By now, you and your marketing team have most likely set up a content marketing strategy. Congratulations, you’ve made it through the first hurdle! Now here comes the tricky part: reporting on its performance. However, with so many metrics and analytics, which ones should you focus on? And why do they matter?
Before these questions can be answered, the goal of your content strategy must be defined. In other words, why are you creating content in the first place?
This answer is the key to measurement success.
According to the content marketing institute, roughly two-thirds of marketers create content without any documented strategy, and over half of both B2B and B2C marketers are not sure what a successful content program looks like.
This poses the largest issue with content marketing. Simply put, marketers can’t figure out what metrics matter if they don’t have defined goals and outcomes. These goals are going to determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure.
For example, if you are purely sharing content as educational resources, your most important KPIs may include total time on site, social actions and page visits. On the other hand, if your business goal is revenue generation, then lead conversions, click-through rate and return visitor rate should be your key metrics.
There are useful resources out there to get you started. Content analysts Rebecca Lieb and Joe Lazauskas created a sample chart from their “Content Methodology Best Practices Report” that lays out what KPIs to pay attention to according to business goals. While this is helpful as a launching off point, numbers tied to these metrics may seem empty when sharing this success to executives. They’ll wonder:
“What do these numbers really mean if they aren’t translated into a direct sale?”
Rather than unload a series of KPIs on our clients, it’s been helpful to arm our clients with digestible and visual evidence of a strategy’s success, such as an infographic. For example, instead of sending over a myriad of bullet points, pick 4-5 data points that show clear progress and explain their significance to your business goals. These should be presented in a way that’s easily shareable. They should also explicitly identify areas of improvement and next steps for content goals.
In the end, high conversion rates tend to be the most valued metric, as this typically translates to action that can lead to a sale. But the most important thing to remember is that numbers mean nothing if they aren’t tied to a broader long-term strategy.