January 7, 2016

The four simple steps you need to measure content marketing effectiveness

Businesses can no longer afford to close their eyes and catapult content into cyber space. The traditional methods of content marketing are dead.

There is the old communication model:four-simple-1

And the new:four-simple-2

Businesses need to be effectively monitoring and evaluating the way consumers are digesting and interacting with their content and using this information to create a positive feedback loop.

Research indicates that nearly half of B2C marketers have little idea when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of their content. This figure is quite startling considering the changing nature of content consumption.

There are a few simple, but effective, steps you can take to begin measuring the effectiveness of a content marketing strategy.

Step One – Set goals, make them specific and measurable

Guess what happens when you set an unclear, unmeasurable goal?

Without a clear goal in mind, most content marketing strategies are doomed for failure before they even begin. What is it you really wish to achieve from the content you are planning to deliver?

Brand awareness and increased profitability are at the core of any content marketing strategy, but they must be accompanied by a set of clear and measurable goals. Vague and unspecific goals are precisely what stop a number of businesses from ever getting out of the starting gates.

Set measurable, specific goals:

‘I want to double my sales for a specific product or service within a twelve month period’.

Only after setting specific goals will you begin asking the questions, and producing content, that will inspire a successful marketing campaign.

What kind of person is likely to consume the product or service you are offering? What interests and motivates them? What kind of industry related questions are they asking? In which space are they most likely to consume the content?

The more specific the goal, the more measurable and adjustable the content becomes. Once the goals are specific, you can begin measuring content effectiveness.

Step Two – Measure content consumption

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This is the most basic of the content measurement tools. How many people viewed, downloaded or listened to the content? Are they repeat consumers? How long do they spend with the content? Where do they go after they’ve consumed the content, did they take the desired path?

Consumption trends like these aren’t hard to find. Aside from the publicly accessible views and likes, free analytic tools provide a great deal of information on your contents’ consumer behaviors.

Step Three – Measure the ‘shareability’ of, and conversation surrounding, your content

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Businesses and companies that have thrived over the past decade have successfully transitioned from ‘content that directly sells’ to ‘content that story-tells’. Successful content marketing is all about creating an ongoing conversation that surrounds your business and services.

This is measurable!

The rise of social media has bred a culture of liking, sharing and online conversation.

It’s not how you perceive your business, but how your consumers perceive your business that really matters. If your content is being shared, you know you are on the way to building a tribe of followers, a tribe who is likely to return and refer.

The bigger your tribe, the greater your sales opportunity.

Any conversation about your business or content presents an opportunity to build trust and awareness. Value each and every one of these interactions and use them to your advantage.

If your content is not being shared, you need to start asking yourself a couple of questions:

  • Am I giving consumers the opportunity to share my content?
  • Is my content worthy of sharing or does it suck?

Be honest with yourself.

Step Four – Evaluate lead generation and sales metrics

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Boom! The end goal of any content marketing strategy – how often did the content lead to a sale?

Did you make money from the content that was produced? Did you increase online or offline sales to meet your desired goals? If not, now is the time to identify the weak link in the chain and alter the strategy. This all comes back to pairing your results against your initial goals.

Sure, content won’t always have the visible intention of making a sale, but content without an ingrained objective to encourage a consumer toward conversion is wasted content.

It’s important to keep in mind that an effective content marketing strategy can take weeks, months, even years before it yields desired results.

Summary

  • The quickest and most efficient way to build a successful content marketing campaign is to start with clear, measurable goals
  • Consumption trends, ‘shareability’, and conversation surrounding your content can, and should, be measured
  • Finally, you need to determine if the content has helped you achieve your goals. If not, it’s time to refine, redirect and reinvent