Today’s guest post comes from Campbell Macdonald – Enjoy!
Nearly every marketing initiative involves a healthy dose of trial and error; it’s the only way to know what works and which areas need improvement. But without the right information guiding your content decisions — or none at all — you could seriously derail your content marketing strategy.
Still, many B2B marketers rely on assumptions to inform their content decisions. In fact, Content Marketing Institute found that only 21 percent of B2B marketers say they’re successful at measuring ROI. Resorting to biased, faulty data not only blinds you to what readers really want, but also drains your time and resources.
Your content marketing strategy should be fluid, iterative, and evolving based on the insights you discover from a comprehensive performance analysis. It takes time to manually sort through specific data points and information to extract key insights that drive business results, so knowing where to look is critical.
To understand how well your content marketing strategy is performing from an objective perspective, you need to analyze these five metrics:
- Social: The number of social shares your content receives gives you an idea of how valuable it is to your audience. If they share it with their networks, then they found something truly useful that advances the conversation.
- Traffic: An effective content strategy helps boost traffic over time. Tracking unique visitors per day, week, and month for each post gives marketers a baseline for success and month-over-month growth.
- Conversion rate: Measuring how many readers took a tangible action is a telling indicator of success. Actions such as downloading gated content, signing up for a webinar, or purchasing from your e-commerce site advance leads through the buyer’s journey. Always ask, “What can my team do to increase engagement and conversions through content?”
- Leads: Lead generation and qualification are two key aspects of the conversion rate. By tracking leads as they move through the funnel, you can deliver more targeted content that expedites the sales process. A common practice is to start with lightweight, educational content for top-of-the-funnel readers before offering in-depth articles and webinars that engage more qualified prospects to move deeper into the conversion process.
- Team performance: Measuring the performance of individual content creators on your team can also reveal key insights into effective content creation. You can evaluate whose content drove the most leads, shares, or conversions, then analyze their creative process to determine best practices that your team can implement. Most importantly, you can recognize the value that content creators bring to your organization.
To put these metrics into perspective, look at Bizible and how it assesses its blog’s impact on the business. The company wanted to understand exactly what drove viewership of content, so it looked at blog posts’ performance, including page views, social shares, time spent on the page, leads, and revenue. It uses the framework from successful posts to guide editorial decisions and produce content that converts.
For example, Bizible’s strongest-performing post shared data from its LinkedIn Ads campaigns. It started a conversation with the company’s target readers and shared tips, wishes, and tactics based on its experience with paid social. The company experimented so readers didn’t have to, and sharing this data was a meaningful way to add value and incite click-throughs.
When done right, measuring content performance can accelerate your business objectives. Having the ability to definitively know what performs and recognize employees who drove real business revenue is also a great way to boost morale and foster a little positive competitive spirit.
Content marketing is a powerful way to increase brand awareness and drive sales. By using reliable performance metrics to make decisions, you can capitalize on viable opportunities for growth.
Campbell Macdonald is the founder and CEO of Pathful, an analytics tool that helps content marketers get the information they need to increase sales conversions. Since founding Pathful in 2012, Campbell has revolutionized content marketers’ ability to understand how consumers engage and interact with their website at every step of the sales funnel. Previously, Campbell founded several other startups, including Own Your Deal, Parking Mobility, and Thick Solutions, and has a background in product development and management. He currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.