Digitalization rules today’s world, which means you essentially need a strong online presence with a good content marketing strategy to succeed as a business.
Not only can high-quality content allow you to attract and retain customers, but measuring your content marketing tactics can also help you figure out what works and what doesn’t.
What you need to achieve this are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They help you track the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy and make it easier to identify areas that you need to improve.
But it may seem difficult to know which KPIs to track—that’s where we come in. In this blog post, we lay out the different types of metrics you need to track to get a comprehensive overview of your content marketing performance.
Input KPIs are the first type of KPIs you should track. These KPIs focus on the resources you invest in your content, such as the quantity and quality of content produced, as well as the channels you use to reach your target audience.
They are as follows:
Content quantity is an essential KPI for marketing. It measures how much content is created over a period of time and provides an opportunity to reach desired outcomes, such as attracting new customers or establishing thought leadership.
For new companies, the quantity of content produced offers a chance to experiment with different formats, topics, and channels.
For established companies, producing high-quality content is the ultimate KPI. Rather than focusing on how much content to produce, the focus should be on whether more content can be produced without sacrificing quality and consistency.
By improving the content creation process and exploring new formats and channels, companies can increase content quantity while maintaining quality, relevance, and engagement.
Proportion is another critical KPI for content marketing, as it measures the ratio of different types of content that gets published.
Generally, there are three types of content:
Different content types correspond to specific marketing goals, such as problem-solving or influencing audiences. Prioritizing content based on goals and audience is crucial.
For example, a KPI might have a 70% educational, 20% inspirational, and 10% entertaining content mix. You should be tracking the effectiveness of each type and adjusting the content mix as needed.
Distribution power measures the factors that enable audience reach through marketing channels, including link profile, social media followers, and email list subscribers.
While content quality drives distribution power, active link-building and optimal email frequency are also crucial.
Tracking distribution power as a KPI allows experimentation and optimization of factors contributing to audience reach and better results from content marketing.
What Not to Track as Input KPIs
Given that it’s important to keep track of your spending, tying your content marketing performance to cost-efficiency metrics can lead to some common mistakes.
Here are a few things you shouldn’t track as input KPIs:
Cost Per Successful Piece of Content
Trying to model your content based on the cost to create a single successful piece of content can be misleading.
Each topic and format has its unique potential and can change over time. What works today may not work tomorrow.
Moreover, your success is not solely dependent on the cost of content creation but also on other factors such as the content’s quality, promotion, and relevance.
Cutting Costs Just for the Sake of It
Pushing hard to create more content with fewer resources isn’t always smart.
Cutting costs just for the sake of it can lead to compromised content quality, reduced audience engagement, and lower ROI.
Instead of focusing solely on cost efficiency, you should strive to create valuable, relevant, and engaging content that resonates with your audience and achieves your business goals.
Output KPIs directly measure the success of your content distribution efforts.
Unlike outcomes, which result from your overall marketing strategy, output KPIs are tangible results that can be tracked and analyzed to improve your content marketing tactics.
The specific metrics are as follows:
Organic Share of Voice
Organic share of voice (SOV) is a crucial KPI measuring brand visibility against competitors in organic search.
By monitoring SOV for target keywords, potential customers’ discovery likelihood can be quickly ascertained.
SOV can be tracked using tools that calculate the percentage of clicks on your website compared to all tracked keywords.
It goes beyond rankings and includes clicks and impressions, thereby giving a comprehensive view of brand performance in search engine results pages.
As most businesses strive for increased site traffic, it’s important to understand the context and purpose behind this metric.
Simply focusing on traffic as a KPI can lead to it becoming a vanity metric – something that looks impressive on the surface but doesn’t really provide meaningful insight.
Instead, consider what you want traffic to reveal about your business.
For SEO content, organic traffic is a crucial KPI as it indicates the amount of qualified traffic reaching your site. Google Search Console on the other hand is a useful tool for measuring organic traffic from Google.
Pro tip: Exclude branded keywords to focus solely on the keywords associated with the topics you are targeting with your content.
Measuring the number of leads generated through content is a useful output KPI, but it only applies if you use gated content which requires users to provide their contact information to access it.
To measure this KPI objectively, track the conversion rate between views and form completions. That way, you can avoid skewing the results based on the amount of promotion a particular piece of content receives.
Engagement is a much-needed but imperfect metric in content marketing. It attempts to measure the value and impact of your content on your audience.
However, the meaning of a simple like or share isn’t always clear.
While engagement metrics are better than just counting views, they are not to be obsessed over.
Instead, treat them as a way to compare the performance of different content pieces, and test new topics, formats, or publishing times on social media.
The following are some engagement metrics that you can track using different online tools:
- Comments on blog posts and social media
- Twitter engagement rate
Generating demand for your product by mentioning its features is an essential part of content creation.
However, the objective is to create demand and ensure people actually use the product. Using product analytics tools such as Mixpanel or Heap, you can analyze the usage of different features, when they are utilized and for how long.
Here are some product usage metrics that you can measure:
- Usage Frequency
- Time Spent
- Feature Flow (This metric shows how people move from one task to another)
However, there are a few things to watch out for when using product analytics:
- Causation – It’s crucial to determine the impact of content on usage frequency. You can do this by measuring a specific workflow suggested in the content or selecting a time when no feature updates are expected.
- Data privacy – Ensure your product analytics solution complies with local laws and ethical standards. For example, consider aggregated, anonymized sets instead of individually when collecting data.
To measure feedback, monitor user opinions expressed through comments and social media using sentiment analysis tools.
Instead of introducing a feedback box on your blog, send regular surveys to your audience asking specific questions about your content.
You can also use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge user satisfaction by asking if they would recommend your content.
Backlinks, also called inbound links, are links from other web pages to a specific website or resource.
They are the most critical factor for ranking and vital in generating traffic. Put simply, the more backlinks a site has, the higher it will rank and the more traffic it will generate.
Backlinks can help measure content performance as they indicate what content is valuable and significant to users.
However, it’s important to track backlinks only for content designed to get them (link bait). This is because not all types of content will encourage people to link to them.
Also keep in mind that acquiring backlinks can be challenging. While anyone can comment on a blog post, only some have a website with relevant content to link from.
What Not to Track as Output KPIs
Don’t use sales as a KPI for content marketing as it’s too complex to attribute to a single marketing tactic.
Consumers consider many factors other than content quality when making purchase decisions, such as price, competitors, and emotions.
In other words, content marketing can only increase sales if other requirements are met.
Content marketing is a powerful tool for building brand awareness, generating leads, and establishing authority.
To maximize its impact, you need to track the right metrics and focus on your most important goals.
By measuring input and output KPIs, you can gain valuable insights, adjust your strategy accordingly and, ultimately, grow your business.