It can be difficult to calculate how much return on investment (ROI) your business is getting from your content marketing strategy. If done well, content marketing has a higher-than-average marketing ROI. This Forbes article contains an interview with Julie Fleischer, former Director of Content Strategy and Integration at Kraft Foods. Fleischer claims that Kraft’s content marketing gives the company a ROI that is, “among the highest of all of our marketing efforts.” So where do you start to improve your business’s content marketing strategy?

The first step is to determine your current content marketing ROI with these 3 components:

Cost

First you need to determine how much money is being spent on your current content marketing strategy. Depending on the size of your company and the amount of content it produces, you will either need a full audit or a smaller sample of the total content. Use average costs to get a rough estimate of content spending.

Utilization

You also need to figure out how much of the content that’s made is actually being used. Any created content that goes unused is a complete waste. Calculated a rough percentage of content utilization.

Performance

For the content that is created and used, you also need to determine how well it is performing. There are many factors to check, such as page views, likes, social shares, etc. But you also have to link these results back to the business’s content history. See which types of content marketing worked best for your company and review how the strategy developed over time as groundwork for moving forward. It’s important to continue checking performance regularly as you change your strategy.

Make sure your business holds marketing accountable for their ROI. Often a company will send out employees to produce content without fully keeping track of the investment. Request verified results that are measured and reported. Don’t let your content marketing go unsupervised.

How to Improve Your Content Marketing
Now that you know more about how your content marketing has worked up until now, it’s time to start improving it.

Reach Out to Early-Stage Buyers

Much of the marketing we see around us is overly promotional. For buyers who are not yet familiar with your brand, pushy advertisements tend to get tuned out. You need to find a way to make your brand noticeable, likable, and trusted enough that people will want to buy your product or use your services. Here are some things to take into account when setting up your online marketing:

Branded Conversations

Search the online conversations about your product category. What percentage of them mentions a specific brand? What percentage mentions your brand? If that percentage is much different than your market share in your category, it means your competitors are taking away potential prospects right from the beginning.

Unbranded Search Traffic

How many people are searching for your product category online? What percentage of these prospects end up at your website rather than a competitor’s? You can’t only promote your brand within your own website. You must branch out to other sources in order to draw people in.

Website Traffic

Be aware of the quality and quantity of traffic that flows through the websites you use for advertising and the cost of using them. High-traffic sites are great for spreading your brand quickly, but may come with a hefty price. Smaller sites with less traffic can be much cheaper for advertisement fees. Keep track of these costs as you determine where to show your ads.

Organic vs. Paid Traffic

Many companies pay for fake traffic in order to make their sites look more trustworthy and popular. Organic content marketing allows you to reach out to potential and existing customers, start conversations, spread the word about your brand, and gain additional reach without paying for fake viewers. In the long run, it’s always better to earn your customer’s trust and attention rather than buying it.

Unused Content

Again, any content that is created for your company that goes unused is a complete waste of resources. Keep a close eye on the percentage of content that goes unused and reduce that number as much as possible.

Banner Advertisements

You see banner advertisements everywhere you go online, but how effective are they really? Banner ads are actually shown to underperform when compared to almost any other kind of content marketing. Make sure that they are part of a broader marketing strategy. Think carefully about where you place them in order to get the most out of the investment.

Engaging Your Customers
There are several ways that you can monitor how well you are engaging your customers online. Resources such as Google Analytics allow you to easily keep track of various aspects of website viewership.

Bounce Rate

How many people who visit your site stay there for an extended period of time and click on several different pages within the site? The percentage of viewers who leave your site after viewing only one page is known as the bounce rate. As you alter your content marketing strategy, pay close attention to how each change affects the bounce rate, so you can focus on the changes that are beneficial.

Repeat Visits

Pay attention to repeat visits and extended time spent with your brand. By looking at repeat visits, you can measure the value of brand awareness and track how your content marketing affects loyal customers.

Subscribers

Calculate the value per subscriber. Determine the cost and payoff of bringing customers into the brand fold, and learn how to market towards these customers.

In summary, keep track of your content marketing strategy. Pay attention to where the money is going. Pay close attention to the cost of your content, and make sure that the content actually being used. Check on the performance of each type of content and constantly try to improve. Use a resource such as Google Analytics to help see what’s going on with your website traffic as you make changes.

Try to draw in organic traffic by starting conversations, spreading your brand name, and instilling loyalty in your customers. When trying to develop your business’s content marketing strategy, keep these factors in mind, and make improvements wherever possible for a greater ROI.

If you want more suggestions for developing your website, check out VMA’s other blogs. This one goes over how to keep your content fresh and up-to-date, or “evergreen.”

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