Every content marketing strategy should be built around your business goals. Success looks different to every company – for some it’s profit and sales and for others it’s members or clients. Establishing clear goals that you want to achieve enables you to formulate a directional content marketing strategy.
A key point to remember is that content should be underpinned by detailed analysis and metrics. Generating ideas and thinking of the creative is the fun stuff. But knowing which audience you want to target, which channels to use and the content you need to push out is the important stuff. Imagine pushing out a piece of content and never looking at it again. How do you know if your audience enjoyed it? How do you know if it brought you new users?
At each stage of your content marketing strategy, you should focus on measuring performance. This will help you understand the type of content your audience engages with and how to improve underperforming areas. Here are seven metrics to measure the performance of your content marketing:
1. Keyword ranking
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand. Any marketer worth their salt will know how to create content that’s optimised for search engines. Before creating a piece of content, you should identify keywords searched by users for the topic you want to rank for. After incorporating these keywords into your content, use SEMRush to set up position tracking and monitor the progress your content is making.
If the page is climbing up the SERP, it’s clear the search engine values your content and wants to increase its awareness. If the page is falling down the rank, there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. This could include content errors, broken links, slow site speed and poor format. Get these fixed pronto and watch your page gain authority and a higher ranking.
2. Website traffic
Website traffic generated by organic searches is a great way to measure content marketing performance. If a user has visited your website of their own accord, they felt your content was relevant and wanted to find out more. Once you know your content is bringing users to site, you can implement other tactics that’ll convert customers.
Use Google Analytics to monitor users coming to site. If your content is performing well, this should increase steadily over time. Isolate periods where specific growth has occurred and look at the content that was pushed out. This was well-received by your audience and you should produce more content of this type. This works both ways. If you experienced a period of low users to site, it could be due to seasonality, but it could also be due to your content. Review what you communicated and try it again at a different time. If it still doesn’t perform well, cut it from your strategy and replace it with content you know returns results.
If you’re consistently publishing content of different styles and topics, it’s worth monitoring your pageviews. This is the number of times a page on your website has been visited by users. Pageviews are great when seeing how well certain blog posts are performing in comparison to others on your site. A page with a lot of views is a strong indicator that your content was relevant and valued by your audience. You should create more of this content and ditch the types that didn’t perform well in the same period.
It’s important to note that just because a user visited your site and viewed your page, they may not have stuck around for very long. Average time per session will help you determine if users are staying to read your whole post, dropping off at a certain point or skimming through. If your time is high on some content pieces and not others, create more of this type. If the pages with infographics, videos or images are making people stay on your page longer, make these additions to other pages.
Backlinks are a priority in search engine optimisation. They build authority and let search engines know that your site is worth ranking. When marketers write content, the main goal is to provide value to your audience. While it appears to go against everything you work for, linking to other websites is a great way to boost your SEO. Receiving a lot of backlinks to your website is a great indicator that your content is relevant to other brands and users. Beware of toxic backlinks with a low domain authority – this can often go against you in the eyes of Google.
You can view how many backlinks your pages are receiving using SEMRush and Moz. For comparison, look at your competitors’ URLs to see how many backlinks they’ve secured. You can see the specific domains and pages they link to identify new opportunities you could pursue.
5. Pages per session
Internal links are just as important as external links. When you have a good amount of internal links that send the user to other relevant content, the pages per session will increase. If you’ve made it easy to click through and find other content, the user’s likely to have a high number of pages per session. This shows the content you create and link to is relevant and valuable to the reader.
If your pages per session is low, consider reviewing your internal links. Some may be broken which will need fixing as soon as possible, and some may be irrelevant to the reader. Creating landing pages rather than linking to archives or homepages is a quick fix to direct the user to highly relevant content.
6. Social engagement
When individuals engage with your content, it’s a good indicator that it’s worth talking about. Shares are particularly important as they show a user has found your content interesting and wants other people to know about it. Likes have a lower priority but let you know that a post was well received. Comments must be monitored regularly to keep your reputation positive. If a reader leaves a comment on your post, blog or video, it’s usually because they enjoyed it or want it to be better. These are vital insights to take on board.
Mentions and hashtags are great to track when running a campaign. Users might not directly like, comment or share your post but could mention your brand name or use a hashtag. Monitor these elements as well as your direct engagement to capture a look at users who may not be that familiar with your brand. This can help you generate good quality leads. Learn more about social media marketing performance here.
7. Conversion rate
Although all content serves a different purpose, the main goal is to increase conversions. This is the amount of people that have completed an action due to the content they’ve consumed. If your content has generated good quality leads, you’re more likely to receive a higher number of conversions. The type of conversion you want will depend on your business goals and content purpose. This could include downloads, sign ups, sales and contacts.
You can calculate your conversion rate by taking the number of conversions and dividing it by the total clicks on your form, link or button in the same period. A high conversion rate indicates that your content has fulfilled its purpose and persuaded the user to complete the end goal. Learn more about conversion rate optimisation here.
These metrics should be measured throughout the entirety of your content strategy – not just at the end of it. By gaining a deep insight into how your content is performing, you can figure out what is and isn’t working for your audience and business. You can make changes to the content that is underperforming and guarantee you’ll see better results.
It’s never too early to improve your content marketing strategy. If something’s not working right off the bat, you can ditch that content and add more of what does work. With better content comes higher quality leads and improved conversions.