Stop Guessing About Content Marketing ROI: Know Your KPIs

November 24, 2017

by Virtucom Group Team

Is content marketing a great investment? Odds are good you’re not sure, since 52% of B2B firms consider measuring the ROI of their content program to be a top challenge. While a lot of businesses are using landing pages, articles and different types of blogs to fuel inbound marketing, many of them aren’t sure how to understand their content’s ROI.

If you’re wondering whether or not the content writing on your website delivers results, it’s time to get serious about evaluating content marketing ROI. The first step? Identifying critical key performance indicators, or KPIs, that help you understand which pieces of content provide value, and which aren’t working hard enough to drive your digital marketing efforts.

Understanding Content Writing KPIs

What is a KPI? Simply stated, a KPI is measurable data that allows your business to track content performance over time. By identifying important KPIs, you’ll be able to understand how content campaigns and individual pieces of content, like blog posts, ebooks and whitepapers, are helping you achieve your marketing goals.

On the other hand, carefully monitoring KPIs can reveal content that doesn’t push your initiatives forward, allowing you to assess your tactics and change directions for better results.

Some things to keep in mind about KPIs:

  • Not every KPI is relevant to your content goals. By clearly defining what you want to achieve, you’ll have a better idea of what you should track and what it can tell you.
  • KPIs aren’t just for completed initiatives. Your best bet is to identify KPIs that tell you about the performance of in-progress campaigns, as well as content initiatives you’ve fully executed.
  • KPIs can change. It might make sense to chart a specific set of variables when your content strategy is in its infancy, but your tracking priorities should be responsive to changes over time.

Your 3-Part Process For Choosing Content Marketing KPIs

You can find a laundry list of common content KPIs via a simple Google search. However, just like everything else you do with content creation, you need to proceed strategically. Data is only as good as the benefits it yields, and there’s no point in devoting valuable time to less-than-valuable analytics. By following the three steps below, you’ll be able to make the most of your ROI data and the time you spend on it.

1. Understand your goals.

Your first step is figuring out what you want to achieve. If your digital marketing goals center around nebulous ideas, like "growth" or "getting our name out there," try to be more specific. Some inbound marketing goals you might establish include:

  • Increasing traffic to your website
  • Keeping visitors on your site for longer periods of time
  • Acquiring more leads
  • Boosting conversion of leads into customers
  • Building authority as a thought leader in your industry

Establishing clear goals will not only help you determine how to measure the success of your content, but also give you a better idea of what types of content to produce. Therefore, tightening up your content strategy this way is a win-win situation for your inbound marketing efforts overall.

2.  Determine which KPIs are relevant.

Once you've identified your goal, look for KPIs that can demonstrate whether or not your content is achieving it. Make sure that your chosen metric can actually tell you what you want to know. For example, time spent on page is a very useful KPI if you're trying to assess engagement, but it won't tell you much about how many leads each blog post generates.

Every data point you track should relate directly to one of your goals. While it's certainly nice to have all kinds of analytic data when reviewing your content, you don't want to get bogged down in extraneous information.

Which KPIs align with your goals? Take a look at some ideas below:

  • Unique page visits: By using cookies, you'll be able to see how many individuals come to each page on your site for the first time over a 30-day period. Tracking unique page visits tells you whether or not your content draws new prospects to your site, and thus, increased site traffic.
  • Lead generation: 2016 research by Curata revealed that 74% of marketers believe content marketing increases lead quantity and quality. By tracking how many site visitors download your content offers and fill out forms to request additional information, you can see which pieces of content turn browsers into leads - and which aren't pulling their weight.
  • Cost-per-click: Understanding the value you're getting from your pay-per-click advertising helps you determine which content is worth promoting and which needs some work before devoting advertising dollars to it. This is also a great metric to track if you're attempting to justify your content budget and show how much bang you're getting for your rented marketing assets.
  • Shares, comments and likes: If your main goal is increasing brand awareness, you need to know how much engagement your content is generating. Every share, comment and like suggests that readers are finding value in the content you create.
3. Set specific expectations.

It's not enough to know what you want to achieve. You should also be as specific as possible about what benchmarks will determine success or failure. This is because there's really no room for gray area in your content strategy, and everything you do must be easily measured. Some expectations you might set include:

  • Generating 100 leads in the third quarter
  • Acquiring 50 backlinks by the end of the year through guest blogging
  • Growing website traffic by 25% over the next six months

Be realistic as you establish these targets. There's no point in setting impossible standards, and it's very unlikely that you'll boost site traffic by 1,000% in a month. Setting reasonable expectations not only increases your odds for success: it also makes it easier to hold your team accountable for results.

4. Put what you learn to work.

You've set goals, defined KPIs and established performance expectations. You're seeing the data roll in and you know which pieces of content are winners and which aren't. Now you need to translate what you've learned into actionable strategy. How can you apply your findings? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Devote more time to guest blogging to improve inbound linking and build authority
  • Determine which types of blog posts your audience prefers and prioritize these styles to achieve more unique visitors
  • Redistribute pay-per-click spending to promote your newest content
  • Create new content offers based on which previous items have generated the most leads

There's no denying that the marketing world has changed. Content has proven to be a powerful tool for business growth, but you can only truly benefit from its potential if you understand your content marketing ROI through carefully chosen and frequently evaluated KPIs. How does your business choose content KPIs? Leave us a comment and let us know.

If you're struggling to understand your content ROI or you're simply not achieving the desired results, consider our monthly content subscription packages. These managed plans ensure you have a consistent flow of high-quality content to fuel inbound marketing and grow your business.

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About Virtucom Group

Consistent business blogging yields results – more clicks, more subscribers and – ultimately – more conversions. Whether you’re writing an automotive blog, an accounting blog, a healthcare blog or a home renovation blogblogging for business and content development are useful for any industry. Follow the content writers at the Virtucom Group blog as they share digital marketing tips and discuss website content writing services that can optimize your business blog.


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