A Successful brand will have the ability to develop an idea and then turn that idea into engaging content. After this content is created a successful brand will also be able to measure the performance of that content. This takes us back to our roots as students. When we were Elementary School students and what we learned throughout Junior High, High School, and College. I have laid out six steps to help you balance the art of good content and the science that makes your content marketing strategy work.
As of today, half of the B2B and B2C companies indicate their willingness to increase spending related to content marketing. They say they are going to make these changes in the coming year.
The growth in the content marketing field means a couple of things. There is going to be even more content out there to compete against. This means you will need to produce a higher standard of product in order to succeed against the competition.
Coming from the customer’s point of view, having content that precisely understands what the consumer wants to see. Then provide it to them. This is true on both the desktop and the mobile side of things. The times of making content to fill a page are over as it should have been for years.
Content that your company is producing, needs to resonate with your audience, make an impression and in the end drive them towards a call to action, which will hopefully lead to a conversion.
Create A Symbiotic Relationship Between Art And Science.
Successful partners, such as business partners are driven by a careful mix of their 2 strong points. The same goes for anyone trying to write a successful piece of content. The writer has to find a fine line between art and science. On the artistic side of things, you are using the psychology you know and whatever creativity you might have in order to engage people. Now you might be thinking I am a coder, I don’t deal with people and my creativity comes when I am coding and not in my writing. Perfect, then that is what you can write about.
You need to try your best to focus on how this piece of content makes people feel. Is it going to motivate them? Make them do the opposite and run away freaked out from too much technical talk (speaking from someone who has almost done this). This is your time to shine and your time to come up with something that gives people a better understanding of what it is they actually want to see.
Discussing the science side is a little different. This is when you will measure your progress and results in order to determine if your content is performing and decide on the direction you want to go moving forward. This is when you are thinking about strategy, will this piece of product do well with lead generation, and does this content go well with other groups within your team, such as the designers or even your sales team.
The Art Of Good Content
Most humans or your potential customers will likely tell you that their buying decisions or decisions, in general, are made based on facts and logic. This would mean that we make our purchases made on purely facts and logic. But, there is only one problem with that way of thinking, psychology and your emotions have a much bigger impact on purchasing behavior than we all think.
A good product or company that has staying power, does this because they know how to succeed in the art of content development. These companies are able to tap into what categories their customers identify with. This is when a story is created that will engage them, resonate with them, and encourage an action to be taken.
Brands can use psychology in many ways that are very subtle. We see this every day when products or services are being promoted, you might see limited quantities being emphasized, or something being given away free, such as shipping or buy one get one free. You must also take into account how people make buying decisions for certain products when making your content.
As we all know the sales cycle of a house or a new car is going to look different from your trip to the grocery store. Once you understand how all of these factors work together, you can see how they play into the writing of successful content.
The Science of Good Content
Technology continues to grow, which means the science side of content is getting easier and easier every single day. Monitoring the success and behavior of your content is becoming instant, with great accuracy and precision
You can set up several different goals or just one goal for a piece of content. The way your brand measures a particular piece of content depends on the purpose of the content. If you are simply testing for brand recognition and bounce rate, you can set up those goals. If your content is geared more like a piece of content that is looking to convert then you will want to set up goals on conversion rates and bounce rates.
Other things that are always important to track when setting up analytics for a piece of content:
- Does the piece have authority – Does It Gain Authority through backlinks (Internal Linking)
- What is your share in the market, what is your brands’ visibility
- Compare your content’s performance to other’s content in the industry
Next, I will discuss six steps that you should follow in order to balance the art of good content and the science behind good content. But, first here is a whiteboard Friday that discusses the misconceptions about Content Marketing.
Six Steps To Balance The Art Of Good Content And The Science Behind Why it’s Good.
1. Understand Your Target Audience – Create Buyer Personas (Science)
Once you figure out your buyer persona, which should be pre-determined before you start writing content. Start to understand your buyer as if they are a real person. This will help you know who you are trying to reach. Treat these personas as if they are your friends or your family. Give them names and start to learn all about them. Figure out what, let’s say, Paul, the Plumber’s pain points are. What Motivates Paul to purchase things for both his job as a plumber and in his personal life. After that, you can start to describe the “buyers” journey. This can be a short journey or a really long journey, both depending on what you are selling and the industry you are selling in. You might simply have a persona that is there to read and learn about a topic, or even to learn about your brand.
2. Create Content That Resonates (Art)
You have figured out your target audience and you know what their pain points are, what do you do next? It’s time to make some art. OK, you caught me, that is absolutely not what you want to do. You need to start working on content that is going to connect with the same group of people that is in Paul the Plumber’s persona. Once you find your connection to this group, start providing answers for your new attentive audience. Make sure while providing these amazing answers you are also inspiring them and let’s face it if they want to share the content, this is a good thing too. Start telling a story that Paul the Plumber’s persona will find compelling.
Create content that not only reflects an understanding of the desires but the motivations of the audience as well. This is your opportunity to draw people in so they are engaged. This is when a relationship with your brand can begin to be built.
3. Optimize Content (Art & Science)
(This can include Text, Images, Videos)
Always optimize your content before it goes live. This means you want to develop your content and then optimize it. Optimizing your content will maximize the visibility and get your content ready for the big leagues (Otherwise known as the SERPs). This means your content will be ready as soon as it’s published to the world.
A simple rundown of optimization is to use the keywords that you are trying to target Paul the Plumber within-text of the Content, Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, and the alt tags to images in the content. For example, this piece of content is using ( The Art Of Good Content ). This is to help search engines such as Google and your audience understand what your content is about and why certain keywords are important. Don’t forget you are writing for both the SERP Bots and your audience at the same time, so you have to use enough technical writing while sounding natural at the same time.
Once your content goes live, be sure to have a good distribution strategy already in place. You want to get the content in front of as many people from your target audience as you possibly can. This will encourage social shares, other forms of engagement, and even backlinks to your material. Again back to Titles and Meta Descriptions, write them so all of the Paul the Plumber types want to click them.
4. Measure The Contents Performance (Science)
Even before you publish your content, you already know how you want it to perform. You also know why you developed this piece of content, to begin with. You know the Persona the piece of content was made for, you also know where in the journey this particular piece of content was meant to serve. Since you know all of this information about your content and the job you expect from it. It’s time to use metrics and see if this particular piece of content is performing up to expectations. Is this piece of content helping your brand reach the content goals that you have already set in place?
5. Learn From The Content (Art & Science)
Now that you know how your content is performing, it’s time to learn why it’s performing the way it is. Is your sentence structure too long? Did you use too many words in the overall piece of content? Is your content too short? Are your sentences too short? These are things to look at and start to make changes to or make notes for the future. When you first wrote your content did the keywords flow well with the rest of the content or does it sound like they are just shoved into the content from time to time making no sense? There is the other side of things, did you not use your keyword or LSIs, a fancy way of saying synonyms, for the keyword enough throughout your content.
Now Look at all of the other pieces of content, including images, videos, or if you didn’t include any at all. If you did include these items, record the number of times your images were clicked, the times your video was watched and things like did people click on your internal and external links. If people did click on your external links, did they ever return to your website? Learn from every ounce of the analytics you can and make the appropriate changes.
6. Change The Content (Science)
Start out by doing something very simple. Since you know who you are talking to and you know what part of the journey you were trying to reach. Change up your sentence structure and see if you get a different response. It’s the little changes like this that can make a big difference. Also, you might not have been detailed enough, so while you change up the sentence structure you should also write more detailed. Some things are harder to understand and at the same time, to keep an audience’s attention, detail does it every time.
Talking about keeping your audience’s attention. This time uses more charts and tables in your content. Use the analytical artsy part of your brain and make a few nice colored charts and maybe even a graph to split up the content for the user. As the content writer, it’s your job to keep your audiences attention and help move them through their journey.
Content Marketing, The New Attention To It, And Where Will You End Up
We know there has been huge attention paid to content marketing recently. It started with HubSpot, they proved there could be a success. We then saw an explosion of content-based marketing strategies. Of course, this means an increase in competition as the world of digital marketing is a buzz about how content marketing is the way to beat your competitors. There is even more content that is emphasizing the direct alignment to consumer intent.
All brands want to succeed, that is something that we all know. The brands that really want to succeed in the climate of content need the appropriate skills that can balance your content production with performance and other skills such as SEO. Brands also need to learn how to strike a balance between content creation and the science of measurement. The ability to change and the skills to optimize are important. These are how you can use one brain for Art and Science for a piece of content. You can also use an entire team who all have their strengths in the Arts and Science world for just one piece of content.