Most people understand that content marketing is a long-term game, something to be baked into the marketing DNA.
But not everyone will be that easily convinced.
Some companies and managers, with tight budgets, big targets, and short timeframes will want to see some immediate results, despite how difficult this can be.
So how do you show them some content marketing quick wins, to build their trust and earn yourself the chance to create a more expansive content marketing programme?
Step One: Focus down the funnel
The problem a lot of content marketing programmes will have is they focus right at the top of the funnel – on awareness – with regular blog posts or fun infographics.
Building awareness is essential if you have almost no organic traffic, and it’s also fine if you have plenty of time to build out a new audience – but if you need to show ROI quickly, it’s the worst place to start because it’s typically a long road to building a sticky audience at scale.
Instead, assuming your company already has some traffic, you should focus your energy on helping sales convert their leads with decision content, or generating high quality leads with consideration content.
The closer to a sale you can get, the easier it will be to track the impact of your content marketing, and the quicker the results should roll in too.
Step Two: Find what’s working – but could do better
The best possible place to start is where you already have traction.
For example, look for a page on your site that is a popular destination or landing page (maybe due to a large share of organic search referrals), then, if it’s not optimised to generate leads, create a piece of downloadable content or a webinar to help capture some of that traffic.
You can now pass this data to your sales team for them to convert. If you don’t have a sales team, you should instead create some decision content on that page, such as an exciting product demo, price comparison tool or compelling case study.
If you have a download that is already generating lots of leads, think of complementary content and formats that could increase the conversion rate and number of leads even further – such as turning the white paper into an email course; or the eBook into a webinar.
Remember, don’t be afraid to look at what’s working for your competitors with a similar topic and/or target audience, and create better content than they are so you start to steal their prospects for your team.
If you create several pieces of related content, you can then turn them into a drip campaign, which will help to convert even more leads into paying customers.
Step Three: Move up the funnel to create more demand
Taking this down-funnel approach should yield you more immediate results, helping to prove the value and effectiveness of a content-led approach to marketing, but you can’t be complacent.
At some point – once you’re confident you’ve optimised your lead capture or sales conversion as well as you can do from a content perspective – you’ll want to move up the funnel to start generating more demand for your high-converting content.
This is where you’ll want to create more awareness content – such as listicles, ‘how tos’ or ego-jacking infographics for example – that drive eyeballs back to your high-converting, low-to-mid funnel pages, increasing the returns on your efforts even more.
By now you’ll have noticed you’ve naturally graduated from creating some narrow, sales-focused content to a more expansive, full-funnel content marketing programme as you prove the value at each stage of the buyer journey.
If your manager demands to see some short-term ROI in order to justify a full-fledged content marketing programme (and the necessary resources to run one), then don’t start with awareness posts and shareable infographics.
Get as close to the point of sale as possible and find the right content to help dial up those conversion rates, then work your way up the funnel one step at a time.
Before you know it those early wins will have morphed into a mature, successful content marketing programme with senior-level backing.