I am doing a review for some clients of the work we have done last year. This type of analysis is vital work, because it is essential that you know what is working and what isn’t, especially when it comes to online content and your search SEO and other results. It is only by having objectives and then intelligently measuring performance that you can plan for the results you want going forwards. Of course, the beauty of content marketing is that everything is measurable; and paradoxically, that is also part of the problem.
Making sense of the data
In this world of big data, the intelligence lies in knowing what to measure and then, more importantly, what sense to make of that. Only then can you smash your performance year on year, or at least keep ahead of the tricky algorithm changes that have contributed to the decline in organic reach.
So here are some results. For 2 days a month activity for a 50-employee strong business with ca 2 million GBP turnover:
- Nearly 100 pieces of coverage in print and online magazines and newspapers, by issuing one press release a month
- Half a million reach – impressions or opportunities to see across print and online/social media
- Around a thousand social media posts and monthly blogs/web news and bimonthly videos, infographics and LinkedIn articles, creating 3,000 engagements and 262,000 impressions – an average of 10% engagement level (at least 300 per cent higher than average)
- Between 82 per cent and 100 per cent increase in social media followers
- Search rankings – 3rd on Google’s first page for local search, 4th on Google’s first page overall (bearing in mind the client’s website is not fully SEO optimised and they do no PPC (Adwords) at all
Content Marketing does selling differently
Clients don’t always understand these figures, but here is what this client (the MD and owner of the business) intuitively picks up:
“Thanks to you and your team I can honestly say that my firm’s brand and name is getting more recognition than ever. Prospect clients often know you before you know them. That’s the power of it.”
Indeed, that is the power of content marketing – that clients know you before you know them. That your brand has a relationship with your prospective new client even before you contact them overtly. This makes selling almost redundant. Imagine!
The decline of organic reach
We have all seen it perhaps? Your Facebook posts get less engagement and it is getting harder to build your follower base across most platforms. Organic reach is in decline as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even perhaps LinkedIn’s algorithms prioritise differently what appears in viewers streams.
So I think that if these numbers are important for you in 2019, you need to consider boosting your key posts. Last year we took one high performing Facebook post for a client (it had more than 5 likes) and boosted it with a budget of £20. This generated 6 new page likes, 423 clicks on the photo, 3 shares, 14 likes, 6 comments and a reach of 7,222. For this small budget we doubled the engagement rates and increased the reach five-fold.
Boosting your reach through social media advertising
There is an art to this. Typically this involves choosing which posts are going to perform best in the advertising and being clever about the targeting you apply.
Take another example: LinkedIn. I recently did a LinkedIn advertising campaign for a business client, largely centred around a recruitment drive. The boosted advert achieved a cost per click (CPC) of £1.11 (when was the last time you got that on Google Adwords?! Again a total budget of just over £80 in 8 days achieved a reach of 5,263, 183 clicks, 39 engagements and 21 leads (direct enquiries and email contacts), giving an overall cost per lead of £3.98. The increase in reach was at least seven-fold plus the campaign more than tripled engagement rates and generated a 6 per cent increase in new followers.
Similarly the overall recruitment campaign, achieved 52 quality applications, 758 views, a CPC of 63 pence for a cost of 9 GBP per application. The campaign ran over just 8 days.
Planning your content strategy for 2019
It goes without saying that you will get nowhere fast without a strategy, even if you have objectives. And you would be surprised how many businesses have neither in place, certainly when it comes to their content marketing and digital PR.
Here are some things to think about when planning a content marketing strategy that is clever, creative, and has enough muscle to smash your competitors, and for less budget!
Tip #1: Boost! Two thirds of businesses have acquired a customer through LinkedIn ads and with a CPC of up to 92 per cent lower than traditional AdWords, it’s a no brainer!
Tip #2: at least have a content marketing strategy. Review what content has got you results so far and plan for more. Remember what both Google and your audience need are essentially the same: quality content that has impact in that it educates, informs, entertains, and somehow makes their life better. But I urge you to also plan for a listening strategy and also an engagement strategy.
Tip #3: use tools. make good use of the new social media tools available to help you increase your success. Things like geo-targeting which allow you to target users based on their recent location – particularly important for businesses where local is key.
Tip #4: engage in conversations. There are also some great apps that you can integrate to help you find and engage with the right conversations. It’s just common sense on one level, that you cannot reasonably expect others to engage with your brand, if you are not proactively and regularly engaging with conversations yourself. The metrics are clear: by engaging in conversations you will boost your engagement rates.
Tip #5: make use of UTM tracking. UTM parameters allow you to add a custom UTM to each post, that you can then track in Google Analytics. This will help you to apply another level of intelligence to your metrics in order to refine what gets you results.
Tip #6: make video key. It seems that video is key for 2019. Video content is by far the most engaged type of content on social, so make sure you are doing it well.
Tip #7: don’t forget Twitter lists! This is a fabulous tool to not only help your listening strategy but also to benefit your reputation in more subtle ways. Whether it is your employees, journalists or customers; we all feel that bit more valued when we get put on a list!