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Companies are now publishers, no longer dependent on major networks to get their stories out. But competition is fierce – more than five exabytes of content is created and 27 million pieces shared every day. So how do you win the battle for attention?

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An obvious answer is to create more and more content, to “outshout” the competition. But in my view, that’s fighting the wrong war. In fact, it’s taking mass media thinking from the past and shoehorning it into the digital world. Today, winning requires more than sheer fire power.

So how do you claim victory? Start by asking yourself the really hard question: How is your content really performing?

It’s time for a shift from a volume focus to a performance focus. Myriad tech tools can help you source, curate, distribute and amplify your content – all important tasks. But what tools are available to help you know if your content is truly effective?

A recent thought leadership paper co-authored by SAP and BrightEdge titled, “The Three Essential Elements of Content Performance Marketing” delves into this very topic and underscores the importance of:

  1. Targeting demand by using data-driven insights to gain a deep understanding of your audience
  2. Optimizing content by leveraging user intent research to map topics to buyer personas and purchasing funnel
  3. Measuring results by leveraging advanced technology and tracking the right KPIs. (In the paper, you’ll also find a very useful chart created by Smart Insights that provides KPIs for brand, content performance and commercial goals, across each stage of the buyers’ journey.)

All of this is very practical advice and when put into action it not only can tell you how your content is performing but where you should focus your efforts.

For example, Ecommerce marketers need to understand how content performs as it relates to the factors – such as offers, calls to actions and promotions – that drive conversions for ecommerce.

When marketers plan campaigns they have to be built and funded based on the actual performance of content and not guess work. If marketers are to win on the content battleground and secure further investment in content then measurement is the new imperative.  As Jake Sorofman, Research Vice President, Gartner says:

Today, we see marketing leaders reining in a portion of their content marketing spending until they can reliably measure its performance, point to business impact and achieve the scale and control currently afforded by paid media.

In a nutshell, the real content battleground is now about performance – measured in a meaningful way. By shifting our focus from the number of troops we deploy to the effectiveness of our engagement, we are more likely to emerge as a victor.

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