You've more than likely heard of content marketing and what its purpose is within our businesses. If you're unsure though, a good definition would be that it "comprises of creation and sharing of informative content to drive traffic and customer growth". If you were looking for something "official sounding".
Content can be published in varied formats such as articles, videos, press releases, eBooks, how-to guides, infographics, photos and much more. While the main idea behind every marketing campaign is to generate leads or sales, content marketing focuses on the conversation between your business and the customer, leading to lead generation and, eventually, a sale.
However, like with every marketing strategy, even content marketing has to deal with the prospect of return on investment (ROI). If you cannot measure something, then you cannot manage it. Yet, at present, there is no exact standard on how to measure content marketing.
Content marketing's success cannot be measured with a single metric, because a single measurement cannot satisfactorily tell you whether your campaign is working. It turns out that when it comes to content, these four metrics matter: consumption, sharing, lead generation and sales.
Nevertheless, above these four basic metrics, there are three other fundamental measuring principles that you need to consider: awareness, attention and conversion. Content tactics can successfully manoeuvre customers by building awareness, supporting attention, and generating leads and sales through conversion.
Awareness means exposing new people to your brand, service or product. A majority of online experiences begin with a search engine. Hence, it is important that you measure your site's ranking in the search engine result pages. A steady increase in “first time visitors” to your website and other social media metrics such as likes, followers, +1s and up-votes are also a measure of awareness.
To increase awareness, make sure that you publish quality content that a prospective customer desires. It will also help the site rank higher in search engine results for multiple keywords. Social media is also an excellent content distributor that should not be ignored.
Blog posts, news articles, press releases and social media content are some of the best tactics to generate awareness. You can also associate your brand with a trending topic on social networks to build awareness.
Once you have made your prospective customers aware of your brand, you then need to grab their attention. Make the content as engaging as possible by offering options to download, comment and share, as well as having a good reading format.
To measure attention, assess metrics such as page views, visit duration, bounce rate and other social metrics. Higher visit duration is more beneficial to your marketing success. Likewise, a lower bounce rate is also more advantageous. Video views, content shares, comments and other social metrics also add to your content marketing’s success.
Search engines rank content based on how relevant it is to the end-user. You can grab the attention of a user through content tactics such as proper web page design, 'long tail' blog posts and articles, newsletters, FAQs and white papers. With increased brand trust, a potential customer will be able to make more informed decisions.
A conversion means successfully bringing a customer to make a purchase or fill out a form for contact details, which can be later used to reach the customer. Conversion success is measured by the increase in sales or leads at the end of the content marketing campaign.
To identify the main reason behind conversion, track the content sources that contribute to the process. Trace the role of social media referrals from sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in your conversion. This will also give you a metric of your social marketing campaign. Also make sure that you measure subscriber versus non-subscriber behaviour; it will give you a metric of awareness versus conversion ratio.
Contact marketing is one of the main factors behind conversions, as a majority of the traffic comes through search engines and quality content is what decides how it is ranked in search engine results. Social media also plays a major role as it can amplify the marketing success over a period of time, unlike traditional pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns which remain stagnant.
Measuring your conversions will make you notice which tactics deliver a higher ROI; this is known as market intelligence. Once you've made the conversion, you should also keep in mind that the customers will share their experiences with other people on blogs, discussion boards and social media.
When customers share their experience, they also reference the content on your site, which in turn builds back links; this impacts search results and increases social awareness. Thus, quality content automatically refreshes your marketing success.
Once you've understood the importance on conversions in your campaigns and how to measure content marketing successfully, managing various content tactics becomes extremely comfortable.
Image credit: JD Hancock