Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.
In our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, we’re answering any questions that you have about, well, anything.
A huge thank you to Liz Rhodes, Brandon Landis and Patrick O’Connor for this week’s questions.
Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!
How do you track success with content marketing?
Ultimately, success will be measured in how your content grows your revenue, but that’s not necessarily the first goal to aim for.
Milestones are pretty case-specific and yours will differ from those of other businesses, but it’s helpful to think of your milestones in the context of the phases that every successful blog goes through:
- Content/Market Fit. Is the content that you’re publishing actually useful and interesting to your intended audience? For this, I’d set a target around comments from readers, and feedback from influencers in your space (from your influencer outreach).
- Traffic. Traffic, as you’ll find, will solve every problem for you in the long run. Traffic is the metric that will have the biggest impact on all of your other metrics (conversions, comments, shares, etc…). Set a target for monthly unique visitors.
- Subscribers. Once you have traffic, you’ll need to turn them into subscribers to build a deeper level of engagement. You can either set a target around total subscribers, or around subscription conversion rate. I’d focus on the latter, as it’ll have far more long-term impact for you.
- Subscriber-to-customer conversions/Revenue. Finally, focus on generating revenue from your subscribers. Measure this with a specific revenue goal, or a conversion rate goal. Again, I’d recommend the latter.
Focus on improving a single metric at a time, and don’t move on until you feel like you’ve reached your goal for that metric. Once you’ve gone through the four targets, you’ll be able to see which metrics are the highest-impact “levers” for your business, and focus on those.
This will not only help you build a strong foundation for great content marketing, but it’ll simplify and streamline the process to make it easier for you and your team to focus on what’s most important.
How do you write a good author bio for a guest post?
I’ll be honest, I’ve screwed up here in the past.
I’ve put hours and hours into trying to write a really useful, interesting guest post, only to punctuate it with a boring, generic author bio.
The problem here is that it does nothing to actually make the reader *want *to engage with me any further.
Writing a great guest post is only the beginning; to maximize the value of guest content, you have to finish the post by giving the reader a reason to connect.
That should include:
- What your product/business does and how it can help them
- A really compelling reason for why someone should click through
Danny Iny at Firepole Marketing does this really well:
Think about your author bio the same way you think about the calls to action on your landing pages or on your own blog. Make it useful, interesting and unique.
What are the necessary tools to start doing content marketing?
If money is a factor, I wouldn’t start with a pricey automation tool.
Especially not in the beginning; you can always buy it later. The benefit of a tool like HubSpot isn’t necessarily that it saves you time, but that it helps make managing content across various funnels and layers of complexity a lot simpler. A lot of people love it for that reason, though we don’t use it or any of its competitors at Groove.
The good thing is that in the very beginning, you don’t need to simplify. The basics aren’t complicated, and you can get massive benefits from a small handful of free or low-cost tools that will help you rapidly test and iterate on a content strategy that works for you.
If I were starting today, my setup would probably look something like this:
- WordPress + a premium (or custom-designed) theme
- Any of the top email tools (Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, AWeber, take your pick; we use Campaign Monitor)
- SumoMe for email collection
- Google Analytics + KISSmetrics (if you can afford it) for tracking
- Trello for managing your editorial calendar
- Google Docs for writing/editing your content
- Google Sheets for tracking influencer outreach
That’s really it. There’s no limit to how far you can go with adding on to this system, and you’ll identify holes in your architecture as you grow, but this is really all you need to get started and execute on a content marketing strategy that grows your business.