For startups and small businesses, everything comes back to revenue. So if you’re going to invest time in generating marketing content, you want to craft it to deliver a positive ROI.
Of course, tracking ROI on your content can be a challenge. You may create a video that receives a million views on Facebook, but no one clicks through. Months later, someone who saw that video comes across an ad and clicks through to your website. The video doesn’t get credit in terms of attribution, but can you truly say it had no impact?
That’s why revenue tracking has to be more expansive than mere first- or last-touch attribution. Here are specific content marketing metrics you should be tracking to determine revenue and, thus, ROI:
- Lead quality
- Sales revenue
- SEO performance
- Website traffic
- Authority and exposure
If you can improve these five metrics, you’ll consistently be generating ROI positive content. Here are five steps to do that.
1. Boost Lead Quality by Carefully Selecting Topics
Your content ROI will go through the roof if you can attract high-quality leads. The way to attract those leads is so simple it’s stupid, but it’s the hardest to implement: address topics your audience is interested in a helpful and substantive way.
If you aren’t attracting high-quality leads or customers, you need to rethink what you’re writing about. Fortunately, coming up with topics doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark:
- Ask customers directly what they’d be interested in
- Pull in insights from sales emails and phone calls
- See what your competitors are writing about and if you can address those topics from a different angle
- Listen to what your prospects and customers are talking about on social media (Twitter and LinkedIn are especially great for this!)
- Research keywords to see what the search volume for these topics are
Once you know what you’re going to write about, then provide an answer that leverages your expertise to help your audience.
2. Increase Sales by Publishing Bottom-of-Funnel Content
Generally speaking, marketers always start by producing top-of-funnel content. After all, if you can reach buyers at the beginning of the buyer’s journey, you can guide them all the way to their purchasing decision.
However, not all buyers start seeking out information at the same point. Here’s a practical example from the B2B space of three types of conversions for the three stages in the buyer’s journey:
- Awareness: Download an eBook addressing their problem
- Consideration: Attend a webinar showcasing the product or service of interest
- Decision: Fill out a form to talk to the sales team
The third option is more likely to convert to a sale than the second, which is more likely than the first. While you are most likely going to have fewer conversions as you go down the funnel, the value of each lead is going to be higher.
Go after those more likely buyers first. Once you start getting them on board, then work your way up the funnel.
It’s important to distinguish between bottom-of-funnel content and product marketing. Your content shouldn’t focus on your products, at least not overtly. Instead, you want to equip them with the information they need to make the best purchasing decision.
If it isn’t your product, then they probably weren’t the right customer for you anyway.
3. Improve SEO Performance with Specific and Helpful Solutions
In the past, ranking for search terms meant keyword stuffing and other back-end processes. There were technical ways to get your content to rank (meta tags, alt-text, H2 keywords, etc.), and then the substance and helpfulness behind that content would drive the conversions.
Now, however, Google is smarter. Google no longer searches for specific keywords, but for user intent. It is designed to provide the best content possible to solve the problems of the specific user.
That doesn’t mean the technical SEO fixes aren’t important. In fact, they’re just as important as ever. Now, however, they aren’t just a “checklist” but indicators to Google that your content is something that your customers are going to be interested in:
- Keyword placement still helps you rank, but now Google is smart enough to sense variations on specific keywords so you don’t need alternate content for each variation. Which is great, because you don’t have time for that and also don’t want to risk cannibalizing yourself.
- Link structure helps indicate to Google that you’re a reputable site.
- Image alt-text helps place your images in Google Images search results, and guides the user through the content if for some reason the images don’t load on their device.
- Bounce rate reduction is still important because if someone views your content but immediately clicks away, it means that you’re not providing a helpful answer to them.
- Length of content helps to demonstrate that what you provide is high-quality.
So improving your SEO performance has two benefits. It improves your ranking and, thus, the number of viewers you’ll have. However, since SEO performance is now tied directly to the helpfulness of the content, these enhancements will also help you improve the experience for your audience.
4. Capitalize on Web Traffic Through Conversion Rate Optimization
You may get more people to view your content, but without conversion rate optimization, those people are going to simply come and go without converting.
Each piece of content should have a call-to-action tied to the next logical step in the buyer’s journey. Don’t drive your audience to schedule a demo when, instead, a helpful guide or video would be better. Likewise, if you’ve created a bottom-of-funnel offer, the next logical step is setting up a time to talk to sales or making an online purchase.
There are plenty of ways to optimize your conversion rate, including a variety of CTA types on the page, tracking audience engagement with the page, and analyzing what’s working and what isn’t. Here are a few standard practices:
- Use heatmaps to see who’s clicking where and how they’re interacting
- Look at Google Analytics to see how much time they’re spending on the page, what the bounce rate is, etc.
- Use UTM tracking links in all your promotional materials to see where your traffic is coming from and track conversions
- Constantly be A/B testing your CTAs to see what design, messaging, color, placement, are impacting your CTR
As you analyze your audience behavior, you’ll have a better chance of seeing what’s working and what’s not, so you can adjust your content and CTAs accordingly.
5. Refresh & Repurpose Your Content to Improve Authority & Exposure
While you should redistribute your content in the immediate aftermath of its creation, as you approach six or twelve months after that original publication date, you need to examine the content to see if there are additional improvements to make.
Then, refresh the content to keep it relevant and active. You should make these changes based primarily on the metrics available to you:
- Views: If you have low viewership, change the headline and/or featured image.
- Conversions: Continue optimizing your CTAs, perhaps changing the offer or placement.
- Customer Conversion: If your piece has high conversions but isn’t attracting people who convert to customers, consider whether your content is actually addressing a question active buyers are asking.
- Bounce Rate: If people are clicking to your article and then immediately clicking away, there could be a couple of reasons. It could be that your content answers the question and clicks away. It could be that your reference links aren’t opening in a new tab, causing people to click away from your site. It could be that the conversion offer doesn’t align with the content.
There’s also the timeliness factor. Your content may make references to events or other actions that are no longer relevant. Maybe the market has shifted. Either way, dated information needs to be updated.
As you go in and update your content, you can ensure that it remains authoritative. That way, it’ll continue generating revenue even years after you originally posted it.
Additionally, you can increase your exposure through content repurposing. Since you’ve invested the time and attention in creating it, you should make it work for you as much as possible.
There are a variety of ways to repurpose content, which include:
- Smashing a larger piece into smaller pieces
- Crashing smaller pieces together into larger pieces
- Changing channels from written to audio to video
Each piece of content you create is going to increase your exposure and, if that exposure’s positive, your authority.
The more content you create, the more opportunities you have to bring in revenue. So don’t wait. Go ahead and get started.