by John Hall
It’s hard to believe it’s already May. It seems that only yesterday we were ringing in the new year and budgeting for the year’s biggest marketing trends, but the year is already almost halfway gone. With several months under your belt and half the year still to go, now is a great time to check in on your marketing team’s content strategy.
At this point, you’ve got enough data on your hands to see what’s been most successful, and you’ve still got enough time to pivot if you’re not seeing the results you need. Of course, before you can make any changes to improve your content, it’s important to be sure that you’re assessing your efforts in the right way.
To get started, here are three questions to ask to make sure you’re on track for content marketing success:
1. Am I producing the right kind of content?
All content is not created equal — at least, not in terms of how it works for your marketing goals. So, the first step to assessing your content is to ensure that the content you’re creating actually aligns with the goals you’re trying to achieve. If you’re using content to generate leads, then posts on your company blog are probably not going to be enough on their own. You might need some kind of gated offers in addition to your other content. If your main goal is to build thought leadership, then the gated content that helped your lead gen efforts might not be your No. 1 priority — you might want content with your byline published in reputable outlets or press mentions about your company to help. Too often, marketing teams create content because they know they should but without any specific, measurable goal in mind. Now is the time to review that goal you set and compare it against the content you’ve been created so far. If the content you’re producing isn’t leading to the results you want, make a change. Try a new type of content or see whether you can update your content to be more in line with your objectives.
2. Am I using the right metrics?
I’ve seen marketing departments get discouraged and give up on content based on performance against just one or two metrics. And while I think it’s great that more marketers are realizing the value of actually measuring content and not just calling published work a success, the next step is making sure they’re looking at the right metrics. The truth is, there’s a lot more to marketing than can be seen on the surface. If your company content isn’t amassing huge numbers of social shares, don’t get discouraged. Metrics don’t always mean what you think, and simply taking them at face value isn’t going to shed a lot of light on your performance.
Of course, don’t be afraid to reevaluate your metrics, either. Just like the content you create, the metrics used to measure that content should align with your goals. Social shares can be a helpful metric, but they may not offer much insight into how effective your content is at generating leads. You’ll only know whether your content is working if you’re judging it by the right metrics.
3. Am I using the right tools and technology?
Content marketing clearly isn’t as simple as typing up an article and posting it to your blog anymore. To make your content successful, it’s important to take advantage of the marketing tools that are out there.
Thankfully, there are a lot of options, but choosing the wrong tool can be really detrimental to the success of your content. As the saying goes, “When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.” That’s true in content marketing, too. If you’re only using one tool, and it’s not the right tool, your content will suffer. Do what you can to diversify your tool set.
You don’t need to go out right now and buy access to half a dozen different platforms and software solutions. At the very least, though, you should use free social media tools to keep your content from collecting dust and an analytics platform that enables you to track your efforts. These are essential to pretty much any content strategy. Once you have those tools in place, search out tools that will help you amplify your results.
When it comes down to it, all these questions lead into one big question: “Does my content align with my marketing goals?” Whether it’s the type of content you create, the metrics you use to measure your efforts, or the tools you use along the way, be sure that every part of your content process is working toward what you want to achieve.