Content marketing is a pillar on which your successful online business will stand on. While SEO and social media are tactics that will help drive more leads and customers, both require content to make your customer acquisition campaign work.
In this post at Content Marketing Institute, it defines content marketing as “the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
With a comprehensive content marketing plan in place, you can attract the right people to your site, thus increasing your chances of turning them into clients of your business.
However, to consider your content marketing plan a successful, you need to measure the variables involved in developing and implementing said plan. From there, you can evaluate the results of your efforts over time to gauge the effectiveness of your campaign.
Neil Patel suggests tracking multiple metrics to measure truly the performance of your content marketing campaign in this excellent post.
“By combining several important KPIs, you can get an overall picture of your progress,” says Patel.
“If you’re investing in content marketing, you’ll care not only about increasing page views but also making sure that those page views are resulting in engagement, growth, and profit.”
What are the metrics that you need to watch out for in your campaign?
The metrics will depend on the goals you wish to achieve for your site. From there, you will get to figure out the tools that you will need to use to measure your site based on the goals you have set.
“The main indicators are influential bloggers tweeting and backlinking to the article,” says Gareth Bull. “KPI’s can be measured by collecting an email address or a conversion. Both can be tracked within Google Analytics.”
We can break down the goals into different factors:
- Website traffic – This metric gives you the total number of visitors that go to your pages. Traffic alone will not give you insight on the quality of visitors coming to your site, so this metric works best if it is tracked alongside other goals featured below.
- Conversion rate – If you want more people to commit to your calls to action, then tracking your conversion rate should give you an idea on the effectiveness of your pages about your goal. Examples of conversion rate include clickthrough rate, email subscribers, resource downloads and more.
- Bounce rate – Tracking the number of visitors that bounce away from your site will provide a better understanding of the kind of content you have on your site about your audience.
- Average time on site – Are they spending a minute on a page that takes four minutes to read? Are they staying twice the time that it takes to read your entire post? This metric will track just that.
- Backlinks – While this metric may be more along the lines of SEO, tracking the number of links pointing to your content can help you strengthen the bond of website owners and bloggers who linked back to your page.
Given the multitude of metrics that you need to measure, what are the tools you need to use?
As mentioned, Google Analytics is the tool that will let you measure most of the metrics mentioned above.
Tracking the traffic and comparing data from one period to another will show you how much your site has grown or regressed within your chosen timeframe. An increase in traffic is correlative to the effectiveness of your content marketing services. A decrease in traffic can be tracked to the kind of strategy you have been implementing with your content marketing.
Moreover, you cannot track website traffic in and of itself. Even if you have thousands of visitors flowing down your site, you cannot be sure that these visitors are your target audience. If they are not your audience, then there’s a great chance that they will bounce away from your site or stay for a couple of seconds before leaving.
Therefore, you need to build a buyer persona that you want to attract to your site. This is integral in forming your content marketing plan to create content that attracts the right people to your site.
You will see the kind of plan you should have laid out for your site, by looking at your traffic in conjunction with your conversion rate, bounce rate, and average time on site.
“Google Analytics does not tell you how your business is doing without some additional setup,” says Lars Lofgren at KISSmetrics in this post. “You have to tell Google Analytics to keep track of what’s critical to your business – and you do this with goals.”
While the latter two can be seen from the dashboard of your Analytics, you will have to determine your conversion rate goals and set up them on your account. The KISSmetrics post explains how you can configure the conversion rate goals on your Google Analytics.
The former will help you see how many of your visitors are scrolling down to the bottom of your page. The tool shows which part of the page where half of your visitors are leaving. From here, you can improve the page performance by finding ways on how to get more visitors, if not all, to read all of your content and increase your conversion rate.
The Heatmaps tool lets you figure out which links on your page receives the most clicks. The redder it gets on the Heatmaps tools, the more clicks it receives. This is crucial especially if you are running an A/B testing with amazing landing pages with CTA buttons and which to see which performs the best.
If you are interested in managing the backlinks you have accumulated on your content, you can use Monitor Backlinks.
The tool works both ways – you can check the bad links you have and spy on the link profiles of your competitors.
For the purpose of analyzing your content marketing, however, you can use Monitor Backlinks to track and measure the types of backlinks you have acquired or are still acquiring with your content. From here, you can reach out to authoritative sites that have linked back to you and find ways to acquire more links, if possible.
If you are attracting backlinks from a bad domain with your content, then you should consider improving your promotions strategy so you can reach out to much better sites.
Wrapping it all up
Just like any other marketing strategy, the best content marketing plans are built on proven tactics while eschewing the ineffective ones. By analysing how your content marketing is faring using the metrics and tools featured above, you can refine your strategy to come up with the best one for your online business.