Content marketing is the buzzword du jour for businesses these days. And, in many ways, the hype is entirely justified. Content should form a central part of most PR and marketing campaigns (some would say it always has) and, now more than ever, with the growth of social, digital and search, content marketing can contribute towards significant ROI for your PR campaigns.
Before everyone gets too excited, it is worth bearing in mind that content for content’s sake just won’t cut the mustard. Objectives, strategies and tactics all have to be aligned in the right way, from the start, to really succeed.
We recently published a new case study on the EML Wildfire site from one of our clients EPiServer, who achieved a 200% ROI on a recent PR campaign we ran. The campaign had content at it’s heart. With the aim of targeting UK marketers, we undertook research to find out how leading UK companies are using social media and online communities. The resulting whitepaper was downloaded 122 times with five deals closed as a result.
Here are six all-important steps that we believe are vital to ensuring your content marketing achieves ROI:
1. Tell a story
The most effective PR always tells a story. And content marketing is no different. For EPiServer, we were able to explain how and why current social media strategies aren’t working and what marketers need to do improve matters. Finding a story that will resonate with your target audience will ensure your content had the desired effect.
2. Have something concrete to reference
With the EPiServer example, we commissioned some research to base the content on. It’s always a good idea to have something to act as a hook, especially if you want to encourage the media to consider covering it. On the flipside, if you are doing some research, make sure you create content to support it – it’ll go a lot further.
3. Use different content to tell your story
Whitepapers or reports are great examples of content that really add value for your audience, especially for B2B campaigns. But there are plenty of other pieces of content that would work just as well in addition or instead. For example, you could create an infographic or a video to go alongside your whitepaper. Different content will work better for specific communication channels and different audiences, so choose wisely. There is a significant SEO benefit here too. Google is increasingly favouring multi-media content, so you might be able to give your rankings a timely boost.
4. Use all your communication channels
When you are ready to launch your content campaign, use every possible channel at your disposal. Using the traditional media and your owned social media channels is an obvious first step but why not add your latest piece of content to your company email signatures? Alternatively, you could create a banner for your website or run some targeted advertising. A multi-channel approach will ensure you reach as many people as possible. And, as with the previous point, the more your content is shared across different channels, the more SEO bonus points you’ll get from the search engines.
5. Build relationships
By this point, hopefully you’ll have lots of people engaging with and sharing the content you have created. It’s important to see this as the first step in your relationship with these people. To do this, you need to create some ‘sticky channels‘. For example, encourage them to sign up to your email newsletter or follow you on Twitter. You could even consider putting your premium content behind a data capture form or a Facebook fangate – just make sure you use this as an opportunity to send them more relevant content in the future.
6. Measure effectiveness
If all goes well, then hopefully you’ll want to run further content campaigns in the future. And, if you’ve set up a measurement framework for your campaign then you’ll be able to see what worked best first time round and make better decisions next time as a result, tweaking your strategy and tactics as you go. For example, you can use web analytics to see where the traffic to your campaign landing page came from. You could even use unique URLs.
When it comes to great content, we’re passionate about using this approach for our clients. But we eat our own dog food too – check out our latest report looking at how consumers are influenced to make technology buying decisions.