Iterative Marketing Podcast Episode 36: Content Marketing To The ‘See’ State

To see the greatest return on investment, it’s necessary to continually improve our awareness state content marketing. In order to boost our efforts, we must understand our marketing objectives and how these differ by journey state.  In this episode, we explore the best ways to deliver content, measure engagement, improve and successfully optimize our content to the ‘See’ audience, the people that are qualified but aren’t currently in the market, to make a purchase.

In this episode, we discuss…

The Objective with ‘See’ Audience

  • ‘See’ audience is the audience that is qualified but not currently in market
  • The objective with the ‘See’ audience is to gather a consistent, sustained group of people around our brand
    • We can use meaningful and relevant awareness state content to aggregate and establish a means to stay in front of the ‘See’ audience
    • ​​Even though the ‘See’ audience isn’t ready to make a purchase, garnering their trust and affinity for our brand benefits us long term.
    • We shouldn’t try to move this audience to purchase or engage with sales-heavy content. However, if the ‘See’ audience has a high degree of brand awareness, products and services can be beneficial

Measuring Success Based on the Objectives

  • Our awareness state content marketing goal is to increase engagement and drive repeat visits to our content
  • We don’t just measure content engagement, but also our audience’s conversion into a known audience, allowing us to reach the same, qualified people again in the future
    • The most common, and generally most effective, method to convert prospects into a known audience is newsletter signups

The PESO Model

  • The PESO model, established by Gini Dietrich, helps marketers identify new opportunities to integrate channels into a new or existing content marketing program. It updates the Paid, Earned, Owned model of marketing to include Shared.
  • Paid –  buying an audience to increase awareness through native advertising via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
    • We are looking for:
      • Which channels drive the most subscriptions?
      • Which content drives the most subscriptions?
      • Which channels drive the most repeat traffic to our site?
    • Tips to achieve:
      • Make certain that newsletter subscription is set up and tracked as a goal in Google Analytics
      • Pick paid media channels and structure media buys that allow you to continuously market to the same, qualified audience
      • Strategically use retargeting technologies to build first-party data allowing you to aggregate an audience of non-subscribers
    • In order to iterate on paid media we must:
      • Pit different media channels and targeting methods against each other. Use new subscriptions as the KPI to determine the best channel
      • A/B test headlines with tools like Optimizely
      • Run tests for 2-3 days on one platform, then select the winner and launch across all platforms
  • Earned –  trading the value of our content in exchange for access to a third-party’s audience by utilizing influencer marketing and traditional PR.  In both cases, we are measuring the quantity and quality of audience we are able to acquire.
    • We are looking for:
      • Which media outlets and influencers drive the most traffic?
      • Which media outlets and influencers drive the best traffic?
      • Which media outlets and influencers drive the most word-of-mouth?
    • In order to iterate on earned media we must:
      • Identify what is resonating with our target media
      • Identify which media outlets and influencers drive the most subscribers, repeat visits and engaged visitors
      • Measure branded searches after higher profile press mentions to gauge a lift in awareness
      • Focus on the influencers and media that have the greatest impact
  • Shared – amplifying our content by getting non-influencers to share our content with their networks.This is attained through our own social media presence and providing sharing mechanisms on the content itself
    • We are looking for:
      • Which content is most “shareable”?
      • What can we do to ignite sharing of content?
    • Tips to achieve:
      • Use BuzzSumo to find which content gets shared and focus on the content that has an audience in common
      • Provide multiple, prominent opportunities for your audience to share the content
      • Pick a couple of key social platforms and learn their algorithms and best practices for getting content shared
    • To iterate on shared media we must:
      • Test different social posting formats to find which types of headlines/lead-ins and images lead to the most shares with different audience segments
      • Test posting frequency and time of day for owned, non-paid social channels
      • Test placement, prominence, etc. of sharing buttons to maximize sharing from our site
  • Owned Media – to achieve this a body of evergreen content needs to be developed that will be sought-out by the target audience.  Also, obtaining links to this content to drive inbound traffic and search engine ranking.  Then, retain and stay in front of a subscribed audience with relevant content
    • We are looking for two very different things:
      • Are we attracting new subscribers and repeat visitors via search and referrals (backlinks)?
      • Are we retaining our subscribers and driving engagement via our targeted distribution?
    • Tips to achieve:
      • Make sure that the boxes have been checked on basic technical SEO
      • Put a program in place to build backlinks with every post published
      • Pay special attention to the title and meta descriptions of every published piece
      • Set a target for the percentage of your content that is evergreen
      • Set a regular cadence for publishing and a standard process of promotion
      • Leverage both email and first-party data to establish your audience
    • To iterate on owned media we must:
      • A/B test email subject lines and body copy
      • A/B test HTML vs. plain text email
      • Watch unsubscribes and flag content/emails that result in spikes in unsubscribe rates
      • Never compare open rates across lists or sends

How to Iterate on Content in the ‘See’ State

  • Understand which content contributes to a successful customer journey
  • Robust metrics must be in place
    • Engagement metrics beyond sessions:
      • % New audience
      • Dwell time
      • Scroll depth
      • Conversions
      • Newsletter Signups
    • Work with your web team or a third-party vendor like Brilliant Metrics to establish metrics
    • A/B testing and applying what you learn requires additional content


  • Effective awareness state content marketing requires continual improvements
  • The objective with the ‘See’ audience is to gather a consistent, sustained group of people
  • Look to measure and increase engagement and drive repeat visits to our content
  • Implementing the PESO Model allows marketers to identify opportunities to integrate additional channels into a new or existing program
  • Metrics will help to understand which content contributes to a successful customer journey

For more information on the charity in this episode, please consider  making a donation to a local food bank.

The Iterative Marketing Podcast,  a production of Brilliant Metrics, ran from February 2016 to September 2017. Music by SeaStock Audio.

Learn more about Iterative Marketing and listen to other episodes on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play.

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