We all know we can learn from our mistakes, but what about the times our content excels?
One of our favorite things about content marketing is the constant opportunity to try new things! It’s an environment where testing, trying and tinkering means everything. Granted, we want to make sure we’re starting any and all content marketing initiative with a solid layer of strategy, but once that’s in place, it’s a veritable playground of possibilities.
Chances are, you’re already familiar with some results of your content marketing efforts. You’ve reviewed reports with things like click-through rates, sign-ups, registrations, online sales, page views, etc. When analyzing these reports, we’re often looking for areas of improvement: Where are numbers low? What’s not working? How can we make improvements? And these are all great things to look at great questions to ask.
But it’s also incredibly helpful to look at the bright side to discover the things that are working for you. Identify your best-performing content and pay attention to these key areas:
Are your videos racking up tons of views? Are your infographics getting all the social shares? Surveying at your content ecosystem can tell you, pretty quickly, which content type (or types) your audience is eating up.
Tip: Give them more of what they like, and don’t be afraid to adjust content planning and calendars accordingly.
Voice and Tone
Look at your best-performing content and analyze its voice and tone; maybe your more serious, informative guides are out-performing your tongue-in-cheek blog posts. Obviously, you want to make sure you’re adhering to brand guidelines, but figuring out how your audience wants to listen to you is key.
Tip: Most likely your audience wants content that sounds like they talk. The more you can learn about your audience, the more you can create content that resonates with them.
Are people loving the 15-page whitepapers? The 140-character tweets? Something in the middle? Find what works for your audience and keep at it.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to experiment. Not all blog posts have to be 500-plus words; not all videos need to be under a minute — let your audience tell you how much content they want to consume.
When analyzing your top pieces, pay close attention to the headlines. Do they include numbers, questions, puns, “you”; are they short or long? Headlines and titles can make or break the success of a piece of content (just ask journalists). Finding the right style for your brand and your audience can help with those initial first impressions.
Tip: Think about what you would click when scrolling through your social media feed or email inbox. If you wouldn’t click on a title or headline, chances are, your audience won’t, either.
If your content is worth creating, it’s worth supporting. From email to sponsored social posts, there’s a slew of media channels you can use to support and distribute your content. Ideally, you’ll find the mix of channels and owned/earned media that works best. But keep your ear to the ground and don’t be afraid to shift course.
Tip: Budget, budget, budget. Many channels are “pay to play” these days, so don’t be afraid to throw some marketing dollars behind your hard-earned content.
Calls to Action
We live in a world where calls to action (CTAs) are everywhere. Directing your audience to your CTAs (and getting them to actually follow through) is paramount to any successful marketing campaign. Look at your best-performing content and see what CTAs worked — and where they’re located on the page.
Tip: Be mindful of CTA overload. While every piece of content should have some kind of CTA, it doesn’t always have to be brand-focused. There’s power in the “soft sell.”