Storytelling as the new SEO definitely was the Online Marketing Hype over the last couple of years. But becoming more and more established as a marketing instrument, it’s also under a lot more scrutiny: Is storytelling enough? Do the usual rules of return on investment apply to content marketing? Does it actually pay off? We sure think so. And offer some guidance on how content can learn to sell …
Blogs, videos, storytelling: Most companies have by now jumped on the Content Marketing bandwagon. However, Content Marketing, just like Social Media Marketing, can’t be an end in itself but needs to become part of an overarching strategy, leading to one goal: sales.
Content Marketing that sells
Without a goal, there is no marketing. The same goes for content. What is it that your blog article should achieve? Should it establish you as a thought leader in your industry, provoke discussions, generate qualified leads, win new subscribers for your newsletter or support your employer marketing? No matter what goal you set for your content – it must align with the overall marketing strategy.
Defining the target group and buying persona
Defining a target group might sound mundane but, interestingly, is still neglected too many times. This is also where the buying persona comes into play. While the target group gives a general definition (eg. 35-50 years, female, management position, internet savvy), the buying persona deepens the profile with data such as specific preferences or media consumption. What is your buying persona interested in? And what do you want to say about your company and its product or service? Develop your content right around where these two overlap.
Working with topics
When developing your content strategy, stick to aspects that are connected to a business relevant core topic. Ask yourself: Which topics support your brand by encouraging social sharing, which will push your sales, which are geared towards customer loyalty? You can find more detailed info on how to create and structure topic clusters in this Hubspot article).
Matching KPIs with content
Backlinks. Shares. Conversions. Qualified Leads. Sign-ups. There are various key metrics which measure the penetrating power and success of your content. Make sure to align them with the corresponding marketing goal. Likes and shares, for example, are a good indicator of a rising brand awareness and are achieved through quirky, unique and „shareable“ content, while good conversion rates, which are paramount to generate leads, are usually achieved by informationoriented content such as ebooks or checklists.
Thinking long term
Content Marketing as a sales instrument requires patience. It is only after 1.5 or 2 years of consistent work that you can really judge over its success. This comes with the advantage of lots of potential to constantly improve and experiment. Don’t dismiss your strategy if it doesn’t seem to work right away but try to analyze and optimize via A/B testing or tweaking according to relevant figures to make sure your content gets you closer to your sales goals. It will pay off in time.
Content Marketing is more than just a hype, but in order to firmly establish its place among staple marketing instruments it also needs to clearly promote more sales.
The key takeaways:
- Content Marketing needs measurable goals and KPIs
- Base your KPIs on a well defined target group and buying persona; produce targeted content around topics that are both interesting to them and that promote your sales goals
- Successful content marketing requires a combination of a long-term strategy, constant analysis, tweaking your content formats … and patience
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