Between algorithms, likes, shares and ratings, content marketing often becomes a numbers game. However, it’s important to remember that people, not numbers, are reading your content and so you should allow for more subjective measures of success. I’ve put together a list of some key objectives to consider that can’t necessarily be measured by metrics.
Produce High Quality Content
Quality is subjective, so it can be difficult to get an accurate measure on, but it’s important that you make it a priority. Often, marketers are tempted to chase SEO rankings and high sales conversions, and so they end up with keyword-stuffed articles and social media feeds full of calls to action. Sometimes it yields results, but they’re often artificial. In the long-term, you’ll earn more loyal and engaged consumers by giving them content they are genuinely interested in than you will by catering purely to numbers and sales tricks.
Not only can customers tell when you’ve created content purely for sales purposes, we’re reaching an age where search engines can too. With Google’s Hummingbird update comes the first inclusion of context in search rankings, and it’s not long before that develops even further. Making high quality content will bring more positive reactions on all fronts, and it means that you can feel proud of the content your company is putting out. After all, your content will give many people their first impression of your brand – and the impression you want to put out is one of competence and credibility, rather than looking like you’re taking shortcuts.
Gain Your Consumers’ Trust
One good way to know that you’re putting out high quality content is to hear that your customers trust your brand. If your content is well written, well thought out and well presented, people are much more likely to return to your content and to seek it out in future. They’re also much more likely to recommend it to friends if they feel like they can verify your credibility.
As well as trusting your brand to deliver good quality content, you want consumers to trust in the advice and recommendations you make. To achieve this, you need to establish yourself as an authority in your chosen industry. Instead of copying already popular trends, come up with new ideas and become the leader. Make sure your thoughts are well researched and where possible link to sources you can verify.
Of course, the challenge to gaining your customers’ trust is that they know you ultimately need to drive sales in order to make sure your business is successful. This is particularly hard to overcome in sales-driven posts, where you’re talking about your own products or services or comparing them to other industry competitors. Instead, make sure that you include a balanced amount of interest posts that are relevant to your customer without being so direct.
Find a Recognisable Voice
If you’ve successfully executed your branding strategy, customers should be able to recognise your company without needing to hear its name. Heinz Ketchup’s imaginary bottle advert is a great example of this. Think of this technique as an extension of your brand’s logo and tagline.
There are many ways to go about achieving this objective. Some companies make design and visuals the centre of their branding. For example, the McDonald’s yellow arches are recognisable worldwide. Similarly, Buzzfeed’s bright red banners and pop-art stickers are naturally associated with the website. For other companies, the most important tool is tone of voice. Innocent Drinks is a good example of this – their social media pages in particular reflect the brand identity well and are easily recognised as being written in the company’s signature style.
By creating a signature look, sound or feel, you not only make your brand more marketable and keep it fresh in your customers’ minds, you also help develop a clear identity. At a time where consumers are more and more interested in the people behind the brands they buy from, it’s important to have a coherent brand image that’s compatible with your customer base.
Become a Reference Point
One of the most notable measures of success is when your brand becomes a cultural or industry reference point. For example, instead of calling bullet pointed articles “listicles”, many people will refer to them as Buzzfeed-style. This evidences the way that Buzzfeed has established itself as a household name and reference point.
The other obvious example of this happening is what’s commonly known as a “brandnomer” – a take on the dictionary entry “misnomer”. This is where a brand of one particular item is in such frequent use that people use the brand name instead of the item name. Commonly cited examples include Sellotape – which is actually a brand of sticky