Content Marketing: Creating vs. Engineering Content — The Final Chapter

Making Your Content Better

So to ring in the New Year, I’ll finally fight my way through the post-holiday haze and finally finish this series with my last post on optimization.

Part 1 – Understanding the Difference

Part 2 – Planning for Your Audience

Part 3 – Establishing Your Editorial Flow

Part 4 – Getting Your Content Distributed

Optimization for Content Is Different
First and foremost, we have to understand that optimizing for content marketing is different, just as engineering content is different from creating content. Good, well-planned content marketing will have very broad ramifications for any organization if done properly, therefore judging its performance and optimizing for better results has to be viewed from a multitude of angles. Below are just a few that need to be factored into the content equation.

Endemic Optimization
Are shares going up? Are tweets? How much is your audience sharing the content that you are producing? Has that number gone up since you’ve started on your new content marketing program? What is getting the best response from your content?

Direct Optimization
Have you increased the number of subscribers to your newsletter or RSS feed? How are your open and forward rates on your electronic customer relationship management? Are people reading and sharing your emails and content more than before? Are there particular types of content that get better open rates than others or RSS feeds that have a faster growing audience than others?

Social Optimization
How has your new content marketing plan affected what’s happening on Facebook? Or Twitter? Or Pinterest, Google Plus, Tumblr and countless others? Your social media team members were probably thrilled when they heard that they weren’t going to have to curate an entire month’s worth of posts, and that you were going to be providing them with insight-fueled, engaging content. Reach out and ask them if the collective fan base is a little more active. And, what do they response to best and on which platforms? Take that information, and feed it back into your planning, editorial and distribution.

Organic Optimization
Now this is what has all of the search people in the world salivating over the concept of content marketing. How is your organic search performance? Are more people coming in via organic search than before? Are they coming in for more long-tail keywords because of those awesome articles you are able to write? What content is bringing in the best visitors?

Paid Distribution
The paid, earned and owned space are all supposed to be working in concert if you’re doing it right, so what is the overall effect you are seeing on your paid media spend? Do you have to spend less “working dollars” to push your brand marketing because you are spending a little more “nonworking dollars” to pull them into your sales funnel instead? I certainly hope so

Website Optimization
How’s your site performing? Are sales up? Other key performance indicators, too? What pages are getting the best results and leading to the highest and most profitable conversions? What about templates? Are their certain user interfaces that are working harder? Take that information, and feed it back into the loop.

Retail Optimization
That’s right. Your content marketing does not just have to live in the digital space. Companies like REI bring their content strategy right into their stores just like they do on their website. So what’s moving products off the shelves? Did a certain in store demonstration gather a crowd? And can that in-store demonstration be turned into a piece of content for the website? Or vice versa?

Content Optimization
You’ve judged the impact of your content on all your different channels, because it really can have that wide of an organizational impact. But have you looked at judging just the content itself? Are certain articles getting a better time on site? Certain headlines getting a better response? Certain authors? What about the revenue generated per page view? Make sure you are tying back everything listed above into an appropriate return on investment model, otherwise you are never going to find out what your investment in content marketing is truly worth to your organization.

It’s Finally Over
Well, that’s all I have to say about content marketing. At least for the immediate future. When I decided to do a blog serial, I didn’t think it was going to span several months. But thanks to everyone who has read, shared and commented. I hope this entire series has been helpful for those who are embarking on these endeavors.

If you’re planning to get more into content marketing soon, I highly also recommend reading this article.

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David Germano
David Germano

David is the VP of Content Marketing for Empower Media Marketing, and runs Empower's Content Marketing division, Magnetic Content Studios. For more than 14 years, David has been helping brands develop sustained content marketing strategies and operate like media to build their own audiences. David is often speaking on the topic, and is a guest contributor to Content Marketing Institute.