Your Share of Conversation refers to how you show up in online discussions that are relevant to you (your company, your product, your reputation, your influence – depending on variables you define). Share of Conversation considers Share of Voice (SOV), your keywords, SEO factors, and various metrics related to earned media.
Ideally, you could calculate your Share of Conversation (SoQSO). Then, with that metric in hand, you could create a strategy for increasing your Share of Conversation. Unfortunately, that calculation isn’t a simple one. It requires identifying factors and variables that are unique to every business; unique to every marketing initiative within a business.
Let’s start with a look at the known metrics related to SoQSO.
The difference between Share of Conversation and SOV
As a measurement of online popularity, Share of Voice (SOV) has dominated. However, SOV measures mentions of a brand – instances, occurrences and appearances. Creative marketers can skew and manipulate those numbers, which compromises the value of that metric.
An SoQSO metric tests the viability and validity of SOV, and provides a more genuine measurement. Therefore, a metric for share of conversation would be more useful to marketers who want to avoid vanity metrics. The objective is to accurately gauge where relevant conversations are taking place. From there, you can learn who is involved in them, and how they might relate to your business goals.
An SoQSO metric would essentially shine an interrogation light on your SOV metric. A conversation metric (versus a voice metric) would reveal details invaluable to your strategies for not only reaching your target audience, but engaging with them in a meaningful way.
Why Increasing Your Share of Conversation Matters
Keep in mind that Share of Voice and Share of Conversation, while related, are miles apart when it comes to applying them to practical matters.
When you think of SOV, picture someone standing at the edge of a noisy crowd, yelling their heart out . . . with a huge megaphone. There may even be other people doing the same thing all around the edges of that noisy crowd. But, the one with the biggest megaphone will likely capture the highest decibel rating. The noise level is measurable.
Now, picture that same noisy crowd. But notice – whether you’re walking through the crowd or watching it on a drone’s camera – the crowd is actually made up of clusters. The people are interacting mostly within their cluster, but occasionally moving to or merging with other clusters. What is causing this clustering behavior? Why do people move from one to another? And, what happens when someone switches clusters, or when one cluster absorbs another? This is where the ability to measure Share of Conversation comes in.
SOV measures volume. SoQSO measures interactions, involvement and engagement.
Measurable Factors that can Increase Share of Conversation
Share of Voice (SOV)
As mentioned earlier, the calculation of your Share of Conversation takes your SOV into consideration. But, to get to a more meaningful understanding of how your online content is affecting online conversations, several other factors are added to the mix.
Keywords and SEO
Keywords are invariably connected to your SEO metrics. They have an important role in identifying the opportunities and advantages of conversations that could potentially include you. However, keywords and SEO ranking are not the end-all and be-all of your online presence. In fact, we caution you against designing your content strategy around these two indicators alone. It’s tempting, but it can be dangerous. It’s like careening down the highway with your eyes glued to your rearview mirror.
Nonetheless, keywords and SEO metrics provide a good level of detail related to your positioning in online conversations. Therefore, you should factor in those metrics when calculating your share of conversation.
Enter “earned media.” This factor is a bit more elusive than SOV and SEO metrics. It’s less quantitative and is more dependent on qualitative aspects. This is where consumer behavior, word-of-mouth (including off-line conversations), and (shudder) feelings come into play. When we say “feelings,” we refer to everything from “appeased” to “elated;” from “aware” to “enthusiastic,” from “conscious” to “converted.”
While quantifying and measuring earned media is challenging, there is an upside. Increasing your share of earned media directly affects your ability to increase your share of conversation. And while we do not yet have an easy metric for share of conversation, an analysis of your earned media puts you on the right path.
With measurable and movable factors in view, you have the beginnings of an actionable plan to increase your share of conversation which you can implement as part of your strategy for topic curation and content creation.
5 Ways to Increase Your Share of Conversation
- Start with the factors that contribute to your Share of Conversation: SOV, keywords, SEO and earned media. Those factors drive your strategy. Your strategy drives those factors. Understand them.
- Audit your current digital assets and identify which ones are most likely contributing to the other measurable factors. You might notice that practitioner marketing – content written by industry practitioners, for their counterparts in your industry – performs best. These peer-to-peer conversations tend to be influential and build trust.
- Based on your most valuable existing digital assets, build out your editorial calendar to re-purpose that content.
- Evaluate your engagement strategy, or devise one if you don’t have one in place. Ensure your content includes opportunities for exchange and interaction. Then, monitor those conversations. They will provide your baseline SoQSO metrics.
- Create a series of Calls to Action (CTAs) that are measurable and related to your share-of-conversation goals.
Share of Conversation can’t be bought, manufactured or manipulated. That’s what makes it valuable. It has to be earned, and that requires work. Nonetheless, you can establish and increase your share of conversation by monitoring and managing each of the factors that go into it: SOV, SEO, keywords and earned media. Then, that knowledge can be applied to a content marketing strategy that brings you into the conversations where you can add the most value and attract the attention of your ideal customers.