We answer some of the most common questions relating to brand publishing and content marketing.
What Is Brand Publishing?
Brand publishing derives from the traditional concept of publishing, which in its simplest terms is the act of making information public. Publications have an identity, a mission, a style — think The New York Times, Vogue, or Atlantic Monthly.
Brand publishing is distinct from content marketing, which only requires a company to attract people to their brand with content. To create a publication, a brand must establish a compelling and consistent voice and tone and identify beats (ideas and topics that the publication addresses consistently). In doing so, brands can create a medium with an identity — when you’re reading The New York Times, for example, you know exactly what to expect and why you picked it up in the first place.
By pursuing brand publishing over content marketing, you have the potential to build stronger relationships with relevant readers by honing a credible, authoritative voice for your brand.
How Does Content Marketing Generate Leads?
Content marketing can generate leads in at least two main ways:
1. Simply by attracting people to a website.
2. By offering content that is “gated” and requiring visitors to share some relevant contact details in order to gain access.
In the first instance, publishing on a regular basis attracts people to your site via search engines like Google, simply by providing the information people are seeking. If they reach your site, find the information you provide meaningful — or your brand message and service offerings interesting — they might want to get in touch. You can convert this visitor into a lead by providing contact forms across your site.
In the second instance, brands offer more detailed, thorough, and valuable information — usually but not always in the form of downloads like PDFs. Usually, brands attract visitors with the first method, while drawing attention to the gated content as a way for interested readers to access more detailed information.
How Do You Measure Content Marketing?
There are innumerable ways to measure content marketing, and the relevance of each approach relates to the goals of the brand in question. However, a measuring system that emphasizes lead generation should be widely useful to most brands.
To keep it simple, let’s focus on two metrics from Google Analytics or an equivalent analytics tool, and two from your content management system (e.g. WordPress) or your customer relationship management system (e.g. ProsperWorks).
From Google Analytics:
- The number of sessions your website generates and where they come from each month.
- The number of pageviews each of the articles you publish generates in the month during which you publish it.
From your website or CRM:
- The number of leads you generate per month.
- The page or blog post on which those visitors fill in a form and become a lead.
Measuring visits per month will indicate the overall success of your strategy in attracting people to your site. You can break this number down by “Default Channels” in Google Analytics to see whether the bulk of your visitors come from search engines, social media, or another source — information that can help you identify which aspects of your strategy are most effective.
Monitoring which pages generate the highest number of pageviews in the month they’re published can reveal which topics, keywords, and article types are most effective in generating traffic, serving as a guide for where you should focus your efforts over the course of the next month.
The number of leads you generate, like total website traffic, serves as an indication of the overall success of your strategy. And finally, taking note of the page on which visitors take an action and become a lead can tell you volumes about which of your stories and calls to action are convincing enough to get people to engage with your brand. Again, this is a solid indication of what works and, therefore, what your strategy should look like moving forward.