It’s the top question one every client’s mind: “Is our content resonating with our target audience?” Unfortunately, this question is all too often answered with a statement like the following: “We got XXX shares, tweets, likes, and views, so our content strategy is/is not working.” Yes, shares, tweets, likes and views are important, but they aren’t the be-all-end-all measurement for evaluating content marketing success. These are “buzz” metrics; they’re useful metrics for evaluating the reach of your content, but less useful for evaluating your content’s impact. Every marketing project creative brief needs to include clear metrics for evaluating the project’s success. But which metrics should your agency use? Understanding the difference between buzz and impact metrics is essential to presenting your client with an accurate assessment for their content marketing program’s success.
Buzz Versus Impact: What’s the Difference?
Buzz metrics are social media shares and traffic referrals; impact metrics are comments, downloads, clicks and views. Think of buzz and impact as a two metric measuring system: high buzz and high impact content leads to awesome marketing campaigns. High impact but low buzz is useful and engaging but lacks distribution (a great white paper that fails to generate downloads); low impact and low buzz content is material that lacks distribution and feedback; and high buzz and low impact is the equivalent of a viral cat video: it’s popular but fleeting. As Forbes digital marketing expert Denis Pinsky writes in his excellent discussion of buzz versus impact, your agency wants your client’s content to land in the high buzz/high impact zone.
Social media distribution is critical to enable engagement, but a great marketing agency must measure the success of its content beyond these basic distribution and amplification channels. From press releases to infographics, maximizing content impact is essential. Impactful content may not necessarily have the most shares or likes on Facebook, but it is the content that leaves the longest lasting impression with its readers.
Building Beyond Buzz: How to Maximize Content Impact
Is your agency stuck in the buzz zone? As a freelancer writer, I know first-hand that one of the trickiest aspects of all freelance writing jobs is balancing a client’s desire for content that builds buzz with the need to create content that connects with the target audience in a deep, meaningful way. In an ideal world, your agency will provide your client with content that delivers both maximum buzz and maximum impact. However, if you have to sacrifice one or the other, say goodbye to buzz in favor of impact. Like a viral cat video or Drake music video meme, buzz is fleeting; impact, however, builds a strong relationship with readers, boosts brand affinity, and increases customer loyalty. Investing in this content will pay dividends well into the future.
Erin M ghostwrites extensively on behalf of B2B companies to support their content marketing and thought leadership campaigns, and her clients range from major Fortune 500 companies to small business startups. When not crafting custom content solutions for her clients, you can find her adding stamps to her passport, scuba diving, or perfecting her secret cheesecake recipe.