Regular check-ins are a great way to critically look at something and make sure that it’s still functioning properly. You bring your car into the shop for a tune up, you go to the doctor for an annual exam, you examine your house to makes sure your roof, windows and siding are all in tack before the winter. These are all examples of ways to double check that something you’re using is working. This is no different than your content marketing strategy.
Creating and implementing your content marketing strategy are great first steps to your marketing plan. But if you’re not measuring your strategy, how do you know if it’s working? Here are four ways to measure the success of your content marketing strategy.
Set your vision of success
You can’t measure the success of your content marketing strategy before defining what success looks like to you. This step is a little ambiguous as every organization has their own version of success. A defining part of creating your content marketing strategy is to set goals. What is the reason behind your content marketing strategy? What do you want to achieve? These goals should reflect what you have stated in your business plan—your marketing tactics and goals should directly support those goals.
Some common goals include things such as increasing brand awareness, increasing revenue over last year, establishing connections with a new audience/niche market or positioning your organization as a thought leader. Whatever those goals are, make sure they are measurable and that your content marketing strategies support those goals. For example, if your business goal is to build 10% of new revenue in X industry/niche market, content marketing goals and tactics that could support this business initiative include paid promotions on social media geared towards this niche market. Another option is offering free workshops for your services and taking advantage of the information you obtained of the attendees. Once you get their information whether it be from the sign-up form or business card, reach out to them, start the conversation about how you can help them.
Creating content for the sake of putting content out is not good enough. Your content should answer your audience’s pain points—the questions they have and can’t find answers to. This content should always be relevant and with a purpose. Defining this purpose will then help you determine the success of your content marketing strategy.
Set a time
Instant gratification is great but content marketing, unfortunately, does not offer this. When setting a timeframe for your content marketing strategy, you need to consider that it can take anywhere from six to nine months to see the results you’re looking for (and in our opinion, a full year is more realistic). Understanding this while implementing your strategy is important so you know to stick it through. When implementing a content marketing strategy thinking long term is a must. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
When measuring your content marketing strategy, there is nothing more accurate than using statistics. There are many social media management tools that are available to pull statistics for social media, SproutSocial, Tailwind and Agorapulse are just a few. Using a social media management tool allows you to schedule your content for the month and then pull all the reports from the month prior. Google Analytics works best for your website offering insights to your audience, website traffic and referrals to your website.
So, you’ve exported this information now what? Personally, this is my favorite step in the content marketing process. It is now time to analyze the numbers! Statistics are only useful if you analyze and interpret what they mean. For social media, there are a handful of metrics you want to understand and pay attention to which are reach, engagement and clicks. For your website, there are different metrics that are important. Audience demographics and bounce rates are just a few.
After collecting this data, to make it meaningful you must do something with it. Looking at top posts by engagement on your social media reports can help gain insight into what your audience is interested in. You should then create more content that is similar to this. Looking at bounce rates on your website will help you understand how your website is functioning. A high bounce rate means either the link leading to your webpage is misleading, meaning your audience isn’t finding what they’re looking for or that your website is taking too long to load.
Lastly, understanding the ebb and flow of statistics is important. If your stats are down one month it doesn’t mean you should scrap your entire content marketing strategy. It will take time for your content marketing strategy to go into full effect. Give your strategy time to grow and you will see the results you’re looking for. The types of results you would be looking for are increase in sales, increase in website traffic, increase in brand awareness or increase in online mentions.
If you have given your content marketing strategy time to grow but you still aren’t seeing the results you’re looking for, then it is time to switch it up. If you are only using organic promotions, try running paid promotions. Something as simple as when you send your content out could make a huge difference. We know that the majority of people check their phones in the morning when they wake up, on their lunch break and before bed, this means your content should be scheduled at these times. Again, once you switch up you content marketing strategy, give it at least three months to come into full swing.
Still need help creating or implementing your content marketing strategy? Let’s talk! We would love to help.