What’s wrong with the picture above?
No prizes for this one I’m afraid. The answer is of course noise. In that one shot, I managed to count around 40 advertisements in one form or another (excluding our own logo of course). It’s not hard to see that snapshot of a busy American street, and view it as a representation of digital content marketing.
Take just 3 seconds to look at that picture (without giving it too much thought) and then say the one company that stands out most…
You said Google right?
Why? Because it has the biggest banner, it takes up the most space. The digital world can seem very similar. Those with the biggest voice (often meaning the deepest pockets) get the most visibility. In many cases that’s true, but later on, we’ll look at how you can use this to your advantage.
How much do you think Google paid for the billboard/screen time in that image?
Well, I have no idea either but I’d bet they didn’t even bother trying to measure their ROI. That’s many thousands of dollars being spent without even knowing if it had an effect on their bottom line.
When you’re a giant corporation and can throw money around just to keep your brand memorable that’s all well and good. But when you’re a small to medium-sized business you need your marketing efforts to produce tangible results.
So why is it that so many businesses fill their marketing channels (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) with content but have NO STRATEGY or tangible way of measuring the results of their efforts? It’s usually a ‘Build it and they will come’ mentality.
Do you have a Digital Content Marketing Strategy?
Perhaps you think you are measuring because you know how many likes and comments you get on your posts? That can be useful but it should only be a small part of your strategy. Let me ask you some quick questions…
Did your social posts last month increase traffic to your website?
Did that have a direct impact on sales?
Did Facebook visitors stay longer than Instagram visitors?
Have your marketing efforts increased your Google Rankings?
Does your audience prefer images, video, audio or text?
Do some pages of your website convert better than others? Why?
Do you get better engagement from a specific social channel?
What digital content marketing strategies are your competitors using? Are you doing it better?
If you had an accurate answer for all of those questions then well done! You’re in a small minority.
What I’m trying to say is that if you’re investing in digital content marketing then you MUST have a strategy. You MUST have S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound). You must know what’s working and what isn’t.
Failure to create a solid strategy will prevent you from moving forward.
“Without goals you can’t achieve. Without measuring you can’t improve.”
The missing link in digital marketing is easy to summarise but not so easy to achieve. It’s all about having a strategy. One that has a solid foundation. One that is based on measurable goals.
But Where Do You Start?
It doesn’t have to be crazily complicated…
Start small. Set 1 goal. Decide your budget/time investment. Decide how you’re going to achieve that goal. Stick to your plan, measure the results and refine your strategy.
I plan to increase visits to my website from social media by 25% in the next 3 months (note it’s a measurable goal – You’ll either achieve it or you won’t).
Step 1: Record current visits from social media.
Step 2: Decide what you’re going to do differently. Start with small changes (not too many at once. you’ll need to know what worked and what didn’t). See what your competitors are doing. Perhaps you’ll add more ‘call-to-actions’ in your posts. Perhaps you’ll change the tone of your writing. Maybe you’ll use more images. Perhaps you’ll change your profile information. Perhaps you’ll post more often or at different times.
Step 3: After a set amount of time (say 1 week) check your results. Have they improved? If yes, are you on track to hit your goals? If you are that’s awesome – Keep Going. In most cases, it won’t be quite that quick and easy. If it didn’t work then simply rinse and repeat. Use your competition for inspiration. Ask your audience what they want. Make small changes. Measure again after your set time (1 week in this example).
Digital Content Marketing Summarised…
Set S.M.A.R.T goals when creating your content marketing plan.
Measure current status.
Make small changes.
Measure the results.
Make further changes based on those results.
Doing this consistently will almost guarantee success. The more you do it, the more you can refine your goals and your digital strategy. As your goals become more specific and achievable, so will your results.
Earlier on I said you could use the big voices in your niche to your advantage…
Take a close look at your competition, particularly those with large marketing budgets. They are spending money to find out exactly what’s working in your industry. Use that research to your own advantage and capitalise on that. For example, If they’ve been boosting the same Facebook post for 3 months then it’s a fairly safe bet to say it’s working well for them.
There are plenty of tools that can help you monitor (or spy on) your competition but I’ll save that for another day.
If you’d love to implement a digital content marketing plan in your business but you simply don’t have the time/confidence/staff to drive it forward then you’ll want to check out our SEO services where content marketing plays an integral role in our strategies.