By Robert Ian French, Founder

If I have to read another piece about the importance of content marketing, I’m going to stop reading!

Just kidding, I love a good fluff piece as much as the next person.

But seriously, can we stop with the endless stream of articles that talk about the importance of content marketing, but somehow avoid ever mentioning the reason content marketing actually exists?

Let’s be clear: the purpose of content marketing — all content marketing — is to enable conversion. In other words, to help convert readers into prospects, and prospects into customers.

And if the concept of converting prospects into customers (e.g., selling) is not front and center in your mind when you are planning, executing and optimizing your content marketing, you need to put it there.

Conversion is the name of the game. Here are five content marketing tips to help you do exactly that.

1. Write to Convert

Whenever you’re creating content, keep in mind that the customer reading or viewing your content has only one question in mind: what’s in it for me? So, focus on what affects them. Provide relevant and useful insights and information that will help them. Make it engaging and user-friendly. Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. And of course, include the call to action to help push the prospect through the conversion funnel.

2. Set Up Goals or Metrics

The only way to definitively determine if your content marketing is actually doing its job and moving your prospect closer toward a sale is by tying every piece of content to a trackable conversion metric or goal. Your goal is whatever step(s) you decide you want your prospective customer to take. There can be many different, valuable goals including views, downloads or requests for information.

Not all metrics are created equal and how you rank them from an effectiveness standpoint is critical. Rank should happen on a sliding scale with a sale, of course, being at the top. The others follow:

  • Request for information
  • Signups
  • Forwards
  • Downloads
  • Reads
  • Shares
  • Click-throughs, etc.

By the way, don’t delude yourself into believing that impressions are a valid metric. They’re not – never were and never will be. Anyone with a big budget can buy 10 million impressions, pat themselves on the back, yet never move a single prospect one step forward in the buying process. The only meaningful metrics are those that track an action initiated by the prospect.

3. Deliver the Content

Don’t forget to connect the content for the ultimate conversion! By tracking your content conversion metrics, you can also see how your prospects are getting to your content. Focus your delivery on the top performing marketing channels to ensure it is getting in front of your targeted audience. If you want your content to be received by a more professional audience, either in a specific industry or function, focus your delivery on LinkedIn and make it easy for them to get in touch.

4. Measure, Measure, Measure.

It goes without saying — setting and ranking goals or metrics becomes a worthless exercise if you don’t measure. Measuring effectiveness of your content marketing is a tedious, labor-intensive process. And yes, It’s also imperative. You must “work the data”.

How many people have read your content, viewed it, passed it on, asked for more info, signed up, and/or jumped up and down? Measure how each and every piece of content performs and that will tell you whether you should keep it, duplicate it or dump it.

5. Make It Searchable!

You’ve spent all this time creating compelling content — don’t let it get lost. As search is such a huge component of delivering digital content, place keywords strategically throughout the content and make sure it is optimized for major search engines.

If you follow these five simple steps, you will see your content marketing do what every good marketing campaign does, and that is convert prospects into customers. And isn’t that the whole point?

Let us optimize your content marketing.