The most effective and profitable companies are those who have digitally transformed themselves using a partnership between communications and marketing. Consultancy firms specializing in strategy, communications and marketing now collaborate more closely than ever before, offering clients multifaceted solutions for our modern world. The centerpiece of this previously unimaginable union is content.
But what is content? It is what happens when a company shares any expression—intentional or otherwise—that leaves an impression on the receiver regarding that company’s brand, product or service. A chatbot’s script in a call center, an Instagram story, a blog post and a reply from Amazon’s Alexa are all examples of content. The data generated from content (number of clicks, number of visitors, reading time, subject, related keywords, etc.) then becomes a company’s nexus of strategic information.
People think, browse and consume content with very different goals. Companies’ content-generated goals must change, as we no longer merely gather information, but also interact, express ourselves, gain attention and offer enjoyment and entertainment. Put simply, sales no longer equal success.
Forms of Content
We can define three distinct types of content:
- Corporate Content: This content relates to the company’s values, mission statement and reputation. It includes media relations, reputation and crisis management, brand expression, public and investor relations, events, engagement, social responsibility initiatives, etc.
- Content Marketing: This content entails a major commitment to personalization and automation. Its purpose is to raise interest and stimulate audiences to seize leads, uncover acquisition opportunities and increase brand loyalty, leading to retention and positive word-of-mouth.
- Disruptive Content: Traditionally known as advertising, this type of content covers traditional media, billboards, mass email marketing, cold calling, digital banners, remarketing, etc.
The combination of these three content types has made the traditional push-and-pull of past monodirectional corporate structures obsolete. The current digital transformation offers a higher degree of interaction and content personalization, with a greater scope—and therefore impact.
Strategies for Content Marketing
At present, 90 percent of impactful marketing and communications are carried out, directly or indirectly, within the context of a company’s digital ecosystem. Whether developed by the marketing or communication department, any digital ecosystem must be guided by five strategic goals:
- Generate traffic to the platform, website, blog or loyalty club. Content should be created with a focus on improving traffic and lending credence to messaging, thus increasing interaction, content usability, loyalty and retention.
- Increase engagement and recommendations. To achieve this goal, content should focus on raising awareness of the brand, product or service.
- Avoid bouncing and fleeing. The digital ecosystem allows heightened awareness of customer experience, which helps companies create content with an eye to changing expectations.
- Increase conversion. Though it is often defined as the purchase of a product, there is also digital conversion via this type of content.
- Launch a product, service or brand in the market. The ultimate goal of content marketing is to facilitate the successful launch of a new brand, product, service or platform. As such, content tone, format, frequency and goals are similarly structured in terms of these stages.
Measuring Content Marketing Strategies against Business Strategies
Peter Drucker (1909-2005), the father of modern business management, is credited with the well-known maxim “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” As such, all content marketing plans must relate directly back to the company’s business and operations. Below are ten KPIs that every marketing or communications director should consider when creating this—or any—type of content:
1. RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): ROI = (Benefit – Investment)/Investment
2. AVERAGE REVENUE PER ACCOUNT (ARPA): ARPA= Total revenue obtained/Total active accounts
3. CUSTOMER ACQUISITION COST (CAC): CAC= Marketing costs/Number of customers
4. CAC PAYBACK PERIOD: CAC payback period= CAC/ARPA
5. LIFETIME VALUE (LTV): LTV = ARPA x Average time spent
6. CAPTURE PROFITABILITY RATIO (CPR): CPR= LTV/CAC
7. MONTHLY RECURRING REVENUE (MRR): MRR= ARPA x Total number of customers
8. CHURN/ABANDONMENT RATE: Churn = (Customers lost/Initial customers) x 100
9. CLICK-THROUGH RATE (CTR)
10. NET PROMOTER SCORE (NPS): NPS = Promoters (%) – Detractors (%)
Most successful digital transformations begin with communications and client interaction. Unlike digital transformations centered around IT or systems, this investment is gradual, so immediate supplementary benefits and short-term income can help ease the transition. Business- and stakeholder-centered content marketing, digitalization and all the steps necessary to achieve those things (personalization, automation, experience, recommendations and data), can and will come together to thoroughly transform your company.