Content marketing is everywhere. Going an entire day without being exposed to some form or another would be nearly impossible. In fact, over 70 percent of businesses plan on producing more content this year, as per a GetResponse study.
As most businesses know, authentic content can be one of the most powerful weapons in the entire marketing mix. However, it’s extremely difficult for a strategy to reach its full potential without examining the right data. Proper measurement involves a keen eye on a number of different sets. In our capacity as a content agency for both B2B and B2C brands, we consider the following as the most important ones to watch.
Content traffic should be at the top of your list of metrics to examine. This information is much more than just the number of people who visit your platform. Knowing exactly where your traffic is coming from is important for realizing your most effective channels.
Generally speaking, there are four major sources of traffic.
- Direct – Direct traffic refers to search methods like when someone actually types in your website URL or clicks a link within an email. This one isn’t as closely tied to your content marketing as the next three sources, but is a good indicator of brand awareness across the web. Don’t be discouraged if this one doesn’t grow as much as the others.
- Organic – Content is a cornerstone for how your platform ranks in the search engines. The more valuable material your produce, the higher your page authority will be. Organic traffic is tied to when people are led to your content by entering relevant keywords or phrases into the search bar. If numbers are low here, it might be time to reassess your keyword usage.
- Social – As you could have guessed, this one refers to the traffic generated through social media networks. To bring these numbers up, try committing to a healthy posting schedule or place your focus on creating more enticing headlines.
- Referral – This one is in relation to your off-site content efforts. Guest posting and publishing on third-party platforms with links to your website is a prime example. Referral traffic is great for gauging your strategy outside the primary approach.
Luckily, these metrics are incredibly easy to keep an eye on. In Google Analytics, select the “Acquisition” tab to get a full report of the exact sources in which your traffic is coming from.
Your content is essentially useless without traffic. Having a firm understanding of the sources is necessary for finding your strong points, and the areas in need of improvement.
Leads are the precious building blocks of your entire business. In most cases, lead generation is the overarching goal of your content marketing strategy. One of the foundational rules is you must create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey. This is how you gather prospects and judge their likelihood of converting.
To make things easier, start by inserting a simple email form on each page of your website’s content. This is a great way to track where prospects were when they decided to join your list.
As quick of a solution as this is, it only scratches the surface of understanding the extent of this metric. To get the full picture, you will need to follow a reliable attribution model.
If you utilize several channels, a multi-touch model is the way to go. A linear approach would give credit to all interactions and touchpoints throughout the sales funnel.
Using this example, someone subscribed for the mailing list to receive a free e-book. Then, they read one of the newsletters talking about a trade show, went to the event, learned about a webinar, attended, then become a customer. In this case, each interaction with your branded content was equally responsible for the conversion.
In a weighted model, the credit would go to the first interaction (the free e-book that motivated them to sign up).
Lead attribution provides great insight as to what your most valuable content types are in terms of bringing in leads.
It would almost be a crime to talk about content metrics and not mention shares. These are perhaps the best indicator of how well your messaging is resonating with viewers.
There are two common types of sharing in the world of content marketing.
The first one is in relation to engagement on social media and measures how many people not only viewed your content, but relay it to their respective community. The best part about this type is it’s extremely easy for the viewer to do. In most cases, it only involves a quick tap from anyone who comes across it. Due to the overly simplistic process, there is always the chance your content will go viral and spread around the world. Keep an eye on your shares per post. Buffer For Business has a great feature that lets you track all of your shares and provides information on factors like averages and most popular content types.
The second type is direct sharing. This refers to the people who shared your content upon viewing it directly through your website. While there are no certainties in relation to search engine algorithms, it’s heavily suggested that shares from social signals play a factor in how your pages rank on the SERPS.
As great as likes and comments are, shares are what really expands your audience. For every one person who shares, your content is exposed to a new community.
Return On Investment
Finally, calculating the total ROI of your marketing strategy is what all your efforts come down to.
Start by taking all the time and resources spent on your operation from A to Z. If you are going through an agency, this will be easy as you can simply compare the amount they are charging against total revenue. But, if you are doing it all in-house, you’ll need to factor in your team’s salaries, time, and resources spent on the projects.
Once you have totaled up all of your costs, you will need to analyze it in relation to the value the campaign brought to your business. How much money has it brought in? How much has your brand exposure increased?
- Cost – How much to produce a piece of content?
- Utilization – How much content was actually published?
- Performance – How did it fare in terms of engagement?
Determining these metrics is crucial for seeing the big picture of your strategy. Fortunately, the odds are in your favor. A study by DemandMetric found that content marketing typically costs 62% less than traditional forms of marketing and can result approximately three times as many leads.
Content is nothing without the proper metrics to justify decisions and measure success. However, simply observing your data isn’t enough. Collecting is the easy part. The trick is knowing what to do with these insights in order to make significant improvements to your brand. Take each measurement with a grain of salt. Content marketing is a constant game of interpreting and optimizing. This is where you really get to be creative and let your expertise and persona shine through. Keep an eye on these metrics and learn how you can use them to improve people’s lives.