No matter how creative the content, the nitty gritty is still in the numbers. At the end of the day – and, more importantly, in the thick of a content marketing campaign – you need to know if your message is going the distance and resonating with your audience.
A good first step in measuring the reach of your content is to quantify how well it’s doing externally on social media channels. If your brand gets a good bit of hype, then you may want to pay for social media monitoring. But if you’re like most small and even mid-sized businesses, you can probably handle tracking on your own.
Track Your Content’s External Reach on Social Media Sites
Depending on how much interest your content is generating, you can track the following external markers as often as necessary. In many cases, a monthly count will work, especially at the start of a campaign or when you publish a particular piece of content. As momentum builds, you can also accelerate your tracking of:
* Total content shares to a social media site (WordPress plug-in)
* Total RTs
* Total Facebook likes, comments and shares
* Total G+ plus ones, comments and shares
As new platforms develop (like Pinterest), these metrics usually transfer nicely
Track Your Content’s Success on Your Own Site
You want to know who is your reading content, how they found that content, which types of content are most popular, how long people are spending with a particular piece of content and what they do after they’ve consumed it. These can all be measured via your web analytics tool, but understanding outcomes requires careful data segmentation. I recommend starting with these segments:
* New vs. returning visitor (segment by content they consume)
* Entered website at a specific page (content you’re tracking)
* Completed a specific goal on your site (i.e. purchased, donated or subscribed to more content)
* Referred from what site
* Referred from what search engine
* Used what keywords
* Average time on site
* Page views greater than 3 (or whatever number you determine to be significant)
There are more internal metrics, of course, but focus on three to five that are meaningful for your organization. Tracking too much data can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Proving that your content delivers good outcomes means you will have the chance to create and market more content in the future.
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