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Introducing Impact Narratives

10 min
CONTENTS

What are Impact Narratives in Content Marketing?

Why are Impact Narratives Important?

How We Approach Impact Narratives at Minuttia

Building the Impact Report

Now Over to You

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

In a recent webinar with our friends at saas.group, we zeroed in on a topic that’s been bugging a lot of us.

How do we communicate the impact of our content in a results-oriented market climate?

The dynamics of content marketing and business needs have shifted, prompting a deeper evaluation.

Budget belts have gotten tighter, and we’re trying a lot harder to communicate what our content is really achieving.

At Minuttia, we’ve decided to focus more on reporting and building our Impact Narratives.

In this post, we’ll cover the essence of Impact Narratives and how they can help you build a narrative on content reporting.

What are Impact Narratives in Content Marketing?

Impact Narratives are the ways we communicate the impact of our content, which (very often) go way beyond the results we bring.

You can think of them as a way of showing the world not just the direct hits your content scores but also the ripples it creates.

According to the University of Auckland, Impact Narratives are ways of highlighting your progress towards an achievement of impact — including the activities that contributed to the impact and your role in these activities.

Bringing this to content marketing, Impact Narratives transform our endeavors from abstract concepts to tangible achievements.

In a perfect world, every blog post we write and every guide we create would directly bring in monthly revenue.

Sometimes, that’s exactly what happens.

But more often than not, the value of what we do may not generate monthly recurring revenue (MRR) or directly bring in money.

But until we get to that point, we have to tell a story.

We have to tell a story to the person who is our point of contact in the company so that they can communicate that story to their higher-ups.

Let’s say, for example, we created a comparison guide.

Then, our POC returns to us saying this guide should help them close more deals with prospects that were sizing us up against the competition.

There might not be a straightforward line to an MRR right away from this guide, but there’s an impact narrative there.

This narrative shines when we explain how this guide contributes to the overall goals of the marketing department or assists sales.

Consequently, the guide transforms into a conversation starter, a reassurance, and a winning argument in a deal-closing handshake.

In other words, Impact Narratives are about connecting the dots in such a way that even if they don’t have a dollar value behind them, they’re invaluable to your sales efforts.

Why are Impact Narratives Important?

First, we’ll consider both the client and agency’s perspective.

An Agency’s Perspective

Today, the ability to demonstrate the value of our work goes beyond vanity metrics like page views or bounce rates.

The real measure of our content’s effectiveness now lies in its ability to inform decisions and shape behaviors.

As a result, crafting Impact Narratives isn’t merely storytelling, it’s an essential way for agencies to communicate the expansive impact of their content efforts.

The challenge, however, is significant.

As highlighted by a Content Marketing Institute study, 44% of content marketers say improving their content measurement is a top priority.

We’ve entered an era where the effectiveness of content is measured by the decisions it informs and the behaviors it influences.

Yet, 65% of content marketers can’t quantitatively demonstrate the impact of their marketing.

Crafting Impact Narratives allows us to articulate the broader consequences of our content efforts.

By weaving success stories that demonstrate how content initiatives contribute to achieving strategic business objectives, agencies can offer a compelling, data-backed rationale for their efforts.

As Joe Pulizzi emphasizes:

Really what we’d like to do is be in the 1% and say, Here’s the story we want to tell. Not a blog post, a white paper, infographic. Here’s the story we want to tell. How are we going to tell that story that makes the most impact for the business?

This perspective invites us to rethink our content strategies with a focus on deeper, more meaningful impacts.

The Client’s Perspective

On the flip side, our clients face their own battle of convincing their stakeholders of the value that our content brings to the table.

So, they want evidence to present in the boardroom — a narrative that traces the journey from content, how it aligns with overall business goals, and eventually affects the bottom line.

Now that every dollar spent is scrutinized, clients lean on us (the agency) to help deliver a narrative that can survive budget cuts and intense ROI scrutiny.

So, Here’s Why Impact Narratives Do Matter

Besides ROI reigning supreme in content marketing, Google’s unpredictable algorithm shifts have also introduced significant changes.

These shifts include ‘First-Hand Experience‘ to prioritize unique content and the launch of the Search Generative Experience (SGE) — proving content can’t hide behind the guise of high traffic numbers anymore.

Content marketers are standing by, anticipating the changes 2024 will bring, aware that the traditional metrics may no longer be the reliable yardsticks they once were.

Of course, it’s crucial we also recognize the power of emotional engagement in content marketing.

Emotionally engaged customers are not just passive consumers of content; their connection to the narrative can transform them into active advocates for our client’s brand.

In fact, emotionally engaged customers are more than twice as likely to recommend a product or service to others.

Impact Narratives are our stronghold in this shifting sand. They allow us to present a compelling case for content marketing as a multifaceted tool that can weather the storm of budgetary constraints.

Simply put, they’re a testament to our work’s enduring relevance and our clients’ investment.

How We Approach Impact Narratives at Minuttia

At Minuttia, we understand that Impact Narratives are strategic tools that drive our content creation and distribution.

That’s why we strive to produce content that not only meets immediate marketing goals but also aligns with long-term business objectives.

To achieve that, we take a structured approach towards developing Impact Narratives to ensure each narrative is both informative and influential.

Here’s how we do it step by step.

1. Determine What to Share: We like to start by identifying the key pieces of information that showcase our impact.

This includes sifting through data to decide what’s most relevant to our clients’ goals and what could distract or detract from the core message.

We want to share what they need to know and explain why it matters, so the client can understand the real story behind the numbers.

2. Stay Objective-oriented: Regardless of industry shifts or trends, our content is designed to meet specific objectives.

This means regularly revisiting the end goals to ensure our narratives align with our clients’ expectations and needs.

Say our client’s goal is to become a thought leader in Cybersecurity. We would focus on creating content that directly serves that goal and building Impact Narratives based on that.

3. Make Empathetic Decisions: We like to put ourselves in our clients’ shoes.

So, we weigh every decision against a simple yet effective litmus test; ‘Would we make the same choice if it were our own business?

This perspective helps us prioritize recommendations that we truly believe in.

So, if a certain trend doesn’t match the client’s objectives, we wouldn’t recommend it — even if it’s all the rage. We’d only endorse strategies we’d use if our own reputation were on the line.

4. Facilitate Internal Communication: We craft our narratives to aid our clients in reporting up the chain.

We might even help a client illustrate to their CMO how a specific original content strategy indirectly contributes to lead quality improvement.

So our job is to help our PoCs communicate the value of our (collective) efforts.

5. Be Proactive: We anticipate the CEO asking, “How does this content drive sales?

So, we equip our clients with narratives that show how top-funnel content nurtures leads, even if it doesn’t directly close sales.

6. Improve Based on Feedback: Post-delivery, we analyze the feedback received — from the clients, customer responses, and engagement metrics — to refine our narratives and ensure they’re as impactful as possible.

Building the Impact Report

To communicate the impact of our content, we’ve built an Impact Report that goes beyond merely compiling data to crafting a narrative that brings those numbers to life.

Here’s how we construct these reports at Minuttia.

Create the Foundation with Data

We start with a robust database — think of it as the bedrock of our report.

At Minuttia, we prefer the simplicity and accessibility of Google Sheets, but for those with heavier data needs, BigQuery is a strong alternative.

The key here is to have a place where all our data lives and speaks to each other.

Fine-Tune the Data

Access to accurate data is crucial. For us, that means tapping into GA4, ensuring we’ve configured it to track not just traffic but conversions too.

We need to see the full picture of user behavior and content performance. It’s not just about who visits; it’s about what they do on their visit.

Map and Scale

Next, we build a mirror of our main sheet specifically for mapping URLs to GA4 data.

This involves a bit of extra setup, like adding client identifiers and ensuring the ability to scale within Looker Studio (Google’s visualization interface that turns data into digestible reports).

Blend and Report

Within Looker Studio, we blend our data to pull together comprehensive reports.

We use an ‘Inner Join’ operator to ensure we’re only looking at matching data sets, and we’re careful to map ‘like with like’ (dimensions to dimensions, metrics to metrics).

Update Regularly

We’ve implemented a system within Slack where we send weekly reminders to our team to input new pages into our database.

Keeping our database up-to-date is essential for an accurate and functional Impact Report.

Finally, we craft various types of Impact Reports like:

Page Performance in ‘Organic Search’

This report provides insights into what content pulls in viewers naturally through search engines.

Deliverable Breakdown in ‘Organic Search’

This report dissects the performance of specific content deliverables — such as blog posts or whitepapers — to see which formats are most effective in attracting organic traffic.

Keyword Performance in ‘Organic Search’

By analyzing which keywords are gaining traction, this report helps in understanding audience search behavior and how well our content ranks for those terms.

Conversions Overview

This goes beyond traffic to show how visitors are taking desired actions, like downloading a resource or signing up for a webinar.

Page & Events Performance in ‘Conversions’

This report delves deeper into which pages and events are driving conversions — highlighting the journey that leads users to take action.

Keyword Performance in ‘Conversions’

This report offers a clear view of which terms are bringing traffic and also resulting in conversions.

General Performance in ‘Conversions’

This report contextualizes all conversion data to assess the broader impact of our content marketing efforts.

 

Now Over to You

If you’re ready to shift gears and move beyond the numbers to narratives that truly impact, start by reevaluating the content you produce.

Take these insights and look at your content through a new lens.

Then ask yourself the tough questions.

  • Does this help my audience make better decisions?
  • Does it resonate with the goals of my business?
  • How does it fit into the grand scheme of my content strategy?

Once you’re ready to measure that impact, remember the steps we’ve outlined.

Interested in transitioning your content strategy that resonates with your audience and also contributes to your business’s goals?

Book a call with us today to start shaping the future of your content marketing.

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

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