3 Ways Digital Proximity Impacts Content, Conversions and Commerce
When I created the Behind the Curtain podcast for the LA Opera, the goal was to sell tickets to younger audiences.
And you can’t sell tickets on iTunes.
So, if you’re thinking about how to create episodic audio content marketing to leverage via owned media through shared media channels, let’s take a moment to focus on proximity in digital marketing.
The proximity of your content to the transactional opportunity you are seeking to make will directly impact the probability of conversions.
Facebook is a great way to “socialize” your brand and drive traffic through paid posts. iTunes is a great way to reach a larger audience. But your activity there benefits Facebook and Apple. They profit from the time you spend there.
But generating leads, building a list of email subscribers, or driving e-commerce transactions on a social network is much more challenging.
That’s the first thing about proximity you need to know. The second is more of an issue of perception.
If your objective is visibility or awareness, people may take the content they find about you on social networks with a grain of salt because they may not be sure it’s legit and that you created it.
Haven’t you heard? There’s all kinds of fake news on the internet.
But seriously, there is a famous saying in digital media that goes like this. In the digital media business, if the product is free, you’re the product.
Apple and Spotify May distribute podcasts for free, but they profit from your attention in other ways. Apple sells more hardware and Spotify gets more users.
Let’s take a look at how the proximity of your content marketing efforts impacts credibility, conversions, and commerce.
1. Content Credibility
First off, your website is the only corporate communications if your most credible channel source of information in the eyes of your customers because it lives in your domain.
And if content lives on your website, people will be very confident that it’s official.
On a third-party site, attribution is always more questionable because it’s easier to spoof content on social media.
A Twitter account without the official blue checkmark, a social network profile and an online community page, for example, might not be official company channels.
Keep that in mind when you’re considering where to distribute your content marketing initiatives.
2. Content Conversion
The best digital PR consultants don’t just get the message out.
It’s about leveraging content to drive measurable transactions.
It’s much more difficult to convert awareness into a measurable transaction on a third-party site because you don’t control the user experience.
My company built the podcast site for the LA Opera. As you can see, ticket sales are one click away from each episode.
You can’t do that on Spotify or iTunes.
If your podcast lives on your own website, you increase the likelihood that a listener will become a ticket holder.
On a third-party site, this is impossible.
To grow your audience, you may choose to make your podcast available on your site and iTunes and Spotify.
That’s a smart bet. But understand that from a proximity standpoint, if you can use your podcast to drive traffic to your website, that’s where you’ll be able to drive conversions.
I am very bullish on podcasting as a content marketing channel and have been since 2005, I launched my first podcast On the Record…Online.
If you want to build the business case for a podcast content marketing initiative, check out my six benefits and my podcasting dos and don’ts.
3. Content Marketing Drives Commerce
As you wade through the digital marketing strategy waters, ask yourself, “If my efforts are successful, what measurable transaction will occur?”
Getting the word out and building buzz is great. But it isn’t enough. Define what impact of that buzz is on the bottom line, not with ad value equivalency or outputs.
Track ROI against measurable outcomes.
This is what makes organic growth marketing so liberating. You’re not dependent on mass or paid media to drive transactions. You can do it yourself with owned and shared media.
There’s no way to draw a straight line between a print news placement and sales, but if someone finds your podcast through organic search, subscribes, and then comes back and buys a ticket, that customer journey can be measured.
Think about leveraging owned, shared and earned media to engage and excite.
If a prospect discovers your website through those search and clicks through, what measurable transaction will occur?
Digital Marketing Objectives
Social networks are where you leave stepping stones that let you make your web presence discoverable.
Unlike paid media, where you can introduce your brand to a firehose of unqualified prospects, owned and shared media channels will draw fewer but more qualified prospects who stay longer and buy more.
Each media channel has its unique characteristics and benefits.
Social or shared media is where people discover and connect. So, use your social networks to solidify existing relationships, make new friends, and participate in conversations that matter to your constituents.
Your content, on the other hand, is where conversion activities will most likely occur. This is where you can drive conversions through content marketing because you control the proximity of the conversion opportunity to the content.
A lot of people miss this. They don’t understand that they need both editorial content that’s interesting and valuable to readers and promotional content to convert those readers into prospective customers.
Suppose you are going to create and publish content marketing. In that case, you must appreciate the difference between editorial and advertising content and combine the two on the same page to generate transactions.
If you have the promotional content, you’re unlikely to lose our prospective customers through organic search. So, the idea is to create content that answers their questions when they are engaged in the buying process.