How to Measure Your Content Marketing Effort & Track Its Success
Here at DivvyHQ, we talk a lot about the value that content marketing can bring to your business. You’ve bought into the idea and have spent a hefty amount of time and money on identifying your target customers, discovering what keeps them up at night, and creating content that solves those problems. Before the CEO calls you in to justify your spend, you need to learn how to measure content marketing and its benefits to your business.
We’re here to help. It’s not rocket science, but you need to know a few things about what to look for when you measure the results of your campaigns and track their success.
Content ROI Undergirds All other Metrics
Bottom line, the metric that matters most to your C-suite is your content marketing ROI, as OptInMonster’s Jacinda Santora points out. After all, revenue is the fuel that funds your business – and ROI is the mathematical relationship between the revenue that your efforts produced versus your expenses.
“I knew there would be math involved,” I can hear you say. Hear me out. Do not click away. It’s that important.
How to Calculate Your Content ROI
And it’s simpler to calculate than you think. All because the number-crunchers have already figured out a simple formula that will make calculating your ROI easy-peasy.
First, find out what it costs your company to produce your content.
- If you used an in-house team, calculate their salaries and benefits.
- If you outsourced your content production to an agency or to freelancers, jot down their fees.
- Look into the cost of any artwork you used, whether stock images or from your own design team.
- If you needed to purchase equipment or software, such as video equipment or online grammar checkers, note that.
Next, look at your content distribution and automation costs. If you’ve invested in a content marketing platform to save time and money, write down the monthly or yearly cost, depending upon the period you want to measure. If you paid for Google or social media ads to promote your content, that expense, too, applies.
Now, add up the revenue your content brought in. In some cases, calculating revenue is easy. If a piece of content links to a sales page in its call to action, adding up the sales from that page is fairly straightforward.
However, if your content is linked to an e-book or white paper download, there are a few more steps to follow the money.
Look at all the prospects that downloaded the paper. If any of them bought a product or service after reading the long-form content, enter that amount.
However, in marketing to other businesses (B2B campaigns), there are often a few more steps. After reading a piece of content, a decision-maker might request a meeting with your sales team. After that meeting, she might want a follow-up meeting with the entire C-suite or another group of decision-makers.
That’s the point at which I remind you that siloed departments are so yesterday.
If your marketing team and sales teams have a central location (CRM, marketing automation platform, etc.) where they can track, monitor and share information about the results of those meetings, you can better track results for both departments. And, while I’m at it, consider bringing in your other teams – especially subject matter experts – to demonstrate your company’s mastery of its field. That’s a huge differentiator in B2B marketing and sales – and it’s so easy to do when you collaborate on content.
Finally, calculate your ROI percentage. Subtract your investment from your revenue. Divide the answer by your investment. Express the answer as a percentage – and you’re done.
Success, of course, is when you earn more than you spend on content production. Simple, right? You can even use a calculator.
Look at Other Key Metrics to Measure
That’s what you can take to the front office. However, there are more key metrics other than sales that you need to track with content analytics, at least for your own reference. These metrics might not result in sales right away, but they have proven to produce bottom-line results in the long run.
These metrics are:
- Quality of leads
- Website traffic
- Search results for your target keywords and brand name
- Onsite engagement
- Social media engagement
- Conversion rate
- Brand authority
- Overall exposure
- Subscriptions to newsletters and mailing lists
Choose the Metrics that Are Most Important to Your Business and Campaign
These metrics often vary in importance by type of content and goals – and by what numbers are critical for your business. For example, your e-book or white paper won’t spike search results since it’s gated content – something that’s not readily available to people who simply search online. People must submit at least their email address to get it.
But quality leads and sales? That’s the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.
On the other hand, search engine rankings is a must-measure metric for a blog post, as is website traffic. When you post links to that post on social media (and we recommend that you always do), you’ll want to measure the post’s social engagement as well to see how many people clicked through to your website from each social media platform.
Example from DivvyHQ Analytics
If you have a newsletter or mailing list (and you should), measure your blog posts’ effectiveness by tracking the new subscribers they generate, as the Content Marketing Institute advises. Newsletters have an incredibly high ROI – $38 for each dollar you invest – so they need to be an essential component of your content strategy.
The trick in getting it right is not to measure all the key performance indicators (KPIs) for every campaign – unless they all are relevant for your goals – but rather to measure the ones that are important to you and your business, as Brad Wikstrom points out.
If your company is looking into getting an app, for instance, tracking mobile conversions might be an indication of how many of your target customers use mobile as their preferred way to interact with your company. Paid keyword performance, Wikstrom points out, can also help your team identify top-performing keywords that you can prioritize in your content planning.
Repurpose Top Performers to Multiply Your Success
Once you have identified your top content performers using your chosen KPIs for content measurement, it’s time to multiply their reach by repurposing them. Turn a top-performing blog post into a video, or a great video into a step-by-step guide. Then, track that content’s performance as well.
Above all, keep your eyes on the prize. When you’ve chosen what KPIs are important to your business, don’t get sidetracked by the “KPI of the week” mentality and then drown in a flood of numbers, as Michael Brenner points out.
Focus on those metrics that have proven to increase your ROI and then create content that will boost those metrics. After you’ve gotten your plan together, it’s time to find a way to pull it all together without working 24/7. If you’d like to try a 14-day free trial of a content platform that can organize all aspects of your content marketing from A to Z, get in touch with our team today.