When you speak of Return on Content or content marketing ROI, you’re acknowledging that content marketing has a cost.
As you can imagine it takes resources, time, planning, patience and effort.
But you’re also saying that it can deliver a profit just like any other business investment can.
One of the difficulties that managers and business owners run into is not being able to demonstrate how their efforts to create content merit the organization whether in financial or non-financial terms.
Here are 7 ways to maximize the return on content and show real benefits for your organization.
#1. Create branded content
When you think of branded content think about what makes your content special NOT what makes your brand special.
Branded content means that you deliver your marketing message in such a way that consumers embrace it because it is pulls them in, engaging or entertaining.
That does not mean that you’re neglecting your overall goal which is to sell a product or service. On the contrary, notice how American Express Open Forum treads very lightly on their corporate branding while delivering educational content to small business owners to help them run their businesses.
Ultimately those business owners are more likely to turn to American Express for their financial needs.
#2. Deliver the ultimate user experience
Think about how you can enhance consumer experience by providing content that alleviates people’s stress and improves their lives.
You can do that by anticipating consumer needs and giving them what they want, even before they ask.
Kraft Foods doesn’t just sell cheese. They understand that their customers are on a budget, that they’re busy and that they want to eat healthy. So they provide them with great, easy-to-follow recipes that make every day a ‘delicious day’.
Identify what your consumers want, what they’re interested in, or what makes them tick – as opposed to just what makes them purchase – and then build content hubs around these desires.
#3. Cater to different audiences
Think about how you can reach more people in more places.
Content marketing is not just about blogging. Consider the large groups of consumers and potential customers who don’t read blogs (either because they lack the time or the interest). How can you reach them?
You want to spread your content far and wide over several platforms in order to reach as many different audiences as possible.
Think about incorporating audio and video into your content mix. By alternating your text blog posts with video blogging, webinars (create your own YouTube channel), and podcasts (submit to iTunes) suddenly you have a potentially massive audience that you can engage and persuade with your content.
#4. Display on multiple devises
We’ve talked about this before.
Gone are the days when people only consumed content while sitting infront of their desktop computers.
Different devices have come into the market that give people more options for accessing digital content. Research shows that 78% of consumers prefer mobile-optimized content. How does yours measure up?
Given that almost everyone carries a smart phone these days, do yourself a favor and make sure that your content is available and accessible to them. If not they will leave and probably never return again.
#5. Capture distracted audiences
This is especially important if you’re trying to wean your audience from print to digital media. They’re used to seeing magazine-like content. They have high expectations and are easily distracted by tedious content.
Think about how you can keep them focused on your content and how you can keep them coming back.
Instead of just creating an electronic version of your printed content try to make it more interesting and interactive by focusing on design, animations, polling tools and so on.
#6. Design trustworthy content
When consumers realize that your content provides solutions to their problems, they will come to perceive you as a trusted resource.
Create valuable content to educate your prospects. Give away some of it freely, and remember to nurture the ‘not-right-now’ audience with insightful resources that help them to get to know you better.
Also remember to display social proof of your shared content so that consumers can see that others find value in your content as well.
#7. Never lose track of your goals
Think about your original purpose for creating content. Was it just to acquire new followers, to be perceived as an industry thought-leader, and so on? I’m willing to bet it had something to do with selling products and making money.
Don’t ever forget that.
When you find your content losing focus, remind yourself and your team why you’re doing this in the first place. If your content strategy was done right, then it should give you clear guidance on how to use content to achieve your business goals.
Over to you
Content marketing is a business strategy just like any other, and it should ultimately give you a positive return on your investment. In order to help you maximize your own content, perhaps you can focus on two or three things on this list.
Otherwise, I’d love to hear what other methods you are using to maximize your return on content. Please share in the comment box below.