Iterative Marketing Podcast Ep. 36: Content Marketing to The ‘See’ State

Iterative Marketing Podcast Ep. 36: Content Marketing to The ‘See’ State


Hello Iterative Marketers!
Welcome to the Iterative Marketing Podcast where each week we give
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of your fellow Iterative Marketers. Now let’s dive into the show. Hello everyone and welcome to
the Iterative Marketing podcast. I’m your host Steve Robinson and with me as always is the
smart and quick-witted Elizabeth Earin. How are you doing today, Elizabeth? I am good, Steve.
How are you? I am doing great.
Gearing up for Thanksgiving. We are doing that at our house as well. Have you a planned out
your Thanksgiving menu? We aren’t hosting but we’re responsible
for a very important part, we are responsible for desserts but with three children in the home
we are not baking much. So I think Kim is going to make
her world-famous Apple Crisp and then we are purchasing pies
from that point forward because that’s about where we end up. So it sounds like you
subscribe to the philosophy that you need more than
one dessert at Thanksgiving. Absolutely, the dessert should outweigh
the rest of the meal, right? Yes. I think that we should – I am excited this year because
we have friends coming over and I am making pumpkin pie
and pumpkin cheesecake and then someone else is
bringing something else, not pumpkin related, but my other girlfriend is
bringing banana cream bites but she’s serving them as an appetizer and I am very excited
about this this year. So we’ll see if there’s
any room for turkey. And is the turkey usually
delicious at your Thanksgiving? Yes. My husband smokes the turkey,
so it is phenomenal and we buy a really big turkey because our after Thanksgiving
tradition is turkey curry, which we have a
phenomenal recipe for. So I actually sometimes get
more excited about that than I do actually for Thanksgiving. So lots of eating, lots of food. I take it then if you’re smoking the turkey
then you’re also hosting, so… Yes, we are hosting. Great! Good luck with
that next weekend. What are we talking about today
if we’re not talking about turkey? So today we’re talking about content
marketing to the “see” state and what this really
is the intersection of Iterative Marketing and content marketing, specifically when we talk about continuous
improvement in content marketing and in order to do this we really have to
understand what our objectives are and these differ by journey state. So, originally we are
going to talk through all of the journey states in one podcast and then we started talking about
everything we wanted to say and realized that you would have left us about a quarter of the way
through the podcast, if that. So rather than do a marathon
to our podcast here we figured we break it down and start with
content marketing to the “see” state because to Elizabeth’s point
the objectives change a bit, so you have to understand what your
goals are behind content marketing and they change as you
move through the states. So, we’re going to start by
talking about the objective of our content in the “see” state and how we target or deliver
that content to our audience, then we’ll move on to talking about how
we measure success of that content based on the objectives that we’ve
identified earlier in the podcast and then how we iterate on that content and then finally we’re going to close
out the episode talking about what you need to have in place to be able to successfully
optimize your content. Unfortunately it does, it’s not
something that you can just do, there is some pre-work
that has to be done and we’ll walk through that
at the end of episode. So what’s special about “see” state? What are we trying to do here that we
aren’t trying to do everywhere else? So, I will quickly recap this because if you are
an avid podcast listener, we talk about this a lot, but our “see” audience as a reminder is the audience that’s qualified
but not currently in market, so they’re people that are who
we want to buy our product and who are in market to buy a –or who are the right
audience to buy our product, they just don’t know that they
want to buy our product yet. Absolutely. And for our “see” audience our goal is a little bit different
from the other audiences. Here we’re really trying to aggregate
or pull together a known audience that we can continue
to market to for life until they decide to finally
be our customer, right? Um-hmm, yeah. We are really looking to
bring these people together so we can start talking to them
with the appropriate content which we’ll get into in
a few minutes here because it’s unrealistic for
us to take this audience who is not yet ready to buy and start throwing sales
messages out at them. If we do that we’re going to turn them
off and potentially lose them forever and we don’t want to do that. Instead what we want to do is make
sure that this specific audience has a very high awareness of our brand, our products or our services in a way
that we can nurture them over time until they are ready to
make that purchase and then help them along
those journey states. Yeah. We all do business with those
that we know, like and trust. And in the absence of a human, that
becomes a brand that we know, like and trust. And so our goal with content is
to build up that relationship between our brand or maybe people
within our brand and our audience and to grow that audience over time. And the key to doing that is talking
to the same people consistently whether that’s weekly
or bi-weekly or monthly, it really depends on your product
and your service and your brand and you’ll know what feels appropriate
and what feels like too much, but the key is being consistent and talking them with meaningful
and relevant content. That means that our measurement is
going to be completely different because the majority of our marketing
is really measured around conversions and measured around how do
we connect this to our sales and you can’t do that at this point, instead we’re really trying to measure
an increase in engagement and repeat visits at the same people
over and over and over again to know that we’re building
and nurturing this audience. And the way that we do this
is through the PESO model. And we talked about this in our
last episode, Episode 35, and we will link to
it in the show notes. If you missed it,
it’s a phenomenal episode, but really it comes down to a model
that was introduced by Gini Dietrich and it stands for Paid, Earned, Owned and
– I am sorry. Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned, as I put it in the right order there and it talks about the different
ways that we can go after finding and nurturing this audience. So when we take the topic
of content marketing and then we break that down and we’re going to talk about content
marketing as it relates to the “see” state, the “think” state,
the “do” state and “grow” and “give”, now we’re going to break
it down one more level. So now we’re going to get really,
really narrowly focused here and now let’s loop through the four
different elements of the PESO model as they relate to content
marketing to the “see” state. I know we’ve now managed to
put enough layers in this onion that it’s pretty hard to unravel, but it will make sense
as we get into it. So we first are looking at content
marketing in the context of paid, when we’re trying to reach and nurture
this audience of “see” state. What does that mean?
What are we trying to do? Paid is when we’re exchanging money
in exchange for an audience. So, we’re going out and we’re actually
buying our audience at that point. This is key particularly early in
any content marketing effort because you don’t have
an audience yet, so you’ve got to go and
get them somewhere and so your paid channel
and your earned channel are going to be key to doing that. So, to do that we’re going to
buy basically advertising, right? Now, it can be a variety of
different forms of advertising and certainly some of the newer
native advertising formats and social media advertising are some of your best bets when
it comes to content marketing, but there’s lots of other ways
that you can introduce paid to increase that audience to
build awareness for your brand and the great content that you’re
producing and bringing them in. The second way that we can increase
that audience is through earned and when we talk about earned what we’re talking about is when we’re
trading the value of our content for access to someone
else’s audience. This is basically coming back
to traditional PR, right? Plus some more
modern takes on PR like influencer marketing
and some other stuff. It gets a little complicated.
We will get into that in a bit. And the third one is shared. So this is one of the probably
hardest to get your head around because it can mean different
things to different people and it can be a bit
challenging to understand but shared is really when we’re
not using influencers or media to spread the word about
our content or our brand, but instead we’re actually using our
own audience to spread the word about our content and our brand. And finally owned, that’s when we’re building
our own audience and serving with valuable content. And again, you may have some of your
“see” state is already in owned but more likely you’re going to be
relying on the first three avenues here to really build up that audience. I want to take one step back real
quick before we jump into paid and you said that we were
making it more complicated by introducing this new level. I think I disagree with that because what I love
about this episode and I hope our listeners
feel the same way, and if you don’t let us know,
we love feedback, but what I love about this is
it makes us very actionable, it tells us based on where you
are in your marketing strategy, what you’ve set up, here are some actionable
steps that you can take to help to grow your
“see” audience today. So I am excited to get
into this conversation. Yeah. And I think it
makes it comprehensive so that we’re actually
making sure that we’re touching all four
corners of marketing and we’re not leaving one
kind of hanging out there. Definitely. So, why don’t we start by diving
a little bit deeper into paid. Sure. So, as I said earlier, paid is really when you’re using
advertising to grow your audience and you need to do this early, otherwise you’re not going to
have an audience to nurture and if nobody knows about you,
nobody’s talking about you either. So really nothing else works unless you
introduce some paid early in the model. Most common forms of this are native
Facebook, Twitter, a lot of your social because content sits neatly
inside of those buckets. When we do this what are we looking
for from a measurement standpoint? How do we know that we are being
successful in our paid efforts? Yeah. So we’re looking at some unique
things here when we talk about the “see” state, specifically which channels are
driving the most subscriptions, which content is driving
the most subscriptions and which channels are driving the
most repeat traffic to our site and when we take a look at the
answers to those three questions, we can really sit down and optimize
our programs in a way that we are able to maximize
our marketing spend to bring the most new and qualified
visitors to our website or to our brand. And I want to come back
to that third point that you mentioned about
repeat visitors. This is really key when you’re
building a new content property or building an audience because if you don’t have repeat traffic,
it can mean two things. One, it can mean your advertising
is not hitting the same person twice which is bad because you need that repeated exposure
to get them to trust you enough to subscribe or become part
of your audience, right? Or it can mean that you’re
not hitting the right audience and they come in,
they see the content, the content doesn’t interest
them enough to come back, so that means that you’re
hitting the wrong audience. So, in general you really want to pay
a lot of attention to this repeat traffic on metrics to see if you’re getting
the same people back to the site over and over again to know that you’re building a true core
audience over time with your paid channel, otherwise you’re just kind of either
firing at random people in a crowd or you’re bringing in people that have
no interest in sticking around. So once we figured out the channels
that are driving the most subscriptions, the content that these new
subscribers are engaging with and that they’re coming back
and visiting us more than once. What do we need to have in place to really make sure that we’re
maximizing this new audience? There’s a couple of best practices that
I think are important on the front end before you start getting into iterating and those really come into making sure that you have a clean
clear path to newsletter subscription. For some brands this could be like
an SMS type subscription but the point is that they’re giving you
permission to reach out to them on an intimate channel
like SMS, chat, or email and most of the time that’s email because that’s where most
of our audience is today but that may change if somebody’s
watching this two years from now but it’s getting that permission so
that we can hit them in their inbox where they’re going to engage with
our content on an ongoing basis. If you don’t provide that
easy path of subscription and have the ability to track it then you’re really not
coming out of the gates. I want to touch on something
that you mentioned earlier and that making sure that your audience
is seeing your message more than once because they need to if we’re going to
start building awareness for a brand. If they’ve never heard of you before and one ad appears in there or one piece
of content appears in their news feed or one ad appears in the sidebars they’re scrolling through their
favorite online publication, we’re not necessarily going
to catch their attention and so I think it’s very important to
pick those paid media channels and structure your buys in a way
that allow you to continuously market to that same qualified audience. Repetition is key here. This is where we’re looking for
our frequency of our messaging. We all have way too much stuff
in our inboxes right now and we’re a little bit more hesitant to
sign up for something else these days unless we are darn sure
the value is there, right? Definitely. The other thing is that you probably —
along with those lines you can take advantage of some
of the retargeting capabilities that are out there to further
nurture and grow your audience that has come to that site once. Make sure that you
invite them back again particularly if they haven’t
subscribed to your newsletter. It seems unconventional necessarily
to throw retargeting at content instead of throwing
retargeting at a product but it actually works really well when
you’re trying to nurture those subscriptions because people forget that you exist, they don’t really even – maybe they don’t even remember the
name of the blog that they were reading because that just popped up
in their Facebook feed and you need to bring them back
before they’re going to – you’re going to earn their
trust and awareness to get to the point that they subscribe. Well, I love retargeting
because we’re all so busy and so sometimes we
are sitting at our computer and we have the time to read something but maybe we’re picking our
kids up from school and we have 30 seconds before
they come out the door and we see something that
catches our eye but we don’t have time
to engage with it, so retargeting gives the chance
to get that content back in front of that person again
in the hopes that maybe it just wasn’t the right time
the first time they saw what you had to offer. So how do we iterate
on our paid channels? How do we ensure that
we’re always improving? So we followed some best practices,
we know we’re measuring but we want to get
better at this, right? Yeah, definitely. So one way we can do that/-0 as we start to pick different media
channels and targeting methods against each other in an effort to figure out sort
of what makes the most sense and what we can do here is use
net new subscriptions as our KPI to determine which of those
channels is performing best for us. And you can refer back,
we have a past episode where we really do a
deep dive into paid media and iterating on paid media, basically all of that stuff
holds true here, the key is that we’re looking
at net new subscribers and as our primary KPI for success, so that’s how you
determine whether or not a channel or our creative or
something else is hitting correctly as if it results in more subscribers. Another area you can do
some testing is with headlines. So this gets into the quality
of your content, is that content engaging for the
audience that you’re trying to bring in and so we strongly recommend
testing headlines. There are some great tools to do
this on-site, things like Optimizely. You can also test
as well on the edges, so as you’re pushing this
stuff out into people’s feeds run two different Facebook ads
with two different headlights on and see which one attracts
more on right fit traffic and you can run that test early even before you publish a piece
of higher-profile content to see, on a very limited audience, to see which one is the right headline
and then expand that out once you know. I love headline testing. It’s very eye-opening because we all have those
sort of favorite headlines and whether it’s a favorite headline
because we came up with it and it’s kind of catching it just has a special place in our heart or we think the audience
is going to like it. It’s amazing to me where
I will look at two headlines and think for sure they’re going
to pick A and then they pick B and I am totally shocked. We also have some internal
processes in place where before we even
get to headline testing we do some background research on
that, where we’re looking at keywords. We’re looking at other trending topics. I personally love that Coschedule
has a headline analyzer tool, and we use that sometimes in an
effort to help sort of narrow it down to our top few headlines that we
want to put out to market and test with our audiences. And tools like BuzzSumo, I know Ahrefs has a new
content tool as well, help you figure out what’s igniting
out there for other people. The key is those are other people.
And you have your audience. You have your personas that
you’re trying to cater to and you’re going to want to
do your own testing for sure so that you can you can enrich
your knowledge of those personas as well as put yourself a
little bit further ahead. Fantastic point. So I think we’re at a great point
now to take a quick break. We’ve talked about one of our four
channels before we take this break that was paid. When we get back we’ll run through
earned, shared, and owned as they relate to content
marketing to the “see” state and without further ado
let’s go help some people. Before we continue I’d
like to take a quick moment to ask you Iterative Marketers
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are important to you. And we are back. So, before we left we talked
about kind of high-level what content marketing to “see” means, some of the metrics that
we’re looking for high-level, talked about the paid, earned,
shared, owned model, PESO model that we’re really kind of using as
a framework for this episode and we touched on paid. Next up in paid, earned,
shared, owned is earned. Do you want to refresh our audience’s
memory on what earned media is? Sure. So when we talk about earned, again we’re talking about where we’re
trading the value of our content, in exchange for access to
someone else’s audience and so we often do this through
traditional PR efforts and also more recently
through influencer marketing and in both cases we are looking to
measure the quantity and the quality of the audience that we
are able to acquire. And the key here is that it’s not just anybody’s audience
that we’re trying to capture, these are authorities or influencers
that have either large audiences or audiences that they
have a lot of sway with and usually they don’t personally
know these people all that much. So what is it that we’re looking for? Well, similar to our paid channel we’re trying to figure out which
influencers, which media outlets, when we partner with them,
when we get a mention or a placement or a link or whatever it
is that we’re trying to get which one of those drives
the most traffic, which one drives the best traffic, and which one’s also drive
the most word-of-mouth because if we are positioning our
brand as a content authority, we want to know which other
media outlets we align with can amplify that position
as an authority and so that gets into tracking. Did this ignite something that
got picked up elsewhere? Looking at quality again we’re
coming back to subscribers, who gets us the
most subscribers, right? Exactly. So, how do we iterate on this? Well, what you’re going to want to, when you’re early in your – I know pitching is the wrong word, when you’re presenting content to
a variety of different media outlets take the time to do some A/B testing and try some different content ideas and see what resonates
with those other audiences that would also resonate with yours because not all media outlets want
all different types of content, so change it up and try some things. And then once this is in place, you’re going to want to take a look at
over time who’s driving repeat visitors and how can you amp up
those repeat visitors. In other words, by maybe focusing on
certain media outlets over others, certain influences over others. So it’s kind of a prune
and grow process. We’re going to prune back some of
the stuff that’s underperforming and then we’re going to go hunt
for some new influencers, some new media opportunities that might allow us to grow
in a different direction. I think another opportunity too
is measuring branded searches especially after you’ve had a
higher profile press mentions, so that you can really look at that
lift in awareness that you’ve had. Because I think that’s
another great indicator of whether or not this
is the right fit for you. Yeah. We’ve done some research
on this in the past for clients and it’s always amazing
to see what will result in all of a sudden everybody
Googling your name. Now that doesn’t mean that they’re
necessarily in your target audience but it means that they’re
Googling your name and that’s in general a good thing
and a good indicator. And once you see that, once you’re able to see that lift that will allow you to then focus
on those influencers and media that have the greatest impact, again looking at a variety
of different aspects, one, that lift in brand awareness but also who’s driving the quality
and quantity of subscribers that you’re looking for. So, next up is shared. How do we – this is really getting your content
to be shared by people who aren’t influencers,
who aren’t media, your audience itself to
help give it greater lift and spread to their peers who are
likely also qualified audience members. We do this through our
own social media presence and by providing sharing mechanisms
on the content ourselves. So like, for example
when I am in LinkedIn I have the ability to then tweet
that out to my network as well and so there’s some opportunities there. Within I know the Brilliant Metrics
and the Iterative Marketing blogs we have the ability to
share content out to other sites and so those are all different ways that
you can help to share that content. I think it’s also important to note – I know you touched on
what shared content is but I think it’s important to note that
there’s an overlap here with earned and this isn’t the only overlap we see
as we talk about the PESO model and we really get into
this in our last episode but there is overlap
between these channels because they’re not the standalone
by themselves pillars here, they work together and so there is overlap
and it’s important to note that. Yeah. The better job you do as shared, the more likely you’re
going to get picked up by an influenced,
a respected media outlet and then also there’s that spectrum
of when do we go from just somebody who knows a lot of
people to somebody who is an influencer and that’s not really, your micro-influencers are kind of also
the same as your shared audience, so yeah it’s fuzzy at best, but the key here is that we’re looking
to find out what can we do to encourage or do our best to
make happen this sharing, so that was awkward wording, wasn’t it? But that means
– it means two things, it means putting content
out that is shareable, that is something that people
do want to share with their peers because it’s either entertaining
or it adds value or they think it’s going
to make them look good and it also means
what we need to do to make sure that we ignite
that sharing of content or at least reduce the friction
associated with it. How do we put our best foot
forward to try and do these things? Great question and you mentioned this earlier but BuzzSumo is a phenomenal resource and there’s others out there like it, but to help you really find out
what content is getting shared and then focusing on content published
by others who share your same audience and using that to help determine what
kind of content you want to create that potentially could be shareable
with your audience in the future. You want to make sure that you’ve
got your sharing button setup, so share button is prominent,
frequent, easy to use because that’s invaluable free exposure
for your brand and your content. And then finally I think it’s very important
to really understand the channels and the social platforms that you’re on. So, pick a couple of key social platforms
and really understand their algorithm and their best practices and how they decide how
content gets shared and then try to make changes or create content that takes advantage
of what it is that you’ve learned. Yeah. And your brand will
be sharing its content but some of these algorithms
are going to do their best to prevent anybody from seeing it but your brand will be sharing content
on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, learn which platforms do get you the
free exposure and the free reach without having to pay for it and what you need to
do to maximize it, like how many times do
you need to post on Twitter. Another key tip here is part
of your shared audience isn’t just your audience but it’s also your team,
your employees because they have the opportunity
to share on their personal networks out to their networks which are also very likely overlapping
with your target audience. So make sure that you are using the
employees of the organization that you work with, particularly sales teams,
customer service teams, those that are connected
to your customer base or those that would be
part of your audience, to get this content shared. So how do we iterate on this? Well, we’re going to – when we go to post things to social we want to try and A/B test
the best we can. So this might mean putting a little paid
stipend along with our organic shares to see which social lead-ins are
going to drive the most traffic and how we can best
position our content. We want to also test
different platforms to see where to put
our best effort in as well. Another opportunity is to test the posting
frequency as well as the time of day for your owned and
non-paid social channels because this is really going to vary and you can go out and you
can Google best practice articles, but to Steve’s point earlier,
every audience is different and even from within your
own competitive set how your audience interacts with your
brand is going to be very different. So, those are great
guides to get started but make sure you test this and figure
out what works best for your brand. And I get an opportunity to eat
my own words here briefly and suggest that you test the
sharing buttons on your website, where they are,
how big they are, how many times they show up to see if you can make
tweaks to maximize sharing. This is not an insight driven test which I of course rail against doing
non-insight driven tests. I think this is one of the
examples of an exception though where the benefit certainly
outweighs the lack of insight that you’re going to get out of this because if you can increase
the sharing of your content by 10-15% over a couple of tests that’s well worth the opportunity cost of running some more of those
insight-driven tests where you’re going to learn
more about your audience other than where they like
their sharing buttons. I laugh because I cannot even
count how many times you’ve said, don’t do a button test and you are literally telling our audience
to do a button test right now. This is a historical moment people,
take note. Okay. So we are on to the O in PESO because I need to keep moving now. So what is O?
What is owned? So owned are the channels
that we own, that we control, that people shouldn’t be
able to take away from us. So things like our website
and our blog and this is important
because we control this, we control the messages
that we get to put out, there is no algorithm that’s dictating when
someone’s going to see our content and so this is a very
unique channel for us. And what we’re trying to do here is
we’re trying to build – we are trying to actually accomplish
two different things with our owned channel here, we’re trying to develop a body
of evergreen content that will continue for the
lifetime that it’s published to bring in new people through referrals,
through backlinks, through shares, and through search, okay? In addition to that, we want to provide
the content that is relevant to stay in front of the audience
that we’ve earned, right? So, we’ve taken this time and this
money to build this audience, we need to be continuously publishing to nurture that audience
in an ongoing way and so it’s two separate objectives
with one owned channel that we’re trying to accomplish these. When we talk about
what we’re looking for, it’s really two very different things, one, are we attracting new subscribers and repeat visitors via
search and referrals, so we’re talking about backlinks here. The second thing that
we’re trying to do is, are we retaining our subscribers and then driving engagement through
our targeted distribution? Are these people coming back? Are they engaging with our content? Both of these help to determine
if this is effective for us or not. Yeah. So unsubscribe rate
is going to be key, a lack of repeat visits is going
to be another key indicator, something might be
off with your content and your content isn’t hitting
it with your audience and it’s definitely
something to look at. How do we put our best foot forward? How do we make sure that we are at
least starting from a place of success with our owned media channels? So I think it starts with making sure
that you have the basic technical SEO, can your site be reached
by search engines and that’s key, that’s really the first
place to start, just make sure that you’ve
got those basic setup. And when you publish
a piece of content you’re going to want to put some
effort in place to build some backlinks for every single post that you publish because it’s not a matter of if
you build it they will come, you need to be making
the search engines aware that you are publishing content that it’s quality content and the biggest signal the
search engines is still backlinks. I know it sounds like I am
in 1999 but it’s still true. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be,
I mean yes if you get a link from – New York Times or something? Yeah, The New York Times would be
phenomenal but maybe not realistic. I know we personally love to use
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, I am active on inbound.org,
great place to share content and introduce new subscribers
to again to our owned channels. And you’re going to want to along
the same line of this SEO piece and trying to create
that evergreen content that’s going to drive people in, is you want to pay special attention to
the title and the meta descriptions. This is a technical kind of a thing
but it’s really important because that title is what shows up
as the blue link inside a search and the meta description is what
shows up right underneath it. So if this is somebody who maybe would
be new to your brand and your content you want them to click on that link
when it comes up in search results, so it becomes very important
from a technical standpoint to make sure that those are in place. It’s also important to set a target for
how much of your content is evergreen, obviously we want evergreen content,
it’s fantastic, it’s something that we
can use in the future but there’s going to be other
things that maybe don’t have as long of a shelf life but are very
good at attracting a new audience and so you want to make sure
you’ve got the right balance. Again this is going
to vary by business, it’s going to vary based
on what your goals are and so definitely something to consider
as you’re putting together your plan. Absolutely. I mean there are some brands
that do a great job of news jacking and being able to poll on
whatever the current topic is, get some content out there that’s
being shared, highly shareable content and then maybe get a few
search queries on it get it to rank
while that topic is still hot and drive traffic for that stuff, but then there’s not a
long-term value to that content, it kind of fizzles and fades and likewise you have some brands
that have done a great job of building up just a huge
library of how to content and rich deep content
that is referenceable by a large segment of their target
audience in the course of their jobs. So you want to do a mixture
of both and keep both in mind. And finally, sort of the last two points. One, you want to make sure that you’re
setting a regular cadence for publishing and you have sort of a standard in
place in terms of promotion, so that you again are getting that
continuous message out to this new audience. And finally you want to make
sure that you’re leveraging both email and first-party data
to establish your audience While we are trying to
build a new audience, but once they’ve subscribe to us
don’t forget to continue to talk to them and so that’s where we really look to
leverage both email and first-party data. Or SMS or chatbots or whatever
is current two years ago – two years from now while you’re watching
this, but definitely email. So when it comes to iterating how do we
continuously improve on our own content? This is going to sound kind of similar to
a lot of what we’re doing for shared because the objectives are
to some extent the same. We want to A/B test our headlines as
well as our subject lines for our emails because that again will give us
insights into our audience and allow us to overtime improve
the distribution of our content and make sure that
we’re getting content that is being opened and
clicked on by our audience. This A/B testing also extends to
HTML versus plain text emails. I think a lot of times
we forget about this but this is another great place where
we can really look in and see if we’ve got opportunities
to iterate on. Yeah and along with those plaintext,
is this coming from a person? Is this coming from the brand? Is this coming from someone
so and so at the brand? We’ve seen great uplifts if we can figure out exactly how
people want to hear from you, if they want to hear
from an individual or if they want to hear from
your company name. You always want to be
watching for unsubscribes. Make sure you have a
good process in place, when somebody unsubscribes
and they fill out that comment box is somebody reading that? I know its anecdotal evidence but it sets you up for understanding
what you need to test in the future, if you aren’t processing those
unsubscribes and analyzing which pieces result in unsubscribes and more importantly why then you’re
missing out on a great feedback loop as to how you can continue to
nurture and grow that audience. And finally you want to make sure that
you’re never comparing open rates across different lists
or different sends, you really want to make sure that
you’re only focusing on those open rates as a metric for your A/B testing because not all lists and not
all emails are created equal and so if you start to compare these
you’re not necessarily having equal data. Yeah. I kind of flipped out
on Twitter week or so back because IBM published a benchmark study where they had benchmarks for
every industry on their open rates and their click-through rates and no, you can’t compare
yourself to somebody in the other side of the country
with a completely different list. No, you want to make sure that
you’re comparing apples to apples and the only true way to do that because time is also a factor
is your A/B testing, so A/B testing is the way to get better
not comparing this week’s from last week’s or that list to this list or some industry benchmark
to what you’re doing. You have not caught on yet. Benchmarks is another
one of Steve’s pet peeves. Maybe we’ll have an episode in
the future to talk about that. Okay. So we have talked
a lot about this stuff. Before we sum up, I do want
to hit on some of the things that you need to have in place in order
to really set yourself up for success when you’re trying to implement
content marketing to your “see” state and trying to more
importantly get better at it. The first component is making sure
that you understand the journey that you’re trying to
introduce content into because if you are simply
throwing content out there without understanding what your
“see” audience wants to read or wants to consume
or wants to watch then you’re going to miss the mark
more often than you hit it. And it’s not cheap
to develop content, it takes time, it takes money,
it takes resources and if you don’t have a sort of at
least somewhere to start from then you are kind of – you could go anywhere
and that can be dangerous. Yeah. You’re going to want to make
sure you’ve got the right metrics in place, we’ve talked a lot about a lot
of metrics up until now. I know the one the kind of the golden one
that we’ve been thrown out there is net new subscribers and certainly your subscription
rate is one of the key metrics but you’ve got other metrics
that we referred to that can also be very
important to understand whether you’re getting the
right audience to your site because if you’ve got people
coming to your site but they are the wrong people it doesn’t do you any good
even if they do subscribe. So you’re going to look at what is
your percentage of new audience versus returning visitors, what is your dwell time? How long are they staying on
a given post or scrolled up? This is another way to gauge that, excuse me, and you’re also looking at conversions. If you have the ability to track these
people from when they are in “see” all the way through
to when they’re in “do” and they’ve converted and that takes time. You have to have good
metrics in place for like a year before you
start getting this data back, but it starts to tell you where those
people came in from in their “see” state and whether or not they
were good quality contacts because you may find out
that at the end of the day all of our sales came from these
two initial sources of new traffic at the very beginning and the rest of them
weren’t all that relevant. That’s powerful data. It’s powerful. It’s really hard to get because it takes a long time of having
consistent data collection in place and then again key metric
is newsletter subscribers, newsletter subscribers,
newsletter subscribers. If you don’t have these in place, you need to work with your
web team or an ad tech team or some other third-party vendor
like Brilliant Metrics, shameless plug, to make sure that you get this right because to Steve’s point
it has to be set up correctly and you need to start collecting data
and have it for an extended period of time before you can start using the data. Last thing you want to put in place is anytime you’re starting a
content marketing effort everyone underestimates the amount
of effort that has to go into the content. You start talking about doing it iteratively and introducing A/B tests
on a regular basis on a regular — different points in there that actually pushes that underestimation
kind of over the edge, right? Because now not only do have
to produce the content once but we got to produce two
versions of it on a regular basis and then we learn something that
invalidates a bunch of other content that we got to go update, right? So the better you get the
more work you have to do and unfortunately that’s part
of playing the game here but make sure that you’re setting
reasonable expectations on content effort, either as you’re launching a new
content marketing initiative or amping up an existing one or just introducing
more Iterative Marketing into an existing content
marketing initiative. Great point. So I think that wraps
things up for today. I think this may be our longest episode yet,
so thank you for sticking around. Perhaps we’ll try not to do
this to you too often but we will be publishing a lot
of stuff in the show notes if you want to go back, we’re not going to try and summarize because it was way
too much content but I want to thank everybody for making this excessive amount
of time for us this week and I want to encourage all of you to
come back and join us again next week and until then onward and upward. If you haven’t already, be sure to
subscribe to the podcast on YouTube on your favorite podcast directory. If you want notes and links to
resources discussed on the show sign up to get them emailed to you
each week at iterativemarketing.net. There you’ll also find
the Iterative Marketing blog and our community LinkedIn group where you can share
ideas and ask questions of your fellow Iterative Marketers. You can also follow us on Twitter. Our user name is @iter8ive or email us at
[email protected] The Iterative Marketing Podcast is
a production of Brilliant Metrics a consultancy helping
brands and agencies rid the world of marketing waste. Our producer is Heather Ohlman with transcription assistance
from Emily Bechtel. Our music is by SeaStock Audio,
Music Production and Sound Design. You can check them out
at seastockaudio.com. We will see you next week. Until then onward and upward!

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