Content is more critical than ever…and no, it is not just for SEO! 409M people view more than 20 billion pages each month, just on Wordpress. According to analysts from Technavio, the industry is projected to be worth $412.88 billion by 2021. B2B leaders are saying that content increases their trust in the organization they connect with.
In a market where everyday competition is growing, companies need to find better ways to appeal to customers. Content is today the best way to answer all the customers’ expectations by demonstrating values, empathy, expertise, human face, engagement, inclusion, experience, and to build trust.
Content finds its place throughout the marketing funnel
Not all content appeals to everyone. Each piece of content will have a different value depending on where the customer is in the marketing funnel. This implies also that different types of content need to be created in order to be relevant at the different stages.
Educate about the brand or the product
Position the brand against the competition
Reinforce expertise and product benefits
Provide the right information about the product/service
Answer customers’ questions
Is easy to share
Reinforce to a customer the values that they are both sharing
Deepen the relationship
Create a top of mind
Generate repeat purchase
Some pieces of content can work at all stages, while others need to be very targeted. Very detailed content about a product will mainly help in the ‘’purchase’’ phase. Successes of the company can weigh more for ‘’advocacy’’.
Influencers are first and foremost super users. They bring value because most of them answer questions for customers. When they introduce a new brand, they create brand awareness, and immediately a need because they use the product in front of customers and compare it with other products more familiar. This is where their power is coming from: they bring value. With influencers, customers move more quickly through the marketing funnel.
Content needs to talk to every customer
Some customers are more sensitive to messages focused on promotions, charitable acts, the community while others are more sensitive to messages that boost their egos, for example. Content is the only way to appeal to a specific customer in a way that talks to them and them only. As we try to develop more personalized campaigns and be more relevant to customers, content is part of the strategy. What we present and how we present it will have a different impact. Deciding about a content strategy and being able to adjust rapidly to what we learn about the customer is necessary to stay acute.
The future of content
Content combined with AI is going to be the ultimate ruler for brands to be able to differentiate. AI will help better curate UGC and syndicate what is the most relevant for customers based on their interests. Content will be created on the fly based on what customers are looking for. Even if the technology is not yet perfect, we can already get blog posts created thanks to machine learning.
The challenge of measuring content ROI
Not all content brings value. With content, the more you create, the better it is because chances for people to see one of your pieces of content is higher. However, sometimes content can actually be useless. We can see a proliferation of funnel marketing offers these days. How do you think they can differentiate themselves now that everybody is doing the same thing? How useful are they?
It is because it is difficult to create meaningful content that content can be expensive. Customers are facing more messages than ever so grabbing their attention is also more difficult than ever. For content to be valuable, it needs:
Uniqueness in the topic or how it is addressed
To bring value (What is in it for me as a customer? Do I learn something, am I entertained, do I get a benefit?)
Content does not need to go ‘’viral’’ to be valuable. A post with a lot of engagement is not necessarily better than another one. Let’s look at two cases:
a piece of content viewed a lot of times, but it does not convert because it is addressing the wrong audience,
a piece of content that is viewed a limited number of times but that is very much spot on and that converts few people.
Which one is the most valuable? We could say it depends on the goal (brand awareness vs. conversion). Maybe.
Now, let’s look at how engagement is defined. In general, likes, comments, and shares are defined as measures of engagement. But is it the right way of measuring? The following examples demonstrate that the ‘’engagement’’ metric is leading to incorrect conclusions to determine content value:
Joe is selling his house and he wants to attract a buyer. To do so, he posts it on Facebook and asks people to share it. He gets hundreds of comments wishing him good luck on his move or on how nice of a home he has, a hundred likes, and two shares. Is it successful? Yes, if the two shares lead to a sale. In this example, it did not.
Jean posts a new listing about a new home for sale in the neighborhood. Nobody comments, likes or shares, but the next day the house is under contract.
If we are using the traditional way of measuring the engagement of a piece of content, all metrics would be showing that Joe’s content is very engaging, and therefore has more value. However, everybody commented on something else than what was the initial message of the post: They commented about wishing him good luck. This analysis would make us conclude that conversion would be a better metric to measure efficiency than engagement. However, let’s finish this analysis and look at the situation where an organization wants to create brand awareness. There would be here two metrics that would make sense:
A percentage of attribution of the total conversion
The number of followers – If a customer takes the action to ‘’follow’’, it means they found value in the content created. They show a real engagement because it usually takes more than one visit before someone decides to follow a brand.
The only way to measure, and really be sure of the impact of a content strategy, is to look at the overall metrics and how they are trending: conversion, revenues, AOV, and LTV. Creating valuable content should be the primary goal and measure the results at an omnichannel level.