Your content marketing strategy has many critical objectives – it should increase your website’s traffic, boost your digital reach, and, eventually, lead to higher sales. The process, however, can be a slow one.
Learning to measure your marketing strategy isn’t as easy as looking at a chart. Figuring out how to measure whether your strategy is working inform whether you are getting the right business and whether it’s worth the return on investment.
Consider the Groundwork of Your Content Marketing Strategy
What goals did you define for your content marketing strategy when you first developed it? Did you hope to emulate the success of your competitors’ published content only to realize they can do it better? Did you have no real plan and simply post blog posts with minimal value? Or perhaps you spread your content marketing efforts too thin and didn’t have any real focus on your strategy from the outset.
These early missteps can be difficult to overcome in the future, so it’s essential to define clear goals for your content marketing strategy early before you start actually developing content.
If you have stuck to your content marketing strategy, but it hasn’t panned out the way you expected, you may only require a few tweaks or an adjustment to your approach for greater success. This will require extensive research and testing.
You’ll need to review your previously published content and determine which pieces seemed to succeed and which pieces fell short of your expectations.
Compare these results to determine what went wrong. Some of the most often overlooked factors when it comes to successful content publishing include:
- Did you publish your content during peak traffic hours? Or did you happen to overlook an automatic publication’s timing and allowed a piece to publish while a major story dominated the news feed? Some companies have also committed an unintentional faux pas by publishing content at the worst possible timing, coinciding with news stories that result in users assuming the publisher is tone-deaf, insensitive, or worse – than the publisher intended to capitalize on bad news to drive traffic to the publisher’s brand.
- Have you noticed a decline in engagement with your content over time? Consider whether you have switched up your content format or structure recently. Does the decline in traffic coincide with your publication of a new type of content? Or has traffic steadily declined over time as you’ve published content along consistent stylistic lines? Some audiences relish variety while others prefer to stick with what they know. Suddenly changing up your content structure could potentially alienate some of your audience, but it also has the potential to capture the attention of new leads.
- How much value does your content provide? Does it solve your customers’ problems, satisfy their curiosity, and appeal to their needs and reason for interacting with your brand? Content is king, but only if that content is valuable. You need to provide the people who consume your content with consistently valuable experiences.
These are important factors for any marketing team to consider if a content marketing strategy hasn’t worked out as expected. Thanks to the wide variety of tools and applications available to modern marketing professionals, it’s possible to track content success over time more easily so you can make informed decisions about the direction of your content strategy in the future.
Fix What’s Broken
Some brands may need to entirely overhaul their content structures to find success with content marketing while others may only need to make a few tweaks for better results. If you want to fix what’s not working in your content marketing strategy, tracking your results over time is an absolute necessity.
Invest in solid tracking applications and take advantage of the vast number of free tools available for marketers that you can use across all your various marketing channels.
The following steps can help you identify problems with your content marketing strategy and develop actionable solutions:
- Identify your pain points. Which aspects of your content marketing strategy seem to be failing? Are you having success with your marketing emails but failing to generate engagement on social media? Have you produced various types of content or stuck with one or two content formats? These are important questions to ask if you want to identify the kinks in your content marketing pipeline.
- Consider opportunities for fixing those pain points. If you have several social media profiles but one seems to be struggling to gain traction, you need to consider whether it would be more prudent to cut your losses and abandon that platform or try and salvage it. This is the same for any other pain point you encounter; you’ll need to perform a cost-benefit analysis for either improving or abandoning any type of content pipeline that has underperformed.
- Review the value of your past content. What pieces of content have you published with the greatest success? Determine what made those posts special and try to translate that energy into your future posts without becoming repetitive.
- Brainstorm new content ideas. Have you ever produced any kind of video content? Video content can be an extremely successful marketing tool and can apply to virtually any business in any industry. Consider posting a professionally shot guided tour of your manufacturing center, interviews with employees, or even consider live streaming milestone events for your company.
Measuring Your Content Marketing Success
These tips can help you get started with refining your content marketing approach. However, you should know how to properly track your success with your new strategy.
If you haven’t properly tracked your content marketing metrics in the past or simply didn’t know which metrics to track to measure the return on your investments in content publication, make sure to keep tabs on the following:
- Lead quality. You need to approach cold and warm leads differently to guide them toward converting. If you don’t have some type of tool for tracking the quality of your leads, find one and implement it into your content marketing strategy. Successful content marketing strategies involve different types of content for different phases of the customer journey.
- Sales. How has your bottom line fluctuated over time? Have sales declined in tandem with your dwindling content marketing success, or have sales remained relatively unchanged despite your struggles with your content? A firm grasp of your sales record should inform any content strategy.
- Web traffic. How many users visit your website every day? How many are spending time looking at different pieces of content compared to how many clicks to your site than bounce away within a few seconds? Make sure the content you’re developing is appropriate for your audience to draw more traffic to your site.
- Onsite engagement. When you drive traffic to your website, do those visitors actually spend time-consuming your content and exploring the pages of your site? You can measure your onsite engagement by tracking things like bounce rate and average session time.
- Social media engagement. Have your followers shared your past content to their personal pages? How much engagement does a typical post on your social media profile generate? If your content isn’t reaching enough readers, you may need to start leveraging your social media presence more effectively to encourage your followers to share your content in the future.
- Search engine optimization (SEO). How much traffic do search engines drive to your website? If your website and content are not optimized for SEO success, your content likely isn’t appearing in as many search results as you expected, or they may be ranking lower than you expected.
These metrics are fantastic tools for finding problems with your current content marketing strategy. Measure your efforts and adjust your approach accordingly for better results with your content. Developing a sound strategy takes time and you cannot fall into the trap of complacency; just because you had one piece of successful content does not mean that future content following a similar structure will be as successful.
On the other hand, switching things up too much can frustrate and alienate the following you’ve worked so hard to build. Strive for balance and start thinking of ways you can refine your content marketing strategy.
Stephen Moyers is an out of the heart writer voicing out his take on various topics of social media, web design, mobile apps, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, startups and much more in the cutting edge digital world. He is associated with SPINX Digital a Los Angeles web design company & digital marketing agency. When he is not writing, he can be found traveling outdoors with his camera. You can follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenMoyers