Content marketing requires a well-documented strategy and time to work. That said, how are you measuring your success? What’s working and what’s not? Where do you need to make adjustments? What should you drop or add?
For those unfamiliar with the term, Content Marketing is a strategy that leading industrial and manufacturing companies leverage at a growing rate. It centers on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content (e.g. guides, video, tips sheets, case studies, etc.) to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer engagement and action with your company.
Below are 7 essential ways to quantify the success of your content marketing efforts:
#1: Website Traffic
Understanding your website traffic is key to knowing whether you’re reaching your target audience and whether they are finding you. Google Analytics is a great free tool to help you get a handle on your performance and key metrics.
While Google Analytics offers a vast amount of data on your site, the top 5 metrics to track are:
- Users (aka “unique visitors”): This metric shows how many unique people viewed or interacted with your website. Ideally, this number should be growing.
- Sessions (or "visits"): Measures each time a user visits your site. If your site provides engaging content and useful tools, users will return on a consistent basis.
- Session Duration (previously called “time on site”): This shows the total amount of time, in seconds, that a user spent on your website. Viewing the average session duration will tell you how long people stay on your site. In general, longer sessions indicate that users are more engaged with your site and finding what they need.
- Pages Per Session: This is the average number of pages viewed on your website during a session. More pages per session may mean that the users are engaged and exploring your site.
- Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of sessions during which someone only visits one page and then leaves your site. In general, the lower this metric, the better.
- Sources of Traffic: Most websites will have traffic coming from four different sources. It’s ideal to have traffic coming from a combination of all four of these: direct, organic, referral and social.
#2: Keyword Ranking
You spent time researching and identifying keywords most relevant to your customers, location, and industry. Now, do you know how well you’re ranking for those keywords in Google search results? Tools like Moz and SEMRush can help you monitor rankings and analyze competitors. The next step is to track your keyword ranking over time to learn whether your efforts are impacting performance in a meaningful way.
#3: Domain Authority
Developed by Moz, domain authority this metric is a score on a 100-point scale that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. This number tends to fluctuate so it’s best used as a competitive yardstick, rather than a historic metric to track SEO success.
#4: Size of Your Community
One primary goal for content marketing is building a community of engaged followers—the number of people following or subscribing to your content (blog, email list, YouTube channel, etc.). By measuring and tracking these metrics over time, you can get a clear picture of whether your community and reach are growing, and how quickly.
#5: Media-Specific Metrics
If you are using media as part of your content marketing strategy, it’s important to track the success of those forms of content as well. Tracking the number of downloads, video views, page views, form submissions, etc. can provide key metrics related to the success of your content marketing efforts. Essentially, are people engaging? If not, why?
#6: Conversion Rates
Conversions are a prime indicator of content marketing success and can help predict future revenues. To understand the rate and direction of change, it is important to track metrics such as inquiries, subscriptions, sign-ups, quotes, orders, trials, phone calls, demos and more. Learn more about conversion rates here.
At the end of the day, content marketing is all about driving results and revenue. Management wants to know the ROI of this investment. Can you tie your strategies to actual results and increased revenues? While it can be difficult to document this kind of data, it’s well worth the effort.
No doubt, in 2017 it’s harder and harder to buy people’s attention. Today you have to earn it. This happens by delivering the most extraordinary information your customers could ever ask for. Just “good enough” won’t win the battle for the customer’s attention. Be remarkable.