeting, and what type of content will work best.
Evaluating your content marketing effort – 7 questions
From a marketing standpoint, the place you want to be is one that creates interest in what you’re doing and achieves specific objectives for qualified leads, brand awareness, sales revenue and so forth. Of course, I’m not talking about a place you can visit or hang out in. It’s a place that you create, over time, in the minds of your customers and prospects. It’s a place defined by your understanding of what matters to members of your target audience and what they are looking for from a business like yours.
If there is one certainty in content marketing, it's that getting to this place requires a well-thought-out plan. I’ll be talking more about this in future posts. Right now, I’d like to suggest a few questions that you can use to assess what you’re currently doing:
Are you clear about whom you are targeting with your content?
Have you established one or more KPIs for your effort? That is, do you measure how well your content is performing?
Have you been able to identify smaller groups (segments) within your general audience that share certain interests or pain points?
Are you clear about the issues/subjects that will resonate with major segments of your target audience?
Do you survey your audience to uncover or confirm topics of interest?
Have you developed a content strategy and plan covering the next 6 to 12 months?
Are you proud of the marketing content you’re putting out?
The bottom line: Getting to the right place takes planning
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it’s likely that your marketing content (whatever it might be) isn’t doing as much for you as it could.
A recent study by SEO specialist Semrush found that only 19% of the 1,500 companies responding to a 2021 survey believed their content marketing efforts were 'very successful.'
A key takeaway from this study was the importance of planning and documenting a strategy. “Document, document, document! Having a formal process for content marketing was a tactic that the most successful content marketers shared in 2021.”
Interestingly, in another survey by the Content Marketing Institute of companies representing a range of industries, functional areas, and sizes, just 40% of those included in the results said they had a documented content strategy.
We’ll delve deeper into the how-tos of building an effective content marketing strategy in future posts. For now, the one message that I'd like to leave with you is this… getting to a place where prospects are paying attention and leads are flowing requires an in-depth understanding of your audience and a thoughtful strategy for getting there.
Need help developing your content marketing strategy? Contact Chris Ward at Chris@B2BContentExperts.com.