The Content Ninja: 5 Questions With NewsCred SVP Lisa Kalscheur


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Content marketing has evolved far beyond its start on company-operated blogs and Facebook pages. The complexity and data-driven accountability of today’s content initiatives rival any other type of advertising in the market. NewsCred is a testament to this rising complexity. The global leader in enterprise content marketing, NewsCred recently released its Content Marketing Maturity Index, which allows marketers to understand just how advanced they are along the content marketing spectrum. The existence of the Index itself proves how far the scope of content marketing operations have progressed, and the extent to which it will continue to rise in complexity. brandchannel had the opportunity to speak with Lisa Kalscheur, Senior Vice-President of Marketing at NewsCred, about the CMMI and how brands can reach the full potential of their content.

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What is the Content Marketing Maturity Index, and why is it useful for brands?

From NewsCred’s collective years of experience, we’ve learned that a thoughtful, holistic, and analytics-based approach is required for a successful content marketing program. The Content Marketing Maturity Index (CMMI) is a comprehensive assessment that marketers can use to gauge whether their content marketing programs are prepared to achieve maximum results. The assessment identifies areas of strength and opportunities for improvement that include actionable next steps for marketers to get the fastest time to value with their content marketing program.

Brands who took part in the beta test have already seen astonishing results, with an increase in their content marketing maturity of 35% within the first three months. In fact, one customer improved site traffic by more than 300% and lead conversion rate by more than one-thousand percent.

What are some of the good and bad habits you see brands engaging in in their content marketing?

The best habit we see brands engaging in as content marketers is the early establishment and consistent tracking of both a documented content marketing strategy and key success metrics that enable them to consistently optimize the program over time while staying true to their overarching objectives.

For example, AbbVie’s content team continuously asks themselves how they can drive more awareness and affinity toward their brand. They are developing and testing content to more effectively engage a well-defined, healthcare and scientific audience. When it comes to measuring success and building audiences, the team initially started with the same basic metrics that most other content teams do: measuring shares, likes, time on page, unique visits and page views. Now, the team is expanding their approach to include metrics to ensure they understand how the content impacted the reader’s familiarity with, and affinity to, the brand.

How do you see the content marketing marketplace changing over the next 5 years?

As technology evolves the way brands communicate with their audiences, so too will content marketing. In the past few years, we’ve seen the rise of mobile, the decline in simply pushing out messages through advertising, and, most recently, a massive entry into the world of artificial intelligence. All impact the future of content marketing.

However, it’s the decline in advertising that will really bring content marketing to the foreground as marketing leaders look for more effective ways to communicate with consumers. More and more consumers will demand useful and engaging content from the brands they love. Brands will increasingly rely on building meaningful relationships with customers through content that adds value to people’s lives.

What is your advice for established brands that are still immature content marketers and looking to increase their presence? How possible is it to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing if your foremost goal is brand awareness rather than sales conversions?

No matter how established, there is always an opportunity to learn something new. Despite having all the tools in the world to be successful, many marketers struggle to build a cohesive strategy—one that drives their target audience to engaging content that prompts them to take actions that result in a purchase. As I mentioned earlier, a key part of the strategy is defining what success looks like for a content marketing program. In these situations, a voice of experience can help to guide a young content marketing strategy into maturity. That’s one of the many reasons why NewsCred launched the Content Marketing Maturity Index and the Content Marketing Advisory Services group—a team of experts who have hands-on knowledge and specialize in areas like analytics, SEO, demand generation, and global/local organizations. Speaking as a marketer myself, we even tap this team regularly to ensure that our own marketing strategy is in line with current best practices.

When measuring the effectiveness of content marketing on brand awareness, NewsCred typically deploys pre- and post surveys and closely tracks micro-conversions. Micro-conversions, which can be strong indicators of brand awareness and trust, usually include pageviews from qualified visitors, newsletter sign-ups and engagement rates, and the success of other calls-to-action we place in and around our content. We then focus on the leading indicators for success, and help our clients heavy up on what’s working best. We’ve built our tracking recommendations for awareness into our Content Marketing Maturity Index to address exactly this question from brands.

How can brands find the right amount of content to create—not too little to have an effect, but not so much that they’re hammering their audience?

There is no hard and fast rule as to how much content is the right amount to create to be successful. It depends on the individual marketer’s goals and their audience. Metrics such as pageviews, clicks, open rates, engagement, and even peak days or time of day that content is consumed are all indicators that can help marketers determine what strikes a chord with their audience. By A/B testing and paying close attention to those metrics over time, marketers can learn the best publishing cadence for their audience. If those indicators drop, it’s a sign to pull back on the amount of content as your audience has likely become oversaturated.

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