How to quantify your digital communication
Measuring content marketing success takes more than looking at a single metric. Success doesn’t happen overnight, but rather in a slow and steady climb. In content marketing, there’s no start or end date as there is with a marketing campaign. Everything from blog posts, to e-newsletters, SEO work and social media has a purpose for both short and long term gain. But we need to give it enough time to make a difference. By outlining expectations and measuring multiple metrics at a time, we can identify key performance indicators and use them to create stronger leads, more engaging content and a larger return on investment.
To accurately measure the success of content marketing we need to look at a variety of factors. First, consumption metrics. This umbrella includes everything from reach and retention to website traffic, blog page views, unique visitors, geography, keywords, open rates, downloads and more. It’s here where we’re looking for the number of people consuming our content and specifically, how often and from what channels. Google Analytics is a free program that easily compiles this information, making it easy to outline and compare these numbers over time. With an understanding of where our readership is and what they’re gravitating towards, our job to create content becomes much easier and frankly, more fun.
Next, is engagement. This metric is all about social media, sharing and sentiment. It’s crucial to find out if your consumers are sharing your content with others by looking at tweets, likes, comments, shares, RTs and forwards. A higher percentage of shares indicates that your content has inspired your readers to take action. Positive comments, reviews and replies are a great indicator of sentiment which is a huge factor for successful content creation. Looking at bounce rates for e-newsletters, blog posts and websites will show how much time your audience has spent engaging with your content. A higher bounce rate may mean not only your audience is disinterested, but your website may have design or technical issues preventing readers to stay on the website longer. By fixing these small glitches and adding SEO-friendly inbound links, your chance for greater social engagement skyrockets.
Finally, one of the best denominators for content success is to look at lead generation and sales metrics. Well-written content, higher engagement and clicks-to-site mean practically nothing for a business if there is profitable customer action. It’s within these numbers where marketers can determine if their efforts are making financial sense. Is your content driving revenue? Are you considered a thought leader in your industry? How often are content consumers turned into leads? For specifics, look into number of new website and RSS subscribers, see if contact forms have been filled out, blog comments and reviews and most importantly, measure your return on investment. While this may not be the most fun metric to measure, it’s one that will, over time, determine if your content marketing efforts are paying off.
As the digital era continues to evolve, there will probably always be new methods for measuring content marketing success. But regardless of how your efforts are quantified, at the end of the day, marketers must realize that success in content marketing takes time. Relish the smaller wins as they come in and over time, and the larger payoff will be just as sweet.
About Yakkety Yak
Yakkety Yak LLC is a Chicago-based full-service content marketing company that produces custom written content for businesses, including blogs, website copy, case studies, newsletters, social media marketing, public relations and more. We want to be an extension of your marketing team to help you connect to end users and decision influencers, based on the principle of one common voice, for one target audience. Ready to get started? Let’s Yak.