In the previous blog we acknowledged that content marketing’s honeymoon period is over – which means it’s time to stop pretending that your content is achieving results because it’s AWESOME, and start listening.
First listen to the business; figure out what it needs to say, and who it needs to talk to. Listen to your intended audience, find out where they are and what they’re already talking about. The very best content campaigns are designed to move seamlessly into existing conversations, so you need to know what these conversations are before you get creative.
There are dozens of applications designed precisely for this purpose, from Radian 6 and Simply Measured, to BuzzNumbers and Sprout Social, not to mention the backend social analytics systems Facebook, Twitter and Google offer. You can track all kinds of behaviours from the number of return website visitors, to positive brand mentions online. You can measure net promoter scores, customer satisfaction rates, leads and sales, visitors, subscribers, inquiries and closed deals. Most importantly you can increasingly follow conversations to find out what people are saying, as well as knowing where they’re saying it.
It’s always worth taking the time to get to know your audience; who they are, where they are and what they’re saying. This data provides you with the base to measure your progress and evaluate your success, and empowers you develop content with a clear purpose with results you can track. If you want your content approach to stand the test of time you need to ensure it’s backed up with a strong audience-focused strategy that can be measured and reported on.
Find out more here: A marketer’s maze: The path to effective content marketing in 2016
And it’s not enough anymore to talk about hits and eyeballs – if your audience isn’t engaging, your content is missing the mark.
People used to sit in front of the TV and read the newspaper when it was the only option. It was a passive kind of content consumption where people expected to be entertained, with humour, shock or excellent storytelling – but they never expected to talk back. When these same people go online they expect something slightly different; they want to be involved and informed. No one really goes online to sit back and laugh at your ad, they want to lean in, enjoy the content, and then comment or share it with others.
Traditional media is about ‘leaning back’ and passively receiving information and entertainment, new media is about ‘leaning in’ and actively engaging with content, which brings us back to the importance of listening. Content is no longer broadcast – it’s conversational and iterative – and needs to have feedback integrated into the creative process; listen, create, repeat – and you won’t go wrong.