You’ve developed a content marketing strategy and invested time and resources into creating content assets. Now, how do you ensure return on your content marketing investment?

If you’re asking this question—you’re not alone.

Content marketing shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 Benchmark report, 38 percent of marketers surveyed said their content marketing budget will increase over the next 12 months. But, content marketing continues to be a challenge—in the same report, only 20 percent of marketers described their organization’s overall content marketing approach as “very successful,” and only 4 percent said it was “extremely successful.”

So, how can you ensure success of your content marketing program, to ultimately achieve your business goals? Here are five best practices for creating great content that will move the needle.

1. Define Goals

You can’t measure ROI if you don’t have clearly defined metrics for success. Take a close look at which metrics matter—for example, SEO rank, conversions, or site traffic—and understand the results that are more difficult to measure directly, like brand awareness.

2. Focus on Quality

Once you’ve determined your goals, develop a content calendar. But, remember that when it comes to content, quality is more important than quantity. To break through the noise, focus on creating high-quality content that provides real value.

3. Address your Audience

Your content will be much more impactful if it speaks directly to the unique needs and interests of your audience. Research your audience, develop buyer personas and identify each stage of the customer journey. After that’s been accomplished, develop messaging that aligns to the specific needs of each persona, and incorporate that messaging into each piece of content you create.

4. Test it Out

Look critically at what types of content are receiving the most engagement and adjust future content accordingly. Michele Linn of Mantis Research talks about the idea of content aeration – using content as an opportunity to test out a new idea, and to think about content as a constantly evolving iterative process.

5. Amplify Content

Once you’ve created engaging content, how do you ensure it’s reaching the right audience? Make sure you have a strategy in place to promote your content via your social channels. Consider a paid social strategy—this can be especially impactful to promote content related to topics that are more saturated. And, look for ways to repurpose content (especially on more evergreen topics)—for example, turn blog posts into long-form eBooks, or slice and dice stats from a survey into shareable images for social media.

Bonus: DON’T Create the Content

Partner with a customer, partner, media, friendly analyst, or industry influencer to create guest content. And, return the favor by posting your content on their site or blog as well. This is a great way to both forge stronger relationships with influential voices and ultimately expand your audience.

This article originally appeared on the PAN Communications blog; reprinted with permission.

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Ariel Burch Novak

Ariel Burch Novak

Ariel Burch Novak is a Director at PAN Communications.

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