By Kath Walters

Have you ever said “Good morning” to someone who didn’t respond? It’s an unsettling feeling of sorrow, even indignance, when a generous, warmly-intended communiqué is ignored.

There’s a parallel on our content marketing program: we put time and effort into creating our content, and sending out our e-newsletters – and then we get little or no response.

I see content marketing as a three-step process: we start with content, create a conversation, and this leads to connections – or, more in commercial terms: conversions.

Here’s a model that explains my idea.

modelSocial media is part of the way we spark a conversation. Sharing our content on social media helps to generate shares, comments and favourites. But I also encourage my clients to see their analytics as part of the conversation with their clients and clients-to-be.

Your email distribution platform – whether it’s MailChimp, CampaignMonitor or HubSpot – has the answers to your metaphorical “Good morning”. It tells you who opens it, who clicks, which stories matter, which are ignored.

What types of content work the best for your audience? Are they looking for how-to stories, explainers, strategy or trend stories? Do they prefer case studies or tips or templates?

Experiment with different types of stories and content. We all process information differently, but by checking your analytics, you can be responsive.

Have you been on one of those dates where your prospective partner talks about themselves, and doesn’t notice your efforts to change the subject? Unresponsive communication is quite a turn-off.

Content marketing is a one-on-one relationship – as is all writing. We listen and respond to the lead of our readers – and to do that, we need to pay attention to the smallest of cues.