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These days, if you're a business, content is among your greatest assets. Regardless of what vertical you're in, you're in the business of solving problems. Content serves as a key resource to communicate value, demonstrate your expertise, and build relationships with prospective or existing customers.

Businesses are recognizing the value content can bring to their organizations, and they're spending increased amounts of their budgets on content production.

Though marketing departments understand the benefits of content marketing, they struggle to articulate content's return on investment (ROI) to internal stakeholders or to apply any strategic lessons learned.

Content should never be for content's sake

All content produced should be through the lens of strategic objectives. All content should serve business goals. Ryan Skinner, senior analyst at Forrester Research emphasizes this when pointing out the differences between brands and publishers. Publishers' "attention as a product" does not apply to content marketing, he states. Likes and shares, he points out, are not sufficient on their own. They must contribute to ROI.

"In many instances, that 'make content worth reading' commandment becomes an excuse for confused marketers and greedy agencies to play media magnate and accumulate 'likes' to no purpose," Skinner writes. Rather than thinking like publishers, for whom readership is the end goal, Skinner advises the modern marketer to remember that "[she or he] has to earn the interest of her market, and has a tremendous new arsenal of insights, channels and resources to do that."

Content marketing strategy needs to be measured by how well content serves business goals. Those goals might vary by department, target audience, or marketing initiative—but should nevertheless provide actionable insights on content effectiveness.

As content becomes increasingly central to business processes, Web content management software should be more than a productivity tool publishing content to channels. It should be an ROI machine, communicating content's performance and contributing to the overall goals of the business.

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image of Joanna Madej

Joanna Madej is content marketing manager at Hippo CMS, a content performance platform .

LinkedIn: Joanna Madej