content marketing analysis

The Giving Trees of Content Marketing

How to spot and support content marketing that bears fruit and why to abandon content that lags behind.

I’m lucky enough to live in a home surrounded by citrus trees. They require a fair amount of work, but collectively, they provide oranges and grapefruits every winter in abundant supply. However, I don’t care for each tree equally.

This tree (lower left) is my least favorite. The couple dozen oranges it gives us every year are barely worth the space it takes up in my front yard. It’s small and weak, despite being well beyond the sapling stage. In total, I probably dedicate two hours a year to maintaining this tree, and one could debate whether that is time well spent.

poor content marketing content marketing productions

In contrast, this tree (above right) is a well-tuned, premium fueled navel orange machine. While having the same amount of sun exposure, water and micronutrients throughout the year, it blows the first tree away. Every second week in January, this tree pops off 200+ oranges. Throughout the spring, summer and fall, I trim its withering branches, tear away wayward shoots at its trunk, and fertilize this tree regularly. I likely spend 20 hours annually with this beauty.

Once presented with this scenario, one may ask:

Why do you give so much more time and effort to the second tree?

It is not like the second tree has not had a fair shake. I spend more time on the larger, more productive tree because it gives back. It actually produces. If the first tree gave any indication that an added effort would make a difference, I’d give more, but there’s really not much more I can do. It gets water, fertilizer and Arizona sunshine. If it can’t make more oranges now or later, why bother?

Which Tree Bears Fruit?

Similar to my citrus trees, content marketers have productions they must maintain and grow. No matter the mode (blog, infographic, webinar series, online library, etc.), some of that content produces a desired result, and other content does not.

Marketers who continue to throw time and money at outstanding creations that deliver awareness, revenue and/or loyalty are wise to continue doing so. Those content productions that can’t deliver must be left behind.

content marketing analysis

Objectives, Standards and Growth Plans

It is no mind-bending task to determine what tree warrants more effort, but the content marketer’s task of judging her productions can be a little more difficult.

Every content production should have a corresponding objective, measurement standard, and growth plan.

Content Objectives: Quantify what your content should provide to your brand. Are you looking to achieve heightened awareness, new leads, loyalty from customers or something else? Establish the purpose of each content production even before creating and promoting it.

Content Standards: Given your objective, what measurement threshold can you define to gauge success? With my trees, if they don’t produce at least 150 oranges, I give more time and attention to other trees that do.

For your content, how many new visits, shares, downloads, leads, inbound links, etc. must it produce before you know it is worthy of added exposure. More importantly, over what time period must the content meet its standard before the content marketer knows she has a “winner.” Content that reaches its standard quickly and convincingly deserves added marketing support.

Growth Plans: Once you have spotted a fruitful piece of content after preliminary promotion efforts, accelerate it. Dedicate more funds and resources to expanding the audience and resulting impact of the content.

Further, divide your content promotion budget into two separate buckets. Some budget should be dedicated to promoting all content post launch. Secondary funds should go toward fertilizing content that has met its standard.

Do you treat all your content marketing productions equally? What standards are utilized to measure new content? How is successful content nurtured by your organization?