When your content is great, you will hear about it.
Content today needs to be great, not just good. Otherwise, at best, it just gets ignored. At worst, it harms your brand. Someone asked me the other day, “How can your clients tell that the content you produce for them is better than just ‘good enough’?” No one had ever asked this before, and I had never thought about it, since our standard isn’t whether our clients think the content we produce for them is great, but rather if their audiences think it is great. But it occurred to me that many clients may not know. After all, they hire us for our knowledge of small and midsize businesses and our ability to produce content they crave, because our clients may not have that expertise.
How do you know your content isn’t performing? Eventually, it becomes obvious when web traffic and/or sales decline. Here are a few ways to tell if your content isn’t working for you, or worse, that it’s working against you:
- Declining average session duration
- Increasing email unsubscribe rates
- Lower email click rates (open rates are more influenced by subject lines rather than the actual content, so it important to look at click rates)
- Longer sales cycles and increasing cost of sales
- Fewer qualified leads
Metrics like these can provide clues to the performance of your content, but they only allow comparison to previous performance.
To get the full picture, it is important to look beyond the raw numbers.
As I mention in our latest Guide, two of the best (albeit subjective) ways to evaluate your content involve gaining feedback from your audience.
- What do your prospects and clients say about your content?
- What do your salespeople say about your content?
With respect to the former, we highly recommend that your marketing team gets regular exposure to your target market. A quarterly SMB roundtable or panel discussion is a great way to do this. Note that I didn’t say a customer roundtable. It’s important to include more than just your customers, lest you find yourself preaching to the choir.
Here’s a true story about using content to enable sales. A few years ago, one of our clients called to say, “Hey Rob, just letting you know that one of our salespeople just closed a $35,000 MRR [monthly recurring revenue] deal and attributed the initial engagement to the content you produced.” If you are producing and distributing great content, you will hear about it.
Today’s marketer has much on their plate. Evolving technology, disruptive competition and changing buyer behavior make every goal a moving target. It may be unrealistic to expect your team to be content experts as well, so it’s important to have a mechanism for gaining feedback on the performance of your content. Encourage your marketing team and/or your salespeople to be in regular touch with your customers so that you know how your content is being received. And if you don’t have the experience or expertise in house, consider engaging external content marketing professionals to ensure what you’re producing is content that SMBs will crave.
Does your internal content team need guidance on understanding SMBs or ensuring that the content they are producing will accelerate the buyer’s journey? RSL Media editor-in-chief services can give you the peace of mind and results you need. To discuss, set up a call by contacting Jessica Benavides.