What to Expect from Content Marketing

June 5, 2014
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So you want to build a Blogger Outreach Program?  Before you get started, there are a few key pieces of information you should know about how these differ from other digital programs you’ve done in the past, be they social promotions or display advertising.  Content Marketing with Blogger Programs is a very different beast.  Here’s what you need to know before you dive in:

The content doesn’t live on your site.

That sounds like a given, but the type of data you can get for gauging success is really different because of this fact. In digital and social advertising, you are very accustomed to looking at visitors, click-thru, and the wealth of data you can get based on having an actual landing page for people to go. This simply isn’t the case when the content lives on a site owned by someone else. So what can you expect?

·      Unique Visitors and Pageviews – you may find that the exact way this is measured and reported varies from company to company and blogger to blogger.  Simple views of the blog post page don’t account for all the views of your content on the blogger homepage, so expect these basic traffic stats to take into account general site traffic over a specific period of time.  At Collective Bias, we have developed a method for measuring this information very precisely, accounting for every view of your content on both the homepage and the post page.

·      Engagements – Social shares and Comments on the post.  You’ll find that every blogger has cultivated their audience in different ways.  Some of them may have the bulk of their engaged conversation on Twitter, some focus on Facebook, while others have grown a robust conversation on their actual blogs (although this seems to be more and more rare, these days).

Conversions and Link Tracking

Display and Social Ads offer very specific calls to action, and a very precise sales funnel.  Blogger content is far more nebulous. You may have chosen bloggers because of their large Instagram following, or very active Pinterest community.  Guess what?  You’re not getting much out of that to feed data into your conversion funnel.

The path to purchase for content marketing is very fuzzy.  Someone’s initial influence to buy and their subsequent actions may not be connected in any trackable way.  For instance, I could see a link to an interesting blog post featuring awesome recipes for Nutella.  Even if there is a link to the Nutella homepage, or a big image asking me to register for a chance to win a lifetime supply of free Nutella, I’m unlikely to click either, particularly if my exposure to the content was via mobile. I may decide to look up the recipes later, and pick up the Nutella on my way home from work.

Tracking links, either from your own site analytics or a link tracker like Bit.ly, are a popular way to attribute site traffic, sales, or any other conversion back to a piece of social content.  Unfortunately, they suffer from the same problems I outlined for Nutella – If not one clicks the link, you’re out of luck.  Ads have a simple metric to review – How many impressions does it take to get a click?  The ad is always an interrupting force in a website, so we make them as flashy as possible to make people click them.

Final Thoughts

When you’re dealing with content marketing – the piece of content IS your end game.  People are there to engage with, read, and share the content.  If you can transition people to your site via a clickable link, you should.  However, it’s never going to be a display ad.  This doesn’t mean it’s less valuable than a display ad, it simply means we have to look at the value differently.  You don’t have people spending 2 minutes reading an ad and viewing pictures.  People don’t pin ads to their favorite Pinterest boards to remember them later.  They don’t share them with their friends because they’re so awesome. People do all these things with great content featuring your brand, though, and they’ll do it with a passion you could never buy.

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