Content marketing is not for the faint of heart, and the road to content marketing ROI gold is paved with plenty of pitfalls and potholes. As the worst content marketing examples can attest, there are a lot of different ways to screw up your content marketing.
Being inauthentic, ignoring diverse consumer bases, or phoning it in on your tone of voice and visuals are all ways to alienate consumers and ensure your content marketing ROI takes a hit in the gut. But these are all examples of how content marketing companies mess up with consumers. What about the ways they’re messing up the process of content marketing measurement?
At NYC’s 2015 Techweek, an unexpected theme emerged among the speakers: the content marketing measurement process. The speakers independently and repeatedly asked the question: why don’t you share your data with your writers and other content creators?
It’s habitual for many big companies – publishers, B2B, and B2C included – to keep the data with the senior-level and executive-level team members. It can take some work, after all, to educate content creators lower down on the totem pole about what metrics mean, and it definitely takes process adjustments to systemize this knowledge share. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthwhile.
JT Kostman, Chief Data Officer at Time Inc. challenges executive and data teams to share their wealth of knowledge, encouraging them to combine forces and share best practices. “The relationship has to become more symbiotic,” he says, urging those with the numbers to liberate the data and favoring the attitude: “If I own the data, it’s yours too.”
RebelMouse founder and CEO Paul Berry echoed these sentiments, “Here’s the piece that people miss: building data tools for management rather than writers.” Regarding organizational structure in content marketing companies, he said that it’s time to “accept a blurred line between everyone’s roles,” from editorial to developers, when it comes to content to the resulting data.
So, how do you communicate content marketing measurement with your content creation team? Here are some best practices for managers and clients:
1. Let go of your data powertrip.
Seriously, is there a good reason to keep the data under wraps from your own agency or team? Hopefully, you’ve made it a priority to hire smart people who will embrace additional knowledge that can help them acheive your company’s goals. It’s data – not the contents of the Louvre.
2. Tell your editorial team the story of your content’s performance, using data.
Storytellers like stories. Data people like data. Put them together and get an organizational shift going in the spirit of openness and collaboration, while speaking both languages. This is the beginning of setting the expectation of this symbiotic relationship between teams.
3. Set numbers-based goals with your content team and then give consistent feedback.
Want to see 20,000 uniques on your blog from social this month? Let your creative team know that you got 18,000 this year, and send them a list of keywords that can help you get there. If engagement on Instagram is flagging, send an analysis of the types of visuals that get the best response from the audience in the last quarter.
4. Incentivize freelancers and team members according to content performance.
Whether it’s a round of drinks, a small bonus, or an email to say thank you, a little light motivation never hurt when implementing new changes. Being consistent here will keep your team interested and engaged with data over the long term, and help to passionately educate themselves on what the numbers mean for them.
5. Use measurement tools everyone can understand.
The final, vital component of making sure you’re not making this mistake? Ensuring that your content management system has the most relevant, accessible data for your team. As one example, NewsCred’s software shows everyone on your team and across workflows – from agency, to legal, to social – how content is performing and who is reading and sharing.
After all, it’s the marriage of data and content that makes this whole thing work! “Data is the most important part of the conversation, but it’s not it. Content creators are the ones who forward the story more effectively,” says Kostman, and he’s right. All the more reason to make sure they’re getting the feedback they need to color their content creation in an informed and goal-oriented way.
Lauren Mangiaforte is a NewsCred Contributor. This article originally appeared on the NewsCred Blog.
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