When weighing up the differences between "pay per click" advertising data and content marketing metrics, you might as well be comparing chalk and cheese.
Content marketing is a form of advertising that focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online, such as SEO optimisation, blogs, videos and even social media posts. However, because this style of marketing doesn’t yield instant results, it can be harder to track your efforts - but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn't.
As any digital marketer will tell brands and businesses, the time and resources required to drive success with a content marketing strategy are significant. The actual production is only one piece of the puzzle - consumers need to consider costs related to creating the strategy, distributing and promoting the final product, and associated software as well. In fact, according to a study conducted in 2020 by the Content Marketing Institute, just 43% of respondants actually measure their content marketing metrics for the purpose of understanding their return on investment - seems counterproductive, right?
Without understanding the return on investment when it comes to your content marketing efforts, you might as well be going in blind.
- Step 1 - How much did you spend on content creation? Include tools and software, employee salaries, and outsourcing costs.
- Step 2 - How much did you spend to distribute your content? Include paid advertising, social media advertising, and tools and software costs.
- Step 3 - Add up your expenses to determine the cost to produce your content. This is your total investment.
- Step 4 - Add all the sales that resulted from your content. This is your return.
- Step 5 - ROI is calculated by subtracting the initial value of the investment from the final value of the investment (which equals the net return), then dividing this new number (the net return) by the cost of the investment, and finally, multiplying it by 100.
Five Key Content Marketing Metrics To Watch
In order to successfully measure your business or brand’s content marketing efforts and to keep that return on investment percentage looking healthy - you’ll first need some KPI’s. What is the purpose of the content, and what are you hoping to achieve out of it? Once you understand the “why”, you’ll soon know how to best deploy the “how”.
Web Traffic By Source - Are users reaching your content organically through search engines, or are they being referred to your content from other sites such as social media? Maybe most users navigate to your blog from a monthly email newsletter? Whatever it is, understanding how people actually get to your content is a crucial indicator as to what’s working and what isn’t.
Tools To Use: Google Analytics
How to Find It: Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium and/or Channels
User Behaviour - Knowing who to target can be one of the hardest parts of content marketing. To find out more about your audience, such as what content they like and what is resonating, start looking at data found in bounce rates, time on each web page, new vs returning visitors and even locations. This helps to determine if a blog post matches the intent of searchers.
Tools To Use: Google Analytics
How To Find It: Behaviour > Overview and/or Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages
Email Open Rate - If you’ve begun to dabble in email marketing, or EDM, one of the most important content marketing metrics to measure in this arena is the open rate. After all, if your audiences aren’t seeing your content, then what’s the point? The average email open rate across all sectors sits at 17.92%, so pay attention to the quality and quantity of your content.
Tool To Use: Mailchimp, Salesforce Pardot, Hubspot, Campaign Monitor
How To Find It: Software Analytics
Content Shares - Encouraging your audiences to share your content across their own social media platforms is one of the biggest content marketing wins any brand could hope for - and it’s free. Taking stock on exactly how many raving fans you have can help to pinpoint which of your content is resonating with audiences, and what’s deemed worthy enough to share.
Tools To Use: SEMRush, BuzzSumo
How To Find It: Search by URL > Backlinks
Keyword Rankings - The role of Google is to categorise organic content, and to present the user with the most relevant results. If you are able to harness and weaponise the power of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), you’ll in turn receive a steady flow of regular traffic to your website or platform that’s more or less free of charge - that is, if you get the keywords right.
Tools To Use: Google Search Console, SEMrush
How To Find It: Search By URL & (GSC) Performance > Search Results > Queries
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re a one man band or a part of a large scale marketing team, the concept is the same. You can look at hundreds of different content marketing metrics related to your latest blog post, new landing page, or recent email campaign - but they don’t really matter unless you have goals to measure the performance against. After all, content marketing is a long game, and doesn’t yield results overnight. Like many forms of advertising, it takes time, research and tweaking - but you have to start somewhere.
Getting Content Marketing Right
Whether you’re just starting out on your content marketing journey or are looking to reinvigorate an established website, then working off a top notch content library is essential. After all, this practice is regarded as one of the best ways to “get seen”, promote and legitimise your brand online, and to add value for both new and existing audiences.
However, producing quality, consistent and on brand content takes time, effort, experience and resources - and you’re not alone if you can’t quite commit to that. Avoiding the use of keywords and content marketing all together may actually be doing your brand a disservice, but thankfully, investing in a solid content marketing strategy has never been easier.
Here at Content Hive, producing top quality video and digital content is exactly what we do best. We have itemised a list of digital content services, and allocated credits next to each of these. This means that each month, you can use your credits with us to produce digital content such as social media posts, blog articles, videos and even animated Instagram stories.
We believe that this model means we can produce high quality content in faster than normal delivery times. It also means that because you have a monthly credit, you are going to want to make sure you use these up - and so do we - meaning that your digital content is always consistent.
If you aren’t quite sure where to start on your digital marketing journey and would like to speak to a professional, why not book in a free discovery call with us at Content Hive today to discuss how we can get your brand buzzing online.