So you have put together an awesome blog post – comes with plenty of visuals, original ideas and it even has a video as part of the write-up. It is published and “online” for everyone to see, but yet there is no one coming to the post. You may be asking yourself: why is my digital content not being seen?
It is easy to get caught up in finishing a really good piece of content and just expecting results to come on their own. There are a number of digital marketing efforts that accompany every piece of content created, whether that’s a blog post, video, mobile app, whitepaper, ebook, etc. I recently finished up reading Youtility – a great book covering effective online marketing. One key concept that stuck with me was the fact that online marketing does not have a finish line – it is an ongoing endeavor that has to become a part of everyday tasks.
Here is a useful list of items that are usually overlooked when creating content online. The list takes into consideration efforts necessary before and after the content is put together – covering all the important factors of successful engagement and reach. For the purpose of this post we will mainly focus on blog posts – but these efforts apply to all branded content being produced.
1. Goal Setting
The first and foremost step in any marketing strategy; making sure that you have set measurable goals. What is the purpose of your blog post? Most of the time it is to educate, inform or provide some type of benefit to the readers – but how can you connect those goals to performance?
Put together both qualitative (quality of comments, location of readers,etc) and quantitative (links from other bloggers, number of views, etc.) measures that directly relate to your goal. Having benchmarks can help you evaluate your content marketing. This way you eliminate any guess work from your reporting and know ahead of time what type of analytical information you will be focusing on.
After you have established measurable goals, it is important to research not only the topic you will be writing about but your potential audience. Do they prefer to engage with videos more than images? Will an e-book or infographic be better suited to present the information? Most of the time it is not a clear cut answer, and in many instances it may require a combination of different visual components.
Another thing to keep in mind is your topic – did you do SEO research on it and focused on keywords that will help your post be easily searchable? Take the time to optimize your content to what your audience is actually searching for as opposed to what you think the audience is searching for. You would be surprised at some of the topics or terminology that is being searched once you actually do the research!
Late last year we outlined a number of items on SMBs Holiday Marketing Wishlist, but the main one that applies to this point is responsive design. You don’t have to read a blog post to know that mobile devices are furiously taking over our daily lives, including business interactions. Having a blog post that is easily view-able on an iPad and a BlackBerry is important (and all other devices).
If you do not make it accessible across various devices and operating systems you could be losing a lot of audience members. It would be a shame to have that great blog post go unnoticed because it impossible to view on a smartphone or different browser (anyone still use Internet Explorer? You betcha!).
The best marketing or branding is word of mouth, is it not? So having a blog post that cannot be easily shared can cause a problem in the digital alternative “click to share” concept. Have social media share buttons readily available on your post, embed code for all your infographics, pin buttons on images, etc.
Convenience is key, the easier you make it for someone to share your content the more likely it will be shared. The level of quality matters as well, but putting extra work on the audience to share will only discourage any action.
5. Marketing Your Marketing
Another great mention in Youtility is the concept of “marketing your marketing” – meaning that you do not stop at just putting the new blog post live, but that that you share it across all of your channels. Do you have a newsletter? Is it included there? Part of your website? Guest blogging on a relevant blog? Be sure to get the word out in as many ways as possible (without spamming) and increase your reach.
Informing your audience in offline channels can also be beneficial, while most of our focus is on digital branding – taking an integrated approach is ultimately the best option. Have your blog post as part of your in-store signage, get all employees involved and encourage them to share with customers if its appropriate.
By doing this you will actively increase the chances that the content is seen, shared and engaged. It is no longer left to chance but is strategically launched to your community.
6. Listening and Following Up
Don’t talk AT your community, talk WITH them. Believe it or not even the most recognized brands do not have the answer to all of the burning questions that some people may have. If someone posts an informative comment that expands on the post – why not thank them? Invite them to do a guest-post? Perhaps your organization can do a follow-up post to the first one based on those comments.
The worst thing that can happen is for people to leave this feedback or appreciation to just “sit there” without directly responding. The purpose is to be engaging – setup notifications and monitor your content to know precisely when something new comes up. This way you can respond accordingly and connect with your audience when the time is right.
7. Measuring Performance
Remember the first point? We’ll here it is again coming back to haunt you. After all is said and done, if you do not have anything to measure against all of the above mentioned effort can seem worthless. Seeing the progression and exceeding your goals can be a rewarding experience. Alternatively, falling short of your goals is a great way to learn what worked and what didn’t, where there is room for improvement and what can be implemented in real-time to make sure that goals are attained.
Keep track of content performance, connect analytics data to goals and measure the success of your digital branding.
8. Repurposing (or Reimagining) and Improving Accordingly
Content Rules, another great book written on online marketing, introduces a great concept of repurposing or reimagining your content. If your blog post was a huge hit with the audience, why not create an e-book out of it? Perhaps it could be upgraded to an infographic if it was written some time ago. Could you turn it into a mobile app? After you have had a chance to listen to your audience and measure against your goals, you can improve the content and let your audience guide it in the right direction.
The possibilities are usually endless if the content is of good quality, useful and engaging. Repurposing lets you cycle through your content without discarding it – making it easier on your content creation and time management.
After all you never know what can happen, maybe this post ends up in a whitepaper one day?