6 Best Practices for Creative Content Marketing in 2016

By Tim Bradley

Here at Matter Communications – and likely similar to PR agencies globally – all of our PR professionals are busy wrapping up 2016 planning with and for their respective clients. But what separates our group of PR pros from the competition is the fact that they’re able to efficiently and effectively incorporate creative content marketing into said plans because of our in-house creative services, Studio-C by Matter Communications.

Having a written creative content marketing strategy is important, as it will inform the creative content you’re producing, and ultimately the effectiveness of the strategy overall. Here are 6 steps to ensure your business has a successful creative content strategy in 2016:

1. Have a clear objective
Direct and simple is the key. You should be able to say the objective in one sentence.

2. Know your target audience
“Consumers” or “everyone” are not your audience. You have to target your audience – hence the term. Deliberate demographics are a must.

3. Know how your audience engages with content
Facebook, right? Maybe. But with the plethora of social mediums (Instagram, Vine, YouTube, SnapChat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), there’s likely a better way that just throwing your content up on Facebook and hoping for the best. That, and most companies have an intranet. Or they may collaborate with spokespeople and brand ambassadors. Or they might be hosting or attending an event. There’s certainly a number of ways to engage with your audience – you need to figure out what’s best.


4. Have a clear call-to-action
Why are you creating this piece or pieces of content in the first place? To gain “likes” or “comments” or “shares”? Or to “sign-up” or “call” or “join”? Going back to your objective, decide on the call-to-action at the beginning stages of the project and make the plea obvious to the audience throughout (or at least of the end) of the creative content.

5. Have more than one creative tactic
Go back to your objective and ask, is this video/infographic/microsite/mailer the best way to achieve it? Yes? Even so, it needs to be part of a larger strategy if you expect results. Having a wide birth of creative content targeted at your audience will allow you to compare/contrast results and ultimately see what’s the best tactic to move towards your objective. The average number of tactics used by B2C marketers in 2015 were 12.

6. Know how to measure success
Ultimately there isn’t an exact science for measuring creative content ROI, but at Matter we’ve created a framework to benchmark for ROI success for clients. This framework will help define what success means to your clients and how to measure it – either against the competition or against individual pieces of creative content:

6a. Clearly define 3-5 measurable goals

  • B2B Examples: lead generation, sales, lead nurturing, brand awareness, engagement, customer retention/loyalty, customer evangelism, upsell/cross-sell
  • B2C Examples: sales, customer retention/loyalty, engagement, brand awareness, customer evangelism, lead generation, lead nurturing, upsell/cross-sell

6b. Select Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you can track

  • General performance: traffic, new leads, reach, subscriptions
  • Channel-based: website, blog, social networks, search engines
  • Source-based: direct traffic, organic search, referrals, email, ppc
  • Campaign-based: demand gen/lead nurturing, opens, click-throughs, conversions
  • Sales funnel: new leads, opportunities, customers
  • Direct impact on sales: qualified leads handed off the sales
  • Revenue-based: cost per lead, marketing contribution to pipeline

6c. Create and use content that’s going to move the needle

6d. Gather data and calculate your investment

6e. Use this data to make better decisions

Research shows 60% of companies who have a documented strategy rate themselves highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness, compared to the 32% effectiveness of those who only have a verbal strategy. The takeaway: it’s important to have a written strategy for creative content marketing in 2016 so you can measure successes and ultimately make better decisions.