How to Measure Content Marketing Success
Measurement is a critical and key part of everything we do in content marketing. It’s the proof in the pudding, and it keeps all of us marketers and writers with day jobs. After all, we must prove that the work we are doing actually benefits the brands we work within their overall marketing efforts. As you may already know, this is not always the easiest task, but a rising tide lifts all boats (as they say), and with that concept, we look for key indicators to show that brand content is playing a role in the overall success of a business.
There are different ways at Summary Content Marketing that we measure success, all dependent on the client’s goals, content formats, audience, and budget we are working with. In general, here are some of the metrics we look at to know that our content marketing work is making a positive impact.
Reach + Impressions
Reach and impressions can easily be confused, but these two data points are important metrics to understand and measure when looking at content analytics.
Reach = the amount of times your content is actually seen. The overall reach of social content or ads tells you how many people actually saw the content.
Impressions = Impressions give you an understanding of your content’s overall exposure. In short, the total number of times your content was displayed. Impressions are typically higher than reach because of the fact that your content is often seen more than once.
For more in-depth information about reach vs. impressions, click here.
To measure engagement, you must look at how many times your content (such as a post on social media) was shared, mentioned, commented on and/or received a reaction (for example, a ‘like’, ‘love’ or other ‘emotion emoji’). These are all metrics that show people actually engaged with that specific piece of content and did something to show they either resonated with it, or they didn’t.
The number of mentions or comments on a specific post matters in a different way if in fact, the reactions are all negative. The value of engagement metrics comes along with measuring sentiment--the overall tone of the conversation. It’s crucial to know when your followers are happy, mad, confused or offended by the content you are putting out. The process of measuring sentiment can be quite time consuming, but very beneficial to understand how people feel towards your business or brand. To learn more about best practices for measuring sentiment, read this article.
SIDE NOTE: Ultimately, we aim to make our audience(s) happy all the time, but this isn’t always possible. If the overall sentiment is positive, and you receive a few negative reactions, don’t let it get you down. The larger your audience, the more likely you are to see a diverse set of reactions to your content. Look at the whole, not one part when making decisions with how to adjust content, voice, and tone based on sentiment.
To put it simply, using hashtags as a part of your content strategy on social media makes your brand or business more discoverable and visible. The more hashtags you use, the more ‘findable’ you become. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you must track every hashtag used. Your brand hashtags and popular hashtags for your industry are the most beneficial to track. To find out more on hashtag use + when and where to use them, here.
Like we hinted at before, in some cases it is difficult to tie specific content back to conversions and/or sales, but believe us when we say, your content is affecting your business's overall growth and prosperity efforts. The effect can be positive or negative depending on the focus you put toward your brand content strategy. This in turn affects sales, public perception and growth.Therefore don’t ignore this portion of your company marketing. In time you will regret it..
Word of Mouth Feedback
Sometimes, you just have to hear it from the people. We are social beings, so no matter how many numbers we see on paper, hearing from someone you trust that a business is doing a spectacular or poor job with their marketing will most likely resonate with you more than being handed an analytic report to page through. And if you are a business located in a small town, like us, word gets out fast. This means we know pretty quickly whether we are doing something wrong or right and can adjust our practices accordingly.
Tracking and measuring the success of your business content marketing may not seem as crucial as creating and posting the actual content itself--even after reading this article. But by now you should know that it is and should be looked at as a key component to any businesses strategy. Start by making content success part of your overall marketing plan. You’ll thank us--we promise!