How To Invest In Content For ROI

Understanding how your digital audience is shifting is critical to the success of your business.

  • What are the topics they are talking about in relation to your brand? And your competitors’ brands?
  • How do they feel about those topics and brands? Positive or negative? And regardless of which side they may fall on with their feelings, is there an opportunity to introduce a conversation about the opposite?
  • What are the hashtags being used? And do they link to conversations with specific content pieces associated with them? What is that content piece? And how often was it shared?
  • Where were the conversations happening? Who are the influencers in that geographical area? Is there an opportunity to prioritize developing relationships in that area with specific influencers?
  • Where is the conversation about the brand/topic mostly taking place? Twitter? In forums? Through news articles? Blogs?
  • What type of content is being shared/ included in a blog or news article? Is it a video? Infographic? eBook?

These are valid questions and crucial data points to explore when determining opportunities for content development.  They can key a brand into what is most relevant to the audience, and what they should in turn create to engage the audience in the conversation.  To gather this data most efficiently, you must utilize listening technology tools that allow for deeper exploration of these insights.

Conversation Terms, Hashtags & Sentiment

These three insights can provide high-level suggestions for content topics to consider creating. Listening tools connect specific topics to popularity, as well as to how an audience is speaking about them (favorably or not). All of this can guide content strategy by pointing out real-time and data-driven opportunities as well as help answer the questions:

  • What is worth the investment of resources?
  • If you create it, will it fall flat on an audience?
  • Does the data indicate that they are interested in the topic?


      Terms                                    Hashtags                                   Sentiment

The above data points show the analysis of digital marketing terms through the listening technology, NetBase.  Looking at this data, it is clear that “#SEO” continues to be a relevant topic in the digital marketing world. On top of that, the data speaks to “Mobile,” “Tips,” “#SEO Discount,” and even “#SEO plugin” being the topic of much discussion in the past three months across a wide variety of digital outlets.

The IMI Content Team will use these findings to develop targeted content ideas for these areas. The ideas will begin to flow:

  • Perhaps a blog post on “Tips for how to pick keywords targeted towards the mobile audience?”
  • Or maybe I should work on an infographic about the “Benefits of Utilizing an Agency Partner for Multiple Services In Order to Receive a Discount On Everything.”
  • Or an eBook that is a “Dictionary of SEO Plugins & The Benefits of Each One.”

Conversation Sources

Where the conversation is happening about a topic or brand is also key to understanding how to engage the audience through the content piece you are considering.

Looking at the two charts below, for the same “Digital Marketing” category, you can see what the most ideal sources are for engaging the audience on these topics.

With Microblogs

With Microblogs (Twitter)   

Without Microblogs

   Without Microblogs (Twitter)

Microblogs (another word for “Twitter”) is the largest carrier of the conversation.  Analyzing posts from Twitter can indicate who are the largest influencers of the topic and what kind of content they are sharing.

Twitter is a critical outlet for this audience in promoting the content piece when it is ready. The content piece can be tailored for a specific influencer’s audience… Or even reach out to them in advance and explore with them whether or not a content piece will work for their audience.

Without Twitter in the picture, it is clearer where else the conversation is resonating most. In this case, it is in Blogs and Forums.  This indicates that blog content is a valuable resource to the audience, and that – like Twitter – engaging in Forum conversations will be key to understanding how to share and promote the content.


Listening technology can provide insight into areas where attention should be paid when promoting the content. Looking at the image below indicates large volumes of conversation in specific city regions.

Location-TechnologyThe usual large cities (NYC, Boston, LA, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Seattle) are contributors.  But one large bubble appears in the middle of the country. It represents Omaha – not a typical hotbed of conversation.

Clicking into the city within the listening tool surfaces one particular influencer on the “digital marketing” topic.


A new vendor to the conversation began pushing out Tweets on the topic connecting users to their blog, which just provides links to other pieces of content.  In other words, it’s “SPAM.”

But taking a minute to click in the tool and dig into the conversation helped determine that Omaha is not a prioritized spot for building influencers in the category. Focusing efforts in building an influencer network in the other cities featured in the graph will remain the main focus.

Getting the ROI on Content Efforts

More and more clients are coming to IMI for these kinds of insights. With the use of this listening technology integrated into our SEO process, we can ensure the ROI on a content piece for a brand.  Your agency partner or in-house digital team should provide guidance on how to best invest your money in content, and where it plays beyond just the creation of it. Rather than just operating blindly.

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