My first content marketing job failed, based on the measurements for success I established. I made my first magazine at the age of 10. It was a fanzine related to my enthusiasm for the Washington Diplomats, part of the long defunct North America Soccer League (NASL), and owner of the least poetic of all team nicknames, the Dips.
I hand made the magazines and complied statistics about the teams, players and games of the NASL. My mother, who was a teacher, allowed me to use the mimeograph machine at her office to make a dozen slightly wet and purple copies, which were stapled. I brought the issues to school, and offered them for sale in a unit of my class that was devoted to helping us understand economics. We reserved two hours at the end of the day each Friday to buy and sell to our classmates.
A guy named Sunil Chitra sold erasers with staples pushed in that could be used in our games of racecar before school. Sam Fowler made some sort of kettle popcorn. They met their goals. I know I bought from both of them. My foray into magazine publishing ended with two magazines sold. By the standards of how success could be measured in that situation, it was clearly a failure.
Creating content today can be a pure passion (like fanzines about NASL soccer) for fun, or it can be used to drive business aims, in which case it must be measured for its effectiveness. Content today is just as critical to the growth of a business as capital or access to credit. But content has to move the needle, and we need marks to tell how far the needle has moved.
At Hammock, we create custom content strategy based on our client’s goals and we benchmark and measure those things that we can influence and which drive the business goals. We then create and source the best content for the job. But that’s not enough. We set the marks with our clients, and track the movement of the needle every month, using custom reports to show how it’s working, and when necessary, make a course adjustment.
It’s still great fun to be in a business of creating content. But you can’t buy popcorn or little eraser cars unless you can create content that works.