Content marketing is a long term strategy for most companies and it is consequently sometimes a bit more complex to measure the return. Success indicators commonly include obvious markers such a Website Rankings, Conversions and increased traffic. Nonetheless nowadays, a clear comprehension of Social Media channels is also key to any brands’ success.
Indeed the above are all useful but to conduct a pragmatic and successful evaluation of ones Content strategy it is important to take all contributing markers or factors into account. SEO, Social Media and Content are interconnected and hence interdependent. Like in most industries, it is almost impossible to define or measure success by only considering one of the above. To get the big picture, look beyond the hard lines and into the softer science of social signals. That’s where you’ll find your reputation…and what you may need to work on to improve sales.
Let’s get the obvious metrics out of the way. If your content marketing strategy is successful:
- Lead to Close ratio Even though the Number of Leads is the most common metric measures (As can be seen above) I have chosen to slightly deviate from it and offer a more accurate solution. It is perhaps better to measure your “Lead to Close Ratio”. This is a more pragmatic way of measuring your sales success, rather than a measure of your marketing efforts but it’s important to understand in the context of your total ROI. Leads are obviously always good to have but without a carefully created sales plan for after the leads have been gathered, the whole exercise becomes obsolete. It is also much easier to connect and get an understanding of your total sales and what percentage of them actually comes from your content. If your close rate is low, any drop in revenue or overspending could potentially indicate an inefficient “after-leads” strategy hence prompting you to make the required amendments. Have a look at the formula below:
Lead to Close Ratio = Total No of Sales / Total No of Leads
- High Quality Links. Your content earns high quality back-links. A back-link is an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another and are highly important SEO ranking factors. If you publish content of genuinely high quality, then other websites will make use of it or reference it as a resource hence earning you back-links. In return, they have a major effect on your website by raise your search rankings. Make sure to post content that is useful, insightful and informative to your peers and industry in order to grow your presence and earn as many high quality back-links as possible. Quality content does not necessarily have to be long-winded or too informative so keep your posts clean, clear and to the point.
- Total Social Shares. According to the CMO Survey, social media spending increased 234 percent from 2009 to 2017, accounting for 11.7 percent of total marketing budgets. Still, only 20.3 percent of marketers say they are able to prove the impact quantitatively. Social Media can Make or potentially even Break your Brand or Company. Either way, not using it is not a solution as you are missing out on millions using the networks o na regular basis. It hence crucial to not only measure the common metrics such as click-throughs from campaigns, boosts or engagement ads but also pay attention to the number of Social Shares of your content. It is a clear indicator that you are publishing useful content to your peers and also provides you with enhanced impressions.
- Conversions and/or sales go up Some argue that Conversion and Sales are effectively the End-Result and should be the only metric considered. This is undoubtedly very inaccurate. Total conversions is definitely one of the most important metrics for measuring the profitability of your marketing work but most certainly NOT the only one worth looking at. While a Conversion can be defined in many different ways (Sending a direct email expressing your interest following a post, completing a checkout on an e-commerce site, filling out a Lead-Form), conversions are always seen as a quantifiable victory in the eyes of marketers. Conversions can be measured in a variety of ways using different software applications available or Google Analytics. A low conversion rate can be a worrying indication for your Brand or Product so make sure to dig deep into the matter and investigate the issue. Remeber, success is measured by the customers that come back so focus on long terms goals and attracting a steady stream of “believers” in your brand.
Those are the main metrics you can use to measure your content marketing efforts. None of which will happen without social media success. It is always going to be hard to measure the ROI of content. So summarising the above, have a look at some important markers to consider below:
- Understand content promotional channels in your company
- Create “From Content to Lead” or “From Content to Sales” mapping
- Initiate a discussion with your marketing peers to help them understand the benefits of content
- Offer to co-own their marketing metrics