We’ve talked about how startups can build a content strategy or kick-start a strategy document — so what happens next? You can create all the content you want, but it won’t be useful if you don’t have metrics to measure your own success.
Most marketers have already heard of basic content marketing metrics like traffic and conversions, but there are a lot of numbers that you can follow to keep an eye on your content goals. How do you get started? Let’s take a look at some of the primary Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you need to be familiar with.
1 - Business Goals
When building a content strategy, it’s important to remember one golden rule: your company’s goals should always determine your content objectives and metrics.
Wondering how to quantify those goals? Here’s a handy chart from the clever folks at Contently that breaks down the key performance indicators (KPIs) startups should be following based on their content strategy’s main purpose.
2- Time spent on blog
The average time spent by readers on a blog is self explanatory, but why is it important? If visitors spend an average of 30 seconds reading your 2500-word post, it obviously isn’t hitting the mark, and they’re not making it to the end. Do you ditch the idea, or fine-tune it? The choice is yours - but only by looking at the data will you spot the problem.
Time spent on blog also includes the time readers spend navigating to other articles or resources in your content ecosystem. Newscred found that “the median average time spent reading an article is 37 seconds,” and yet longer, deep-dive articles generate 9x more leads than their shorter counterparts. By being strategic about the way you link your content and sources, you’re increasing your odds of bolstering that time metric and establishing yourself as a subject matter expert.
3- CTA (Call-to-Action)
Most landing pages have a purpose: a behaviour or reaction they’re trying to elicit in their readers and potential customers. That purpose, in turn, determines the page’s call-to-action, or CTA. Visitors click CTAs in the form of banners, buttons, or graphics to reach the next step of the conversion funnel. 47% of websites have a noticeable call-to-action button that takes users 3 seconds or less to see.
So what’s the end goal for your content? Do you want users to sign-up to your email list? Buy a product? Optimizely says that the success of a call to action (CTA) can be measured through the following conversion rate formula: number of clicks divided by the number of impressions, or times the CTA was seen.
Now go look at your metrics. According to the numbers, the average click-through rate ranges around 5% for buttons, and 2% for text. So what’s the verdict – are you adding up?
4- Gated content downloads
You’ve probably seen links to downloadable whitepapers, ebooks, case studies, or product demos within a blog post or video — these are known as gated content. A study found that 80% of B2B content marketing assets are gated.
Gated content encourages visitors to fill out a form and provide their name, email address, and/or contact number in exchange for some tempting information.
Here’s a great example from the social pros at Sprout Social:
Measure gated content downloads to identify the number of leads you can generate from each piece of content. This is the content strategy gold, folks!
5. Traffic vs Reach vs Conversion
What’s the difference between traffic, reach, and conversion?
Reach represents the total number of unique people who see your content. Ideally, you want every subscriber to view every piece of content you’ve made, but your clients aren’t your mom, so that might be expecting a bit much.
Traffic represents the number of visitors that have visited your website within a given time period. Content marketers should note their main sources of traffic — social media, organic traffic, ads, or search engines. Once you determine your main sources of traffic, you can create a marketing strategy that effectively increase your reach and boost your overall traffic numbers.
Conversion rate is defined as the number of visitors that completed a desired action divided by the total number of visitors. Remember that gated content from earlier? Your CTA? That’s where this comes in. The desired action could be signing up for a webinar, subscribing to an email newsletter, downloading a product, or signing up for a software demo - whatever it is you’re trying to get visitors on your site to do.
The engagement rate measures the number of times people have interacted with your content, be it by commenting, sharing or liking a piece of content.
According to Sprout Social, engagement rates determine the efficacy of brand campaigns. Customers who spend time interacting and sharing blog posts are more likely to convert or refer people from their network – and the added clout generated by peer-shared content is an essential early ingredient for audience loyalty.
7. Click through rates for pillar posts
Though you might not be familiar with its name, you’ve likely stumbled upon this content strategy countless times already. As far as we can tell, Hubspot seems to be the pioneer of the pillar strategy, which consists of a main piece of content sprinkled with external links to complementary blog posts called content cluster. In turn, each clustered blog post links back to the main pillar page and provides valuable context, hacks and resources for those looking to take a deep dive.
Here’s how they visualize the model.
To create a pillar, pick a core topic - hopefully one that you know a lot about already, and that you frequently get asked about. Not sure what your clients are asking for? Check out this helpful article with 9 FREE tools that will inspire content ideas. Next: touch base with your sales team - they’re your on-the-ground presence and should be dialed in to your customer’s base needs and challenges.
For example, create a main blog post called “The Ultimate Guide To Sales Qualification”. This main page could link to topics such as “What is a qualified prospect?”, “When to disqualify?” or “Qualification frameworks”.
Pay close attention to the number of clicks generated by your pillar posts – they’ll be able to tell you if people are engaging with your content and moving through the site.
Hopefully that whets your data appetite enough to have you nerding out over the numbers for a little while. Not too long though, you’ve got work to do and content to write! Enjoy.
Article written by Monique Danao