April 28, 2015

Three Content Marketing Metrics That Tell You How Well You're Doing

The content marketing industry is booming, there’s no doubt about it. According to the 2015 benchmark report by the Content Marketing Institute, 86 percent of B2B businesses and 77 percent of B2C marketers say their organization uses content marketing. Not only is content marketing where most businesses choose to spend their top marketing dollars but the report also found that, in both sectors, budgets are expected to increase by at least 55 percent and 59 percent, respectively, in 2015.

Those unfamiliar with content marketing may look at these numbers and think, “I am shocked so many companies are looking to invest in blogging and social media.” But, as content marketers, we know that to drive profit and build brand awareness for our companies in this day and age, content marketing is no longer just something nice to consider. That is why content marketing agencies today spend the majority of their time creating custom content of all kinds, including white papers, email marketing messages, social media posts and so much more. (And, yes, we write a lot of blogs too.)

Whether you are knee-deep in content creation or just beginning to dabble with content marketing, keep in mind that creating content is only the first step when it comes to your marketing strategy. Polishing off a finely tuned piece of content and posting it to the Web is satisfying to be sure. But what happens after the fact, i.e., how much traffic is drawn to it, how well it performs in the search engines and how often it turns prospects into customers, is incredibly important to consider.

Here are the three marketing metrics that will tell you how well your content marketing campaign is actually doing:

1. Website traffic visitors

The amount of traffic drawn to your website is paramount to the success of your content marketing strategy, so it’s important that you pay close attention to this metric. While each piece of content is created with the goals of your company in mind, many times individual pieces can acts in silos (they sometimes are dispersed throughout the Web rather than living on a single site) as a way to drive traffic back to your site. If one piece of content generated in this manner is getting little or no traction online, but another has views in the thousands, you can safely assume the latter is driving more traffic to your website. Therefore, the low-traffic piece might seem like a waste of time and effort, yet you can still use what you learn from it to strategize for future pieces. If your website traffic is stagnant, or you’re not seeing the type of visitor growth you expected, it’s time to re-evaluate the type of content you’re posting. Also keep in mind that to create a surge in website traffic, your site needs to be dynamic, or boast new pieces of content regularly. Blogging is a great way to ensure this dynamism; also consider the power of regularly posted white papers, webinars and case studies.

2. SEO rankings

Search engine optimization (SEO) is tricky, but don’t shy away from it if you want to execute a successful content marketing strategy.  As marketers, we all need to put a lot of time and effort into optimizing content for keywords, and connecting content to current events to make sure customers find us when they search. The first step in crafting any successful piece of content, therefore, is identifying the keywords customers will be using in their searches and building content around them. Check to see how you’re doing by conducting the search yourself; if you notice your content moved from Page 3 to Page 2 on Google’s search results, you’re headed in the right direction. If you haven’t moved or are falling, it’s time to try something new.

3. Customer acquisition numbers: If you’ve ever made a purchase online, and were prompted before checkout with an inquiry into how you came across this particular brand, product or service, chances are it was for market tracking purposes. As content marketing continues to prove its importance in sales, tracking just how much you are contributing to the success of the sales team is imperative. By tracking the number of prospective customers you’ve converted into new customers, you’ll be able to prove the effectiveness of your content marketing campaign.

There are countless reasons why content marketing is the most important form of marketing for any business looking to compete in the Internet-centric 21st century, but without the ability to track these metrics, content marketing efforts may be moot. Let us know below what you’re company is doing to promote itself, and how you’ve been able to track your success.

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