Measure-B2B-Content-Marketing.jpgContent marketing has become a hot trend even though its been slowly growing in presence since the mid 2000’s. Seems funny to call something developing over 10 years a “trend” but its only in the last couple of years that content marketing adoption rates in multiple industries have started taking hold and there is a buzz about it. Like with any marketing trend, to become a standard in the marketing toolbox we have to measure B2B content marketing to prove its worth.
There are numerous analytics to track to help determine how your content marketing is performing, but in today’s post we are going to focus on four areas where content creation interacts with content consumption. The goals of each of the four cross boundaries and will share key metrics we want to track. For example one of the ways we judge blog and social posts is based on traffic. Conversions is another metric that we track across the board.
One final item to note is that creating content is more than just putting a bunch of words on a page or statistics into a graphic. To create the mot effective content we need to know who we are targeting and the keywords they use to search.
The foundation of content marketing evolves around creating quality content at a sufficient enough frequency to capture the attention of searchers and search engines. Blogs offer the perfect way to target multiple keywords, categories, personas, problems, solutions, etc. It’s like the Swiss army knife of content marketing. You can share posts on different topics, different types of content (text, videos, infographics, audio), different content in terms of depth, and different stages of the buyers journey. All designed to be indexed, searched, found and consumed.
Here are a few of the top items to measure in regards to blog posts:
- Traffic: How does each blog post perform in terms of bringing in traffic to your site? To be effective the post not only needs to be relevant and well written, it has to be optimized for search engines as well.
- Top Posts: Initially your top posts could be judged based on the traffic it brought to your site. But it goes deeper than that. How long do visitors stay on the page? Do they click on the post and then quickly bounce off of the page? What did they do after reading the post? Did they visit another page on the site? If your post was about a particular service you offer, did they then visit the service page? In essence we’re looking to see if the post had a positive impact on their interactions with your company and your website.
- Subscribers: Did they subscribe to an email list to receive updates whenever you release new posts? If so, this is a clear indication that they judged your content to have value.
- Sharing: Did they share your post with their social networks? Once again if they did then they saw value in your post.
As time goes by and you add posts to your blog you’ll be able to evaluate your content marketing strategy and content creation to know what types of content are most likely to produce the best results.
According to an IDC social buying study, 75% of B2B purchases use social media to support purchase decisions. Clearly social media is having an impact on how B2B companies market and how they purchase. Here are three top ways to measure your social media effectiveness.
- Clicks: How often do people click on your social media posts? While the actual number of clicks is important its also important to consider the number of clicks per message. There is a huge difference between getting 40 clicks from 20 messages (2 clicks per message) verses 40 clicks from 200 messages (.2 clicks per message). Remember that clicks do not necessarily correlate to new traffic to your site as some posts will include clicks to your site, and some will be clicks to content you found interesting and linked to.
- Interactions: Interactions across social media refer to mentions, likes, replies, favors, retweets, +1’s and other interactions opportunities across the many social media platforms. Interactions can happen on social messages that include a link and ones that do not include links. This is a good measure of whether or not the content you are sharing is being found interesting and relevant to your social networks. And most important, interactions expand the reach of your content as others share with their networks.
- Growth: A Twitter or Facebook account with few followers is not going to be that beneficial to your content marketing efforts. You need to constantly be growing your networks and in effect your reach. One way to judge your content is based on how well your social networks are growing. Good content will generally lead to network growth while poor content is likely to result in a deterioration in your social following, or at a minimum result in no growth. Evaluating messages individually to further understand what is working and what is not.
In email your list can determine a large part of your success or failure. If your list is targeted you have taken the first step in ensuring that your efforts have a chance of success. If your list is a collection of random, un-targeted, and low quality emails it will not matter how well your email is designed or written. We’re going to assume that you have built your list the right way and that it is fresh and targeted.
- Open Rate: Probably the most important metric in email marketing is your open rate. You might have the greatest offer in the history of the world, but if no one sees it does it really matter? We’ve already assumed your list is fresh and targeted, so the remaining item related to content that affects your open rates is your subject line. We’ve seen numerous recommendations for short, long, specific, vague etc. subject lines. In most cases we’ve found that simple, direct and concise subject lines work best to maximize open rates.
- Clicks: If your email is asking the user to take an action (has a text link or button) then a click is the conversion action you are looking for from a email recipient. Click rates will vary based on the industry or type of business, seasonal trends, and offer types, so there is no specific click through rate that is the defacto standard. Rather you should use historical data to determine how your email performed relative to previous emails you have sent. Smart Insights a look at email statistics for different industries and business sizes.
- Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Your subscribe/unsubscribe rate is a good indicator of whether or not your email marketing is performing. To some degree your subscribe rate is based on other content such as blog posts or offers. Your unsubscribe rate, though, is likely a direct reflection of the value of content you are sending to your subscribers. Unsubscribes to your list can happen for many reasons including your content is poor, too sales oriented, sent out to frequently, no longer relevant, or no longer needed. Typically it comes down to value; either your subscribers see value or they don’t.
Gated content is the bedrock of content marketing. Gated content is content that requires the user to provide some information to you via a form in return for access to content. After all, at some point you need to capture visitors to your website as contacts or leads so that you can continue marketing to them throughout the sales cycle.
Access to gated content should be controlled through a series of steps that the visitor goes through to access the content. The first step would be the call-to-action (Get Your Free WhitePaper) via a text link or button in a blog post, social media post, email, etc. When the visitor clicks on the CTA they are then taken to a landing page that describes the offer and includes a form to collect information. Once the form is submitted they are then directed to a page to access the offer or receive an email with a link to the gated content.
On most landing pages we remove all navigation and external links so that the visitor either takes advantage of the offer (submit the form) or they leave without submitting the form. This makes it simple to judge how well your Gated offer performed. Either they converted or they did not.
These are only four of the many ways to measure content marketing, but because they relate to how you share content they are critical to track and understand. By analyzing the results you can have a better grasp on the types of content that is working best for you and adjust future content accordingly.