You’re a business owner. Someone walks into your office and says, “You’ve been spending money on content marketing for a few months now. How do you know you’ve achieved content marketing success?”
Cold in your tracks, you murmur, “Well, I’m not sure.”
Suddenly, you’re second-guessing whether or not consistent blog posts, emails, and social media marketing is doing a lick of anything for your business. What do you do?
The first step is simply reading this article. Knowing what’s happening under the “content marketing hood” and putting together the measurement puzzle pieces will help you rest easy at night.
You can’t measure what you don’t know (your goals)
Clients come to us with a wide range of goals—heck, some come to us without a clue what they should be at all. Both are great places to start, and part of our job is helping you choose what your goals should be. In either case, we can’t get to the “measurement” phase until these are nailed down. The following are four “buckets” to consider.
- Attract — If you want to break into new markets, gain new customers or investors, and attract employees, we might put a lot of eggs into this bucket. For example, one of our clients is focusing on increasing their pool of job applicants through social media. In this case, our content marketing strategy for the quarter (or however long) is how can we stand out as an ideal place to work?
- Retain — Alternatively, retention may be the name of the game (again, think customers and employees). Serving people already “at your table” well informs our strategy to be one that provides a lot of education, inspiration, and overall value. An internal celebratory and informative newsletter that showcases company culture is only one example in a sea of many.
- Support — Recently, we entered a new engagement, where our clients’ entire strategy is equipping their sales team with materials to use “on the field.” At times, looking inward and supporting the troops is an incredible content marketing strategy, as you can create a handful of content pieces that will work for you for an extended time.
- Grow — Finally, do you need a brand refresh? Are you launching a new product or service?
Remember, these aren’t exclusive buckets. Often, focusing on one inherently affects another.
Three main buckets: social media, website analytics, and email marketing
A necessary truth is that your industry has its own set of standards. For example, what is a “typical” email marketing open-rate for retail businesses is very different from a construction company. Red Mallard is fortunate to largely work with the industrial and construction sectors, so the following examples will be through their lens.
There is no short supply of social media metrics, some of which are deceitfully unnecessary. We recommend zoning in on three main areas:
- Post impressions: The total number of times a post was visible in a timeline or feed.
- Page views: How many times a post led a consumer to view your profile.
- Engagement rate: Interactions, clicks, and followers combined divided by total impressions). For example, A solid engagement rate on LinkedIn is 2%. Is that lower than you’d assume?
We intentionally leave followers off this list, as that is not necessarily an indicator. Losing followers isn’t bad, especially if you’re settling into your niche. You want quality followers, not a certain number.
We’ll say it again and again: measuring success depends on your goals (remember our first section?) We’re going to paint a picture using a real example below.
A blog page has a high bounce rate with a session duration of 1.5 minutes. The A blog page has a high bounce rate with a session duration of 1.5 minutes. The business owner is shocked and concerned, wondering why this isn’t more like twenty minutes. To start, the business owner isn’t aware that the average bounce rate in the construction industry is 55%—higher than one would think. Secondly, those who are “bouncing” may very well still be consuming valuable content, and we’d conclude that the content is doing its job. Still, there’s always room for improvement, so our next quarter’s strategy incorporates more strategic calls-to-action that keeps people moving throughout the site.
When it comes to whether or not your website is winning, don’t let the data bring you down. You’re probably doing better than you think.
In the construction and industrial industries, the standard open rate is 22%, click-rate (again, how many people click on a call-to-action within) is just shy of 3%, and unsubscribe rate is roughly one-third a percent.
Remember that because content marketing aims to add value on a handful of platforms, your email list isn’t the only place people will see and be prompted to interact. Relationships take time, and every valuable “touch” in somebody’s inbox was another brick built into this long-term relationship.
Content marketing belongs anywhere and everywhere
The big, beautiful world of content allows for strategy to reach far and wide. Although these three areas of content deployment and measurement are key, true “success” isn’t found only in the numbers.
Creating content that diversifies a handful of avenues is something to celebrate—think using blog articles as micro-content, for example.
Once a strategy is in full-gear, give it time to reflect on the data. All good things take time.
Let’s create and measure, together
Content marketing is a journey that you shouldn’t have to take alone. Contact Red Mallard today to learn why every business deserves great content.