Did you know that more than 50% of content marketers have no idea how effective their content marketing efforts are?
Content is an essential marketing tool. When content is used correctly, it can create dramatic results for your business by attracting, informing, engaging and retaining prospects as well as current customers. Content can help move the needle when it comes to building brand loyalty, generating leads and driving revenue.
However, for content marketing to be effective, it must be optimized.
And optimization requires analysis.
After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
Marketing professionals who combine the art of writing with the science of analyzing the costs and revenue that result, will help drive the engagement as well as the effectiveness of your overall marketing strategy.
There are several types of analytics that will drive results. Below are four:
1. Content Production
When measuring content production, you understand if your marketing efforts are delivering on content as planned when you established periodic goals.
Perhaps you aimed to publish a new blog per week, one podcast per month and one new eBook each quarter.
Content production metrics report whether you accomplished your goals. You can then alter your plans going forward to adjust expectations, hire a writing agency to supplement your resources or reassign responsibilities within the marketing department – or another department with availability.
The insights don’t end there. You can set up automated analytics to measure:
- How long did it take to create that content?
- How often were deadlines met?
- How much did it cost?
Analytics help to identify trends – the good and the bad. When you understand how efficient your content marketing efforts are, you can take action to drive efficiency even further.
2. Content Performance
After a blog or article is published, a natural reaction is to seek validation.
How many views did the piece receive?
How much time did readers spend on the page?
How many likes? Shares?
Just because people are viewing, liking and even sharing your content, doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to produce results.
Yes, this kind of information is personally satisfying, but only certain indicators are useful in truly understanding how effective the content is in delivering on the business objectives that are – or at least should be – the driving force behind content marketing.
For metrics to be effective and convince the C-Suite executives that content marketing is working, not only must they indicate meaningful engagement, but they must contribute to achieving business objectives.
These types of metrics include:
Goal completion occurs when readers:
- share their email address
- provide consent to subscribe to a newsletter
- download gated content
Goal completions usually mean that you have been successful in gathering information about leads. Once this happens, you can:
- begin qualifying those leads
- proactively share information about your brand and your products or service with leads
- try to move leads along the purchase journey
Length of the Sales Cycle
Effective content marketing has gained popularity its ability to acquire new customers while incurring relatively low customer acquisition costs.
Effective content results in a faster and easier sales cycle, because it plays a major part in educating customers and prospects about your products and services. By providing the right content at the right time, customers can actually qualify themselves by understanding how well your organization can serve their needs.
By tracking customers with high levels of engagement and shorter sales cycles against how many pieces of content they consume, you begin uncovering trends about the true impact of content marketing on sales.
From there, you are able to design a formula for the ideal combination of content strategies that will maximize engagement and minimize the length of your sales cycle.
3. Return on Investment (ROI)
For content marketing to be effective, the benefits you enjoy must produce enough returns to justify the cost and the effort:
- Identifying your break-even point.
- Then push through that break-even point to drive profitability.
To do this, a well thought out analytics strategy must incorporate ROI. ROI is important in all aspects of business because it provides insight into how your investments are performing.
It is no different with content marketing.
Marketing professionals know ROI is important and those who regularly track and report this metric say that they are 1.6 times more likely to be granted budget increase requests. However, 25% of B2C marketers do not measure the ROI of their content marketing efforts and are therefore missing a significant opportunity to drive effectiveness.
When it comes to measuring ROI, there are two important components:
How much value is your content generating on a piece-by-piece basis?
- How much value does content generate on the whole?
The R in ROI, the return, includes intangible items such as brand awareness, thought leadership as well as easier-to-measure metrics like leads, revenue, SEO and conversions.
Calculating the I in ROI, the true cost of content generation, includes:
- Cost of producing content
- Cost of externally sourcing that content
- Time and resources allocated to planning and management of overall strategy
- Content distribution costs
You might then begin reallocating your efforts toward the content that produces the greatest Return on Investment.
4. Content Quality
The previous three metrics can be used once content has been published. Although those three metrics can drive change that results in improvements on a go-forward basis, those changes happen after the fact.
Content quality metrics, on the other hand, are proactive and allow optimization to happen during the creation of today’s content.
Quality content is a critical component when it comes to producing results. Metrics for measuring quality include:
- Consistent tone, branding language and standards
When content is measured using consistent metrics across marketing platforms, uniform changes and improvements to strategy become much easier to roll out and maintain.
To govern the quality of content, managers can measure:
- Authoring scores
- Editing cost trends
- Readability trends
- Quality trends
- Common terminology usage and frequency
For content marketing to produce meaningful contributions to the overall success of the business, your efforts and the corresponding results must be measured. Establishing the right metrics and analytics strategies for your content marketing can unlock potential you never knew was there.