Scoring a positive ROI for your content marketing efforts is easier said than done. And given the sheer time, money, and energy that goes into any given piece of content, it’s no surprise that businesses today are struggling to produce those positive returns. The problem in so many cases? A total lack of targeting.
The old-school sort of “spray and pray” method of content marketing has become a relic of the past. Sure, tactics such as social media blasts and email marketing can be worthwhile forms of distribution, but they certainly aren’t the be-all, end-all of promotion.
How to Target The Right People, Not Random Readers
In short, marketers should strive to build a targeted content strategy that sees them deliver their pieces to relevant influencers, customers, and leads. The end result is more efficient marketing and a content strategy that’s tailored toward flesh-and-blood leads.
And given the tools available to marketers today, delivering your content to the “right” people doesn’t have to be a guessing game.
Below are some data-driven tactics to help reduce the randomness of your content marketing and instead target the most relevant readers time and time again.
1. Embrace employee advocacy
Perhaps one of the most striking mistakes businesses make is limiting the promotion of their content to their own followers.
Reality check: not all of your relevant prospects are following your brand via social or email. As a result, your existing content promotion likely happens in a vacuum where few new followers are coming into the fold.
Instead, businesses should allow their employees to serve as advocates, and share, and promote company content from their personal accounts.
Having employees post your brand’s content represents a win-win situation for businesses. For starters, it’s low-hanging fruit: asking your employees to publish content requires very little legwork on their part. Since they’re already familiar with your company and its goals, such promotion comes naturally.
More importantly, though, a business that embraces advocacy has exponentially more reach than those that don’t. Think about it: each employee’s average hundreds of Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook followers could very well represent your next sale.
In a day and age where authenticity is so important to consumers, having even the smallest army of advocates can go a long way.
2. Leverage Your Earned Media Mentions
Piggybacking off the last point, people are tired of being hit with sales pitches time and time again. Instead, they crave authenticity.
And in response, the value of earned media in the form of influencer shout-outs, interviews, and blog mentions has gone way, way up.
Such mentions serve as social proof that you can integrate into marketing campaigns, positioning yourself as a much bigger player in your industry.
The problem? The overwhelming volume of content posted to social media per minute (think: over 350,000 tweets on Twitter) makes measuring earned media a bit of a challenge.
That’s why brands need to step up their social listening game sooner rather than later. Third-party listening tools help brands both measure and assess their earned media mentions in real time.
Whether it’s a feature in a blog post or positive feedback from an influencer, businesses should always have a pulse on where they stand within their industry. Through social listening, brands can react swiftly to squeeze the most out of those mentions.
3. Seek Out Social Prospects (Hint: Don’t Wait For Them)
Again, social media moves quickly. Whether by an algorithm or the sheer volume of content out there, keeping your pieces from getting buried is often out of your hands.
With Facebook throttling organic reach and social media becoming more of a pay-to-play game, the trend toward marketers running more ads is growing.
Rather than treating social media as an individual distribution channel, marketers should treat it as a supplement to their content outreach campaigns.
And while the concept of society as a paid channel might seem backward, the success behind tactics such as Facebook remarketing and Lookalike Audiences is telling. Through remarketing, brands can target everyone from on-site leads to email subscribers to ensure that their latest piece of content reaches exactly who it’s supposed to be.
4. Cross-Reference Your CRM Data
On a related note, social media is a great avenue for learning just what sort of content is resonating with your audience.
Referencing your CRM data is key to personalizing your marketing in a day and age where one-size-fits-all ads aren’t performing. When you know what pieces leads are landing on and sharing like crazy, you can better correlate which types of content ultimately close them. And then you can create more of it.
Of course, figuring this out requires you to keep a close eye on your CRM. Just like marketers should have a pulse on earned media, marketers should likewise know when their leads are sharing their content. Many CRM systems have such notifications built-in, making it easier for marketers to pursue relevant readers.
As highlighted by this strategy, marketers are responsible for going after readers rather than assuming they’ll convert on their own. The more positive touchpoints you make, the better: that means conducting outreach in addition to your inbound efforts.
5. Repurpose Your Top-Performing Content
This is a simple tip, but an effective one, nonetheless. Not all content is treated equally across all platforms. For example, Live video is more engaging than traditional video which already outperforms any other type of content.
The takeaway? If you’re sticking to a single content format, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Repurposing doesn’t mean starting from scratch, but rather taking the content you already have and repackaging it. Some common tactics for repurposing content include:
- Converting a blog post into a webinar, SlideShare presentation, or vlog
- Compressing information from a case study into a tweet-worthy infographic
- Republishing your B2B blog posts via LinkedIn and Medium
And again, doing this doesn’t have to be incredibly time-consuming: it’s all about pursuing a positive ROI for your initial content creation efforts.
6. Optimize Your Timing And Distribution
Lastly, don’t neglect the simple concept of timing when it comes to ensuring the right people see your content.
For example, what’s considered the “optimal” times to publish on social media vary wildly. From how many times to post per network to dealing with time zone changes, many businesses may very well be in the dark if they’re only posting once per day per network.
Also, hash-tagged content is known to receive more engagement across just about every social network without fail. Taking the time to tack on some tags is even more low-hanging fruit for brands who want to tap into specific communities (think: #martech, #contentmarketing).
Experimenting with social timing and hashtags is a smart move. There are tools for Social discover optimized timing and hashtags based on followers’ activity, but you can also do the manual legwork yourself via native social analytics.
Taking Control of Your Content Campaigns
Simply put, businesses today just expect relevant readers to land on their content.
Taking a targeted approach removes the guesswork of your ROI and likewise helps you create the most relevant content possible for your audience. Combining these strategies not only encourages more eyes on your content but also ensures that you’re taking a data-driven approach to your marketing as a whole.