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July 07, 2020
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The holistic guide to measuring content marketing success

By Christopher O | Time to Read: 00:06:00
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The holistic guide to measuring content marketing success
Marketing

Content marketing is here to stay, and we love to see the growths that it is bringing to the table with every passing day.

It would be interesting to know that 62% of marketers do not know how to measure the effectiveness and success of their campaigns. This might be why 27% of content marketers citing their biggest challenge is the lack of data.

Know that content marketing is no longer something you do based on gut feeling. With the slew of content marketing tools out there, you would be poor not to take advantage properly.

That stops right now, though.

In this piece, we take a look at what to look at when measuring content marketing campaign success – and effectively so.

First Things First

Before we go into measuring the success of your content marketing campaigns, we have to set some groundwork.

For one, you should be ready to document the process as we go forward. Already, 63% of businesses do not have a documented content strategy to their name. You are shooting yourself in the foot right from the onset if this sounds like you. After all, there is no way to know what you measure against if you do not have a reference point.

That said, you should also estimate your cost of creating content.

Such an estimation will take into account everything from your content creator's salary, how much time/ resources are out in by other departments, and more. You should also account for the image, video, and creation of other graphical elements. Every cost of outsourcing that went into that content creation should not be left out. This cost is what you compare your earnings from the content marketing campaign against.

For the former, a documented strategy means you know what key performance indicators to look for right from the start. With that, you also have benchmarks and ceilings to hit. Thus, they keep you in check throughout the project. These benchmarks are what we are looking at right now. Instead of just measuring your campaign against the money, try these:

1. Lead Quality

It is one thing to generate leads, and it is yet another thing to generate quality leads.

Let’s say two brands, X and Y, have the same product at the same price points. Brand X could generate just 200 leads yet be more profitable than Y that got 1,000 leads on a single piece of content. If the number of quality leads for X was 150/200, that beats 100/ 1000 from Y.

That is why you need to not only take note of the leads coming in but also the ones that fall within your target demographic.

The best way to do so is by observing visitors that grab your lead magnet. Track this batch of visitors to see which ones visit your pricing page – since that indicates a willingness to buy from the onset. You can get that done by setting up Google Analytics goals.

Likewise, know what kind of content turns people into leads. Check out the kind of people becoming leads so that you can optimize the said content better in the future.

2. Conversions

Of what use is having a thousand daily visitors if none of them yield any sales for you?

Lead quality will only get you so far when talking to top management staff. What determines whether you keep getting support is the level of sales you can manage with your strategy.

Thus, it is time to start looking at the volume of traffic you have, which converts into sales.

Every industry has a benchmark for conversions, so that will be a nice KPI for you to reference when setting your goals. Make sure to work towards achieving the industry average, at worst.

From there, you can observe what worked and what didn’t. Armed with such information, you can launch an even better content marketing campaign for next time.

3. Social Shares

It is now increasingly evident that people will share content that they find worthy – not just because you asked nicely. Thus, your social shares are a great way to understand the kind of influence that your content is having on the audience. Sometimes, it is not that your content is not good enough.

It might just be that you have not included as much information as you can. After all, the data shows that the posts that get the most shares are about 3,000 words long. This does not mean a piece of content with lesser words won’t get shared too, but it might not be as well.

Likewise, social shares tell you that you are doing something right. With social shares, you also get to reach a wider audience than you can directly impact. That improves your impressions, increases your chances of attracting leads and making new conversions too.

4 Bounce Rate

Some people like to measure their success based on traffic. While we are not against that, you should be more focused on the bounce rate on your website.

After all, of what use is having 1,000 visitors if only 100 read what you had to say? In that case, seeing only your traffic count as success is wrong since it does not tell the full story. The worst part is that you will be penalized for having too high a bounce rate.

When visitors exit your platform almost as fast as they came in, they send an indirect message to the search algorithms. The message is that your content is not as worth it and relevant to the keywords associated with it. Search engine algorithms will respond by pushing your content down in the search pile.

That is how they ensure other people get to see relevant content first. Knowing fully well that 95% of people only regard the first page of search results, you will be leaving too much money on the table by not checking your bounce rates.

5. Time on Page

This is almost tied to the bounce rate above. Engaging content will have people spending more time on it. The reverse is the case for poor content.

As a content marketing person, you should use all the tools available to make the audience glued to their screens. This includes all of the storytelling and visual skills to amplify your message. Only then can you record a higher on-screen time.

6. Email Opt-In

When a visitor makes a move to give you their email details in return for your lead magnet, one of three things has happened:

  • They hold your offering in high regard, so much that they are willing to trust you with their email details.
  • They have been following you for a while and are finally convinced.
  • They are still on the fence, but they are swaying towards considering your offering at all.

No matter which it is, it is good news for you.

Email overload from marketers is preventing many website visitors from wanting to let go of their contact details today. Thus, it is getting harder to have people commit to the email opt-in. Comparing the number of email opt-ins against your KPIs is thus a considerable measure of success too.

By extension, opting into the email means you have potential conversions on your hand. All you have to do is work the funnel right (another stage of content marketing) to seal the deal.

7. Other Actionable Metrics

Depending on your unique niche and industry, there will be other metrics that you are on the lookout for. Make sure to have documented them at the start of the content marketing campaign. That is the only way to see how well you have come after specific points in time.

When setting KPIs, though, some things you want to keep in mind are:

  • Relevance – with content marketing, there are a lot of metrics to measure. The question is, do you need to measure them at all? For example, what would you achieve by tracking how many comments you get on your social media channels? Of course, engagement is critical, but to what end for you?
  • Reporting – as mentioned above, there is a lot to measure. That does not mean that you should report a lot, though.

Have a good idea of the executives you are working with. Know what they are looking for and work towards that. If they are more sales-driven, for example, report the data that shows how much quality leads you have generated, the rate of conversion and ROI from content marketing spends. This does not mean you do not track other metrics. It only means that such other parameters are yours to use, and the relevant ones go to the appropriate departments.

  • Accuracy – never try to measure any metric based on guesstimates. If you do not have the right tools for measurement, get one. Depending on extrapolating data by yourself might not work. Whatever you think about content marketing numbers, they are most likely not how you have made them up to be.

Do any of these trends jump out? Get in touch with a thought leadership expert to find out more

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