Dear Olga: What’s the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of my content marketing efforts?
~ Erik D., B2B Technology Consultant, Seal Beach, CA
First of all, let’s define “content marketing.” I suspect that you’re using one or more of the following avenues:
- Social Media
- Photos and Videos
- Case Studies and White Papers
These types of content marketing can be measured in a wide range of ways: from…
…page views to comments to downloads, successful conversion on specific calls to action to actual leads, and more.
According to BlueGlass, and their “Content Marketing Explosion” infographic (below), increased web traffic is the most widely used metric—at 58%—to measure the success of content initiatives.
Created by BlueGlass Interactive
BlueGlass notes that top goals of marketers utilizing content marketing include:
- Brand Awareness (69%)
- Customer Acquisition (68%)
- Lead generation (67%)
- Customer Retention / Loyalty (62%)
Of course, your business goals will ultimately dictate what the right metric is for you.
If you are trying to increase sales, then you should probably focus on:
- Making your SEO efforts lead users directly to the item-detail page. (Side note: Nothing turns off buyers faster than an item detail page without enough information about the product.)
- Using the promotions you’re running to entice and convert your traffic.
- Measuring and continually optimizing landing pages.
If your goal is to bolster your other marketing efforts, then you can:
- Include your customers, potential buyers, and industry leaders in the conversation.
- Share your content in the social network that most applies to your product or service (e.g. Pinterest, SlideShare, Instagram, etc.)
- Pepper in calls to action within your content, so that users can more easily share your stuff.
Especially if your end goal is increasing brand awareness, then your metric comes down to an increased amount of visitors and a specific call to action that will convert the new visitor. Once you have those numbers coming in and are looking to improve, then your next step is your willingness to test.
Content marketing shouldn’t be confused with shoving your product or service down the consumer’s throat. You need to come from a genuine place, where help is offered freely, and contributions are made to your community.
Finally, content marketing is for the long haul. Most SEO efforts do not come up on the radar for three to six months. And, as much as everyone would love to “go viral,” you’re more than likely to gain momentum incrementally as you put more helpful content out there.