By now, you’ve undoubtedly realized (or at least heard) that content marketing is one of the most fundamental, most useful, and most cost effective forms of digital marketing around. You may also know that content marketing serves a variety of roles, unlike traditional ads, whose only goal is to get people to buy more products. But what you may not realize is how malleable content marketing can be; with only a few tweaks to your direction and execution, you can shift your priorities and lean toward one set of goals over another.
On the surface, this may not seem like a critical distinction, because most goals eventually come back to getting more customers, but it’s more important than you might realize. For example, if your company struggles in one area but performs exceedingly well in another, you can rebalance your content marketing efforts to compensate.
There are three major motivations for pursuing a content marketing campaign. You may pursue one of them or some combination of all three, but in any case, it pays to know what you’re dealing with:
Reputation is an almost intangible quality, but it can have a powerful effect on almost every other area of your business. With a better reputation, more people will be aware of your brand, more people will trust your brand when they encounter it, more people will visit your site, and more people will eventually buy from you. The biggest problem with reputation is that it isn’t an objectively measurable quality; unlike traffic or conversions (which I’ll dig into momentarily), you’ll rely on vague high-level indicators like engagements, followers, and authority to determine your reputation.
Still, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to tailor your content toward building a better reputation. The biggest key here is developing content that truly matters to people and is unlike any other content in the industry. That means doing original research, making bold new insights, and writing (or producing) in a way that people find interesting, entertaining, and valuable. That’s a tough combination to pull off, but if you can do it regularly, eventually your reputation will grow on its own.
To speed things along, consider reaching out to other authoritative sources. For example, you might offer a guest post on a popular blog in your industry or network with major influencers in your field of expertise. Quality and accuracy are your best friends here, so if reputation is your main concern, everything else can take a backseat.
For some sites, traffic is the big concern. If your reputation is solid and your conversion rate is proportionally reasonable, traffic is the key area for development in a content marketing campaign. Theoretically, if your conversion rate remains consistent, more traffic will immediately lead to more revenue.
There are a few different avenues for driving traffic through content, and most of them require a high volume and high consistency. Quality, of course, should be a priority, but if you want to drive more traffic, you’ll have to publish more content.
Consider some or all of these methods to drive traffic through content:
You can measure these traffic channels independently or as a set—either way, you should see these numbers rising over time as more people become exposed to your brand and content.
If your reputation and traffic levels are in order, conversions represent the last major hurdle. Even if 10,000 people visit your site every month, it doesn’t mean much if they aren’t converting. There are dozens of different ways to increase the overall conversion rate of your site, but content gives you some of the best opportunities.
First, interlink your content as much as possible by linking to other blogs and pages of your site. This will keep your readers on your site for longer, giving them more opportunities to convert. You could even link them directly to a landing page or call-to-action. Speaking of calls-to-action, include at least one on your blog—preferably on the side or near the top to get your users’ attention. Failing that, consider using a brief pop-up or hiding your best content behind a wall that forces a conversion, such as offering a downloadable whitepaper in exchange for an email signup.
Which of these motivations drives you to pursue a content marketing campaign? It doesn’t have to remain static, of course—it can change over time. But understanding your company’s core motivations is key to executing a successful campaign. Consider your intentions carefully, rebalance as necessary, and always keep your strategies focused on some ultimate goal.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.