As more and more businesses and brands turn to content marketing, there’s also an increasing pressure to showcase results. Providing readers with valuable, engaging content is excellent, but businesses also need to measure the impact of that content to determine the best type of content, the best distribution channels, the most effective advertising tactics and social media strategies.
To help you map the outcomes of your content marketing strategy, we put together a list of six content marketing ROI metrics you should be tracking.
Start with one of the most basic metrics: How many people does your content attract? It’s important to test different types of content and distribution techniques that can be easily reflected in your website traffic. Get creative with your content and see what your audience likes best.
After you’ve invested time and resources in creating valuable content for your target audience, you need to make sure that you make it available to them and promote it effectively. Traffic indicators will tell you that, as well as which are your best-performing distribution channels.
HubSpot, Google Analytics, Mixpanel or Moz are excellent tools for tracking your traffic.
The success of your content can’t be measured solely by the people who have visited your website. The buyer’s journey will be different for every step of the conversion funnel. Some content assets will simply aim to connect you with prospective leads and build a relationship, but you need time for that.
Sometimes, your content will travel further than your traffic indicators show. That’s why it’s best to keep an eye on your reach. How many people are sharing your content, talking about it, referring their friends to it? Each distribution channel will have its own reach, giving you an overview of your extended online audience. You’ll also want to curate other content pieces to build a relevant community in your industry.
You can measure your social reach with tools like HubSpot, Buffer, Hootsuite or ViralHeat.
If you’ve created top-of-funnel content such as a blog article, you’ll want your prospective leads to move down the conversion funnel. To guide them toward this next step you should provide them with a relevant call to action that tells them the next step. If you’ve written a blog article on “Top 3 bed-and-breakfast places you can’t miss in Mordor,” offer your readers the possibility to download a brochure with “Ring-bearing and 10 other activities to include in your trip this summer.”
Connecting content that’s meant to attract people to your website with content designed to convert them into leads is critical. Your CTA click-through rate will show whether you’re pairing the right content and creating a logical content funnel. Learn more on how to map lead nurturing content to each stage in the sales cycle here.
Image via HubSpot
After you’ve successfully guided your visitors toward a content asset landing page, you need to measure how many of them actually go through. This can tell you a number of things, such as how well the page was designed, how efficient your copy is, whether images are helpful, whether the lead tracking form is too complicated, etc.
Here’s a great landing page example from Unbounce:
If some of your landing pages are not performing as well as they should be and you’ve ruled out the quality of your visitors, check to see if you’re making any of these popular landing page mistakes.
After you’ve successfully managed to gather a number of leads with your lead generation content, it’s time to step up your game and create a lead nurturing campaign. You’ll probably want to set up an email drip campaign where you can share relevant, middle-of-funnel content that your leads will find useful when getting ready for a purchase.
Email content and decision-stage content will be your main focus here. Measure its performance by tracking click-through rates and your lead-to-customer conversion rate. These should be somewhere around 2 percent to 5 percent. If there is a process within the lead-to-customer process as well, focus on the middle metric, as well. At Multiple Streams, leads are turned into phone appointments (using the Timetrade app) before turning into customers. Therefore, they track website traffic to leads, leads to Timetrade phone appointments, and then Timetrade phone appointments to sales. All valuable metrics. They can reverse-engineer their top-performing pages that produce the most leads, phone appointments and sales, which ironically belong to an innocent-looking page with a subtle CTA at the end of the post.
Not sure if your traffic, offer or product is converting? Read more on conversion rate optimizations here.
How known is your brand? Who are your brand advocates? Use your social media communities to connect with people who are actively sharing and talking about your content. You can set up a separate campaign for new customers and design a loyalty program just for them. By tracking your online brand mentions you’ll be able to measure brand loyalty and brand advocacy.
You can use Hootsuite to track social mentions, key terms or hashtags, influencer and customer lists on Twitter. Topsy can also help you track the latest Tweets mentioning your brand, popular content or industry influencers.
There are several content marketing metrics that you could be tracking. These six metrics are essential to your content analysis. They will help you determine which content performs best, on which channel and how you can improve its conversion rates.
Ultimately, every piece of content you produce should have an objective. Use these metrics to track and measure those objectives. For more information on gauging success and tips for improving ROI, get your copy of "The ROI of Content Marketing" today.
Jeremy Page is the founder at Authority, a platform where experts tell people what they should buy.