Often, when we read articles on Content Marketing it is from the POV of Marketers, Writers or SEO Teams. Many of whom depend on the insights gleaned from their Analytics Team or Web Optimization Team to create Content Marketing campaigns which their audiences will want to consume. However, the perspective of these teams – who know what content is working and what content is not – is often left out of the conversation.
As Part of our series on the FOUND Conference, we’ve decided to interview two thought leaders in the Digital Analytics and Web Optimization space on Content Marketing: Audrey Rasizer Marlow, Sr. Director of Online Analytics The Media Innovation Group and David Torchiano, Director of Online Optimization The New York Times.

Why does content marketing seem to have reached a tipping point this year?

David Torchiano: Website visitors have high expectations when navigating to a website and sites that do not provide value in the subject that a visitor is interested in are quickly disregarded. With engagement being so hard to obtain, sites that provide the material that users are looking for gain the users trust. Relevant content combined with great design and successful UX means users are going to make return visits. We’re beyond the banner ad era and content marketing is reaching a peak because it provides that value that visitors are expecting from a site.
Audrey Rasizer Marlow: Firstly, there are now more platforms available than ever for users to generate content and sharing has become incredibly easy. Also more people nowadays are using the web to search and make buying decisions. They stumble across more content and are eager to consume.

How do marketers need to think about measuring success with content marketing?

Audrey Rasizer Marlow: There should clear goals and objectives laid out just like with any other marketing campaign. Marketers need to use a combination of metrics: consumption metrics (page views, video views, downloads), sharing metrics (likes, shares, tweets, forwards, inbound links), lead gen-metrics (demo requests, free trials, phone calls, white paper downloads, email contact requests), and sales metrics (conversion rates, average order value). Everything must be tracked and measured.
David Torchiano: Long term relationships. Content marketing is about connecting with visitors and cultivating a relationship. Companies should track new visitors coming to the website and the content users are consuming. Analytics should be set up to track the meta tags and subject of a given page and track which content works best for each referrer. Content that helps drive overall value for the company should be continued while content that only drives short term gains should be tested against new and different content.

Do you feel quality content has an effect on sales and conversion rates?

David Torchiano: Absolutely. Visitors come to a website that provide value. That value can range from access to a certain product or content that they are looking for. The value that the visitor provides to the business can range from advertising opportunities to direct payments. If the content of a website increases the value for a visitor they are more likely to provide value in return.
Audrey Rasizer Marlow: Yes. Consumers are looking for trusted expert resources to make informed decisions. If the content is inaccurate or of poor quality, it could be detrimental to sales and conversion rates.

What are your top content marketing tips for those starting out?

Audrey Rasizer Marlow: Track everything over a long period of time and calculate the ROI of content marketing. If you don’t measure, you won’t get insight. Remember, the goal is not only for to be good at content, but be good at business and generate revenue.

What do you see as the key trends for Digital Marketing in 2013?

David Torchiano: I think a key trend is going to be using data to better understand performance across all channels. Most websites are still working with data in many silos so it’s hard to optimize all systems for profitability. With data becoming so prevalent and easily accessible companies will be forced to become more sophisticated as to how they use data to optimize overall business value.
Want to learn more about the Future of Content Marketing and SEO? Join Audrey, David and Jonathan Ashton of TBWAChiatDay, Rick Bakas of Bakas Media, Ben Parr of #DOMINATEFUND & Ray Grieselhuber at FOUND Conference in New York City on 2/26. This intimate conference series on where SEO & Content Marketing are headed will break away from the traditional focus in SEO on short-term tactics and gains to discuss the long term implications of Content Marketing strategy, of which SEO is quickly becoming a part. Get your ticket today: http://found-nyc.eventbrite.com/