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The Content Audit Process

By | Content Marketing, How-To, Our Process | No Comments

Content is quickly becoming one of the most influential and impactful tools for digital marketers. Good content educates, appeals to, and ultimately influences your customers. The Content Marketing Institute reported that in 2015 an astounding 86% of B2Bs (business-to-business) used content marketing, and of this percentage only 38% believed their content was effective.

How is it that only 38% feel their content was effective? One major issue that we see on a constant basis is businesses don’t have a clear content strategy. In order to make content marketing work you need to have some kind of strategy in place so that you can measure what is or isn’t working and then adjust accordingly.

We help clients build a strategy utilizing a content audit process, which takes a detailed and holistic look into your business from the ground up. We create content based on our audit results to make sure we are effectively creating content that will impact your market. This process includes:

  • Developing Personas
  • Understanding Buying Stages
  • Content Audit
  • Content Inventory
  • Content Calendar

Going through the process above has been useful to setting up an effective content marketing strategy. Here is what we do for each step in the process.

Step 1: Develop the Personas

Step 1- Develop the Personas
What is a buyer persona? It’s a breakdown of the different types of buyers who are looking at your product. Developing and then marketing to your buyer personas will lead to stronger messages, maximization of successful advertising, and overcoming buyer objections. Each buying persona includes demographic information, problems they’ll encounter, and values they hold.

A buyer persona will reflect the types of customers you currently have or the types of customers you are hoping to gain. A buyer persona defines the audience your content will be created for.

For help creating a buyer persona, feel free to check out some of these resources:

  • Buyer Persona Profile from Epic Content Marketing
    • This quick one-page worksheet from Epic Content Marketing allows you to create a snapshot of a buyer persona, their job description, priorities, and challenges.
  • 5 Rings of Buying Insights Template from the Book Epic Content Marketing
    • When used in conjunction with the worksheet above, the 5 Rings of Buying Insights template will help you glean additional insights around the journey of each buyer persona.
  • How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business from Hubspot
    • Hubspot provides a great step-by-step post and downloadable template to support your buyer persona creation initiatives.

While the buyer persona is a great start, the true gold is found in the buying stage/cycle for each persona. It is vital to understand the questions being asked in each stage for the buyer’s journey so that you can effectively answer those questions on your website, through blog posts and videos or other forms of content.

This should be your top-priority focus once you have established your buyer personas.

Step Two: Understand Buying Stages

Step Two: Understand Buying Stages

There are three basic stages for buyers based on each persona. The early, middle, and late stages, or as some in the content marketing world refer to them: the awareness, consideration, and decision stages.

Early (Awareness) Stage

In the early stage, customers are unaware of problems they currently have and need education on what solutions you can offer. They are gaining awareness of their problems and their need for a solution.

Middle (Consideration) Stage

In the middle stage, customers need a demonstration of expertise or differentiators between you and your competitors. The middle stage is also known as the consideration stage, where customers understand their problem and want to find a solution through consideration of your product. They are spending their time researching various solutions to find the option that fits their needs.

Late (Decision) Stage

In the late stage, customers are looking to validate the product or the company; they are in the decision-making stage. They have a good idea of what they want, now they just need to compare their top choices, maybe review each company’s costs and look into any references they can find, to ensure they make the right decision.

Content is created specifically for each persona in these different stages to target what questions or answers they need the most. It is important to understand the types of content that can be used at each stage of your buyer’s journey as well. Understanding the buying journey for each persona along with the types of content they consume along their journey is key to effective content marketing.

For B2C, an example of mapping content to the buying journey is provided below:

Content Mapping - Customer Journey for B2C Customers

Step Three: Current Audit Process

Step Three: Current Audit Process

After developing buyer personas and understanding the journey buyers take, it is necessary to take an audit of your site’s current content. To do this we recommend using Screaming Frog.

Crawl Your Entire Website for Content

Screaming Frog is able to ‘crawl’ an entire website (crawling is a fancy term for ‘pulling all data e.g. – meta data, URLs, word count of a page, CSS and other data from a website). Once you’ve crawled your whole site, simply filter the data by HTML pages. Example below:

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.41.19 PM

This will remove all JavaScript, Images, CSS and other files that you don’t need for your content audit.

Then export the data. The exported CSV file will give you a TON of data for each URL. We suggest only worrying about the URL and Title tag , which will be used for further analysis.

Separate and Filter Your Data

Next, you can separate/filter these URLs into different groups. Some suggested groups could include:

  • Key landing pages (home page, services, about us, etc.)
  • Blogs, articles
  • eBooks, white papers, resources

By separating the URLs into various groups you can start to analyze each group.

Analyze Your Current Content

Once these groups are separated out you can start to understand the social media impacts of each URL. To do this, you can use a tools such as Social Tally, SharedCount or SocialTally that allows you to identify social shares on all types of media platforms and analyze each URL’s social activity.

After you’ve analyzed each URL’s social activity, you should map it to one of your buyer personas. Finally, map out how your content influences potential customers at each stage of the journey – e.g. – Top of the Funnel, Middle of the Funnel and Bottom of the Funnel. This will be extremely useful when taking an inventory of all of your content.

Useful information to include in your Content Audit is:

  • Type – what kind of content is this – e.g. – Blog Post, Landing Page, eBook, Category or Product Page etc.
  • URL
  • Title Tag
  • Social Shares – Tweets, FB Shares, Pins, etc.
  • Buyer Stage
  • Persona
  • Call to Action
  • Keywords

Once you have all of this data you should have a massive content audit spreadsheet that looks something like this –

content audit process

You might want to also add any relevant notes about pages, styles, social trends, page view patterns, etc., that come up during the audit process.

Step Four: Content Inventory Process

Step Four: Content Inventory Process

Once you’ve organized all the current content, you should do an inventory based on the buying personas and stages in relation to the number of resources that correlate. Filter your large content audit spreadsheet by persona first and then by each buyer stage to get an idea of how much content you have for each individual.

As you work your way through each persona you should build out an additional spreadsheet to connect the number of content pieces you have to the stages of the buyers journey. This will give you a quick snapshot of where you are. Here is an example of what that might look like:

content inventory process

You can quickly tell which parts of the buyer’s journey are not being addressed. By creating content for these holes we can create a more fluid journey and eventually give customers all the information they need to choose your product or service.

Step Five: Competition Content Audit

Step Five: Competition Content Audit

The competition audit is a key step in understanding your company or product’s place in the market. An audit of the competition’s content is twofold. First, it helps you understand how many other people are competing within your market. Second, it gives you ideas for content that have performed well in the past.

The competition audit is similar to the original content audit—you use Screaming Frog to crawl the competition’s sites, and then use Social Tally or Social Count to see their activity on social media.

After using Social Tally you should be able to identify the top 5-7 posts that are performing on social media platforms.

Finally, you should identify why these pages are performing well on social media platforms then analyze if the content was written well, hit a target persona, answered questions, etc. Mostly, you need to identify what need it is filling within the buying cycle. This is perhaps the most important step in the competition audit because it helps you understand how and why the competition is successful.

Step Six: Content Editorial Calendar

Step Six: Content Editorial Calendar

The last step is creating an editorial calendar based on all of the data you have collected. The editorial calendar allows you to plan content initiatives moving forward. You need to identify what content is needed based on holes in your buyer personas and buying stages. After identifying these holes you should generate content ideas and modify what has worked for the competition.

An editorial calendar is a way to focus on your content marketing efforts, and measure, monitor, and modify the content within one document to ensure you meet your content marketing goals. It provides detailed content plans, anywhere from 1-3 months in advance, keeping everyone up-to-date on past, present, and future content.

Here’s a sample of how weekly content can be planned and recorded:

Stryde content calendar

The content audit process is vital to your success. By taking the time to really research owned and competitive content, you can develop a holistic content strategy. Content marketing is one of the most useful tactics to leverage for a successful online presence. Your customers are looking for information online, usually via blogs and other content resources, to help them make an educated decision on what products or services to buy.

By utilizing a content audit process you can develop content ideas that will add to your current visibility and truly make an impact on your potential customers.

How to Pass the Google Analytics IQ Exam in 2016

By | Digital Marketing, How-To, Strategy, Tools | 8 Comments

Predicting trends for 2016 have been the focal point of feeds for weeks and there isn’t a better time than now to focus on attainable goals for the present. Here’s one you can begin to check off today:

Take the next two weeks to study for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Exam and get certified!

Whether you’re new to digital marketing, or a seasoned guru needing to brush up your credentials to impress clients or C-suites, passing the GAIQ exam is a great demonstration of proficiency and will allow you to better leverage Analytics within your business or agency.

You might have already come across some resourceful guides that demonstrate how to prepare for the exam in a matter of days. Success in such a short time will depend greatly on your previous knowledge and experience using Analytics.

As a GA novice, I found two weeks to provide just the right amount of study-time to get a comprehensive grasp on the content, without leaving a large enough time gap for having to relearn previous material.

Here’s the breakdown of how I studied for the GAIQ exam, while keeping my eyes dry the entire time, and passed!

The Logistics

  • 70 Questions
  • 90 Minutes
  • 80% in order to pass. You must answer 56 questions correctly.
  • Valid for 18 months.
  • Questions will come in forms of Multiple Choice and True/False.

** You will find that in Google’s provided course material below, some Multiple Choice questions will come in the form; Check all that apply, meaning that if 3 answers for a single question apply, and you select 2 only, then your answer for the entire question is incorrect. The actual GAIQ exam is much more straightforward than this, providing 1 correct answer only for each question. Whew!

G exam

 

What’s Changed?

  • No Charge. The GAIQ exam is completely free
  • No Badge. Instead of a completion badge, you may print your personalized certificate or promote it on your Google Partners profile page.
  • No Revisiting. Questions appear in sequential order and once you have selected an answer, you will not be able to return to the question.
  • No Discouragement. You may retake the exam 7 days after the initial attempt if need be.

The Essentials

While Google Partners offers four courses of actionable material pertaining to Analytics, the bread and butter of the exam are within the first two courses. Be sure to know these well: Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Google Analytics Platform Principles.

Each course consists of a series of Units, with corresponding Activities and a Final Assessment. The units are somewhat lengthy and full of video content (you can opt for the text transcript version if you’d like).

Do take the time to absorb the content of each course in its entirety and take notes; you will be thanking yourself later. Here is an sample 2 week study calendar that helped me to stay on track:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1 D.A.Fund

Units 1&2

D.A.Fund

Units 3&4

D.A.Fund

Unit 5

D.A.Fund

Unit 6

Final Assessment
Week 2 Platform Principles

Units 1&2

Platform Principles Unit 3 Platform Principles Unit 4 Final Assessment Take GAIQ Exam

What You’ll See: 

You can almost guarantee to see these topics, covered in the Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Platform Principles courses, on the exam:

 Attribution Models: 

Understand the overviewLast Interaction. Last Non-Direct Click. Last AdWords Click. First Interaction. Linear. Time Decay. Position Based.

Analytics Tracking: 

Know how Google tracks via mobile, desktop, or other digitally connected device. Where do you place the GA tracking code on a site?

Types of Goals:

Goal types are Destination. Duration. Pages/Screens per session. Event. Why define a Goal Value for non-ecomm websites?

Campaign Tracking:  

Practice using the URL BuilderDestination URL. Source. Medium. Campaign Name. Campaign Content. Know the mediums auto-tracked by Analytics vs. mediums needing manual tagging.

Analytics Process & Structure:

The process flows in this order: Collection. Configuration & Processing. Reporting. Understand how configuration and processing coincide. Structure from top to bottom looks like this: Account- Properties- Views

Activity4.2

Image Source: Analytics Academy 

Importing Data to GA:

Brush up on these concepts: Account Linking. Data Import.Dimension widening. Cost data import.

Dimensions and Metrics:

Know the difference between dimensions and metrics and understand scope.

Reporting Tools:

Be sure to get these common reporting tasks down: Date comparison. Table filter. Table sort. Plot rows. Primary dimension. Secondary dimension. Pie chart. Pivot table.

Behavior Reports:

Dig into the Behavior Flow of your Analytics for this one and explore Site Content: All Pages. Content Drilldown. Landing Pages. Exit Pages. Site Speed. Site Search. Events.

 

What Threw Me:

These few topics didn’t stand out as much to me throughout the course material. Be sure to brush up on the following:

Measurement Protocol:

Developers can measure how users interact with their business from almost any environment.

Intelligence:

Know these two types of alerts: Auto Alerts vs. Customer Alerts.

Real Time:

Understand the capabilities and limitations to monitoring instant web activity.

Site Speed:

Know the Site Speed reports metrics measured.

Had Enough?

 

After 2 weeks of being anchored to the fundamentals and principles of Analytics, you are as prepared as you’ll ever be, so don’t stress! Open up Google Partners in Chrome. Sign up if you haven’t already.

In a separate browser, leave open your notes and an active Google Analytics account, if you have one, or use the one you set up as part of the practice courses. Take a deep breath, and begin!

To help set a mellow, relaxed mood, I went for the Study Time Starts Now playlist. 

Get in your zone and let Google track your time and progress in the bottom corners of the test screen.

 Best of luck to you!

As always, Stryde is here for any web traffic, content, or specific Analytics questions you may have regarding your ecommerce or lead generation site.

What are your study tactics for the GAIQ exam? Let us know in the comments below!

The Keyword Challenge on SEOchat | How to Compete for Your Site’s Searchability

By | How-To, SEO, SEOchat, Strategy, Tools | No Comments

Keyword research, grouping, implementation, tracking, and measurement can certainly sound like an uphill challenge, but its also the starting platform for any online marketing campaign. The competition for being found by your top keywords can be steep but getting a grasp on new tools and tactics from other professionals can make all the difference for a steady climb to greater organic search outcomes.

Stryde administers a weekly Twitter chat Thursday at 1 pm ET for marketing pros and padwans alike, to openly discuss their strategic approaches and tips to digital marketing success. In a friendly space, we share and learn from one another about the trends and updates in SEO and marketing.

Last week’s #SEOchat discussed how to use keywords to compete for your site’s searchability. Knowing the exact terms that your audience is searching for allows you to optimize your content for better search visibility across all channels. Keyword insights can also reveal where you rank next to your competitors. In case you missed out, or would like a recap, here are the highlights from what we covered on #SEOchat:

Question 1: When starting off on a brand new SEO campaign, at what point does keyword research come into play?

Question 2: What are your favorite tools for finding keywords and phrases that you are already ranking for?

Question 3: How do scale the competitiveness of keywords for which you would like your brand to be found?

Everyone shouting out to SEMrush>>

Question 4: What factors do you consider in determining whether SEO or PPC is best to put your brand/clients’ dollars toward?

PREACH!>>

We skipped right ahead to…

Backtrack to Q6, keeping everyone on their toes…

Question 6: What is the average life of your kw list used across content, social media, & link-building?

Flash forward to Q8… no whiplash intended

SEO is always changing. Let’s keep each other up to date through chat! Be a part of it every Thursday at 1 pm ET. Find us at #SEOchat!

 

What topic would like to see on #SEOchat? Comment below and we’ll chat soon!

What We Learned From IMSLC

By | Content Marketing, How-To, IMSLC, Inbound Marketing, PPC, Uncategorized, Video | No Comments

We had a crazy-fun time last week, bringing you the first ever IMSLC event, hosted by Stryde! Things started off a little shaky with some technical issues, but our speakers’ on-the-fly skills pulled through to hopefully give you some new insights into this content marketing game.

Many thanks to everyone who kept it lively and held a good sense of humor throughout!

 

In case you missed it…

Or if would just like to revisit the presentations, here is a recap of the event. We want to keep you in the loop on where we are and where we’re going with IMSLC.

Bryan Brandenburg, CMO and Co-founder of Salt Lake Comic Con shared his successes with video marketing and how investments in Facebook marketing have dominated referral traffic for SL Comic Con.

Tyler Whittingham and Michael Query, the brains behind Admind, illustrated the importance of PPC and covered everything from targeting and bid strategy, to optimization and reporting.

Emily Burkhart, our very own Marketing Manager at Stryde, drove home the value of proving content marketing ROI. With a content marketing budget increase across the board, and 79% of B2B firms not tracking ROI or feeling mediocre about their tracking abilities, it could be a perfect time to reassess where your efforts are leading you.

 

The Future of IMSLC

We get a lot of work done in front of a computer screen but that can never surmount the value of face-to-face communication. Offline events allow the marketing community to connect in a more personal learning environment. This was only our first rodeo, and we’re not hopping off yet! Here are some ideas we’ve brainstormed for coming events:

  • Smaller groups or conferences
  • Structured group networking session
  • Single centralized theme
  • Targeted based on audience experience level
  • Single keynote speaker
  • Panel discussion
  • Changeable location

As always, the direction of our next chapter depends on you! Please share with us your feedback from the last IMSLC in this short survey so that we can bring you an even better event!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZY5D6WQ

The future of IMSLC may take a new name, structure and venue, but the goal will always remain the same; to bring valuable, actionable insights to our marketing community. We’d like to thank our sponsors once again. And thanks to you for your continued support! What would you like to see at the next free inbound marketing event?

7 Quick Tips for Better Product Images In Your eCommerce Website

By | eCommerce, How-To | No Comments

Having professional product images is a critical element of any ecommerce site and driving sales and repeat customers through different marketing channels. Ideally these images will be professionally done, but sometimes a tight budget forces your photography to be an in-house job. If you’re short on cash, or if you’re just confident in your abilities to capture quality product photos yourself, here are a few quick tips on how to make your rookie product photography look like the real thing.

1) Natural Lighting

Natural light works best for any type of photoshoot. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to shoot your products during the day. However, what matters most is not the quantity of light, but the uniform distribution of light. In most cases, it’s best to shoot with soft light versus hard light.

2) Find an Interesting Point of View

When photographing different product images, it’s important to highlight each product’s best features. As an advocate for your products, try telling a story with the images you capture by accentuating particular angles. You may be surprised what point of views flatter your product image most accurately, so test several different options.

3) Use a Tripod

Camera on a tripod

Using a tripod eliminates all motion blur mistakes you might not catch until viewing the images on a computer.

No matter how steady of a hand you think you may have, it’s probably not steady enough. The use of a tripod eliminates all motion blur and makes pictures look more crisp. Plus, once your camera is set up on the tripod, the only thing you have to worry about is getting the products in place. You won’t have to reset your focus or angle with every single shot.

4) Sense of Scale

To help customers visualize the size of a product, it’s helpful to include an object, that people are generally familiar with, next to your product . For example, to help customers visualize the size of the new iPhone 6 Plus, it would be helpful to display a pencil or pen next to it.

5) Show the Product in its Natural Element

Take pictures of your product next to an item that will help people relate to it in real life. Potential buyers will get an idea how the product may be used or worn, plus the use of props could really help accentuate the features of your product. This tip may not always apply, but keep your target audience in mind and consider in what environment they could most naturally envision using the product.

6) Use a White Background

Draw attention to your item by setting it up against a plain white or neutral backdrop. To make an image look even more professional, take your photos on a continuous background, a background without visual angles – such as a curved white poster, for example. We used a white wall and a whiteboard for a very simple photo shoot. We photoshopped the background out entirely in post-production, but the original white background kept the color balance of the products true to their natural hues.

acuhandphotoshoot

Using a white background helps to emphasize the true colors of your products, and makes post-production easier too.

 

7) Display All Colors

When it comes to product images, it’s important to not spare any visual details. If a product comes in more than one color, show your customers each color. According to Wix.com, “A set of photos showing the variety of colors will make the product look richer and more attractive.”

What are some of your best practices when it comes to taking pictures for product images? Please share in the comments below.

5 Warning Signs Your Content Marketing Sucks

By | Content Marketing, How-To | No Comments

You’ve probably heard by now that content marketing can help you generate leads, lift sales and increase brand awareness.

Are you currently writing blog posts and creating eBooks for your business – but not seeing the immediate results those Internet marketing gurus said you would?

That’s because your content marketing strategy has a few holes in it.

No, not the good kind.

No, not the good kind.

Here at Stryde we often see five common content marketing mistakes, and today we’re going to share with you how to fix them.

1. You Aren’t Promoting Your Content

Really great content marketing involves two components: content and marketing of that content.

It’s not enough to write a piece of content and then wait for people to find it. There are more than 170 million blogs out there now; what are the odds that your ideal customer will just stumble upon it? Not likely.

Optimizing your content for search engines is important and a good tactic, but the surest way to get people to see your content is to promote it yourself. In fact, some marketing experts say you should spend at least twice as much time promoting your content as you spend creating it.

There are several simple ways you can drive traffic to your content:

  • Share links to your content on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks

  • Share links on directories and forums like inbound.org or reddit

  • Use Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Promoted Pins, and Instagram ads to promote your content

  • Purchase Google ads to drive traffic to your content

If your content is accessible by anyone at any time, such as with a blog post, you will probably just want to share the link via social networks, forums and directories since these are free ways to promote your content.

Here you can see the website Upworthy promoting links to their own posts on Twitter:

And here is an example of Upworthy sharing their posts on Facebook, where they are receiving thousands of shares and likes from readers.

Don’t be afraid to share links to your content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other networks. If it’s good content, you can feel confident others will enjoy it too.

If you are putting your content behind a lead generation form, then you will probably want to experiment with a mix of free and paid marketing channels. Just remember that your content needs to be extremely high quality and valuable if you decide to gate it.

Facebook and Google ads are low-cost paid marketing channels through which you can promote your content. With both advertising platforms you can set your own budget and not spend a cent more than you want to.

2. You Have Lots of Readers but Very Few Social Shares

One quick way to know your content marketing sucks is if you have a lot of readers but not a lot of social shares.

For example, if you have a particular blog post that has 1,000 unique views but only 3 social shares, you have a problem.

There are two causes of low social shares:

  • Your content is not high quality.

  • You don’t provide an easy way for people to share your content.

Of course, you could have both problems. Identifying what YOUR problem is should be your first step.

The way to know if your content is low quality is by looking through your analytics. If you have a lot of visitors but your Average Duration is low and/or your Bounce Rate is high, you probably have a content quality problem.

Yikes! This is not what any content marketer wants to see.

You can find out what your Bounce Rate and Average Duration is by logging into Google Analytics and going to the Acquisition section and then All Traffic.

Low Average Duration and a high Bounce Rate indicate that your visitors aren’t captured by your content and they are leaving your site quickly. To fix this you will need to spend more time on improving the quality of your content.

Some ways to increase the quality of your posts, ebooks and guides:

  • Research before you write and reference interesting facts in your content

  • Include high-quality images and screenshots throughout

  • Interview experts and include original quotes in your content

If visitors are sticking around on your site for a while and your bounce rate is low, then the quality of your content is not likely the problem. In this case you probably just haven’t made it easy for people to share your content.

An easy fix for this is to install social sharing buttons on your content.  You can grab code from Facebook and Twitter to add their buttons to each page where you have content.

If you use a content management system like WordPress, you can install a plugin like Digg Digg which automatically adds social sharing buttons to each of your posts and web pages.

We use Digg Digg here on the Fit Marketing blog and personally recommend it.

3. Your Content Isn’t Helping You Generate Leads or Sales

Your content, whether you put it behind a lead gen form or not, should help you generate leads and sales because it will drive new visitors to your site. Hopefully your site is optimized for conversions.

The secret to generating lots of leads and sales with content is three-fold:

1. You must always generate high-quality content

2. You must generate content consistently

3. You must ask for the conversion

We already talked in the section above about generating high-quality content, so let’s dive into the second point.

According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing Report, companies that blog very frequently see a direct impact on customer acquisition.

Companies that blog multiple times per day see the highest customer acquisition rate. That said, it’s equally important to be able to blog on a consistent basis.

If you are not able to consistently blog multiple times per day, it would be better for you to spread new posts out throughout the week. For instance, if you can only blog once per week, then you should try to blog on the same day each week to provide some consistency for your readers.

In addition to blogging consistently, you must also include a call to action with each piece of content you publish.

The easiest ways to generate leads from your content is by putting it behind a lead generation form. This works perfectly if you put together a piece of premium content such as an ebook or guide.

HubSpot is a great example of a company that publishes a lot of ebooks that help them generate leads.

Here’s an example of how they generate leads with eBooks:

If you don’t want to put your content behind a form – usually the case with blog posts – you can include a call to action at the end of the content.

Blogs like Nimble do this really well by including a small banner at the end of each blog post.

If you do not include a call to action with your content, then you will be losing out on leads and potential sales. If you truly drew in your reader, they will want to do something about your content.

Remember that content is marketing and thus should always include a call to action.

4. You Don’t Know if Your Content is Generating Leads or Sales

One gigantic warning sign that your content marketing sucks is if you don’t know if its generating leads or sales.

Having a “feeling” that it’s working is not the same thing as knowing.

You should have conversion goals set up in Google Analytics that will let you identify the sources of your leads and sales. You should check daily to see how many of your goal conversions have come from your content (such as your blog or landing pages).

Once you have your goals set up, you can then easily log into Google Analytics and see how many people have completed your goals from each of your traffic sources.

If your content is behind a lead generation form, then you probably know how many leads you’re generating – but do you know what your best source of traffic is?

Check your analytics to find out!

If Facebook is sending you a lot of traffic that is converting on your lead gen form, then you should put more time and effort into growing your Facebook channel so you can exponentially increase your leads.

5. You Can’t Tell Me What Your Strategy Is

What is your content marketing strategy?

This is not the content strategy you're looking for.

This is not the content strategy you’re looking for.

Sometimes when I ask this question the answer is a look of confusion, and the response, “Well, we blog three times a week and I’m writing an ebook.”

That’s really great, but that’s not a content marketing strategy, that’s just content.

If you have a content marketing strategy in place you should be able to easily answer the following questions:

  • What are your concrete, quantifiable, realistic goals for content? Brand awareness? Leads? Sales?

  • How will you measure your goals along the way?

  • Who is responsible for producing content?

  • How often will new content be published (including blog posts, ebooks, guides, infographics, guest posts, etc.)?

  • Who will create the landing pages for content that goes behind lead gen forms?

  • What happens once a new lead comes in? How will they be nurtured? How will they be converted into customers?

  • How much is a lead worth? What is an acceptable cost per lead?

  • How will your content be promoted?

  • What is your budget per month for paid traffic?

If you cannot answer ALL of these questions, then your content marketing is doomed to suck.

The good news is you can fix it!

Make time to sit down today and start figuring out the answers to these questions. This can feel like an overwhelming task, but it is a really important one. Without the answers to these questions, you’re wasting time and money.

Making Sure Your Content Marketing Doesn’t Suck

There is no doubt that content marketing can help you generate leads, lift sales and increase brand awareness. Following the tips in this post is a great way to get your content marketing strategy on the right track. So, let’s review:

  • Promote your free content through free channels, particularly your social media networks. Use free and paid promotion for premium content that generates leads.
  • Make it easy for readers to share your content, with social share buttons – it’s free promotion!
  • Check your analytics to make sure your content is high quality. If not, spend more time creating richer, more comprehensive content.
  • Create content consistently.
  • Include calls to action.
  • Set measurable goals, and follow up on them. Know who is responsible for what.

Got it? Good.

Did we miss anything? Leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions. Or for more inbound marketing tips, download our free ebook.

 

Image credits: blue.tofu