This following post includes excerpts from our recent whitepaper, Developing an Effective Content Marketing Strategy, which you can download here.
Content is one of the most effective tools for attracting, nurturing, and converting new customers. However, with more than 70% of B2B marketers surveyed by the Content Marketing Institute saying that they are going to create more content this year than they did last year, how are you going to stand out from the crowd?
Building upon the marketing foundation of persona development and customer journey mapping, a content marketing strategy will help you attract new customers, answer their questions, and align your efforts to the needs of your organization. In other words, create great content!
Redefining Content in the Digital Age
Before we go too far, what is content? As modern marketers, we’ve accepted “content” as a catch-all for almost every aspect of our work; the emails we send, the blogs we write, and the social posts we craft, and, of course, the accompanying images, infographics, and videos. Let’s open the dictionary and take a look at the various definitions of content. When used as a noun and pronounced ˈkäntent/, its primary meaning is “the things that are held or included in something.” That works. Content is the message in our email and not the email itself. And, what is the message? You might be inclined to think that it is the copy in the body of your email, but it is not. For content marketers, the message is always the call-to-action. To round out our definition, I like to include the definition of the noun, content, when pronounced kənˈtent/: “a state of satisfaction.” Our definition of content is then:
A message that prompts action designed to deliver a state of satisfaction.
Let’s turn to our partners at HubSpot for their definition of content marketing:
“Content marketing is a marketing program that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience -- usually online -- the goal of which is to attract new customers.
The most common components of a content marketing program are social media networks, blogs, visual content, and premium content assets -- like tools, ebooks, or webinars.”
To be successful at content marketing then, we need to understand the metrics that measure the effectiveness of your message - your call-to-action.
Publishing KPIs vs. Content Marketing KPIs
It has often been said that content marketers are publishers, but that’s not exactly the case. As Jay Baer at Convince and Convert points out, “content helps achieve business objectives, not content objectives.” A publisher wants pageviews, a content marketer should want conversions. The following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are then invaluable to the publishers at the Huffington Post, New York Times, or Buzzfeed:
- Unique Visits
- Page Views
Each of these KPIs will give you an understanding of how many people are viewing your content, how much of it they are viewing, where they are viewing it from and on what device. Obviously, important metrics to know, but not true indicators of the effectiveness of your content. If we agree that the goal of content is to inspire an action that leads the reader/viewer further than the path to purchase, then the following “action” metrics are good indicators of how content will contribute to your bottom line. These are the 4 most valuable KPIs that content marketers should be focusing on:
Content Marketing KPIs
- Conversion Rate
- Social Sharing
- Bounce Rate
Each of these indicate an action. Click-through-rate is a measure of how many viewers take the next step after opening an email or viewing a social post. Conversion rate is a measure of how many viewers engage with the call-to-action in your content. Social sharing is a measure of how inspired your viewers are to incite others to take action. And, bounce rate, though it measures a negative action - the rate at which people are leaving your content - is an equally important factor to measure.
All of the above metrics are available through a combination of Google Analytics and your chosen publishing platform, Hootsuite, Buffer, HubSpot, Pardot, et al. To truly demonstrate how your content contributes to your bottom line, the additional steps of instituting a lead scoring program is necessary. We will cover lead scoring and other content marketing best practices in the next webinar and whitepaper of our Lead to Loyal™ series, How to Make the Most of Marketing Automation.