Is Your Content Marketing Successful?
Content marketing is about attracting the right target audience and getting them to take appropriate action as a result of engaging with your content. Content marketing metrics is about measuring the results.
As businesses continue to move a greater proportion of their budget to content marketing, marketers must associate results with this investment that are aligned with their goals. To this end, measure what matters, not just what’s easy-to-track.
Start by determining your business and marketing goals for your content marketing. Then select the metrics that are most effective to track your progress towards achieving these goals.
Here are 53 actionable content marketing metrics broken out by content marketing goal.
Content Marketing Goal 1: Build your brand
Branding is an integral element of content marketing; it enables your audience to recognize your content based on a number of unique, identifiable attributes. For organizations with limited marketing budgets, it’s critical that your content increases brand recognition. Brand-related metrics tend to be indirect requiring surveys to determine results.
- Do visitors recognize your brand based on your content marketing?
- Does your content marketing improve brand recall?
- Does your content marketing enhance brand favorability?
- Does your content marketing increase prospects’ intent to purchase?
Content Marketing Goal 2: Attract new prospects
Driving traffic to your website (as well as your microsites, blog and other content) enables people to learn more about your products and services
- How many visitors do you have? Is this number increasing, staying the same or declining? This metric reveals the effectiveness of your content marketing.
- How many unique visitors do you have per month or other time period? How has this number changed over time? Is it increasing steadily or is there a seasonal pattern?
- What is your bounce rate? Do people find your site by accident when they’re looking for something else? This may mean that your content is targeting the wrong keywords and questions.
- Where are your readers physically located? This matters if you’re selling advertising and/or your product requires shipping or delivery and other operational logistics.
- What type of devices do readers use to consume your content? Since over half of the US population has a smartphone, understand how and where your prospects seek your content (including location, phone number and address.) Also, don’t underestimate the proportion of your target audience that uses a tablet to consume content and shop. This is important for determining your information format as well as the specifics of the information.
- Do visitors register for emailings? Get visitors to sign up for your emailings to stay in contact.
- Do visitors sign up for feeds? Understand that this tends to be a more experienced online group.
- Do visitors request other business or purchase information via email, chat or contact form included with your content?
- Do readers call your business? This assumes you’ve included your phone number and/or handle wherever you’ve posted content. (You can use different phone numbers or codes to track results.)
Content Marketing Goal 3: Increase customer engagement
Driving consumer interaction with your content marketing helps eliminate obstacles to sales and building customer relationships.
- How much time do visitors spend with your content? Does this vary based on the day of the week and time of the year? What proportion of your readership is returning visitors?
- How many pages do visitors read on average? Do readers spend more time on specific articles or topics? Are these areas related to the products you want to promote?
- Do your readers share your posts via email? This is particularly easy for readers who receive your blog’s emailings.
- Do readers share your content via social sharing? Does your content marketing drive earned media impressions via social media shares? The most popular options are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.
- Do readers comment on your content? Most people will consume the content without taking any further action.
Content Marketing Goal 4: Improve search optimization
One content marketing objective is to create information around your top keywords to help your organization rank better in organic search.
- Do your content marketing URLs use meaningful words rather computer generated IDs?
- Do you use a variety of media formats like video, audio, e-book or other content?
- Are your images (and other non-text content) optimized for search? Do they use descriptive words in their filenames, have title tags and alt tags to improve optimization?
- How many sites link (in-bound links) to your content marketing? How influential are these sites?
- How many outbound links does your content have? Has this helped get attention of experts in your field?
- Does your content link to other relevant business information (internal links)?
- Has your organization’s ranking for its top keywords improved?
Content Marketing Goal 5: Build thought leadership
Developing a thought leadership platform is important for supporting your brand, business and reputation.
- Is your content gaining traction? Don’t just look at point in time data. Examine performance over time.
- Which content clicks with your audience? This includes the type of articles people like and the categories that resonate with readers. Are you meeting unmet information needs?
- Do other thought leaders link to your content?
- Do other thought leaders engage with you in the comment section of your content or on social media?
- Do you get media requests for your insights?
- Do you get requests to contribute to your content offering?
- Are you asked to contribute to other content in the industry?
- Do you get asked to present at industry events?
- Do you get work requests you can attribute to your content marketing? Ideally, these leads come through a form or link in your content marketing.
Content Marketing Goal 6: Increase lead generation
Leverage the power of your content marketing to drive new sales leads. To this end, it’s important to include a relevant a call-to-action to get readers to take the next step, a promotional code to help track results, and a targeted landing page that uses the same wording and branding.
- Do you get leads or inquiries from your content marketing? This can be downloads, form completions or other appropriate metric. This relates to specific lead generation targeted content. It may require targeted content marketing follow up.
- Does your content marketing help build prospect relationships? This relates to keeping leads warm through on-going communications such as email.
Content Marketing Goal 7: Drive sales
Depending your business and its focus, the specific content marketing related revenue metrics may vary.
- Can you track sales to your content marketing? Include links to relevant product pages. Also link to your content from your product pages.
- Do you support sales with how-to and specific product information? Track product page print outs, targeted promotion codes used and click-throughs to purchase or place in cart.
- Does your content marketing reduce time-to-purchase? Do you link to it from your emailings and other websites?
- Does your content generate advertising sales including banners, Google Adsense and sponsorships? Just because you’re not a media company doesn’t mean you can’t create advertising revenue streams. Amazon sells advertising on its product pages.
- Does your content marketing generate affiliate sales?
Content Marketing Goal 8: Increase customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is important for encouraging customers to make repeat purchases and being brand supporters.
- Does your content reduce returns with post-purchase support? Help buyers by offering instructions and other information for using your products.
- Do your customers buy additional or related products after consuming your content? Encourage this behavior with links to your product pages.
- Do your customers share your content with their family and friends? Include social sharing buttons and a call-to-action.
- Do your customers contribute content in the form of ratings and reviews on your website? Use post-purchase emailings to persuade customers to submit reviews.
- Do your customers share photos or images using your product? Ask customers to share their photos and stories on social media.
Content Marketing Goal 9: Reduce costs
Depending on your organization, senior management may use content marketing to provide information to an array of publics including prospects, customers, and others, more cost effectively than other alternatives.
- What are your content creation costs? This includes both internal and external expenses. To this end track the number of hours each contributor spends developing content and their hourly rate. Make sure it’s fully loaded to account for relevant overhead.
- What are your content marketing design costs? Are these one time or on-going?
- What are your editorial support costs? Does someone edit and proof each piece of content?
- What are your technical costs? This includes uploading content, adding in links, image resizing and placement and on-going site maintenance.
- Has your content marketing reduced customer service inquiries?
- Has your content marketing decreased the cost of search optimization?
- Has your content marketing reduced your other marketing expenses such as third party advertising, or transferred those costs to less expensive advertising?
While you’re at it, don’t under-estimate the value of calculating your content marketing ROI. Hubspot found that just the act of doing so improved results.
To ensure that your content marketing achieves your business goals, define your objectives as concretely as possible through the use of target numbers, and select appropriate metrics to track your progress.
What metrics do you track to assess your content marketing success?
This 7-step process will help you define and refine your 2016 business growth goals and segment them into achievable marketing objectives.
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