Whether businesses are interested in using content marketing to increase sales, audience engagement, or lead generation, achieving these goals require a strategic approach and measurement tactics that must be executed thoroughly.
CREATING MEASURABLE CONTENT GOALS
At often times, when companies start experimenting with content marketing tactics, they tend to jump right into multiple channels at once (company blog, social media accounts, email marketing, etc.). More than likely, there may not be immediate results —which can cause uncertainty in a company's marketing efforts. This problem can evolve from four areas:
- lack of resources and time to cover all channels
- lack of experience or understanding with content marketing
- complexity of the content marketing environment
- lack of technical knowledge as to with audiences consume content across devices
When a company quickly adopts a mix of content strategies, it can become extremely overwhelming to measure ROI.
To better resolve these issues, businesses should set actionable and measurable content objectives that align with their overall company goals. During this strategy discovery process, you should find where your organization fits into your industry, what tactics you are executing well, and where the gaps in your current content strategy are. The idea is to identify what your business is looking to accomplish and just how content marketing can be leveraged to achieve these goals. Keep in mind that your objective should also align with your audience, offerings, and budget considerations.
Consider the following common types of goals:
- customer loyalty
- brand awareness
- lead generation
- upselling/cross selling to current customers
Not only is this strategy discovery process beneficial in understanding what your company is looking to achieve with content marketing, it can also help create buy in from company executives and better manage the expectations of your content efforts.
ANALYZING CONTENT EFFORTS
After you have established appropriate goals and developed a strategic plan for your content campaigns, you must determine the appropriate metrics that will measure the performance of your content. This can be a challenge as there are a variety of metrics that can measure content performance, however not every metric will align with your company’s objective.
Start by selecting a few metrics before adding on more variables to combine and measure. This will help you stay focused and avoid analyzing too many data points at one time- which can overwhelm your approach to measuring ROI. Here are a few examples of metrics that your company could focus on:
Measuring the amount of newsletter sign-ups, filled out contact forms, or content downloads can be an indicator of whether or not your content resonates with your audience. If content is carefully crafted and metrics are effectively measured, this will eventually create more opportunities to convert your visitors into actual customers in the long-run.
Brand Awareness Goals
Brand awareness helps grow your business in a sense that establishes your company as a recognizable leader in the industry. When creating and distributing content to increase your marketing reach and brand awareness, you should look to find increases in impressions, page views, and organic visitors on your web properties. These metrics can indicate that content is not only driving traffic, but is also appealing to your audience’s needs.
Audience Engagement Goals
Whether it’s the number of comments and shares on a social post, the time spent on your website, or the click-to-open rate of an email campaign, these metrics also play an important role when measuring the effectiveness of your marketing message and determining what content best captures the interest of your target audience.
Vanity metrics, or highly engaging content, encourages more people to share your message, thus broadening your reach. You should be cautious not to put too much emphasis on vanity metrics, as they are not the only sign of success that many companies can mistake them to be. Instead, they are another aspect worth considering in your overall content marketing strategy.
MEASURING AND MONITORING GOALS
While some may think that conversions and sales are the number one thing a company must focus on to measure ROI, it’s also important to include both your reach and engagement goals and remember how these can work together to influence your bottom line. In other words, each of these goals should have equal weight in your overall content marketing strategy.
After you’ve identified your data points, it’s time to create a reporting system to measure your results. Online metrics can generally be tracked with tools such as Google Analytics amongst others. By experimenting and understanding how each piece of content impacts your overall strategy; you can position more of your resources to creating and distributing the most effective content that is useful to your customers.