How to Measure the Impact of Your Content Marketing

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Many resources remind you constantly of the importance of developing and expanding a content marketing program. After launching your business you may be creating social media posts, blog posts, and optimizing your website to make sure that you’re being found during searches. But how do you make sure that all of your hard work is yielding the results that you want?

Define Success
Before you can determine whether or not your content marketing strategy is successful, you need to know what behavior you’re looking to create in your audience. The go-to assumption is that content marketing will drive sales, but if you’re hoping to push more towards thought leadership and positive branding through your strategy, you may be looking at the process differently. You might want to see:

• An increase in newsletter sign-ups
• An increase in the number of customers who click through to a targeted sales site
• An increase in the number of shares or comments on your posts

These different metrics drive different goals. Let’s look closer at some of these objectives to determine what might help you determine content marketing success.

Shares, Likes, Comments, and Retweets
Many businesses consider this the easiest metric to measure, and with good reason. It’s easy to look at your social media and get quantifiable numbers, which can make it feel like you’re succeeding.

What these metrics don’t tell you, unfortunately, is whether or not customers are taking the next step. If they’re sharing your post, but not clicking through to your website or engaging more deeply with your content, your strategy may not be creating the success that you’re hoping for.

Page Views
In one of the MyBlogU Twitter chats I participated in, Ann Smarty of My BlogU stated the following “Page views are also frequently touted as a metric of content marketing success. If you see steadily increasing page views, this can be a positive thing, but again, remember not to get stuck here. There are a variety of tools out there that can tell you a variety of stats about your website, such as:

• How many unique visitors are viewing your site
• Which pages are the most popular
• What keywords are driving searches to your website
• How long visitors are spending on your site overall”

I completely agree with her, these are all useful metrics, and deserve attention, especially when you’re trying to determine which parts of your content strategy are drawing the most visitors. But if your goal is to build a mailing list, or drive traffic to a sales based landing page, you may not be there yet.

Lead Generation
Although all businesses generate leads and follow up on them, the segment of business that uses the terminology most specifically is the B2B community. There are a number of ways to determine lead generation, which is when you start to decide if your content marketing is driving not just eyeballs to your website, but also dollars. You could:

• Require customers to complete a registration before they’re able to read/watch/consume your content
• Request a registration after the content consumption
• Measure the number of people who proceed from your content to a lead generation form, such as an email sign-up

If you use leads generated by phone, you can use a script which shows trackable phone numbers, allowing you to determine when they called your sales line after seeing your content.

For some companies that maintain a sales or prospect database, there are methods which allow businesses to enter which pieces of content a customer consumed before contacting you. Companies are then able to assign value to particular pieces of content, and determine more specifically where their personalized marketing is making sense.

Many companies maintain separate landing pages for each of their products, each of which has specifically targeted language for the market most likely to be considering purchase. The website could start by making sure that their social media posts are directing to the right pages, and then compare reactions depending on which social media page brings in the view. They could look at whether or not the customer ultimately makes a purchase or signs up for their email newsletter to determine if their pages are interesting customers and driving sales.

Each step of online marketing and content creation makes valuable and important metrics that all deserve attention. The most crucial piece as a business is to make sure you understand what you’re trying to do with your content. If your goal is to drive thought leadership and positive customer relations, then following shares and time spent on your website may be some of the most accurate measures of whether or not your content is directing properly. If your goal is to drive sales, however, you may need to re-examine your strategy.

What do you feel is the most crucial step in the process of determining content success? Tell us in the comments!

Margarita Hakobyan
CEO and founder of MoversCorp.com, an online marketplace of local moving companies and storage facilities. Business women, wife and mother of two with bachelor's degree from the University of Utah with a concentration in International Studies and a Masters Degree also from the University of Utah with a degree in International business.

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