The value of content marketing is not a subjective thing. The costs of creating valuable content that your audience will love can be high. Whether you are a large business with a dedicated team or a sole trader creating content yourself, the impact to your business will be felt in money, time or both.
Two separate pieces of information from the Content Marketing Institute’s research stood out to me recently. They appear to be contradictory.
“92% of marketers say their brands view content as a business asset.” 2017 Content Management & Strategy Survey
“28% of B2B marketers aren’t measuring ROI of their content efforts.” B2B Content Marketing: 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends — North America
Companies are serious about content marketing, view their content as a business asset – but a business asset that can’t easily be measured.
Presumably with this approach, content marketing budget will reduce. Further investment won’t follow if it can’t be justified with hard numbers.
How do you prove the value of content marketing?
A better approach comes by engaging in a continuous cycle of improvement based on an articulated strategy and a clear set of measurable goals. If you act, measure, react and repeat, you will improve your results in a shorter time than if you do not.
Choose to report on metrics that will have meaning to budget holders and that will clearly show progress. Click To Tweet
Vanity metrics such as likes and follows may have a place in your metrics reporting, but they won’t show value like revenue, costs and sales do.
Metrics can be divided into five broad areas – brand awareness, community engagement, lead generation, sales and customer support. As with all goals, adopting a SMART approach will make them more real and also more achievable.
Understand the part that content plays in any process. While it may not be possible to isolate it completely, choosing the right metrics will highlight content’s value to your organisation.
One of the main goals when you are starting out in business is to make people aware of you and get them to notice what you are offering. This can be measured in followers and likes, but if awareness is your main goal then be sure to measure it with formulas such as
- Increase share of website traffic by x% by x date
- Increase followers by x% by x date
- Achieve a minimum of x shares per post by x date
This is a more meaningful set of metrics to look at. A smaller engaged audience who really rate your product and service will ultimately be more use than a larger, disengaged one. Look at the following metrics:
- Increase mentions by x% by x date
- Reduce bounce rate by x% by x date
- Increase the amount of traffic from returning visitors by x% by x date
- Get at least x social shares per post by x date
If you are getting good levels of engagement, your next task to prove is that this engagement can convert into leads, and that you can capture and convert those leads. Here the challenge is to demonstrate actual leads that can be attributed to your content, and not to other actions that for example a sales team are taking.
- Increase sign up rate to email by x% by x date
- Improve open rate to email by x% by x date
- No of requests for a sales call from website to increase by x% by x date
If you have an ecommerce website or a clearly defined sales process, this is where the metrics get the most interesting, and actions taken on a website can be directly attributed back to content. This is where to focus when justifying content spend and when looking for ways to improve your site as result of insights into metrics.
Close attention to each specific part of this area will allow you to adjust your spend in content creation and advertising – for example optimising your conversion rate will allow you to fine-tune how much you need to spend on advertising to drive a specific amount of users to your site to buy.
- Increase conversion rate by x% by x date
- Reduce cost per acquisition by x% by x date
This is a really key part of the whole online metrics picture and can sometimes suffer due to focus on acquiring new customers. But a repeat customer is generally easier and cheaper to retain than a new one is to acquire. Focus in this area can pay off. And satisfied customers can be great and visible advocates of your products or services.
- X% of social media service queries answered or escalated within x hours
- X% of customer services queries resolved within service agreement time
Are you measuring the value of your content marketing?
There are no quick fixes in content marketing – it is a long-term investment and results may not be instant. Track your progress over time. Be clear on how, what and why you are measuring and what that measurement means. Click To Tweet
Return on investment can be measured, as long as you are clear on how content is working for you and can demonstrate the things that are really making the conversions.
You will understand your progress and justify spend. And when success comes, you will be in a great position to share it.
If you need help in this area, there are lots of ways we can support you – get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s explore what services we can offer you.