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Blog / How To Measure The Impact of Organic Content Marketing

How To Measure The Impact of Organic Content Marketing

In this episode of The Undiscovered Metric, I sat down with Amy Woods, CEO at Content 10x, a specialist content creation agency based in Manchester. 

 

We discussed the importance of measuring the impact of organic content marketing with business questions in mind, and the rise of posts without links - AKA zero-click content

 

Find out why posts without links help to improve engagement on LinkedIn company pages.

Hi Amy, it's great to have you on the podcast. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

Absolutely, thanks for having me. I'm the founder of Content 10x, a content repurposing agency that's been around for almost six years now. Before starting my own business, I worked as a management consultant at Accenture for over a decade, specializing in banking and tech industries and focusing on mergers and acquisitions and outsourcing programs. While I didn't have a background in content at the time, I eventually decided to start my own business and began creating content online to grow my personal brand. This led me to discover a gap in the market for an agency that helps businesses repurpose and distribute their content effectively. Now, we work with mainly B2B tech and sales companies to help them maximize the reach and engagement of their content through repurposing and distribution.

How can marketers ensure that they're aligning content with the wider business goals and KPIs?

So I think firstly, it's really important to define what those business goals are, and then understand the target audience. After that, you can create content specifically tailored to that audience that will help achieve the business goals.

A content audit can be very useful in understanding what's worked in the past and what hasn't. And, it's important to define key messages and a content plan, as well as determine what metrics and measurements will be used to evaluate the success of the content strategy. This will ensure that the content being produced is aligned with the business goals and that progress toward achieving those goals can be effectively tracked.

It's important to keep in mind that not everything can be measured, and not all metrics are equally important. So, you'll need to stay focused on the metrics that really matter and not get distracted by those that are less important.

Have you seen a significant shift in client demands to newer channels, such as podcasting or video? 

Yeah, absolutely. We work with businesses that are very modern and forward-thinking with their content creation, and they understand that traditional organic content marketing methods like trade shows and occasional blog updates are not enough.

According to a Google study, people need to spend 7 hours with a brand across 11 touchpoints and four locations to make a positive decision.

Amy Woods, CEO at Content 10x

We are seeing a shift towards newer channels like virtual events, webinars, video content, and podcasts. This multi-format approach is important because it allows businesses to reach their audience through various touchpoints and locations, which is crucial for building trust.

According to a Google study, people need to spend 7 hours with a brand across 11 touchpoints and four locations to make a positive decision. These touchpoints can be achieved through various types of content, such as podcasts, videos, newsletters, social media posts, etc. It's essential to focus on the right locations and formats where the audience is present. Overall, we are seeing small businesses realize the importance of creating modern content and embracing newer formats, especially in the post-pandemic world where people consume content differently.

How do you manage all of those metrics?

I start by looking at the available metrics for each platform and format, such as podcast downloads or social media engagement. Then, I tie all metrics back to the bigger campaign goals and use them to measure the success of the campaign as a whole. I also make sure to communicate both quantitative and qualitative measures to stakeholders and explain how they tie back to the ultimate business strategy. It can be challenging, but it's important to find a way to present the information clearly and understandably.

It's clear that organic content plays a significant role in generating business opportunities, but measuring the impact of those opportunities can be a challenge. How should marketers approach that?

We had a client who wanted to launch a podcast for their business, and the primary objective was to interview people who were ideal clients for their business. These were individuals who they had been trying to get in touch with but had not been successful in scheduling a meeting. By reaching out and mentioning the podcast and how they would be an ideal guest, they were able to have these conversations.

The primary business priority was to sit down and have conversations with their ideal target clients, nurture the relationship with them, and ultimately try to convert them into business. The content was a secondary benefit, which became a podcast, YouTube video, and social media content.

The success of the podcast was measured by tying back the contracts that had been signed through the business as a result of meeting that person on the podcast and then ending up having a follow-up conversation. Our client was able to attribute over half a million in sales in their first year to the podcast straight away because they could just link the contracts to the podcast interview.

We track all this stuff at Content 10x in terms of spreadsheets where we know each person that we're having conversations with and we can tick whether they're a referral, where they came from, and things like that. So, it's just about tying back to conversations and relationships as well and tagging all of that onto the content.

It really shows that some of the metrics need you to dig deeper. You can't just take them at face value, right? 

Exactly, and I think with some types of content, patience is a really important word. For example, a podcast might have only ten listens on its first episode, and someone could easily declare it a waste of time and effort. But what they might not realize is that one of those ten listeners might end up becoming a client or a valuable connection. The key is to have patience and continue to track the metrics over time, as podcasts often take a while to gain traction.

"I think with some types of content, patience is a really important word."

Amy Woods, CEO at Content 10x

As the show starts to pick up more listeners, the number of listens on that first episode could grow from ten to a thousand. It's important to remember that podcasts are evergreen and can be listened to at any time, so even if an episode was released a year ago, it could still be valuable and relevant to a new listener.

When someone discovers a podcast and likes it, they will often binge-listen to multiple episodes. So, it's important to maximize the moment and make the most out of each episode, but also be patient and keep an eye on the metrics over time. It can make a huge difference as the show and its content become more popular.

And do you think that ongoing communication about patience is something that needs to be established from the start?

Yes, I believe it's important to set those expectations and communicate them clearly, especially with stakeholders who may be expecting immediate results. It's important to explain that long-form content is a long-term strategy and that it may take time to see the desired outcomes. We can promise some quick wins through repurposing and ensuring consistent posting, but certain metrics, like podcast listens, take time to grow.

When I speak to potential clients who demonstrate impatience and a lack of understanding of organic content marketing, it's a red flag. If stakeholders are too impatient for long-term organic content marketing, it may be necessary to either wait for the right buy-in or explore alternative approaches. Otherwise, people may give up just as results are on the cusp, and it can be frustrating.

Why are we seeing a trend of zero-click content, and how can posts drive engagement if they don't have an actionable CTA?

The reason for zero-click content is to keep people on the platform and get more favor from social media platforms. Social media platforms want to keep people on their platform as long as possible, so ultimately posts without links help to improve engagement on LinkedIn company pages. Posting content that asks people to go to another platform diminishes the reach of the post. Zero-click content can still have a link, but it's not necessary to get value from the content. 

"Social media platforms want to keep people on their platform as long as possible, so ultimately posts without links help to improve engagement on LinkedIn company pages."

Amy Woods, CEO at Content 10x

Amanda Natividad's definition of zero-click content is providing everything in the content upfront without holding back the punchline. A no-link piece of content is even better because it's valuable in-platform content. Brand awareness posts without a call-to-action should be a part of your strategy. Sharing zero-click content without a call-to-action can help build the algorithm and get more reach when you do share a post with a call-to-action. When you occasionally have that valuable post that does have a call-to-action, there's just more likelihood that you'll see a bigger reach and potentially higher click-through rate as well.

So, it sounds like when you're reporting on content with no-click metrics, you could couple it with the zero-click content and look at them as one broader piece of content. Is that right?

Yes, that's correct. It's a good experiment to try out. You can hold back on the clickable content and see if the reach of the non-clickable content increases over time. Then, you can see if there is any impact on the clickable content as well. It's important to communicate to stakeholders that it's okay to post content on social media that doesn't have click links and will not have measurable metrics other than the in-platform metrics of likes, comments, and shares. You can measure them together and see how things change over time. As an organic content marketing team within the organization, we need to fly the flag and explain that it is okay to have brand awareness posts without the pressure of having a metric with each link associated with it. It's an interesting trend that we are starting to see, and I expect to see a lot more of it this year.

And what do you think will catch fire in marketing over the next 12 to 18 months?

I believe we will see more personalization and hyper-targeting in organic content marketing, as there is more data available for marketing teams to work with. This will give them more opportunities to personalize messaging and create targeted campaigns based on that personalized messaging. However, this will also bring an increased focus on privacy and data protection, particularly with GDPR in Europe, and potentially stricter regulations outside of Europe.

In addition, artificial intelligence and machine learning will play a bigger role in analyzing data for marketing efforts. This technology will help to identify and analyze data, spot patterns, and make predictions about the future based on what we have seen in the data. ChatGPT is a popular topic in the content world at the moment, and it's just one example of how AI can assist with data analysis.

Another area of interest is conversational marketing and voice search. With the rise of smart speakers and voice assistants, optimizing content for voice search and developing a conversational marketing strategy that takes this into account will be essential. It will also be important to measure the effectiveness of these strategies and optimize them accordingly. While I don't have expertise in optimizing voice search content, I am intrigued to see how it will play out, especially with the potential incorporation of AI.

Do you think that the rise of voice has contributed to the increase in popularity of podcasting and a video-first approach? 

Yes, I believe so. I avidly follow the annual report called The Infinite Dial, which looks at various aspects of voice, smart search, smart speakers, and audio content, including music and podcasts. The report examines how many smart speakers are in households and how much people use them, as well as the percentage of different ages and demographics that are using podcasts.

The numbers are all on the rise, with podcasting having shot up and incrementally increased over the last few years. It experienced a significant boost during the pandemic, when people's habits and behaviors changed drastically. With daily commutes no longer being a factor, people stopped listening to podcasts. However, with the rise of screen fatigue from working remotely and not being in the office, people have turned to different ways of learning and consuming content, such as audiobooks, and podcasts. This has been further facilitated by the increase in audio devices in households, which has enabled people to get information through audio as well.

Interestingly, younger generations are already demonstrating their preference for voice as a means of obtaining information. I have young kids, and whenever they have a question, they immediately turn to Alexa for answers. For instance, they ask Alexa for the Man United score, the height of the biggest dinosaur, and so on. They see Alexa as the go-to place for solving arguments in the house, and this behavior is only going to become more widespread in the future.

Just before we wrap up, can you share any advice for someone starting in the industry or anything you wish you had known earlier in your career? 

My advice would be to always focus on the business problem you're trying to solve, rather than getting lost in data and analytics. While data and analytics are valuable, it's important to take a step back and remember what problem you're actually trying to solve for your organization.

"My advice would be to always focus on the business problem you're trying to solve, rather than getting lost in data and analytics."

Amy Woods, CEO at Content 10x

 

Sometimes, you can get sidetracked by the available information and lose sight of the bigger picture. I recommend taking regular moments to refocus on the business problem you're trying to solve and also making sure to write down those problems. Rarely can one big problem be solved in one way, so it's important to break them down and tackle them one step at a time. Don't let the availability of data and analytics distract you from your ultimate goal.


 

If you enjoyed the Undiscovered Metric, you can check out the previous episode here.

Johannes Holler, Head of Data Consulting and Solutions at diva-e discusses which key metrics can improve marketing performance, and some of the common pitfalls marketers face when trying to improve marketing analytics reporting.

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