The last part of this series gets down to business: Has the content marketing strategy worked and how do you measure the success of the individual efforts?
Before we dive deep into the world of different numbers and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), we must look back to the goals we set before implementing the content marketing strategy.
Did we want to get as many new website visitors as possible? Or did we rather want to create more loyal visitors that stay on our website longer than they did before? Or was it all about getting new newsletter subscribers?
Depending on what the goals were, we must look at different numbers to determine if our content efforts were successful.
I usually use Google Analytics, the free website tracking tool, to complete the performance analysis.
The third part dives into the question of how to choose the right content form for your content.
After you have set your individual content marketing goals, the next big step is to actually develop a content strategy as the basis for your success.
Why should companies invest in content marketing? Part one of the series: What is content marketing?
If our goal was to get more people to visit our website by providing free content, the first step should be to have a look at the development of website traffic. This means comparing the numbers from before the content strategy was implemented with the numbers after the action was taken.
In the next step, however, we need to break it down further. Because if we can see a positive development of the website traffic, this alone doesn’t tell us that this is due to our content strategy.
That is why we need to take a closer look at the individual page visits of the different content types.
RECOMMENDATION: Every content piece should be individually analysed in order to see how the content performed.
If we add up the amount of page visits of the published content, we can clearly see how much our content contributed to the total website traffic.
If we are focusing on keeping our existing website visitors on the page for a longer period of time, we should investigate the relation of new website visitors to returning website visitors.
Additionally, the average visit duration is another indicator for us to identify, if the users actually take time to properly engage with the website or if they only took a quick trip to it and are gone again just as fast as they came.
If we wish to further investigate the numbers that indicate that visitors only came and saw one page and then decided to leave again, we can look at the bounce rate. This number explains how many visitors came to one webpage but haven’t continued browsing to any other pages.
Pages per visit
Furthermore, the average amount of pages seen per visit allows us to determine how intensively the users were engaging with the website. The number indicates how many pages within our website a user has visited during their time on the page. The more pages they visited, the more interesting and relevant the content on it seems to have been for them.
If we wanted to get more subscribers for our newsletter and thereby expand our mailing lists, the first thing to do would be to check if the amount of newsletter subscribers has improved ever since we started the content marketing campaign.
Also interesting is the development of clicks. Have the subscribers actually taken the time to click on the different elements within the mailing? The results of this analysis can give you a clear idea of which topics were specifically popular with the target group, and which ones didn’t go over so well.
However, you should also keep an eye on the bounce rate. If the bounce rate is high, this could mean that you either have a lot of dead email addresses in your mailing list or that your mailing is being blocked by spam filters. Worst case, this can lead to your newsletter being automatically identified as spam and therefore not being sent through to the recipients.
Another option to find out how well the content is being received by the target group is to have a look at the performance of the content on your social media channels. Of course, this requires you to actually have shared the content on social media platforms.
You should consider the reach of your postings, since the more relevant and interesting your posts will be for your target group, the better they will be broadcasted, and the more people will be able to see them.
If you have shared a link to your website, however, the clicks on your posting are way more relevant. Did the postings motivate people to click on the link and thereby create traffic to your website? To determine this, you usually look at the so-called click through rate (CTR). To determine the CTR, you divide the overall clicks by the general amount of reach and multiply the result with 100. The higher the CTR, the better.
Finally, another important factor is the engagement of your target group with your social media postings. If people interact with your posts, they usually engage with it more thoroughly and for a longer period. This will possibly lead to a closer relationship with the brand responsible for the content.
To determine the engagement rate, you use the same formula as for the CTR, simply exchanging the number of clicks with the cumulated amount of interactions (likes, comments, shares).
This will provide us with a general indicator on how well the content is being received on the different platforms, which topics were extraordinarily popular and which content the target group wasn’t that interested in after all.
Content should regularly and thoroughly be reported and compared. If you have tried something new, say a different type or form of content, you should note this in your analysis in order to be able to explain potential deviations in numbers later on.
Only by consistently analysing the individual content, you will be able to determine how successful your content marketing strategy has really been, and which topics actually interest your target group.
The analysis allows us to understand the need of the website visitors, getting to know them better and thus constantly improving our offer.
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