Industry thought leader Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute recently reminded us that documentation, comparison and adjustment are all inextricable components to pinning down content-based marketing success.
If you’re not carefully documenting the peaks and valleys ushered into your sales flow and engagement with each piece of content, you’ll never know what really works and what’s merely a coincidence.
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are one emotion-free way to figure out which content is performing well and which should be discontinued.
In fact, content KPIs are some of the most valuable data a company can lean on, providing a straightforward, numbers-based snapshot of what content is doing for your business. Here are five you should always keep an eye on:
1) Initial Traffic
When you’ve commissioned a piece of content from a content marketplace, there’s one straightforward way to judge how receptive to it your audience will be: traffic numbers.
If your site visitor levels stay roughly the same and those visitors don’t linger longer than normal or sign up for a newsletter, chances are the initial hope for a traffic “bump” due to the addition of new content was unfounded.
2) Social Media Share Spread
When you create a piece of branded content, traffic is only the tip of the iceberg for measuring its ultimate success.
Social media shares and the consequent network they build are a more accurate representation of interest; the larger the network and the higher the share metric, the more successful your content truly is.
3) “Lingering / Engagement” of Readers
Thinking back to traffic, what did your customers do when they did reach your site? Did they buy right away, or vanish entirely due to a “hard sell?”
If you really want to reach your customers, you need to be willing to listen and deliver on their wants and needs – not just your own.
Measure how well you’re hitting this target by paying close attention to how long potential customers are remaining on the pages they’re guided to, as well as how many take a desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter.
4) Traffic Over Time
New and “shiny” content will always attract at least a few sets of eyes, but the real test of quality for content is how long it remains interesting and relevant.
Develop and watch KPIs that report on views over time. How many hits an article gets over the course of the current year over last year, for example.
Pieces that perform consistently over time can be considered as templates or inspiration for newer pieces, continuing the cycle.
5) Before / After Increase of Interest Purchasing in Topical Products
One of the most helpful, yet often overlooked KPIs is the simplest one to measure: how many products, units, service calls or other products are sold from a company before and after certain content marketing is rolled out.
An uptick in sales not only rewards you when you outsource content creation, it can be used as a numerical litmus test to determine what motivates customers to purchase, content-wise.
The best KPIs for your business will vary in their exact details, but these categories give you an excellent place to start honing them to perfection.
Remember, you can’t measure improvement unless you’re measuring in the first place, so get started on researching and implementing your content KPIs sooner rather than later.