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As small and medium-size business (SMB) marketing becomes more focused on content creation and how to leverage it to create new pathways for customers to find and interact with your brand, it's fair to ask if it's time to consider hiring someone to do some big picture thinking. An effective content marketing strategy is all about finding a way to reach your customers before they're even thinking about buying, which means that it's not necessarily easy to figure out what kind of impact you're having and how it translates into ROI.
At the same time, SMBs need to be nimble enough to compete with companies with much greater resources, and adding another full-time role isn't exactly easy to pull off when your budget is already stretched. If you're asking whether you want to hire a chief content officer (CCO), you might already be priced out of the market. Instead, it's probably most helpful to look at what a CCO does, and how you might be able to make that happen on an SMB budget.
Creating a Content Marketing Engine
Ideally a content marketing strategy works because each new piece of content you create adds value to your entire portfolio. Not every piece of writing or video that you make is going to be an instant hit, but if you create something that gains some traction, you can leverage it to funnel traffic to other things you've already made.
Pulling off a successful content marketing strategy frequently means looking beyond your marketing department to see what other untapped resources might be out there. See if you can persuade someone from another department to spend some time creating content specific to their role at the company. Anyone can be mobilized for their unique viewpoint, from the C-Suite all the way down to the interns. Good content communicates your values and culture, and everyone should be involved.
Measuring Your Impact
The other big role that a CCO plays in terms of strategy is finding a way to measure impact and ascertaining how to adjust accordingly. Ultimately, page views and click-throughs only tell part of the story. The real question is how that translates into conversions and sales.
The activities you can and should measure will vary based on your company and its respective goals. But, it's essential to look at how traffic numbers translate into actions. Is your content being shared widely? If so, where and by whom? Are you seeing a bump in your mailing list signups? What happens if you tweak the positioning? While traffic tells you if you have a compelling hook, it's the comments, shares, and other opt-in interactions that tell you if you're actually having an impact. Looking at these numbers will help you figure out what content to push, and what you might want to consider doing more of in future.
A Content Strategy That Works
Ultimately, even if a CCO isn't something your SMB can afford, you still need someone to take the lead on reviewing at your content marketing strategy and figuring out where to go. While not every company can spare space in the C-suite for a CCO, it's important to recognize that consistently publishing quality content is a company-wide job.