Content marketing is all about connecting with your customers, encouraging them to engage with your brand, your products, your services. It has major benefits on a number of fronts; it can increase search engine rankings, social media engagement and help to build your profile as an industry thought-leader.
So, if you’re already putting in all the effort to create unique, engaging content, then why not measure its success? Why not work out how you can improve upon it in the future? There are a few common metrics for measuring content marketing that everyone can use.
This is really the basic, entry-level type of measuring that every content marketer should be undertaking. It is fairly easy to do. You might even be measuring content consumption without realising that’s what you’re doing.
The main manifestation of content consumption is revealed via monitoring and fluctuations in website traffic. The whole idea of content curation and distribution (through social media channels, email and the like) is to drive traffic to your website. So, you should be measuring the increase of organic traffic to your website. This is fairly easy to accomplish – just be sure to set up Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. While increased traffic to your website is not exactly going to pay the bills, it is the first step in guiding potential customers down the sales funnel. It should also be a good indication of what type of content resonates best with your audience, so that you can produce more of it.
The next step up from content consumption is content engagement. It occurs when your audience actually engages with your content marketing program, usually evidenced by actively liking, sharing and commenting on your content on social media platforms. By monitoring and measuring how your audience is reacting to your brand on social media, you can pinpoint the types of content that are most well received, which platforms are most effective for distribution.
By measuring social media activity surrounding your brand or company, you can determine how social media is affecting your content marketing strategy as a whole. For instance, you should be aware if an increase in activity on Facebook results in an increase in email subscriptions or website traffic. You should be able to accurately attribute what actions occurred on what channels, as well as what type of content works on what channels.
OK. So, once you’ve got your audience consuming your content, and sharing and liking it on all the relevant social media channels, it’s about time to start monitoring levels of on-site engagement. There is absolutely no point in creating all this wonderful content, driving people to your website, and then not giving them a deeper means by which to engage with your brand. Give your audience something more: more content, more to do, more actions to take. Get them to download a whitepaper, or subscribe to your email list, or watch a video. Whatever is going to work best for your brand. Drive them through the sales funnel, measuring their progress all the way along.
The best way to measure on-site metrics is to look at your bounce rates. Look at the journey that each of your website visitors take; do they visit just one blog post, or do they navigate through to multiple pages and videos and posts. Look at how long your visitors remain on each page. Look at your most popular referral websites.
Lead Generation and Subscriptions
The whole point of any marketing campaign is to generate leads. So, make sure that you are measuring any and all leads. Leads are the members of your audience that are most likely to become your paying customers one day in the future. So, keep a tally of new email subscribers (and how they came across your company if at all possible), as well as new followers on social media. Nurture any new leads, particularly those gained through email subscriptions. Add them to your client management system and communicate with them regularly (without going the hard sell). A great way to increase leads is to offer something of value for free (fact sheets, whitepapers, templates, tools) in exchange for an email address. Then, monitor the rate at which you are generating new leads, and which content is generating the most leads.
Finally, we come to the pièce de résistance, the reason for content marketing in the first place: conversions. You must monitor your conversions, your sales, your new customers. You should know what percentage of your clients have been cultivated as a result of your content marketing efforts. At the end of the day, you need to show return on investment for your content marketing program. The biggest return possible? New clients.
Less Quantifiable Content Marketing Metrics
There are two somewhat less quantifiable, overarching metrics that are also worth keeping in mind when it comes to measuring content marketing:
- Thought Leadership: content marketing is brilliant when it comes to building thought leadership for your brand, or as an individual. Naturally, if you are producing and distributing quality content on a specific topic again and again and again, you and your brand will become the expert on said topic. People and companies will begin to seek out your advice naturally. This can be quite difficult to measure. Although, you should be an increase in your social media followers, and you may even start to see invitations to speak at industry events arriving in your inbox, or quotes appearing in the media.
- Brand Awareness: this can be nearly impossible to measure, unless you have the time and the budget to embark upon a market research program (both before and after your content marketing program is put into place). But, brand awareness is essential. Think about it. If potential customers or clients aren’t even aware that your company and its products and services exist, they aren’t exactly likely to be knocking down your door.
If you’re after some tools to help you measure the content marketing metrics mentioned above, then take a look at Content Marketing Monitoring and Evaluation Tools.