Content marketing is all sorts of huge, with only 12% of companies NOT focusing on it. But how do you know if your content is successful? In three words, successful content marketing has to have the following: write, measure, repeat.
The new Business.com is a content-centric approach to our mission: to help people grow their businesses. Every day, we publish multiple pieces of content daily that all have that exact goal, but that's just where it starts. In order to learn if our efforts are working, it is imperative that we dig into the analytics and to find out. Below are the content marketing metrics that we measure, how we do it, and what comes after.
Related Article: Is Content Marketing the Future of B2B?
This might seem like an obvious one, but what should you do with the metrics once you record? First, here are the traffic metrics we keep track of:
- Total visitors: the total number of unique visits (sessions in Google Analytics) to your content and the percent of that organic traffic to total traffic.
- Organic traffic: visitors that are finding your site through search, link backs on other sites, social channels, etc.
- Referral traffic: further drill-down of organic traffic, referral traffic comes from social channels and links outside of your own site.
With these, you'll want to view organic traffic percent to total traffic and have a goal to increase that. By choosing the right keywords and answering the questions in your content that people typing for would find helpful, you'll start to see organic traffic increase. Referral traffic from social networks should also start going up if the quality and shareability is there.
Total Views by Content Type
Which pieces of content perform best on your site? Based on this, you'll know what to keep and do more of, and what you shouldn't waste your energy on. Similarly to site traffic, we look at total views, percentage change and percent of traffic.
We produce the following types of content, so we measure the effectiveness of each:
- Comparison charts
- Blog posts
Top Performing Content Categories
Since Business.com covers quite a few professional disciplines, we want to know which category of content is resonating the most with our readers. This not only tells us what categories of content are performing the best, but also tells us more about our audience's interest and job function.
Top 10 Performing Pieces of Content
This is a very important metric for us because it indicates which pieces of Business.com content have viral potential. If you look at your top ten pieces daily, you can re-share those articles and keep the engagement snowballing. Since social shares are so important with this metric, be sure to keep track. We use an internal platform as well as SimpleReach to help us identify this content. For performance, we look at the following:
- Time on site - how long people are staying engaged with your site's content before going elsewhere. Set goals and measure against them.
- Bounce rate
- Traffic by social channel
- Shares by social channel
Bounce rate is an important indicator of a few things in terms of content marketing. First and foremost, it shows how good of a job you're doing (or not doing) with content re-targeting. Are you serving up related content? Trending content? If you're not, your bounce rate is probably reflecting it. Similarly for time onsite, set goals for yourself and measure your actual bounce rate against them.
Traffic by Social Channel
Utilizing social media as a means of driving traffic to your content is vital. As I once heard it described at a conference, content is the heart and your social media networks are the veins. Measuring traffic by social channels helps you to tailor your strategy depending on where your audience is most engaged, and around which topics. You should track every channel that your brand regularly uses to publicize content.
Shares by Social Channel
If people are not only reading your content, but sharing it, you know you're doing something right. We place a lot of emphasis on shares by social channel, because we believe it to be an indicator that our audience found a piece of content so valuable that they shared it with their community. SimpleReach has been a huge help in easily tracking this metric.
Once you've started tracking these metrics, it's important to regularly update to track your progress. Set benchmarks for where you'd like to be for each metric, and map out a plan of how you're going to get there. As you continue tracking your progress, adjust your plan to stay on track towards your goals. Metrics are key to your continued content marketing success.