The Content Marketing MOT
Many businesses are embracing a content marketing approach to build conversation with the result of a growing customer base. How do you know it’s working?
Look no further. Here is your content MOT.
There are thousands of local repair centres, or for want of a better word ‘agencies’ throughout the UK authorised to inspect and advise businesses on how to conduct their marketing and carry it out for them.
There are many agencies and consultancies now instructing businesses to take a content approach (mine included), but how do you measure that your content marketing approach is working?
It is time to appraise the results that you are generating with the five step MOT ruckus maker. A word of warning, if you do not have one of the top two as a tangible measuring tool and one of the sub points, time to get back to the drawing board.
The MOT Content Check List
The Two Must Haves Are First – Or You’ll Get A Red X
1) Increase In Organic Subscribers
Relying completely on buying email lists of strangers does not count. If you are not developing your database organically, then you are not growing.
Whether you are looking to increase registrations and subscriptions, you need to build this independently and within a space that you have 100% control of (no, likes and followers do not count).
This can become one of your most powerful tools to build a dialogue and bring a person into your community. Even the Excel sheet can become something you can get attached to again.
ORGANIC GROWTH = RECOGNITION
Always remember, anyone who has subscribed to receive your ongoing content, the interaction with you and your business has to be an enjoyable experience.
2) Acknowledgement And Praise By Customers (Or Potential Customers)
If your content creation results in recognition from those who determine profitable action, then you are heading in the direction.
When this happens it recognises that what you are doing has relevance to someone else. It is meaningful to continue an ongoing dialogue. This is the acknowledgement that all businesses want, a content approach that is regarded as a worthwhile investment by others.
To have someone else recognise your angle of approach and feel assured that they are building a relationship with someone who has spirit, conviction and above all else, believes in an approach, can become an extremely rewarding feeling.
Whether via email or conversation, this can gain the green tick when it is between two people (you and the customer/potential customer).
3) People Share Your Content
This widens the playing field with people who are willing to share your content and effectively assisting you with your marketing.
This can be those people who you are familiar with to those who are retweeting your content but have no immediate relationship with, but what you produce has context to them.
Rather than feel like you are creating content in a closed cell that is never seen (or heard) by anyone else, your work gets to breath and be seen in places you would never have imagined. As an aside, to the person in Kenya who has listened to the Marketing Homebrew podcast, I’m sending you a hug.
4) Discussion And Interaction From Others
While not necessarily having the strength of point two, this is where your content creation encourages conversation and discussion.
This could be someone leaving a comment on an article on your site, a subscriber emailing you directly with their thoughts from the content you have created to someone leaving a review on iTunes to a comment on YouTube.
Whilst not necessarily being people within your immediate circle, these are people that can become part of your community, if you maintain your dedication to a channel and are committed to utilising that space. For instance, if someone has left comments on your site related to the blog articles you produce and then you lose focus with articles become less frequent is more a ‘I guess I need to do this soon as haven’t created an article in three months.’ This is similar to making a friend at school and then when you join the swimming club, you make new friends and the person who you shared and started getting to know, you drop in an instant.
5) Recognised As A Resource By Others
Similar to a library, when people regard you (and your business) as a reliable source, you become worthwhile to someone else.
A library represents topics for people to delve into and discover, what is stopping you from creating your own information centre?
When you create an information centre, everything is controlled from one central place ie. your website and more importantly, it doesn’t sit behind a lock and key, but freely available. By taking an approach to become recognised as a useful resource, you make that step to becoming more accessible to others. Whether in the shape of guides or research that is relevant to a marketplace, adding value outside of your core business is a way to become recognised and appreciated.
Measuring the usefulness of your ‘library’ within Google Analytics, within ‘Behaviour-Overview’ can determine the topics that people want to consume.
THE END RESULT
The reason why a content approach can work is that it can result in more sales for your business. The point I’m trying to highlight is that a committed mindset encourages longevity (of relationships and contracts).
If you are ticking the box of at least one core asset and one sub-asset, it doesn’t mean success, it means that you are on the right path. To be in a space where you can see in front of you, can be a powerful position to occupy.
If you can’t tick any of the boxes, your content is not working. It’s time to appraise where you are, who your audience is and why your efforts are currently not resulting in any form of return.
If you are acknowledging none of the ‘must haves’ and one of the ‘sub-assets,’ it is probably time to stop creating content for the sake of creating content and to understand the reason why you are taking this approach. You now need to refine where you are and what direction you want to head. It is important to now take a step back and to refine your approach.
What You Need To Consider & Bringing In The First Date Analogy
Churning content and thinking that the answer and riches is becoming knee deep in the blogging trenches, is not the answer. Nobody wants more content from virtual strangers that regurgitate what has already been said elsewhere. Being mediocre is the worst place to be today. If all you are is a wave in a sea of noise, you’ll never hit the shoreline. All you will be is an irrelevant wave break in the distance that makes no impact.
What we all want are people within businesses who understand us and can empathise with the pressures we have and how a company can make our lives better. If you want me to buy into you and to tell others, be genuine don’t lie to me with hyperbole and self-gratification.
Take a moment to realise the channels and platforms that are available and be clear of what you represent by having clarity of purpose. Consideration for the content is if not more important than the medium.
If I can use an analogy, it is similar to repeatedly going on dates in order to find someone to connect with. You can see that I have been watching the new series of First Dates on Channel 4.
For any date to be successful, you have to acknowledge the person in front of you. It takes discipline to become a good listener otherwise it’s easy to start slipping back into an ‘anyway, back to me,’ flow of one-sided conversation. If you can measure responses and body gestures, you have the ability to build a conversation and a dialogue that begins to flow. This is the equivalent of people coming back to your space to listen to what you have to say.
Those who fail when it comes to the dating arena (or the evening in a restaurant in the TV programme) are those people who choose not to adapt and happy to keep with the same method that has kept failing from date to date and end up relying on the ‘I am so unlucky in love’ mentality.
The equivalent are the businesses who choose to remain with the way they have always done things and not willing to change their approach in response to the marketplace (which is changing at the same time). This is the same scenario as the people dating who keep with the same conversation and the same one-liners from one meet-up to another. According to Adobe Digital Distress (2013), 76% of marketers think marketing has changed more in the past two years than the past 50. It makes me think, how many are modifying and altering their approach?
What people want hasn’t changed, whether you are in marketing or dating. What has changed are the platforms and channels in which a message can be delivered, this affects how we interact with each other. We all have the opportunity to interact more, but many are doing it at the moment with less quality and conviction.
This comes back to the content MOT. To start getting more ticks on the checklist, the opportunity is there to become more meaningful and add more value to a marketplace. Like the gears on a car, the more you have the faster you go.
Image at the top of the article courtesy of EthelRedThePetrolHead