Content marketing has become an indispensable tool for marketers to spread awareness, build trust, and generate leads. That’s why 90% of top-performing B2B content marketers put the audience’s informational needs first, and 73% of B2C marketers use educational content to nurture their audience.
And when it comes to the return on investment (ROI), content marketing often outperforms other types of marketing.
In fact, content marketing generates 3x as many leads and costs 62% less than outbound marketing.
However, not all marketers are able to secure the same success in their content marketing efforts. If you, too, are struggling in harnessing the true power of content marketing, this post is for you.
In this article, I will explain five questions that your content marketing campaign should be able to answer to ensure success.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
1. What’s the problem you’re solving?
People are not necessarily looking for a product or service - what they want is a solution to their problems. And content marketing is all about using content to solve your audience’s problems.
So, what’s the problem that your content marketing campaign is going to solve?
Following the stages of the buyer’s journey, your content marketing campaign should provide the solution to your audience’s problems.
A simple buyer’s journey is made up of the following three stages:
At each part of their journey, your buyer will have a number of questions.
Awareness: the buyer might not be not yet be aware of or have clearly defined their problem and is unaware of your solution.
Consideration: the problem has been defined and the buyer is committed to researching the available solutions.
Consideration: the buyer is clear about the best approach to solving their problem and is looking to find the best vendor for their chosen solution.
Your content campaign should be able to provide answers to the questions your buyers are facing in each of these stages. To do this effectively, it’s useful to list common questions which will arise in the different stages of the buyer’s journey. But how can you know what problems your audience is facing?
The best way to get answers to this is through qualitative customer research. Conduct online surveys, do social listening, visit online forums in your industry, check Quora and other Q&A communities to get insights into your prospects’ concerns.
Creating buyer personas, a customer empathy map, or using keyword analysis to find out what drives your customers are all useful ways to understand your audience’s pain points and common problems your audience faces.
2. Are you speaking your audience's language?
David Ogilvy, often called the Father of Advertising, said,
“If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”
All of us, at some time or another, have left a webpage, a blog post, ebook, or other form of content just because we feel it’s full of jargon and simply isn’t speaking to us.
Language subconsciously persuades prospects. If you want your content marketing campaign to be successful, make sure that your content marketing campaign is speaking in your audience’s language. Only then can your audience connect with your content.
How can you learn the language of your audience?
- Pay close attention to your clients’ testimonials and reviews to see the words they use, how they describe working with you and how they vouch for your products and services.
- Have conversations with your clients. Ask your clients about how your products helped them, and listen to how they phrase their responses.
- Engage in social listening. Checking out your audience conversations on the main social media platforms will give you a picture of the language your audience speaks
- Your clients’ emails can also help you figure out the right words and tone you should use for your content marketing campaigns
- Keyword research will help you discover the most popular words people are using in your niche, as well as how they are expressing their questions online.
3. Have you chosen the right channel to reach your audience?
Your job isn’t over once you’ve designed a kickass content marketing campaign. The success of your content marketing campaign will depend greatly on how well you reach your audience.
Without effective, well targeted content distribution, your content marketing efforts will not be rewarded.
So, how do you choose the right channel to reach your audience?
Content distribution channels can be categorized into four groups:
Owned content distribution channels As the name suggests, these are content distribution channels which you own. Your website, blog, email list, mobile app, and communities you own fall into this category.
Shared content distributions channels Shared channels are social media accounts, Quora, YouTube, or any other content sharing community that you don’t completely control.
Earned content distribution channels These are channels earned through your own efforts. Examples of earned channels include influencer outreach, media outreach, mentions, content reposts and placed content.
Paid content distribution channels These are channels you’ve paid to distribute your content through, such as PPC, native ads, sponsored content, paid social media ads and display ads.
As a content marketer, it’s quite likely that you don’t have a strong presence on all four content distribution channels (kudos, if you do). The four channels require different strategies and timespan to secure results.
Paid content channels offer quick results - you spend your money and your content reaches your audience. However, the other channels require more of your investment in time and effort. For example, you can’t build a genuine email list or social follower list of 10K overnight.
The point here is, you should analyze the available content distribution channels and choose a channel (or channels) which can fulfill your content marketing objective and reach the audience you want to capture.
Owned, earned, and shared content distribution channels take some time to build authority. But once done, you’ll reap the benefits for many years to come.
4. Do you know the best time to catch your audience?
You are not active 24 hours a day, and the same applies to your target audience. There will be times of day when your audience is super active, and times when your audience is less active or not active at all. The trick is to catch them at the right time, to get your content seen by the largest possible audience.
To determine the best time to reach your audience, you need to understand your audience’s engagement on your chosen content distribution channel.
With more than 1.5 billion daily active users on Facebook, this social media platform is often the first choice of marketers.
A report by SproutSocial examines the best times to post on Facebook and other social media platforms.
When it comes to email marketing, SuperOffice's in-depth guide The Science Behind Email Open Rates found that readers are more likely to open emails after 12pm.
Choosing the right channel to reach your audience is the key to success. And figuring out the right time that works for you might require some research work.
You might need to run a few, small, test campaigns to work out when most of your audience hangs out on any particular platform, if the data is not available for that platform. But this is a one-time ordeal; once you know the best time to catch your audience, your content will get noticed by a larger audience.
5. Are your content marketing KPIs aligned to your goal?
Needless to say, you will need to tweak your content marketing campaign occasionally to optimize its success. But can you improve it if you can't measure your content marketing?
No, of course you can't.
Have you aligned the right content marketing KPI to track your goals? If you haven’t, you can’t maximize the success of your campaign and achieve your goals.
First, make a list of goals that you want to achieve with the help of your content marketing campaigns. And make sure you set realistic targets for your content marketing goals.
The Content Marketing Institute documented the following B2C content marketing goals:
Source: The Content Marketing Institute
and Statista’s chart shows the data for leading goals achieved by B2B content marketing:
After setting goals, you should align metrics to your goals. You can use the table below to help align your metrics.
Source: The Content Marketing Institute
The right KPIs help you gauge the success of your content marketing campaign so that you can be on the right track to achieve your goals.
Also, tracking the right KPIs gives you an idea about any tweaks you need to make in your content marketing campaign to maximize success.
So make sure your content marketing KPIs are aligned to your content marketing goals.
Content marketing is more than just creating random content and promoting it to your audience. If you don’t know the problem your content solves, don’t speak in your audience language, don’t choose the right channel to connect with your audience, don’t catch your audience at the right time, and don’t align content marketing KPIs to goals, it will be difficult for your content marketing campaign to move the needle.
What about you? If you'd like to share your thoughts or questions about factors that can increase the success of a content marketing campaign, let us know in the comments section below.