For many companies, content marketing is considered the holy grail of marketing, and they anticipate great success through it. Although some companies are really successful, others struggle to tailor high-quality and well-targeted content specifically towards their own business, and more importantly, to their community. This article will deliver some points to consider in terms of content marketing and, specifically, about measuring content marketing.
To provide more insight on how companies can profit from content marketing, it is essential to have a closer look into its status quo.
Status Quo: Content Marketing – Hit or miss.
According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, just 37% of companies have a clearly defined content marketing strategy. Now off the bat, that might not sound too bad. However, not having a clearly defined strategy in place often leads to wasted resources. If we look more closely at those who do have a clear strategy, we’ll see that just a small share of those are actually measuring their activities properly.
The biggest challenge within a company while implementing content marketing is that it affects many departments. The dependencies which result during the process can be draining. Furthermore, once it’s published, the requirement of measuring content marketing efforts tend to overwhelm companies quickly. But measuring content is inevitable and equally important as publishing the actual post, webinar, white paper or eBook in order to receive a clear understanding of what performed well and what did not.
When goals aren't achieved, this often leaves the team feeling like their efforts went to waste. This is not necessarily caused by poor content but very likely by using the wrong KPIs. Even though expectations don’t necessarily need to be lowered, you should not expect to just win two new clients from a webinar.
Content Marketing and the possibilities for companies
The increasing number of people who are looking for problem solutions and products force businesses to be present and at the same time offers the great opportunity to bind potential customers to their own brand at a very early stage. This explains the high prevalence of content marketing.
How could content marketing measurement be beneficial?
Let’s say a company has already reached a good amount of followers but is unhappy with the interactions it’s received. The first thought might be here: “My content is bad”, which is not necessarily true. First, how many people have been reached with the posted content should be analyzed. If the reach is low respective to the number of followers, then we have found the first content marketing KPI that needs to be measured: Facebook Reach.
Now, different strategies should be tested in order to increase reach. For this, an example could be focusing on videos or live videos. If this content marketing KPI is measured for the next three months, success and failures can be identified.
On top of this, KPIs need to be questioned and adjusted, if necessary. Once again: Content marketing needs to be measured on a long-term basis. Especially if the search engine benefits the success, results will take a little longer, but this is in the nature of things. Success in content marketing in six weeks works just as little as the promised six-pack with a daily four-minute workout.
How can I start measuring content marketing?
The number one aspect: Keep an eye on the most important things first and measure those. In some cases, the free Twitter or Facebook Analytics are sufficient already. But for companies that would consider themselves more advanced in social media, those KPIs would not be sufficient. But for a good start with measuring content marketing, the same steps are vital for both basic and advanced marketers.
First off, the collected data needs to be accessed, then the own performance needs to be compared with that of the competition. Through “competitive benchmarking” the value of the own interactions (compared to the competition) comes to light.
Based on this data you need to set your goals, which need to be measured with the proper content marketing KPIs. Here are a couple of examples of how to find the correct KPIs in order to measure content marketing effectively:
Question: Does my competition grow faster than I do?
KPI: Fan Growth Over Time
Question: How many interaction do I achieve compared to my competition?
Average Interaction per Post
Content marketing is a complex field that affects many areas of a company. It is quite likely that social networks and other channels are involved. Almost inevitable, really! Hence, measurement becomes more complex, so companies need to stop looking for the “one and only” KPI that answers all questions. To find one KPI that measures everything is equally as impossible as finding the one number to measure the “Social Media ROI”.
The key to success is a combination of different, wisely chosen metrics that are measured regularly for a longer period. Finding the right KPIs is an essential part of measurement and can happen by asking the right questions. The following table helps shed some more light on this matter and provides some ideas for content marketing KPIs: