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CONTENTS

Keyword Research vs. Customer Research

SEO Content vs. SEO Content + Original Content + Product-focused Content

Content Quantity > Content Quality vs. Content Quantity + Content Quality

Funnel vs. Search Intent + Lifecycle Stage Mapping

Organic Clicks Blog-wide vs. by Search Intent + Lifecycle Stage

View to Lead Conversion Rate vs. View to Lead Conversion Rate + Lead to Customer Conversion Rate

New Leads + New Customers vs. LTV

Last-Touch vs. Multi-Touch Attribution

Blog-wide vs. Page-Section-Topic-wide Measurement

ROI = Taboo vs. ROI = Necessary

Wrapping up

5 min

Content Marketing is Changing (Here’s Why)

HUMAN CRAFTED
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This piece of content is the work of a human mind.

Content marketing is changing, and we’re all inevitably a part of that change.

What we should keep in mind is that the change isn’t optional; it’s mandatory and requires us all to adapt and understand how things are done differently.

This change will affect not only the way you measure the results of your content marketing efforts or how you budget for them, but the way content marketing will be done entirely.

Or at least how it should be done to drive real results and impact for a business.

In order to understand how things have changed, it’s worth examining the old and new approaches to content marketing.

In a nutshell, at least how we see things here at Minuttia, the old way of doing content marketing was focused on vanity metrics, like organic traffic and keywords.

Although they’re important metrics to keep track of, the context of how they actually impact a business is missing.

In the new way of doing content marketing, especially for SaaS companies, ROI isn’t a taboo subject anymore, and business impact is measured through specific metrics.

Let’s have a closer look at that comparison, action by action.

Keyword Research vs. Customer Research

The first action which is done differently now is keyword research.

We’re not saying it shouldn’t be done anymore; it’s something important that we still do for our clients here at Minuttia and we are constantly trying to further improve it, with fresh perspectives and processes.

However, selecting the right keywords the way it’s done now is quite limiting; simply using SEO software and finding keywords that will satisfy a search audience isn’t enough anymore.

At the moment, there’s no better source than your own customers, which is why customer research is essential in the new way of doing content marketing.

Talk to your customers through whichever means you find most suitable; whether it’s a call, a survey, or even an analysis of your customer support tickets.

These, and many other ways, will help you understand:

  • What your customers want
  • How they think
  • What they’re looking forward to
  • What they want to avoid

And more.

Generally, in the new way of doing content marketing, we’re not saying “no” to keyword research, but you simply can’t just stop there.

You need to take a step further and really get into things by talking to your customers and hearing their own questions and perspectives.

Even for keywords, a good question you can ask them is:

What keyword(s) would you Google to find a product like ours?

or…

What keyword(s) would you Google to find an alternative product to ours?

This will allow you to understand how you can satisfy their needs instead of constantly trying to satisfy search engines.

SEO Content vs. SEO Content + Original Content + Product-focused Content

It’s no secret that SEO content has been—and still is being—treated as the go-to tactic of a content marketing strategy.

Almost all agencies and professionals have been heavily emphasizing content built for a search audience; to a certain extent, we don’t blame them.

After all, we’ve seen many companies experience exponential growth through organic search, and SEO content is something we also practice for our clients.

We’re not saying that content for a search audience is a bad tactic, but marketers need to dive deeper into things.

Why?

Because search is becoming more and more saturated, making it increasingly more difficult for a SaaS (and not only a SaaS) company to get results than a few years ago.

Let’s say, for example, that you run or work for an email marketing software company and want to target a term with high commercial value, like “email marketing tools”.

Here’s what the first SERP for said term looks like:

Although all pieces might be beautifully written from an SEO perspective, it’s clear that they all look the same without offering anything unique.

Plus, competition is now so high that ranking highly for such a term is really difficult.

Once again, SEO content should be a part of a company’s content strategy, but it shouldn’t stop there.

In our opinion, the strategy should include:

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of original content in the past because we see the necessity of standing out and becoming a thought leader in this saturated SEO market.

Through:

  • Surveys
  • Personal and data storytelling
  • Contrarian content
  • Invented concepts

And more—companies can offer a unique perspective that content built strictly for a search audience can’t.

In our opinion, original content isn’t a nice-to-have tactic.

It’s necessary in the new way of doing content marketing, in order to have a holistic content strategy that aims to not only rank for keywords but also draw attention, spark conversations, and build a brand.

Of course, we shouldn’t leave product-focused content out of such a strategy, which has the goal of communicating the value of the product to prospective and existing customers and the general audience.

This can also help you stand out from most results at the same time as educating readers on your product; for example, how to use it and what benefits it has.

In a nutshell, although SEO remains a good tactic to follow, combining it with original and product-focused content is essential in the new way of doing content marketing.

Content Quantity > Content Quality vs. Content Quantity + Content Quality

Two more factors that have changed in the new way of doing content marketing are:

  • Content quantity
  • Content quality

In the old way, we often put too much focus on content quantity since numbers were always a priority.

Something that was often done at the expense of the quality of the content, which is natural considering content teams had less time and resources to focus a great deal on each piece of content to improve it as much as possible.

But what marketers need to think about is whether they care more about constantly publishing content than the quality of that content.

Especially with the rise of AI-generated content, which can easily produce a significant amount of content, what marketers need to do is focus on improving their content’s quality.

And yes, although publishing content at scale can help you get certain results faster, you need to do it in a way that doesn’t compromise its quality.

That’s why you should find the sweet spot where you can publish an amount of content you’re happy with, without this being done at the expense of its quality. This is what the new way of doing content marketing is all about.

Funnel vs. Search Intent + Lifecycle Stage Mapping

In the old way of doing things, marketers were obsessed with funnels.

In other words, how they would create content that would move users further down the funnel (think of TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content) in order to convert.

We believe this belongs in the past since the journey users take is by no means linear.

Things are now becoming more and more multi-touch, so simply talking about awareness, consideration, and conversion isn’t the most optimal way.

Yes, there are different steps that will make a person go from being unaware of something to becoming aware of it, but we would say this is an oversimplified way of doing things.

We now need to talk about two important factors:

  • Search intent mapping
  • Lifecycle stage mapping

In other words, what’s the intent people have before visiting our website?

And at the same time, we need to talk about the stage they are at right now in their journey.

In an ideal world, a user would read a “What is…” blog post; after a while, they would read a “How to…” blog post, and they would then search for a keyword with commercial intent before signing up for the product.

Unfortunately, this isn’t how things work in most cases.

What we must now do is start talking about different search intentions and different stages of their lifecycle journey, and try to do the best we can for them at every stage they might be.

Organic Clicks Blog-wide vs. by Search Intent + Lifecycle Stage

Another aspect worth analyzing is organic clicks.

In the past, we were obsessed with organic clicks and measuring things on a blog-wide level.

We would say that this was a way for us to prove our value and deliver results based on the clicks made on the whole blog.

However, if we dive deeper into things (and based on our experience working with many SaaS companies), we can conclude that this doesn’t mean anything.

Getting clicks from the blog was a good way to keep a client satisfied, but this is once again an oversimplified way of doing things.

So what should content marketers do nowadays?

In our opinion, in the new way of doing content marketing, they should dive deeper into things and look at the search intent behind every organic click.

In other words, they need to measure the percentage of people who visit the website by searching keywords/queries with informational search intent, the ones with commercial intent, and so on and so forth.

This can help you understand whether there’s a gap somewhere and whether a group of keywords or certain intent works better, so you can make the right decisions and iterations based on the data.

All in all, when it comes to organic clicks, you need to have a clear view of how things perform by search intent and the lifecycle stage each user is at the moment they interact with you.

View to Lead Conversion Rate vs. View to Lead Conversion Rate + Lead to Customer Conversion Rate

The View to Lead Conversion Rate (VLCR) is a relatively easy metric to track.

We have:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Page views

And then, from page views we go to leads (however you may define that lead), in order to measure the proportion of your website visitors that converted into leads.

Although this is a great metric to track, it belongs to the old way of doing things.

In the new way, VLCR is still something we measure, but we need to take it a step further and understand the Lead to Customer Conversion Rate (LCCR).

In other words, we, as content marketers, bring in page views and leads.

That’s great, but what about the quality of those leads? How many of them actually become paid customers?

This is what we should really think about because, at the end of the day, that’s what marketing is (or should be) all about; driving meaningful business outcomes.

In the language of B2B SaaS companies, this translates to net new MRR, and we should measure whether our content marketing efforts contribute to that.

Obviously, we can’t expect every page to generate leads and customers, but if the right intent is there (such as commercial), then we should expect it to generate leads and—in the new way of doing things—customers.

New Leads + New Customers vs. LTV

In the old way of doing content marketing, we always talked about new leads and new customers.

In the new way, we’re not just talking about conversion rates anymore, but we’re taking things a step further and are measuring the LTV (Lifetime Value) of the leads who become customers.

Plus, can we connect the LTV with the page, section, or topic that the new customer came from?

Because, if yes, we can go back to our CMO (or whoever we’re reporting to) and present meaningful data.

For example, we might identify 20 pages that generate leads, but 3 of them have the best LTV and are all connected to the same feature.

Is this something worth looking into further?

Should we talk more about that feature?

Should we examine why the other 17 pages have a low(er) LTV?

Why is the churn rate high on certain pages?

Those are some of the things content marketers should think about nowadays and be ready to have these discussions with their CMOs.

After all, you need to take things a step further if you really care and not just focus on leads and customers; measure the LTV, examine if the customers are satisfied, and analyze whether they use the product in a meaningful way.

Last-Touch vs. Multi-Touch Attribution

Earlier, we talked about how a user’s journey isn’t linear.

This is why last-touch attribution (the point that’s given the final conversion credit) belongs to the old way of doing content marketing.

What we need now is multi-touch attribution, but let’s take things from the start.

In an ideal world, a user’s journey would be:

In such a journey, we could attribute the new customer to our content marketing efforts and present the positive data to our CMO.

However, in reality, things aren’t always that simple.

The journey a user takes can be far more complicated.

To give you an idea, a user might go through various touchpoints before converting into a paid customer.

Let’s assume you own a referral marketing platform:

1st touchpoint: A user reads a blog post you wrote on “benefits of referral marketing”.

2nd touchpoint: A few weeks later, the same user searches for “how to build a referral program” on Google and comes across your content; they decide to click on it.

3rd touchpoint: A few more weeks go by and the same user has moved in their lifecycle journey, thus searching for “referral marketing tools” on Google.

Although your website isn’t the first search result, the user decides to click on it because they’ve visited the website before and are now familiar with the brand.

4th touchpoint: A few days later, the user comes across a webinar you’re hosting on the topic of building a referral marketing program.

This means you most likely now have their email address.

5th touchpoint: Your company’s sales team reaches out to the user since they have their email address and have potentially seen them visiting your website, through a tool like Clearbit.

6th touchpoint: A sales rep passes the prospect to an account executive and after some follow-ups the executive manages to turn the prospect into a paid user.

As we can see from this hypothetical scenario, 4 out of the 6 touchpoints were because of your content marketing activities, but the credit was given to the sales team.

This is a great example of multi-touch attribution and the indirect impact of content marketing on a business.

This means that if we can identify the user’s journey, whatever touchpoints they may go through, we’ll be able to give credit to our content marketing efforts.

Blog-wide vs. Page-Section-Topic-wide Measurement

In the new way of doing content marketing, we obviously still need to measure things, but not on the whole blog like we used to.

On the contrary, we need to measure results (impressions, organic clicks, VLCR, etc.) on a page, section, and topic level.

This will give you valuable insights, such as the fact that the customers you receive from a certain page turn out to be better.

Why is that? Is it something we can implement on other pages too?

Of course, the same thing could apply to a certain section or topic.

Nevertheless, we need to stop talking about blog-wide performance and break things down.

For example, saying that a blog has a high bounce rate doesn’t really mean anything.

You need to examine this metric on a blog-by-blog case, because a “What is…” page will naturally have a different bounce rate than a “How to…” page.

ROI = Taboo vs. ROI = Necessary

As you know, ROI is necessary for measuring the business impact of any activity, including content marketing.

However, in the old way of doing things, ROI was a taboo subject for various reasons.

Nowadays, if content marketers want to keep their seat at the table, ROI is necessary and can be a great vehicle for you to ask for more budget, launch more initiatives and take more risks.

This doesn’t mean that ROI should be measured from the start; it takes time and is tightly connected to the maturity of your content program.

Nevertheless, ROI is now necessary, and we need to talk about it.

All in all, the new way of doing content marketing is all about driving business impact through the design and implementation of diverse strategies with a granular view of content performance.

Wrapping up

We hope things are now clearer, regarding the way content marketing used to be done, compared to how it is done now.

Or at least how it should be done now by content marketers.

The process is definitely not easy and might require several difficult discussions, but they’re necessary in order to keep your seat at the table.

Ultimately, what you must keep in mind is that every action should have an actual business impact that’s meaningful and measurable!

HUMAN CRAFTED
Human Crafted illustration
This piece of content is the work of a human mind.

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