Content marketing strategy is, in some respects, still in its infancy. With distribution platforms and media continually changing, research shows many marketers grappling with how to approach it.
One issue is that companies have so far failed to find ways to quantify their return on investment. Even though budgets are rising, many still don’t know if content marketing pays off.
This research has produced some interesting pointers to how marketers are attempting to define a strategy. It is based on a poll of industry professionals at the recent Digiday Content Marketing Summit in Austin, Texas.
One question asked respondents to rate metrics according to how useless they are. Among the highest was pages per visit (how many pages of the site have been visited during a set period of time) at 20 per cent. By contrast, only 5 per cent said social shares were a bad indicator. However, there was no analysis of why this should be the case. Generally, from a publisher’s perspective, pages per view is popularly seen as a sign of success. And social? Sometimes it is easy to forget that, in a lot of cases, the reason social exists is to push people to your own platform.
Perhaps this insight itself provides an answer. Asked if their content strategy was focused on direct response or brand awareness, 81 per cent went for the latter. In short, if you’re more interested in building the brand then social is going to appeal more. And it is measurable, too, with follower counts and shares easily available.
At the same time, direct response should not be ignored. Yes, it depends on the market/product. But in terms of metrics, direct has at least as much potential as social media. Even if it only involves getting people to sign up to an email bulletin, research has proved it will generate more in sales and provide more value further down the line. For more on this subject, look at our recent piece on binge marketing.
Lastly, the poll asked marketers to rate their biggest challenge. This revealed a mixed bag, but scaling content marketing campaigns and “aligning content creation with audience preference” came out on top with more than 20 per cent of respondents each. Interestingly, there was nothing about ROI.
Master plan for content marketing strategy is part of Content24, the online magazine for London content marketing agency FirstWord.