Are you measuring the success of your content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic approach to attract and retain supporters, members or customers.
However, as with any business activity, if you don't measure your content marketing, there is no real way of telling whether it is working.
In this article we look at how you can measure, track and optimise content visibility, engagement and impact on conversions.
According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 86% of B2C marketers consider content marketing a key strategy with 72% saying it increases engagement.
Defining your audience
Before you even start measuring the success of your content marketing, you need to make sure you are speaking to the right people.
If you don't yet have the data to be sure about your audience, using online customer surveys and questionnaires is an effective way to find out who is interested in your business or organisation and what kind of content they enjoy.
Once you've defined your audience, you can tailor your content to their preferences both in terms of the content itself and its format.
Making content measurable
Rather than releasing content to the four winds and hoping for the best, you need to find a way to track that piece of content's performance.
For blog posts and content pages on your website, this is relatively easy as you can set up Google Analytics or an alternative and see the figures for yourself.
Likewise, content you post on most social media platforms can be tracked via the platform's own analytics or insights feature.
Things get a little trickier when it comes to offline content (e.g. speaking events, newspaper articles, etc.) and content posted on exernal websites, like guest blogs.
In these cases, one strategy is to create a unique webpage linked to that source. You won't capture everyone who reads that content but you will be able to make an educated guess based on your standard conversion rate and the number of people who visit that unique page.
Tracking different forms of engagement
The easiest way to measure the performance of your online content is to look at your analytics reports. For example, go into Google Analytics and look under the Behavior/Site Content/All Pages menu. You will see a table showing your most popular pages in rank order.
This table includes the number of unique page views you received (a measure of visibility), the average time people spent on the page and the bounce rate (both measures of engagement).
Pages and posts with a high number of visitors but low engagement should be improved to take advantage of their traffic. Try adding images, providing updated information or changing the format.
If you find that a page is very engaging but has relatively few visitors, you should focus on search engine optimisation so that the content appears higher in the search engines.
The ultimate user engagement is when someone buys a product or service or takes some other action that benefits your business or nonprofit. Google Analytics can track conversions for you if you enable Goals.
Goals are divided into Revenue, Acquisition, Inquiry or Engagement types and you can configure templates based on how you define a conversion.
Measuring social media engagement
Most social media platforms include an analytics or insights section. Some provide more information than others but all should provide the number of views and clicks.
Facebook Insights also publishes the number of reactions (comments and shares) each post receives, graphs depicting when your followers are online and how your performance compares with other pages you follow.
Twitter Analytics displays the number of impressions each Tweet receives and provides monthly summaries of top Tweets, follower gains, mentions and profile visits.
Reporting and refining
To make best use of all this data, it is a good idea to organise them into concise reports. That way you can monitor content performance on a monthly basis. Once you have tracked your content over a few months, you will have a benchmark you can use for comparing future results with.
Over time, you can tweak your content strategy to better serve the expectations of your visitors while boosting conversions.