Michael Georgiou
Michael Georgiou 27 April 2016

Top KPIs for Measuring Content Marketing Success

Content creation is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. It requires long hours, frequent brainstorming, a ton of research and putting your brand name on the line.

Authenticity requires courage and a deep knowledge of your niche.

It is marketing achieved via value creation since consumers are smart and aware of their options in the marketplace. They also have an increasing dislike for the traditional form of pushy and intrusive marketing.

While all this makes it effective and suited to the times, content marketing can take time to show results, especially for small businesses with limited budgets. It’s not fair to expect quick returns because of the many variables in the mix, but eventually you want to see some specific movement. You want to determine if your efforts are in the right direction precisely because of the time and money you are spending on content creation and distribution.

Here are some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will help you effectively measure the performance of your content marketing efforts.

Traffic to your website

The purpose of your SEO efforts, indeed, that of digital marketing as a whole, is to drive greater organic traffic to the company website.

Content is the way this is made possible. Therefore, a successful content strategy must result in increased Web traffic to a website.

Since your blog is the driver of your content marketing strategy, it stands to reason that its performance has to steadily improve.

Helpful questions to ask:

  • How many visitors does your blog receive on a daily basis? Is that number steady or is it increasing or decreasing?
  • How many are repeat visitors?
  • Are visitors leaving comments on the blog?
  • Are visitors subscribing for the blog?
  • Are they downloading the free resources?
  • How much time is the average visitor spending on the blog?

If your content is as helpful as you think it is and if you have optimized the website efficiently for SEO, you should be attracting regular traffic and loyal readers. The number of visits along with the user engagement generated by a blog is a KPI you absolutely should measure each month.

Social shares, follows and overall performance

Social media marketing is a big part of content marketing. All that great content you create and publish is created for your target audience. It needs to be available across platforms, ultimately directing potential customers to your website.

Helpful questions to ask:

  • How often is your content being shared? All those retweets, shares, likes, and favorites add up.
  • How many page visits does the social promotion on the whole generate?
  • Does the content invite comments? Your social media management team needs to be well-versed in the art of generating user engagement on social. Great content is an excellent conversation starter. Don’t merely publish it to your social pages, frame questions around it, invite points of views and do everything possible to get readers to engage.

Relationship with the readers

If your blog has a loyal following, that could be your greatest resource.

While it’s impressive to have a great number of regular visitors, you also want to pay attention to the conversations on the blog and surrounding the content you publish elsewhere.

Content marketing is a two-way street. You cannot just talk at people – publish, publish, and publish, and hope they lap up your content, visit your website, and become your customers.

Relationships are more important than ever now. You need a spirit of generosity to really succeed at content marketing. Create content without great expectations of quick success but do produce your absolute best and share your expertise freely. Do so in a way that conveys to your readers exactly what they should do in order to overcome the challenges they are facing.

This is important because on the Internet your most satisfied customers can become your greatest cheerleaders. It’s the credibility that you build as a business via your content, the blog and the conversations with the readers, that will decided the long-term fate (and success) of your content marketing efforts.

Leads from guest blogging

Guest blogging is a great way to get your name out there on established blogs. It helps business owners build authority and is especially useful in the B2B space where ‘street cred’ (so to speak) fuels the market.

The aim of guest blogging is also to drive greater traffic to your website and enhance brand awareness on social.

  • Are your guest blogging efforts generating leads?
  • Are they leading to a greater follower count on social?
  • Are they resulting in further writing opportunities?
  • Are you writing for the very best in business? Well-respected blogs receive numerous requests on a regular basis, so it may not be easy to get a response from them right away. You can always start small and keep trying until you get where you want to be. Remember, you only need one of them to say yes, and from that point on every blog you have written for will bolster your credibility.

Conversion rate

This is the ultimate goal of inbound (or any kind of) marketing. You want the readers to consume your content and impress them so much that they eventually come around to doing business with you.

Helpful questions to ask:

  • How many new customers did you earn via your blog or social sharing of the content?
  • How many customers did you retain?
  • How much new as well as repeat business did you generate?
  • How many of the new customers were referred to you by the existing ones?

It would help to include a brief survey for customers at the time of making a purchase to understand what drove their decision and what they liked the most about their interaction with your company. Use the feedback to improve your services and do more of that which works.

If you are not seeing much progress

  • Reassess your content creation efforts. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with blogs especially as time goes on.
  • Re-evaluate if the content is still solving specific problems for your target audience or have you begun posting just to meet the goal of publishing a certain number of posts per week?
  • Are you promoting the content effectively?
  • Are you sharing it on social the adequate number of times?
  • Are you still driven by the desire to make a positive difference to the lives of your readers? People can tell content that is just trying to promote a business from that which is genuinely trying to help them.

There are no short-cuts to content marketing success

The answer to the best way to determine the success of a content marketing campaign would differ from business to business since everyone’s goals are different and so are the resources and budget.

As a company you need to determine the kind of content you produce and how to promote it. You also need to establish a timeframe for these efforts during which you want to start seeing results. Here is a list of businesses that got innovative with content marketing to achieve great results. Perhaps there’s a lesson in it for you, too.

How do you measure your content marketing success? What challenges do you face in meeting your goals and how do you overcome them? Please share your thoughts and insights in the comments!

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