Content marketing is valuable for any business; from generating engagement to sales, content plays a huge role in your marketing mix.
While almost all businesses have incorporated content marketing as a part of their business strategy these days, how effectively they are doing it is again a matter of debate.
And that's not all. Even if you manage to market your content correctly, you still have to think about measuring its return on investment (ROI).
This, in fact, is a lot harder than you think as it is nothing like determining the ROI of sales advertising and traditional marketing activities.
Studies also confirm that measuring content ROI is easier said than done.
According to a recent study conducted by SmartInsights with HubSpot, determining content marketing ROI is one of the major challenges marketers face when it comes to managing content marketing these days.
Around 51 percent of people participating in the study said that they find determining content ROI rather challenging.
Related Article: 10 Content Marketing Best Practices You Need To Implement Now
The challenges associated with measuring content ROI are myriad. For one thing, you cannot always measure content ROI in terms of money.
Moreover, if you are looking for immediate success, content marketing is not the right option.
Rather, it is about building a long-term success that will take some time to show the results.
Nevertheless, measuring content ROI is essential. It speaks volume about your strategy like brand awareness, user engagement, subscribers and revenue.
So what your content ROI says about strategy?
But before you attempt to answer that, let's consider something more basic. The metrics for measuring your content ROI. This is where most marketers go wrong.
As said, they try to measure the success of their content marketing efforts in monetary terms. They only focus on the number of leads and sales their content is generation.
Although effective content marketing do drive leads and sales, that's not the only thing it does. It is therefore important to know your metrics right prior to determining your ROI.
The Metrics to Measure your Content ROI
The following are the metrics you need to measure your content ROI on:
- Brand awareness: Is your content driving enough brand awareness? Is it targeting new market, giving your products and services good exposure?
- Number of subscribers: What is your number of subscribers saying? Did you notice an increase of late? Or, has there been a sudden drop? What are the click rates saying? Are they pointing at some specific type of content you have started developing recently?
- User engagement: Are your readers interacting with the content? What is the bounce rate? What are they doing after reading a post? Are they leaving the site immediately or browsing for more? How much time are they taking to consume the content? Are they sharing it?
- Revenue: Yes revenue too! While money is not the only thing that should be the basis of your content marketing ROI, nevertheless it is one of the major metrics. So consider your revenue as well. Have your revenues increased lately? If yes, what started the increase? At what point are they converting?
These are some of the most important metrics you need to answer to determine your ROI.
Now, based on these metrics let's see what your content ROI says about your strategy. Are you doing it right?
Related Article: Increasing Content Marketing ROI: 14 Innovative Strategies
Trust Around Your Brand
Are you losing sales to your competitors? While there can be a lot of reasons behind it, chances are your customers are now trusting your competitors more than you.
But to be sure, you need to first measure the trust around your brand.
Most brands are leveraging surveys to measure and track trust and brand loyalty. But sometime that is not enough.
You need some more actionable insights on consumer behaviors that shape trust. Many brands, for example, are using the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, to gain detailed insights on specific attributes that helps to build and determine trust.
It helps to identify the gaps between the status of the trust and your business goals. Based on this you need to develop an action plan leveraging content.
For example, you can start creating more content that your target audience find helpful. Something that addresses the issues faced by your audiences and try to solve their pain points.
The focus of your content should be to build a relationship with your customers while giving a personality to your brand that connects with your audiences on an emotional level.
Always' #LikeaGirl campaign is perhaps the best example of how to create an emotional connection with personality by boldly speaking about a powerful topic like "champion girls' confidence."
Always says nothing about its products but the campaign was a hugely successful. Sales today, is more about "networks, connections and communities" and content helps you to achieve that.
Building Customer Loyalty and Experience with Content
Along with trust you need to build customer loyalty. Are your existing customers coming back for more on a regular basis?
Your content must have the ability to create brand advocates that not only help you generate revenue but also share your brand with peers.
Consider the performance of your content across the entire funnel, including those posted on social networks.
Similarly your customers' experience with your content is another driving force. Do you stand true to the promises you make on the social media sites?
The transition needs to be seamless. People should find what they are looking for; only this will encourage them to dig deeper and stay and interact with your page for a long time.
Moreover, their experience also determines whether or not they will share your content.
Brand Relationship and Brand Reputation
Consider the #LikeaGirl campaign of Always once again. It says nothing about the products Always offers.
But by transforming an "insult to the ultimate compliment," the company won an epic battle in terms of marketing as well.
Its equity value experienced an increase of strong double digit percentage while the campaign was running. In contrast, Always' competitors saw slight declines in their sales.
This is the kind of content that enhance your brand reputation. You are giving them something to think about and they keep coming back for more.
A Final Word: Measuring Content Effectiveness and Success
As fuzzy as it may seem, you need to measure things like trust, loyalty and relationships when it comes to determining content ROI.
And there is perhaps no perfect way to do it. Some use Google Analytic or other analytic tools to analyze the traffic rate, the content sources, and the bounce rates and so on.
While they act an evidence base, content marketing is somewhere above the run-of-the-mill marketing ROI.
It takes a different set of goals and metrics to measure the effectiveness and success of your content. What works for one company may not work for another.
But what's more important is to be flexible enough to change in order to create a more optimized content marketing strategy until you reach your desired goals.