Content is quickly becoming marketing’s top money-making channel in today’s digital landscape. No matter what form it takes, whether it’s ebooks, articles, help docs or blog posts, teams are focusing more and more on using their content to drive revenue.
Last week, Clayton Collins and Diego Sanchez, CEO and COO of HW Media joined Parse.ly’s CRO and VP of Marketing Nick Milne-Home and Dave Cardiel for a webinar to address the challenge of tracking and reporting on ROI in order to justify the value of your content. Whether you’re a media professional or a B2B/B2C marketer, a seasoned pro with a full grasp on your content analytics or a novice content strategist looking for a place to start, this recap blog post will be a great resource for you and your team.
Keep in mind that while there are some differences in the goals media companies and B2B/B2C companies have with their content, the overlap in the ways that digital distribution comes into play is becoming stronger between markets. Media companies are focusing more and more on marketing strategies and brand awareness while brands are operating with a higher focus on editorial content strategy.
One of the biggest challenges content teams are facing these days is proving the ROI of their content. We asked our webinar audience what challenge they’re focused on right now in terms of justifying their content strategy, and the results were not surprising.
If you’re in the same boat, don’t worry – we’re here to help! At Parse.ly, we’re focused on helping companies prove ROI for their content and align around the KPIs necessary to do so. Keep reading for expert advice from our seasoned panel of executives.
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Content throughout the marketing funnel
The best companies in the world know why their content exists and use it to achieve their goals, a simple concept in theory that becomes significantly more complicated in practice. Content takes so many different forms and comes into play at different stages of the reader/buyer journey, so you need to start to break down your content strategy accordingly in order to decide where to put your focus.
At Parse.ly, everything we’re doing with content is ultimately about driving revenue. It starts with content aimed at driving high-level brand awareness and top-of-funnel growth, like PR, events, social media, and organic search. Then comes content that helps drive your readers/leads to engage more deeply with your company, like newsletters, webinars, content marketing, and targeted emails. Driving awareness and engagement with valuable content is what ultimately leads to your audience deciding to take valuable actions on your site like subscribing, purchasing, or requesting a demo.
Quantifying the impact that all of your content makes throughout the funnel with the right KPIs, metrics, and data is crucial in justifying and securing resources for your content program going forward. If you’re not constantly thinking about the question “how much revenue is your content driving?” and using the right technology to measure and report on that, you’ll have a difficult time winning the support of your executive team.
HW Media ROI content strategy
HW Media was founded in 2016 through the acquisition of HousingWire, and in 2020, they launched FinLedger, a brand new fintech-focused media brand, and acquired RealTrends, an incumbent real estate-focused brand. HousingWire was founded in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008, and they’ve used that experience navigating through difficult times throughout the years, including, of course, the events of 2020 and the impact of the pandemic.
Though they’re a news organization at heart, over the years the HW Media team has begun to think and operate more and more as what they call a content conversion funnel. Similarly to how Parse.ly thinks about the audience/buyer journey, their main focus is driving business through content by getting users to take action, whether it’s subscribing to their newsletter, listening to their podcast, or signing up for their premium service HW+.
They run a few different niche newsletters, all of which are aimed at further engaging their top-of-funnel audience and increasing loyalty, and they ultimately monetize that audience through a variety of revenue streams including digital advertising, sponsored content, and premium subscription content. In order to track and measure their success, HW Media uses Parse.ly Analytics to understand which sources of traffic, which articles, and which topics are converting readers to take those bottom-of-funnel revenue actions.
Parse.ly ROI content strategy
Similarly to HW, our team at Parse.ly also uses content data from Parse.ly Analytics to understand what’s working, what’s driving ROI, and what we should leave behind. Every piece of content we put out is measured in terms of engagement, traffic, referral sources, etc. so we can understand what our audience finds valuable. This information informs our strategy for distributing that content and creating future pieces.
When it comes to understanding what content is not only valuable to our audience but is actually driving them to convert to sales leads or customers, we look at content conversions within Parse.ly. That’s where we get a sense of which pieces of content, which topics, which specific tags, etc. are driving the most revenue for our business. From there we double down on what’s working, leave behind what’s not, and continue to iterate through this content workflow, always focusing on value creation and ROI.
Converting content into cold hard cash is all about knowing what your content is supposed to help you achieve at each stage of the marketing funnel. Some content will help you get more eyes on your company, some will help you build trust and loyalty with your audience, and some will inspire your audience to take target, revenue-related actions on your site. Measuring the right KPIs at each stage of the funnel, including the final conversion stage, is key in creating and refining your content strategy.
Start creating content that you know is driving revenue and helping your company reach its high-level goals. This year is sure to bring its share of changes and challenges, so make sure you have access to the data that can support you along the way. Chat with one of Parse.ly’s product specialists today about how we can help you get started.