When it comes to creating content that converts, content marketers will be the first to admit that not all content is created equal. After all, when you look at the data, only 0.1% of all content gets more than a thousand shares, and the conversion rate on most content is well under 1%. What’s a content marketer to do?
In one of our most popular webinars to date, Larry Kim, CEO of Mobile Monkey and Founder of WordStream, offered his two cents for how content marketers can boost site engagement by making the most out of their best-performing content.
You can download the full webinar here:
Here are a few audience questions Larry didn’t have a chance to answer in the webinar:
We’ve established that engagement is key. But how do you drive site engagement in the first place? If you’re starting from next to nothing, how will your unicorn shine?
A simple way to audition content is to separate high engagement “unicorn” content from low engagement “donkey” content would be to run a Facebook Ad or Twitter Ad for a small amount like $10.
If the engagement rate of the promoted post was in the 1-2% range, it’s probably not very special content, and the outcome is unlikely to change if you spend another $10 promoting it (or any amount for that matter).
If the engagement rate of a post is low, it’s probably not very special content, and that outcome it is unlikely to change no matter how much money you spend promoting it.
However, if you find say, a +7% engagement rate, then you probably have something special on your hands, and it’s worth doubling down on it to make the most out of a great piece of content.
Do you think it’s a smart move to post as much content as possible on Facebook and then weed out what isn’t working? Can’t that hurt your ranking, or is it worth it to continually test this way?
I wouldn’t do that. The more bad content you post to your Facebook wall, the worse and worse your future Facebook organic reach will be. Instead you should test stuff somewhere else, like via an email blast, or on your blog, or on Twitter, or in a Facebook Ad, etc. That’s a much better way to test what’s working.
What metrics would you recommend for measuring engagement for organic search? Are there any tools outside of GA that you recommend?
You can get the click through rates of your organic search listings from Google Search Console. Here’s a tutorial on how to measure and raise your CTR. Or you could just look at traffic – which posts are driving the most traffic? Usually the top 10% generates 50-70% of your traffic – those top performers are your unicorns.
How do you personally measure engagement rates on your content?
I’m looking for outliers. The content that does 3-5x higher engagement rates than everything else. I just test out a lot of ideas and look for stuff that falls outside of the normal average range.
For example, here are 129 status updates on a random Facebook page – most content has very low engagement rates (0-5%) but three posts have +10% engagement rates. Find those outliers and focus all your energies on promoting those and making unicorn babies.
Often pieces of content pick up traffic, viewership and popularity months after they’re published. Through time, can a donkey ever become a unicorn?
No. Sadly, no. It is true that donkeys can improve to a small extent, maybe like 10% or 20% improvement, but they can never become a unicorn.
Unicorns have 3-5x higher engagement rates (i.e. 300% – 500% higher). It’s just too big a gap to fill.
You often advise that content marketers should “kill the donkeys.” What exactly do you mean by that? Stop promoting them? Delete them?
No need to delete them – chances are nobody is seeing them, so they’re essentially invisible already.
When I say, “kill the donkeys” what I mean is that it is time to move on. Stop wasting your time on an idea that has had a shot and has gone nowhere. Some people think that if they try doing the same thing over and over again as say, a webinar, or a guest post or an infographic, that it will do so much better.
Why not save your time and effort and try something else?
Do you think unicorns correlate to pipeline generation?
Yes, if you were to look at the sales for my last company, and plot it against unicorn discoveries and unicorn baby births, you’d find they are very correlated.
What happens when you lose the timeliness of your unicorns before you have a chance to create baby unicorn content?
Sadly then you are probably too late. Your unicorn has reverted to a donkey. If you hit the jackpot on something, you should invoke the unicorn alert and get your entire team engaged with squeezing the most possible value out of the campaign while it is still possible.
A real life depiction of the unicorn alert.
What are your thoughts on recycling materials that had little or no success in the past? While past performance is a good indicator of value, don’t some pieces deserve a second chance to perform?
Would you go all in on an off-suited 2-8 in poker? Would you double down on a 16 vs. dealers ace?
Seriously, trust me on this one. You’re just wasting your time.
People often suffer from Donkey attachment disorder. They are unwilling to face the reality that their content is a donkey and want to give it a second, third and fourth chance to succeed.
Say your blog gets an average of 200 visitors per post. If the blog went nowhere on the first 200 visits, it will most likely continue to go nowhere no matter how much traffic you drive to it via an external source.
Save the content recycling efforts for your best stuff.
What’s the best way to get your brand featured in the Google Knowledge Graph?
I’m pretty sure that all of the Google “People also search for” content is based on having unusually high click through rates. So once again, creating Unicorns would be the best way to get your brand featured in the Google Knowledge Graph.
How does a B2B SAAS company in the fintech space create content that is viral or compelling enough to garner backlinks and shares?
Okay, the most important thing to remember here – unicorn content is not the same thing as viral content.
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A unicorn is a relative thing. It’s your top 1-3% of content.
You already have a unicorn. No matter how crappy or boring your content is, some of it will be terrible, and some of it will be less terrible. In order to maximize returns, focus your content recycling and promotion efforts on the least terrible stuff.
Conversely, you may or may not have ever had a viral content hit.
I have no idea how to create viral content – and people who say they do aren’t telling you about the hundreds of pieces they created that went nowhere. I think it’s kind of a numbers game – try out a lot of different ideas, then see what sticks. For me, about one in 33 pieces that I create goes bananas. For you that number could be different.