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Showing Real ROI For Your Content Marketing

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So much data is available that it can be easy to get overwhelmed when deciding what to focus on when it comes to your content marketing. So how can you show ROI? Learn how you can tell whether your content marketing is truly paying off with this eBook. To help you maximize your content's ROI, we are re-releasing this eBook, which was sponsored by Curata and developed by TopRank Online Marketing in partnership with the Content Marketing Institute.

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Showing Real ROI For Your Content Marketing

  1. he Queen looked at Alice. "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Before she followed the White Rabbit into Wonderland, Alice would have never believed in a hidden fantasy world. Afterward, she had no doubt. Proof is everything. All the work that goes into creating a strategy, developing an audience and creating engaging content means little if you can’t the measure the return on your content marketing investment. To provide you with insight into content marketing ROI that’s more than fantasy, TopRank® Online Marketing and Content Marketing Institute have partnered with 10 marketing experts to produce this eBook: Showing Real ROI for Your Content Marketing. Be sure to read all four Content Marketing in Wonderland eBooks featuring over 40 major brands and thought leaders presenting at #CMWorld. Do You Believe in Magic? T Lee Odden, CEO TopRank ® Online Marketing Joe Pulizzi, CEO Content Marketing Institute
  2. Oh, the Magic of Results! From Strategy to ROI, experience all that Content Marketing has to offer with these 4 eBooks: •! Content Marketing Strategy •! Audience Development •! Visual Content Marketing •! Real Content ROI The insights provided by top industry experts in these eBooks are the ideal prerequisite for the magic of Content Marketing World conference, Sept 8-11, 2014 in Cleveland. Content Marketing in Wonderland !"#$%&'$ !"#$((&'$ !"#$()&'$ !"#$*+&'$
  3. ROI Content Marketers
  4. “Content marketing is more than a trip down the rabbit hole. It's the thing that will save marketing itself.” Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael #CMWorld
  5. #CMWorld In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice blindly jumps into the rabbit hole in striking similarity to how many marketers jump into content marketing. And like a foolish child struggling to understand the world of grown-ups, most marketers fail to ask what the rabbit hole really is, and why it exists. If the rabbit hole is content marketing, then the rabbit is the search for ROI. The rabbit checks his watch, records the time and scurries about worrying about appointments. But he doesn't know why these things are important. The marketing question about content marketing ROI is an important one. The pursuit of understanding the return provided by content marketing is more than just a trip to Wonderland. But we must understand ROI for what it is: a math equation. And like "the rule of 42" that declares that Alice must be executed for “being a mile high,” we need to make sure that we can answer with precision. Start Small, Start Now Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael Head of Strategy at NewsCred #CMWorld Panel: Is the Death of Content Marketing Imminent?
  6. #CMWorld Here are 3 things to consider to determine the ROI of your content marketing: 1.! ROI starts with a solid understanding of content cost. How many marketers know the cost of the content produced by their firms? 2.! Sirius Decisions has reported that as much as 60-70% of content goes completely unused. How many companies know their content utilization? 3.! Content marketing ROI needs to define the business value of the outcomes it generates. How many businesses calculate the business value of any of their marketing outcomes? When someone asks you the ROI of content marketing, smile like the Cheshire cat. Then ask these questions seriously. And help your business answer them. Content marketing is more than a trip down the rabbit hole. It's the thing that will save marketing itself. Because it works. Because we can track the cost. We can measure the results. And we can trace them to business value. But remember, Alice was often most effective when she was very small. So start now to help your business to define its own content marketing ROI. Start Small, Start Now Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael Head of Strategy at NewsCred #CMWorld Panel: Is the Death of Content Marketing Imminent?
  7. #CMWorld "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to." "I don't much care where –" "Then it doesn't matter which way you go.” - Alice’s encounter with the Cheshire Cat, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland If your business can afford to be careless about its direction, then defining and working toward realistic ROI goals won’t matter. However, we live on the mundane side of the rabbit hole. When measuring ROI: Get real, stay real. We all know content has to be high-quality, relevant and easy to share for its audience. So why is there still so much ugly content? Let’s get real. We all need gut checks in our content processes to assess whether we’re following best practices on quality, relevance and shareability: •! How often do you survey your audience or conduct usability testing? •! What does your listening program tell you about your audience’s interests and concerns? •! How are you folding that data into your content strategy? Begin at the Beginning Nicole Smith @NicoleSatDell Managing Editor of Dell’s TechPageOne #CMWorld Presentation: DON’T RUN OUT OF GAS!! How to Fuel a Sustainable Content Marketing Strategy
  8. #CMWorld In addition to your gut check, you have to be realistic: Can the content you’re creating truly foster the conversion that you’re looking for? No one turns their nose up at a lead, but maybe your content goal should be about fostering repeat engagement to build better customer relationships. A more pertinent goal might be higher repeat sales or shorter buying cycles. What do you need that content can help deliver on? Consider: •! A compelling newsletter that allows you to harvest data and permission to nurture a sales opportunity, or •! How-to videos that encourage your audience to see you as a partner in their increased effectiveness, so they turn to you instead of competitors. Once you establish what you need, then you can set realistic benchmarks for your content marketing efforts. “Begin at the beginning,” Alice was told by the King of Hearts. Content marketers have to pay close attention to the beginnings; the basics. If you don’t focus on nailing your basics, you’re lucky to have whatever return on investment that you get. Begin at the Beginning Nicole Smith @NicoleSatDell Managing Editor of Dell’s TechPageOne #CMWorld Presentation: DON’T RUN OUT OF GAS!! How to Fuel a Sustainable Content Marketing Strategy
  9. “We must start holding ourselves accountable to higher level KPIs so we can stop fighting for our discipline and start fighting for more budget.” Julie Fleischer @jfly #CMWorld
  10. #CMWorld The only way content marketing will ever really be able to challenge advertising for serious A&C spend, is to prove its effectiveness with the same metrics to which other marketing disciplines are held. It's all about the ROI. The ROI for lead-generation is easy to calculate, but for B2C marketers, it can be much more challenging. Sometimes you need to get a little creative by thinking beyond revenue creation to cost savings and other contributions to the business. First, find out if there are syndicated sources or panels you can use to measure sales lift. Match your database or cookie pool against a matched sample to calculate sales impact. For True Content ROI, Get Creative Julie Fleischer @jfly Director, Data + Content + Media at Kraft Foods #CMWorld Keynote: The ROI on Content: How Kraft Learned the True Value of Their Content and Rebuilt Their Marketing Around It
  11. #CMWorld If you don't have attributable sales results, look for other ways to quantify value creation: • If your content is improving your natural search results, calculate how much you are saving vs SEM. Remember, your organic results are an annuity whereas paid search needs to be paid each time its clicked. • Are you running your content on your owned media or in social channels? Calculate media savings in terms of CPMs. • Are you mining data from your content engagements? Calculate third party data savings. • Are you garnering insights from your content efforts? Calculate the savings in terms of the cost of focus groups and quantitative research studies. It's time to start holding ourselves accountable to higher level KPIs so we can stop fighting for our discipline and start fighting for more budget. For True Content ROI, Get Creative Julie Fleischer @jfly Director, Data + Content + Media at Kraft Foods #CMWorld Keynote: The ROI on Content: How Kraft Learned the True Value of Their Content and Rebuilt Their Marketing Around It
  12. #CMWorld Measure Marketing Through Trends Google Trends is the most under-utilized marketing measurement tool on the planet. Hands-down. If you don’t use Google Trends every single day, you’re missing out on the single largest opportunity to understand, measure, and move your market. Google Trends measures search volume over time, relative to the terms you analyze. So, for example, if you sell conveyor belts, IT consulting, bananas or beer, you can actually SEE the demand for your product or service. Yes, you can see it. Google Trends helps you measure the size of your market. Instead of focusing on measuring your market share, start measuring the size of your market. Why? Think about this: If your market’s getting smaller but your market share remains the same, are you making more money? No — you’re making less. The inverse is also true. You can try to convince consumers to switch to your brand, but this is expensive and extremely difficult (especially if they already like another product or service.) Or, you can focus on getting more people to buy what you sell. Andrew Davis @TPLDrew Author at Brandscaping #CMWorld Keynote: Inspired Content: How Brilliant Storytellers Create a Sudden Urge to Act
  13. #CMWorld Measure Marketing Through Trends If your market’s getting bigger, even while your market share remains the same, are you making more money? Yes. Change What You Measure If you want to measure the impact of your content marketing efforts, focus on creating content that increases the size of the market. The more people you inspire to go on a journey that ends with your product or service, the more you’ll sell. Google Trends will help you understand exactly what moves your market. Every peak and valley on that Google Trends chart corresponds to a specific event that inspires people to look for exactly what you sell. Figure out what creates those peaks and valleys and you can increase the size of your market. The more you focus on measuring market size instead of market share, the more revenue you’ll generate. Instead of measuring engagement (which means nothing) start measuring something that directly impacts the revenue you generate. Learn how to manipulate the market with the most under-rated marketing tool in the world: Google Trends. Andrew Davis @TPLDrew Author at Brandscaping #CMWorld Keynote: Inspired Content: How Brilliant Storytellers Create a Sudden Urge to Act
  14. #CMWorld Make the Impossible, Possible Ardath Albee @ardath421 CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist at Marketing Interactions #CMWorld Presentation: Advanced Lead Nurturing Strategy – Sharing the Story that Sells Alice: This is impossible. Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is. Content marketing helps marketers and salespeople align with the context of prospects and customers to interactively build profitable relationships. Measuring ROI in the B2B space takes creativity due to the length of the sales cycle and the number of people involved in the decision. However, when backed with a content strategy and the technology to orchestrate touch points across the buying process, marketers can prove the payoffs from content marketing. Here are two ways marketers can measure ROI along the way to revenue: 1.! Increased Relevance: Let’s say you develop 5 resources to help prospects reach an objective. A prospect reads the 2 resources about solving a specific problem and a case study about a company similar to theirs, but ignores the 3 that take a different perspective. Now you know exactly what type of information will be relevant to entering into a dialogue with the prospect.
  15. #CMWorld Ardath Albee @ardath421 CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist at Marketing Interactions #CMWorld Presentation: Advanced Lead Nurturing Strategy – Sharing the Story that Sells •! Metric for marketing: How many content assets do prospects engage with about solving a problem or reaching a specific objective? •! Metric for sales: How many conversations can salespeople gain access to with less attempts? 2.! Increased Quality “These leads suck,” has forever been the response from salespeople to marketing-generated leads. With increased relevance comes increased lead quality. But it’s not just lead quality, it’s account quality. B2B buying requires team consensus. Marketers who can engage more contacts in the account also provide more opportunities for salespeople to gain an invitation to the conversation, as well as an understanding of what interests each party. By educating more of the buying committee, content marketing can shorten time to revenue and customer acquisition. •! Metric for marketing: Number of leads that sales will pursue. •! Metric for sales: Faster time to revenue, less “no decision” outcomes. Make the Impossible, Possible
  16. “If we don’t know where the content marketing ship is heading, it’s impossible to arrive at the correct destination.” Joe Pulizzi @JoePulizzi #CMWorld
  17. #CMWorld I don’t believe there’s just one way to show return on investment for content marketing. Different strokes for different folks. This is key! Don’t plug in a brand- new formula to measure your entire marketing effort because you are now a content marketing believer. Instead, insert measurement into what you already do. This will make it much easier to get buy-in from the entire organization. With content marketing, you want positive return. Once you can measure the return on your content projects, the first key thing to do is make sure it’s positive. The rest will come in the fine-tuning. Getting Buy In. Please don’t show an analytics report to your Chief Marketing Officer. That person doesn’t care and probably will ask questions that will simply waste your time. The senior executive only cares about three things when it comes to your content marketing measurement and ROI: •! Is the content making our customers happier, thus helping with retention? •! Is the content driving sales for us? •! Is the content saving costs for us? Connect the Why to Results Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi CEO at Content Marketing Institute #CMWorld Keynote: Welcome to the Content Marketing Revolution
  18. #CMWorld Content marketing is all about developing content that maintains or changes a behavior. That’s the focus. To see if you’re on the right path, use the Why? Exercise: 1.! Put “Why?” at the top of a piece of paper. 2.! List all the different channels you are creating content for (e.g. your blog, website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) down the left side of the page. 3.! List “Why” you’re creating content for that channel. (The Why? needs to be either sales, savings or customer retention/loyalty.) We’ve performed this exercise with dozens of billion-dollar brands. Not once has one of these brands had the Why? for every one of the channels for which they create content. This is a problem, and one you can fix. If we don’t know where the content marketing ship is heading, it’s impossible to arrive at the correct destination. Connect the Why to Results Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi CEO at Content Marketing Institute #CMWorld Keynote: Welcome to the Content Marketing Revolution
  19. #CMWorld As a creative first, marketer second, I used to struggle with how creativity often takes a back seat to high volume, low effort content. I wasn’t sure how to articulate the value of creativity to get it a proper seat at the table. Ironically, it was the need to measure ROI that helped me understand that creativity and ROI are actually inseparable. Once I tried to explain which pieces of content drove actual ROI in my career, I realized: Conversions happen AFTER the click. Here is the playbook that I’ve found works: 1.! Determine the biggest problem facing your buyer today. 2.! Create a resource that can solve that problem, or at least educate and/or inspire them to solve it on their own. A GREAT way to do this is to list all the steps your buyer must take in order to execute a certain task today, then create content that removes one or more steps. Resonate Your Way to ROI Jay Acunzo @jay_zo Director of Platform & Community at NextView Ventures #CMWorld Presentation: Ebook Overload: Exploring Other Content Types that Drive ROI
  20. #CMWorld 3.! Create blog posts and other smaller, related pieces as topical tangents off that resource. 4.! Promote the resource and some of the related pieces through paid, owned, and earned channels. 5.! Link everything back to the core resource to drive conversions. 6.! Repeat #3 and #4 as needed to grow traffic, or return to #1 and #2 to tweak things, informing your work with data. As someone who loves and values quality content and creativity, this was huge news! In this approach, the mechanics and technology of marketing isn’t used to churn out more empty “stuff” in the name of short-term traffic gains. Instead, you build content around a single, core resource whose sole purpose is to resonate so deeply with an audience, they willingly put in extra effort to consume it (thus converting). Hoping to improve the ROI of your content? Aim to resonate, not just reach. Resonate Your Way to ROI Jay Acunzo @jay_zo Director of Platform & Community at NextView Ventures #CMWorld Presentation: Ebook Overload: Exploring Other Content Types that Drive ROI
  21. “To gain insight for more effective content strategy, focus on 3 metrics: performance, operation and ROI measurement.” Pawan Deshponde @tweetsfrompawan #CMWorld
  22. #CMWorld The single most perplexing question for anyone in content marketing is: How do I measure the effectiveness of my content marketing? Often marketers fall back on soft metrics like “page views” and “shares,” or anecdotes about how their content is working from sales or customers. But content marketing has come a long way in the past few years, and there are now quantitative content marketing metrics to answer this question. Measure true content marketing ROI by keeping tabs on 3 metrics: 1.! Performance Metrics are the “Return” in ROI. Metrics under this category track aspects throughout the funnel like consumption (page views), retention (subscribers), sharing, engagement, marketing pipeline impact (leads generated), and sales pipeline impact (opportunities influenced). 2.! Operation Metrics are the “I” or “Investment” in ROI. This class of metrics tracks aspects of your content supply chain such as production, distribution and promotion costs. 3.! ROI Metrics combine the above two metric classes. For example, one metric may be Sales Pipeline Generated per Dollar of Content Marketing Spend. We’re All Mad About Metrics Pawan Deshpande @TweetsFromPawan CEO at Curata #CMWorld Presentation: Content Operations: Practical Guidance and Real World Examples to Scale Your Content Marketing
  23. #CMWorld Once you have achieved clarity about ROI, here are 3 ways that these metrics can impact your content operation: 1.! Incentivize your team. Your content marketing team, right down to individual writers, can be held accountable for achieving not only a certain level of content output, but content performance as well. 2.! Diagnose & Troubleshoot. Content marketing metrics let you effectively diagnose when things don’t go as planned. For example, if you can find out that content is effective at the top of the funnel, but isn’t producing high quality opportunities at the bottom of the funnel, you might need better call-to-actions. 3.! Build Alignment. If you have a singular focus on one ROI-based content marketing metric – particularly if team members are compensated on it – walls between different functions will suddenly come down and they will work together to achieve it. As you implement each of these metrics, you will gain more visibility, transparency and ultimately the insight to make your future content strategy more effective. We’re All Mad About Metrics Pawan Deshpande @TweetsFromPawan CEO at Curata #CMWorld Presentation: Content Operations: Practical Guidance and Real World Examples to Scale Your Content Marketing
  24. #CMWorld ROI is one of the most misunderstood holes Alice could fall into. For the Mad Hatter CEO, it means the (somehow) accurate forecast of how much a given marketing initiative is going to return against the investment. For the Queen of Hearts, it means identifying whatever measuring stick is needed to reverse-justify a marketing campaign. Both are flawed. The former ensures that the marketer makes ever-more conservative choices – never risking or proposing things that could be a failure (but never exponentially successful either). And the latter gives the marketer incentive to place higher value on a metric that may or may not actually contribute to business goals. Here’s how a quick sip triple-spout teapot can help: •! Spout One: Measure Content – Not Teams. If we need HootSuite to tell us we need people working on a Social effort – we are in trouble. Instead, let’s measure the efficacy of content on whatever channel it may reside. Seeking Meaning Over Mediocrity Robert Rose @Robert_Rose Chief Strategy Officer at Content Marketing Institute #CMWorld Keynote: Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing & The Rise Of Content Creation Management
  25. #CMWorld This gives different teams reason to work together for the BEST experience for the customer. •! Spout Two: Measure Quality – Not Just Quantity. Very often a content marketing program IS more expensive, or takes longer. But look at what KIND of customer the content marketing program is creating. Do they spend more? Stay longer? Are they more engaged? In today’s world, it’s not just more customers. We can also create a more valuable customer with content. •! Spout Three: ROI Is Progress Toward A Goal – Not A Number. Today we have the power to measure and track everything. But resist the urge to report on everything. Goals – and our progress toward them – should be how we report ROI. It’s not about creating a “book of metrics”. An initiative where web traffic drops in half – but progress toward the business goal doubles – is positive ROI. So before it’s “off with our heads,” let’s reboot measurement and ROI as insight to exponentially develop more meaningful ways to delight our customers. Robert Rose @Robert_Rose Chief Strategy Officer at Content Marketing Institute #CMWorld Keynote: Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing & The Rise Of Content Creation Management Seeking Meaning Over Mediocrity
  26. #CMWorld "The irony is that while there have never been more ways to reach consumers, it's never been harder to connect with consumers.” - Brad Jakeman Your brand lives in your consumer’s mind. The power of your brand is largely determined by its ability to activate the amygdala in the limbic system. More than a decade of neuroscience shows that what sticks in consumers’ minds is not beautiful logos, snappy taglines or even great individual content. What matters is how much these things together, inspire consumers to care. A contemporary measure of true consumer caring is to measure the emotional attachment or brand attachment between people and brands. Here are 3 compelling reasons to consider adding brand attachment to your brand dashboard: 1.! Attachment leads to sales. Brand attachment has a higher correlation with brand sales than likes, shares, comments, willingness to recommend, brand performance, purchase intention or even engagement metrics. On with their Heads (and Hearts) JoAnn Sciarrino @JoSciarrino Knight Chair, Digital Advertising & Marketing at UNC Chapel Hill #CMWorld Presentation: Can You Measure Storytelling?
  27. #CMWorld A study of more than a dozen brands found strong Pearson correlation between weekly brand sales and brand attachment (above +0.65). Conversely, weekly brand sales and brand attachment and likes, shares, comments, WTR, brand performance, purchase intention or engagement all yielded low or no correlations (below 0.28). 2.! Successful brands have higher levels of brand attachment. One of the most interesting comparisons of brand attachment is between brands within industries. Brands with higher levels of brand attachment had significantly higher proportions of repeat or loyal customers and higher CLTV than their direct competitors. 3.! Brand attachment can be monetized. A weekly time series of brand attachment has been successfully incorporated by many brands in marketing mix modeling engagements. Marketers can use 2-step, non- linear modeling techniques to derive the ROI of the emotional attachment between the brand and its people. Using brand attachment in models enables marketers to measure the impact and efficacy of the virtuous circle between paid, owned and earned media on brand sales. On with their Heads (and Hearts) JoAnn Sciarrino @JoSciarrino Knight Chair, Digital Advertising & Marketing at UNC Chapel Hill #CMWorld Presentation: Can You Measure Storytelling?
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  30. Thank You From Our Sponsor !"#$%#$&'()*%+#,&-#(./+01&2&'%$)3014& !5()+#,&6"7)&8"7)#%/&95)"7,5&'%(17)%:%#$& Is your content taking you on a journey to nowhere? Many brands don’t understand how to use content to efficiently get from Point A to Point B. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the metrics and analytics that will help you to successfully navigate the vast and sometimes treacherous waters that lie between you and your next sale. To view the eBook today, click here
  31. Read all 4 eBooks in the Content Marketing in Wonderland series at toprankblog.com Take A Content Marketing Journey
  32. Brand Contributors
  33. Adele Ravella Alan Porter Andrew Davis Ann Handley Ardath Albee Brant McLean Brian Clark Brian Kardon Bruce McDuffee Carla Johnson David Jones Gurdeep Dhillon Heidi Cohen Jascha Kaykas-Wolff Jason Miller Jay Acunzo Jeff Charney Jeff Rohrs Jen Dennis Jesse Noyes Jim Kukral Thank You Content Marketers JoAnn Sciarrino Joe Pulizzi Jonathon Colman Julie Fleischer Lee Odden Leigh Blaylock Maggie Burke Mark Schaefer Michael Brenner Nicole Smith Pam Didner Paull Young Pawan Deshpande Rebecca Lieb Rick Short Robert Rose Scott Abel Scott Monty Scott Stratten Steve Clayton Tim Washer

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