These days connecting, engaging, converting and keeping customers is about a lot more than having a good website. Companies need a way to not only communicate their mission and values and offer information about their products and services, but also to inform and educate their customers in a greater context. This means speaking to their customers and wider audience not only about their general industry, but also about the problems and questions that that audience encounters. Content marketing has provided the answer to this quandary, but now that organizations have realized the need for significant content marketing initiatives, they also realize the need to more closely measure the efficacy of their efforts. Answering this need, and doing it well, gives organizations a significant competitive advantage over their counterparts. So, what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should you be measuring to optimize your content marketing strategies?
Internal Key Performance Indicators
There are three basic buckets of KPIs you’ll want to focus on. The first is internal KPIs. These are your production KPIs, such as how many blog articles you post per month. These KPIs might include things like:
- Number of blog posts per month
- Number of social media posts per week
- Number of press releases per month or quarter
- Number of whitepapers produced per quarter
And so on. Again, the idea here is to track your production. The basic logic that you are more likely to engage with more people if you produce more content, disseminated through more channels, is sound here. Get your company out there to get on your audience’s radar. As individuals, we tend to trust companies (and feel ‘closer’ to them) that we see more often – via their Facebook pages, blog posts, social media posts, etc. Having these pieces that showcase your expertise lends legitimacy to your brand and positions it as an expert. A word to the wise, though: quality trumps quantity. Produce as much content as you can and still maintain quality.
External Key Performance Indicators
Your external KPIs are more audience-centric. In other words, those measurements that clue you in as to how your content is being received. That is, do they like it? Do they find it useful? Do they find it useful enough to share with their networks? Look at your specific pieces and determine what measures let you know what your audience thinks about your content. KPIs you might measure include:
- Blog shares per month (tweets, +1s, etc.)
- Social media likes per month (retweets, +1s, etc.)
- Downloads per month (for a specific whitepaper or eBook, etc.)
- Blog post inbound links per month
- Blog post comments per month
- Social media mentions/comments per month
You might decide weekly or quarterly measurements make more sense for you – whether because it’s more realistic for your industry or makes more sense for the specific piece of content you’re measuring. That’s fine. Bottom line: choose KPIs that gauge your reach and audience receptivity.
Bridging the Divide
Your internal and external KPIs are important, but there is one more vital set that rounds out your content strategy. These are the ‘show me the money’ KPIs, the set of KPIs that focus on the business end.
So you produce 15 blogs a month, post to social media weekly, and everyone shares your content and likes you on Facebook. Great, but are you getting leads from all those prospects? Are they converting to customers? Measure the number of leads you secure from social media, your company blog, webinars, press releases, or anything else that plays into your content marketing strategy. The idea is to figure out what captures and converts your customers. Do you get most of your leads via webinars, but almost none from press releases? It might serve you well to move more resources to webinar production, or you may need to revisit how you compose or distribute your press releases. You also might find leads aren’t so much drawn to a type of content, but rather a subject of content.
You also want to draw a full circle, from prospect to customer. Knowing that your first or last interaction with a customer was via content is a powerful tool when you ask for more resources or marketing dollars.
Feeling behind? That’s okay. Start at step one. Make a content marketing plan. Begin with production and move toward more sophisticated KPIs. Find a comprehensive software, such as Hubspot, that tracks your content marketing for you. Implementing and tracking your strategic content marketing plan is a key step in reaching a wider audience and building lasting and profitable relationships with your customers, present and future.
About Digital Impact Agency
Digital Impact Agency is a creative firm specializing in interactive media and inbound marketing strategies for manufacturing and technology companies, professional service firms (architectural, engineering, construction, legal and consulting), nonprofits and enterprise companies. We are a team of innovative entrepreneurs focused on creating the most strategic and effective communication channels for our clients.