Posted by iPullRank
We all know that creating and promoting content can be a ton of work (not to mention expensive). So how do we know whether it’ll be worth it? In today’s Whiteboard Friday, MozCon 2014 speaker Mike King shows you several ways you can be sure your content has the potential you need before you even start making it.
For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!
Greetings and salutations, Moz fans. My name is Mike King. I’m from an agency called iPullRank, and today here on Whiteboard Friday we’re going to talk about how to prove ROI potential of content. Basically, before you launch content, get a sense of will this perform before you go ahead and spend tens of thousands of dollars on promoting that content.
Surveying your target audience
So let’s just hop right into it. One of the things you want to do for your content component aspect of it is survey your target audience. There are a lot of channels that you can do this effectively in. In fact, the ad platforms have gotten even better at letting you hyper target audiences and drive that traffic right away.
One of the things you can do is use StumbleUpon Paid Discovery. I love this platform for content promotion as well. But it’s great in this use case because it’s only $ 0.10 a click. Again, you can target based on different audiences, not as granularly as you can with something like Facebook or something to that effect, but you can get audiences around ideas, concepts, and things of that nature.
What you can also use is a tool called UserReport. What this tool does is allows you to do custom surveys on your own site. You put up your content experience. You throw UserReport on there. Once the user gets to a certain point in the page, you can make that survey pop up. You can ask them questions like: Hey, would you like this? Would you share this? What is it that you didn’t like about this content? Does this solve a specific need for you?
You can do that with StumbleUpon Paid Discovery. Start collecting data on the users that would visit your content, and then it helps you build a business case saying that these people would be interested in this content.
By the same token, you can also use Facebook ads to do this. Like I said, Facebook ads allow you to really granularly target your audiences. They’ve gotten increasingly more sophisticated with their ad targeting options. In fact, at this point, the ad targeting very much aligns with standard market research in that you can target based on income, education, and so on and so forth.
If you’re going after the B2C clientele, that’s probably your best bet, using Facebook. If you’re going after the B2B clientele, then LinkedIn ads make the most sense. You can also target very specifically on firmographics rather than just demographics. In both of these cases, you’re going to then continue to use UserReport to collect that data via these custom surveys on your site.
Additionally, you can use SurveyMonkey Audience. I love this tool because you can, again, very much target very specific demographics and ask them direct questions. What you can do is host that piece of content in the survey, have them take the time to review it and fill out the questionnaire, and then, boom, you get your results right away.
Those are different ways you can do surveying to understand whether your content’s going to perform. But, of course, competitive analysis is a really good way to make a case. I worked on a brand called LG back in the day. The best way to get them to do anything was to show them that Samsung was doing it.
By that very same token, you can use a tool like Social Crawlytics. What that tool does is crawls the site and identifies the social shares of every piece of content on that site. You can do that for your site and a competitor’s site and see what’s working, what isn’t, and quickly identify what you can create that is similar to what they’ve made.
Additionally, you can use BuzzSumo, which kind of takes out the legwork out of that, because they’ve indexed a lot of content. They’ve pulled out the semantic relationships from that content, the entities. You can search by keyword for different pieces of content and then see what’s the most popular content that fits that keyword. Now their index isn’t huge, but they have a lot of content, especially around the SEO space, that you can look at. So you can quickly identify what’s working for other people and then make your case that way.
Finally, you can use any of the link indices — Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, Majestic. All of these tools, if you go to the top pages reports for the different competitors, you can quickly see what’s working and what’s not, and then you have those metrics to make that business case.
One of the other tactics that I really love to use to identify content that will work is by using the different discussion sites. Quora is a really good one. You can actually identify questions that people have already asked in the past and then see how many people have responded to that. You can see whether or not it’s a popular question that you can then use into your content.
You can actually pose your own questions, see how many people follow the question and how many people answer the question. Then, you can look at those people that are following the question and see what their demographics are and, boom, another solid business case based on actual data.
The finally, Reddit is really good for this as well. People love to get in discussions on Reddit. We’ve posed questions in the past, and people have given really passionate responses. Then there have been cases where we’ve posed questions and we got no response. Once you know it’s crickets, it’s not a good piece of content to launch.
These are all the content and metric components of this. But what you really need to focus on, when you’re trying to get buy-in for this type of content internally, is the people components. When you’re building business cases and you’re dealing with a variety of people, your boss in fact, you’ve got to think about what metric is the one that helps him get to his bonus, and how does the content that you’re looking to create help fulfill that metric.
In most cases, those metrics aren’t necessarily channel metrics. It’s not: Are we going to be number one for this keyword? Are we going to get more visits from organic search or more likes in social media? It goes back to things that affect the business.
In the case of a SaaS company, it can be: Okay, how does this contribute to our cost of acquisition versus our LTV ratio? Does this lower our cost of acquisition because we’re going to get a wide range of people that are going to ingest this content and then come back to the site, ending up signing up? Then, is it reaching the right side of our audience that is high value a customer? Is it the one that has the bigger long-term value or lifetime value?
Think about those metrics rather than, oh, we’re going to get some more likes and shares, because these metrics are typically the ones that go back to the metrics that help your boss hit his bonus.
Also, is there a conversion rate based on your existing content on your own site? I’ve talked at length about doing content on that’s both qualitatively and quantitatively, in a guest post that I did for Copyblogger, which will be below in the description, about doing content audits where you can identify what is performing and what’s not, and then see what types of content you may want to create in the future.
Using that as a framework to work with, you can then look at these content ideas that you’ve gotten on this side and see, okay, we have content that fits this, and generally the conversion rate is X. So you can make some sort of prediction based on the search volume and the keywords that go with this piece of content, or the amount of traffic you’re likely to get from social media to go with this content, and then back that into the conversion rate and then get back to these business level metrics that we talked about before.
Finally, or the last two things rather, how does this map to your brand’s story? A lot of the times when you’re talking about content, you’re talking about the brand messaging architecture, the voice, the tone. What are the brand’s goals? What is the brand trying to put out there?
Moz is really good at developing a good brand story. They have Roger that they weave into a lot of things. How does your piece of content go with that brand’s story? Again, back to the Moz example, they’re about doing better marketing.
My Whiteboard Friday here goes with that idea. So it’s really easy for me to make a business case for this piece of content to align with the business. How does your piece of content fit that brand’s story?
Then, finally, what phase in the funnel does this piece of content serve?
Because ultimately, at the end of the day, we’re always trying to market something. We’re marketers. We’re trying to move people through the funnel.
So, if you’ve identified in your content audits that, oh, we’re missing a lot of stuff for the decision phase, so this content will specifically speak to that decision phase. Here are all the metrics that go with it. Now, we have a strong business case.
That’s all I’ve got for today. My name’s Mike King. I’m happy to help you guys out. In the comments, let me know anytime that you’ve come against anything where you couldn’t get a piece of content pushed through at your business or your agency or what have you, and I’m happy to answer your questions.
Have a great one, and I’ll see you guys next time on Whiteboard Friday.
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