Everything you need to monitor, analyse and optimise your content operation

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

It’s a line from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, but one we should all pay attention to in business and marketing. For any success to be possible, with our content marketing and beyond, we must first be clear on where we’re going, and why.

From there, the road to take should reveal itself, and everything we need to do to get from point A to point B will be clear.

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Does your content marketing have direction? And do you know how to drive and track success?

Measurement starts with a plan

Having a plan is the foundation of all content marketing measurement. I’m not talking about an editorial or content calendar either. …


Many, many brands have sent “We’re here for you during this time” and “Since we’ve been part of the community…” emails during the COVID-19. pandemic. While this has the right intent, it’s self-serving.

As brands pivot their messaging, pause campaigns and rely on owned media like never before, some are struggling to hit their stride. It’s highly likely they misunderstand and undervalue its role in the marketing mix.

When we reach the end of 2020 — or even 2021 — and take the time to reflect on the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on business and marketing, owned media will be in focus. …


The best content marketing strategies are informed by data, customer insights and industry knowledge — but finding that research can be tricky, without the right approach.

I love how illuminating research can be, provided it has some scientific merit (whether you’re doing a simple pulse check for your brand, or you want to be published in an academic journal, you’ll need to think through things like sampling, methodology and data analysis).

On the flip side, though I have a deep understanding and appreciation of research frameworks that encourage both divergent and convergent thinking, I do get frustrated with how time consuming and costly the work can be.

There’s no doubt this love-hate tension is a common feeling shared by all content marketers. It often leads us to avoid research altogether and jump in feet first. At face value you could argue this is embracing an agile mindset. But in the long term, you’ll get caught out. Not doing your due diligence is one of the main reasons content marketing — and brand and customer marketing more broadly — can miss the mark, or come across as unoriginal and completely tone deaf. …


Before you get back into content planning mode, consider these four content marketing concepts. We believe they will define the year ahead.

It might seem odd to admit that in our first trend piece, we’re going to be shying away from predicting any trends. But after reviewing more than 20 reports from all around the world we felt there was very little that hasn’t already been covered. And it’s debatable whether these things are genuine trends anyway.

So instead, we’ve decided to share our observations on some consistent themes that we believe modern marketers need to consider as they approach the next decade — and we have tried to link these back to the actions that brands might take in response. …


By the end of this article you might be left wondering why consumer behaviour is not a full-blown marketing major (yet).

Whether we’re aware of it or not, applied psychology is behind the world’s most memorable and effective campaign ideas, content and experiences. Strategists, planners and marketing scientists act as wizards of human behaviour, leveraging known cognitive and emotional quirks to capture attention, influence perception and drive action. Put simply, they are playing to cognitive biases, or systematic errors in human judgment; a concept I’d like to explore more deeply and demonstrate through some key tactics.

But before we go there, let’s cover off the basics.

What is cognitive bias?

The human brain is wired to minimise effort and conserve energy, a design that most likely dates back to the days when we weren’t so sure where our next meal (energy source) would come from. Our default setting is to use heuristics (or mental shortcuts) to process information, which helps make our decisions quicker and more effective. While this can be very beneficial, our predisposition to minimise thinking can lead to cognitive biases that can cloud our judgment and make us less rational. …


Learn how to talk the talk with executives and change the content narrative.

They say you can’t manage what you can’t measure. While this is not strictly true (you can go a long way on gut instinct and observation) measuring the performance of your content marketing in a scientific way helps you determine whether you’re on track with your goals and objectives.

There are plenty of frameworks (NewsCred’s buyer’s journey is popular) and KPIs (SEMrush lists nine essentials) to choose from — but it’s most important that your approach aligns with your strategy and that you use reliable and valid measures.

Why measurement matters

For a savvy content marketing director, considered and dynamic measurement helps to reveal the effectiveness and efficiency of the operation, the key drivers of success, and identifies where things aren’t tracking so well and might need to be retired, tweaked or optimised. Sophisticated content marketers, many of whom are using content marketing as an inbound lead generation tactic, also track return on investment or perform driver analysis across the classic marketing funnel. …


Managing your content marketing operation is a whole lot easier with the right technology.

Over recent years, marketing has become a critical lever to deliver long-term business growth. A lot of this positive change has been driven by an increase in our ability to access analytics and track performance, which also means we’re more accountable. And there’s been a massive rise in the variety of technology available to power organisations’ efforts.

Naturally, this means the role of a marketer now involves much more than knowing your customers and building strong brands — it’s crucial that all marketing professionals are skilled at operating and unlocking the power of digital technology: content marketers included.

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According to chiefmartech.com, there were nearly 7,000 tools classified as marketing technology in 2018. There is a solution for almost every task you can think of: managing workflow, visualising data, organising and hosting digital assets, personalising customer experiences, optimising conversion, or automating distribution. A common challenge I hear being discussed at industry events and around the boardroom table is developing the right content marketing technology stack. …


As you lean into next year there are a few tactics to keep top of mind.

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At Hardie Grant, we’re experts at bringing stories to life in a way that captures and holds people’s attention. If you read my review on this year’s Content Marketing World conference however, you would know that this is more challenging than ever — the mobile revolution has shortened our attention span to just eight seconds!

To stand out there are ultimately two things we can all do: be more selective about the stories we tell, or rethink the way we tell them (or both). What I’ll explore in this article is the latter, with a particular focus on five things I believe could make a difference between simply “doing content” and delivering an effective content marketing program that wins your customers’ hearts and minds in 2019. …


The difference between good and great content comes down to you.

Recently Nick (our Managing Director) and I attended the 8th annual Content Marketing World conference. Recognised as the largest content marketing event in the world, 4,000 delegates gathered in Cleveland, Ohio where they could experience more than 150 keynote presentations, breakout sessions and workshops — as well as a jam-packed social calendar — across four days.

With an event of this scale, which curates many different perspectives from all corners of the globe, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But Content Marketing World is what you make it. If that’s rubbing shoulders with the industry’s sharpest thinkers over a cocktail or two, getting hands-on learning code in a technical session about artificial intelligence, or getting your dose of inspiration from some of the most theatrical and insightful speakers on the planet, it’s up to you. …


Like anything, budgeting is a mix of art and science. To make sure you’ve allocated the right amount to achieve your goals, read on.

It’s about this time of year many marketers and business leaders begin documenting next financial year’s budget. There’s no doubt it’s challenging to forecast what lies ahead when you’re knee deep delivering on this year’s goals, so I thought I would share some tips to help you with your content marketing allocation.

The most critical piece of advice I can give is this: your business and marketing plan is key. It’s the strategic roadmap for the year ahead, because it includes key initiatives and tactics, a breakdown of resource and costs, and desired outcomes these activities are geared to effect. …

About

Kate Thompson

Philomath and strategist fascinated by the intersect of psychology, technology and media. Strategy Director @HGMediaAU.

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