Content marketing is fundamental to the success of any modern brand. The data continues to prove this point again and again. But when determining content marketing ROI, you have to start with a business goal.
Without a goal, your metrics won’t mean much, and you could lose sight of what exactly your content strategy should be. Creating a business goal seems simple enough, but there are many factors involved.
In this post, I’ll be addressing three key things: why content marketing works, how to define a business goal, and which content marketing metrics really matter to track ROI.
Why Content Marketing Works
Content marketing isn’t a new discipline. However, the focus on delivering educational, informational, and relevant content to your audiences is more important than ever. With the right strategy and content plan, you can establish your brand as an authority in your industry and encouraging your target buyers to trust you.
Consider these content marketing statistics:
- 47% of buyers view three to five pieces of content before engaging with sales
- Companies with blogs tend to get 67% more leads than those who don’t have one
- Inbound marketing close rates are still eight to 10 times higher compared to outbound ones
Content marketing can lead to significant results for your company. But you must start with understanding exactly what you expect to achieve with your efforts.
In a general sense, you may expect your content to attract leads or create better engagement on social media, but those aren’t concrete business goals.
So, how do you define your business goals so that you know if your content marketing metrics support it?
Defining a Business Goal
Setting business goals is a normal part of your business’ practice. Goals are necessary to move your company forward. Yet, they aren’t simple to develop and typically require a lot of thought and executive input.
The problem most content marketing teams face in goal setting is that the goals aren’t specific enough or are too vague. When goals aren’t clearly defined, it’s hard to know which content marketing metrics to measure and whether you’re meeting the goals.
To help you get started, here are six steps to setting well-defined content marketing goals.
1. Goals should be quantifiable
Start with determining what you want to accomplish with your content strategy. In this step, you can consider how you would set goals if you knew they would be successful as well as thinking about what a goal would be if it were your last opportunity.
With clear goals, you know exactly the path you want to take and are less likely to abandon efforts should the path become more difficult. Be as specific as possible. This usually means including numbers for things like sales, growth percentage/lift, leads, conversions, engagement, subscribers, etc.
2. Goals must be specific
Again, it comes down to being very specific and eliminating vague ideas. Define your end goal and start your road map for how you’ll achieve it.
For example, if you want your content marketing to increase engagement on social media, then you’ll need specific goals around this. Goals here include consistently posting, responding to comments in a timely manner, and starting conversations.
Guidelines keep you on the path and allow you to achieve more.
3. Remain committed to your goals
When you set a goal, you need to stick with it. Don’t spend time procrastinating or second-guessing your decisions. You’ll soon get derailed. Instead, ensure that your tactics are helping you meet your goals.
You can easily stay committed by having a transparent view of efforts with a content marketing metrics dashboard. With a dashboard, fueled with real-time data, you’ll easily be able to see if you’re on the right course.
However, being committed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be agile. If you clearly see that a content topic isn’t resonating with your audience, then it’s okay to shift gears and try something else to better connect with them.
4. Let the entire team know about your goals
Goals shouldn’t live in a vacuum or some old PowerPoint deck that hasn’t been updated in years. They should be living, breathing expectations that are shared with your entire content marketing team. By involving everyone in goals, you can nurture better content collaboration and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Also, once everyone is privy to the goals, they can offer feedback on how to accomplish them. Remember, everyone on your team has insights to share.
5. Goals should have a deadline
It’s important to put a time restraint on goals. Otherwise, you’ll just keep spinning around and end up failing.
Defining a deadline puts your goal into context. Pick a reasonable date that isn’t too aggressive but also not too far into the future.
6. Celebrate goal victories along the way
Another great tip for business goal setting is to celebrate victories along the way. Once you hit a milestone, be sure that the entire team and other stakeholders know about it. This boosts morale and keeps the final accomplishment in sight.
Now that you have a framework to set your goals, it’s crucial to identify which metrics matter.
Content Marketing Metrics that Matter
With your business goals created, it’s time to determine the content marketing analytics that matter. Regardless of your goals, these are the most important metrics to discerning true content marketing ROI.
- Lead quality: do the leads you receive turn into opportunities?
- Sales: are the leads you are attracting with content marketing turning into sales?
- Web traffic: does your content attract visitors to your website, and do they stick around?
- Site engagement: when you get people to your site via your content, do they subscribe or engage with you in some fashion?
- Social media ROI: do your followers or others engage with you on social media? Does your social content drive people back to your website?
- SEO success: is your content ranking high for key terms/phrases?
- Exposure and authority: do people share your content and recognize your brand as thought leader?
The bottom line with content marketing ROI is that it’s almost impossible to truly decipher unless you start with concrete business goals. Those goals are the foundation of your content strategy and can help you evolve it as needed.
If you need some advice or help in this area, the team at DivvyHQ is ready to help. Content analytics is part of our content marketing software platform, and we’d love to provide you with an analytics demo today.