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Content Marketing World: Content must support rigorous, measurable actions, not just consumption

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Columbus, Ohio—In the push to develop marketing content to feed their social and pull-marketing efforts, marketers should remain focused on what that content must do: enhance business results and success, according to Jay Baer, CEO of content and social marketing company Convince & Convert, who was a presenter at the Content Marketing Institute's Content Marketing World expo and conference here. Baer said that companies are not in the “publishing business” but rather in the “action business,” and must rigorously measure the performance of their content marketing efforts. “Know why you make content,” Baer said. “More content is being created; but does it equal more success or just more noise? Remember that content helps achieve business objectives, not content objectives.” Baer laid out four different categories for content metrics: volume of consumption; degree of content sharing; whether the content produces leads; and the sales generated by specific content. “Consumption alone doesn't matter,” he said. “You want to look at whether prospects engage in other, more desirable behaviors as a result of your content, such as returning to your site in greater ratios than others. If you don't know these things, you are lying to yourself about content effectiveness.” Sharing metrics can be gauged by social activity, Baer said, as well as forwards and inbound links. Lead-gen metrics might be assessed by email subscriptions, blog comments and conversion rates. To tie content to sales results, Baer suggested the use of special offers available only via the content. Rachel Foster, CEO of content development company Fresh Perspective, urged marketers to particularly concentrate on developing content tailored to the early, middle and late stages of prospects' buying cycles, and to focus on solutions for specific audiences. “Stop selling and start helping,” Foster said. “That's the essence of what content marketing is all about. And pay attention to people beyond the ultimate user of your product or service, including procurement and the C-suite. The number of b-to-b decision-makers can get as high as seven to 10 people, all involved in the buying process. At some point, you have to answer each of their questions in your content.” Content consumed on mobile devices functions differently than that viewed on desktop or laptop computers, and must accommodate the mobile experience, said Content Marketing World panelist John Foley Jr., CEO of marketing management software company InterlinkOne. “For mobile content: Say less, and keep it short and sweet,” Foley said. “Forget fancy fonts, and tailor the content to the perceived needs of your audience that's active on mobile. Mobile isn't just a trend; it's a major disruptive influence on the world of communications and marketing. The time is now to optimize your sites and content to reach this audience.”
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