Businesses are putting online marketing content out all the time – whether it’s social media posts, blog posts, v-logs, websites etc – but how do you know if it’s effective? How do you know it’s worth all the effort, and therefore money, you’re spending on it?
There’s a handy marketing model that helps you make that assessment. Let’s work our way through it:
The Content Marketing Strategy Framework
Created by the Content Marketing Institute (2017), this framework is great for planning and assessing your online marketing content.
Today, we’re going to use it to assess how effective your online marketing content is.
Start here – What are you putting out there?
First, list, or ask your Marketing Manager to list, all the online marketing content you are putting out there. Make sure you include:
- paid for content e.g. adverts, PPC
- owned content e.g. website, social media posts
- affiliate content e.g. guest articles, guest blogs, mentions by affiliates.
Step 1. Assess your Purpose and Goals
Every single piece of content you put out online, from the lowest like to the longest blog post, must have a purpose and goal. Go back over your last 10 pieces of online content and assess:
- what did you want it to achieve?
- did it achieve its goals?
- how do you know?
Here are some of the Purpose and Goals of the online content I produce for KMS Marketing:
KMS Marketing Blog posts have to:
- give my readers something useful that they can immediately begin to apply to their business – this is the key value
- show that I know my strategic marketing onions (as it were)
- be jargon free, easy to understand, and as short as possible.
Step 2. For whom are you creating the content and how will they benefit?
Part of having strategic marketing clarity is knowing who your key segments are – the groups of people you are best placed to offer your service or product to.
So, who are your key audiences? For your last 10 pieces of content, who did you create it for? How will they benefit from it? If you can’t answer these questions quickly and easily, then this is an area to work on.
- KMS Marketing blog posts are for my key segment of Small to Medium Sized business owners and marketers in these organisations who wish to understand how to use marketing successfully
- the benefit from reading them is that they can apply what they have found out immediately so their marketing can improve at once
- the long term benefit is that they increase their understanding of the structured process that marketing is so they can make the right marketing choices in the future too.
Step 3. What specific, unique and valuable ideas will you build your content assets around?
Your online content should all ‘hang together’ – it should feel like there are consistent themes and ideas that are always coming through. These ideas should be based on giving your audience something that they want.
One of my clients is the UK Heritage site, Butser Ancient Farm. Their online content for their (very) different audiences always centres around:
- archaeology – there is always a link back to archaeology and increasing our knowledge of the ancient past. Depending on the audience, this theme can be about day to day living in the past or explore archaeological ideas and concepts
- experiencing the ancient past – they always include something that makes you want to see, touch, smell, engage with ancient history.
Once you know your core, ‘story’ you can then construct different types of content around it to fit with your ‘purpose’ for each piece of content.
This can be:
- ‘How to’ pieces of content
- ‘Learn about’ content
- ‘Real examples’ sharing stories that your audience relate to
- ‘Try this’ ideas for what your audience can do themselves to experience what you do.
Step 4. How well are you structuring your processes to make your plans happen?
From a simple step-by-step process that is done manually to using a CRM like Hubspot to manage all your online marketing activities, how easily and quickly are you making your online content ‘happen’?
The test here is: if something happened to the person who creates and publishes your online content, could someone else easily step in and ‘make it happen’?
Whatever size organisation you are in, map out the step by step process for planning, putting out and measuring your online marketing content. Now consider:
- are there elements of it you can automate that you aren’t already?
- can you outsource any of it?
- do you have the right skills to do every step of the process?
- if you don’t, can you get them? Or is it more cost effective to outsource them?
My marketing process for KMS Marketing is mostly manual and relies on me – a key issue if I’m ill. I identified that I can outsource key steps like laying out and managing the KMS Marketing newsletter in Mailchimp. It reduces the time I spend ‘fighting’ Mailchimp, it means my whole marketing process for the newsletter isn’t dependent just on me.
Step 5. Measurement: how do you know how well your online content is performing?
First, go back to your purpose and goals. How can you measure those? Then look at the value you want to give your audience. How can you measure that?
Too often we measure things because we can rather than because they are useful.
Make sure you are measuring what is going to let you know your online content has been successful.
Next, measure to improve.
Real example of using measurements to improve:
We were assessing the effectiveness of an online campaign recently, when one of my clients pointed out that certain types of posts on Facebook were getting very little interest; the posts with a strong Call To Action of, ‘sign up here’. However, these posts were doing really well on Twitter and Instagram, getting lots of engagement AND people doing the action. The metrics allowed them to put an immediate improvement into place: only do, ‘story’ posts on Facebook and keep the ones with a strong CTA on the other social media channels.
Note: the overall result didn’t change – they still got the same amount of sign ups – but they delivered a better experience to their audience, only giving them what they wanted on a certain channel.
Measuring your marketing is an area so many of us get wrong – we measure activities because we can rather than because we need to. For more on measurement, read this blog post.
This framework can also be used to help you PLAN your online marketing content – so it’s a useful one to remember.
If your organisation needs help either assessing its marketing and planning it, then do get in touch – I can help.
Kara Stanford, Strategic Marketing Consultant, KMS Marketing