Content marketing has been a buzzword in the marketing world for years, and it shows no sign of losing steam. Companies are hungry for more content and are not shy about investing large chunks of their budgets into creating and sharing valuable free content to promote themselves. Whether you’re a marketer or running a small business, you’ve probably heard that you should have an effective content marketing strategy in place. You may feel the pressure because, after all, everyone else is doing it. Just check out these stats:
- Curata℠ found that 76% of marketers planned to increase their investment in content marketing.
- Content Marketing Institute™ and MarketingProfs found that 88% of B2B respondents are using content marketing.
A lot of these companies are finding success with content marketing because:
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing.
- Content marketing generates around three times as many leads as traditional methods (based on dollars spent).
Does that have you convinced? This relatively inexpensive strategy can generate healthy profits for your business, but you don’t want to flail in the wind and throw your money at fruitless content production. It’s not as simple as churning out content and seeing instant results. Is it really worth investing in content marketing? And if you do have a strategy in place, how do you measure content marketing results and ensure that all of your money and efforts are doing what you need them to?
What Content Marketing Can Do for Your Business
Content that’s used for marketing purposes comes in many different forms: a podcast offering invaluable industry tips, a video showing how your latest product works, a blog or social media post providing insights into your business. You want your content to be valuable to your potential customers, so it should be relevant to your target audience and focus on solving their problems. It should also portray you as an expert in your field, while still being personable and entertaining. Your content should be pleasurable to consume and easily found by both real people and search engines. Seem like a tall order? The results can be well worth it. There’s no doubt that people enjoy quality content. Demand Metric, a marketing research company, put together a helpful infographic that found the following:
- 80% of people appreciate learning about a company through custom content.
- 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.
- 70% of consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing.
All of this content can help promote your brand and establish relationships with potential customers, but how do you measure it?
How to Figure Out If Your Content Is Working
While how people feel about your company may be a little hard to figure out, there are some solid metrics you can look for to let you know whether your content marketing is working. Some results are obvious:
- Making more sales
- Getting more traffic to your site
- Growing your social media followers
- Receiving more emails about your company or products
On a basic level, you can figure out a rough estimate of your return on investment by calculating how much you spent on content compared to how many leads or sales were produced in that time. These may give you a vague overview, but they won’t let you know which of your content marketing strategies are the most effective. You won’t know whether it was that killer blog post or the entertaining podcast that really engaged your potential customers. For a more detailed analysis, there are tools that will help you dig even deeper.
Google Analytics is a great place to start. This free tool will help you understand how your content is being read and can give you some insight on what’s working. You can readily find out things like
- How many people have visited your content, including how many unique visits
- How long a visitor stays to read your content; your content isn’t doing its job if someone merely clicks on it but doesn’t bother to read it.
- Whether anyone has downloaded your content
With Google Analytics, you can also track what your visitor did after they read your content. Did they take the next step that you wanted them to? Did they fill out a form or give you their contact information? Did they make a purchase? Or did they quickly leave your site? If they did the latter, you may want to tweak your content to make it more effective.
If you’ve incorporated email into your content marketing strategy, there are a few metrics you can look at that will let you know whether you’re targeting the right people. First, check your click-to-open rates to find out whether people even opening your emails. Then you can figure out how your content is performing. Studying your click-through-rates—the percentage of email recipients who click on a link in your email—and seeing who’s sharing your emails via “share this” buttons or “forward to a friend” buttons are helpful ways to measure whether your email content is working.
Social media is also a crucial part of your overall content marketing strategy. Fortunately, there are several easy-to-use analytic tools that will let you know how you’re doing in this area. Insights Twitter Analytics will tell you at a glance how your tweets are performing and what kind of interactions you’re getting. Facebook Insights can show you how many times a post was viewed, shared, or commented on, which will let you know which ones have the most engagement. Links Inbound links, which are links coming to your site from somewhere else, can also hint at how your content is performing. You can glean all kinds of information by figuring out how people are landing on your site.
By all accounts, more and more companies are incorporating content marketing into their overall marketing schemes. By using certain tools to measure content marketing, you can figure out how your content is performing and make the changes you need to. Of course, you can’t measure everything. There will always be some intangibles because some of your content may be discovered months, even years, down the road. With any luck, a piece of content you wrote two years ago may continue to get shared and generate unexpected leads in the future. And with this knowledge, you’ll know how to track it!