A Beginner’s Guide to Measuring Content Marketing

December 10, 2013

image of tape measureOne critical aspect of content marketing is tracking and analyzing your results. The reality is that your content marketing program isn’t going to be perfect from the moment you build it. At first, you may struggle to consistently maintain your desired content rhythm and to get every piece of content out through all of the possible vehicles and programs that you would like. And, even after you master these things, your results will vary in terms of the impact your content has. The important thing is to hold yourself accountable to your goals, to measure the impact of your efforts, and to make ongoing adjustments along the way based on what you learn so that you are continuously able to improve.

That’s where metrics come in. Initially you should track them across four areas:

  • Content creation
  • Content delivery
  • Impressions
  • Conversions

Let’s break each of these down.

For content creation, you are simply tracking whether or not you were able to create all of the content that you have committed to producing as part of your content rhythm for a given period of time. Tracking this information (which can be as simple as saying “yes, we met our content commitments this week” or “no, we didn’t”) puts a spotlight on your ability to consistently create all of the content on your editorial calendar. That helps to surface other issues. If you are not consistently meeting your content commitments, it could indicate that:

  • You don’t have the right resources in place
  • Your processes are inefficient
  • You are getting distracted by other things
  • You are not leveraging freelancers, influencers, or your co-workers effectively
  • Your goals are too aggressive

The bottom line is that until you are able to consistently hit your content commitments, you are not going to have a successful content marketing program.

Next, start tracking your content delivery. Did you do everything possible to get a piece of content out (e.g., post it to your website, share it socially, post it to content sharing sites, include it in your newsletter, etc.)? If you did, you get credit for it, if not you don’t. The goal, of course, is to ensure that you are maximizing the amplification of each piece of content by delivering it to all of the appropriate channels.

After that, begin measuring your total impressions for a sense of the reach of your content. Measure how many people were exposed to your tweets, LinkedIn posts, and Facebook advertisements. How many times did people see your content come up in the results of their online searches? There are numerous platforms that you can use to measure your total impressions. Spredfast, for example, can help you measure your total impressions across social media.

In addition, you will want to measure conversions. How often did the people who consumed your content take a desired action as a result? Since every piece of content you create should have a conversion goal associated with it, it can quickly become incredibly complex to measure every conversion. So instead, focus on your biggest conversion goals, such as getting people to sign up for your newsletter, download a free trial, or fill out a form. Conversion rates vary considerably based on industry, but tend to hover between 2 and 3 percent on average. You should aim for a conversion rate of 5 percent or higher if you are creating customized landing pages for specific target audiences.

As your content marketing program grows, you will discover that there are other metrics that you will need and want to track. The ones listed above, however, are a great starting point.

What content marketing metrics are you tracking?

Content Marketing Director

<strong>Kevin Cain</strong> is the Content Marketing Director for <a href="http://www.bluechipcommunication.com.au/">BlueChip Communication</a>, Australia's leading financial services communication firm. Before joining BlueChip, Kevin was the Director of Content Strategy for OpenView.