KPIs of content marketing success

Content marketing has become very important to businesses, but it can only be effective if it is accurately measured. When many agencies consider key performance indicators (KPIs), old standbys such as cost per acquisition, sales revenues or leads seem a great place to start in determining the success of a content marketing campaign.
However, Avinash Kaishik, author of “Web Analytics: An Hour A Day,” says that KPIs should be metrics that helps you understand how you are doing against your objectives. If understanding the number of leads doesn’t help with your objectives, it’s not a great metric. But, Kaishik reminds, you shouldn’t use every company metric for analysis either. Rather, “KPIs should reflect the most important objectives of the business.”
Choosing the right key performance indicators to measure can be difficult. First determine a desired action or outcome of the content. What expectations have you established when creating the content? What do you want the content to accomplish? By gaining this understanding, the metrics can be compared against your goals and show how well or poorly you are doing.
Here are some KPIs to consider:

Unique visits

Unique visits are an industry-standard metric. Using the data from unique visits, you can discover how many individuals have viewed your content within a given time frame. This KPI provides a baseline to compare one type of content to another and allows you to quickly see trends. Analytics programs are a great way to track a variety of KPIs similar to unique visits, such as:

  • New visits from organic search.
  • Engagement rate.
  • Bounce rate.
  • New visits to your content.
  • Page click-throughs.

Consumption

Once you find out how many people are coming to the website, you need to understand how they are consuming content. Measure views, downloads, opens, click-throughs and podcast plays. It is also vital to look at time spent and bounce rates. You don’t want to lose customers. You want to make sure you deliver based on their expectation. Once they click a link, are they getting what they expect? A low bounce rate can mean you’ve achieved your goal. Additionally, while having 25,000 unique visits may seem successful, if the user doesn’t read an article for more than two seconds, it indicates a possible problem.

Engagement

Great content receives comments and makes people share it. Measure your audience engagement by looking at “likes,” shares, mentions, comments, “pins,” and inbound links. Are readers sharing on social media? If so, where? If they are not, this may indicate that your content may not be easily shareable. When creating content, be sure to incorporate links and widgets. Make it easy for the user to pass along great content. The same rings true for comments. Customers will not comment if it is not easy for them to do so. Experts state that users are the best advocates for products and services. While some businesses may be weary of allowing an open venue for any comment, in the age of social media, businesses have the opportunity to create a two-way conversation in this forum. Great feedback is helpful, but negative feedback is equally educational. Instead of restricting comments or blocking negative comments, be ready to respond and consider open discussions in order to gain better insight from customers.
Peter LaMotte, senior vice president of LEVICK, is a digital marketing and strategy leader known for his expertise in advertising and emerging digital trends. He reminds companies to be transparent and respond to postings. “Your message needs to be clear and firm, and must communicate the company’s pre-determined position. If a firm is clear with their communication and stance, there is little more to add unless the conversation takes a new direction. A clear statement can also avoid time-consuming back-and-forth arguments.” Additionally, he suggests businesses, “use your platforms to focus on the positive aspects of the issue. If steps are being taken to address the issue, use your blog to tell the story and then share that content across all of your social media platforms.”

Conversion

For those users who come and then stay on the website, how may become leads and/or future customers? Turning an unknown visitor into an opportunity can help determine the success of the content as you move forward. Measure subscriptions, registrations, form downloads and other engagement that generates a lead.
Additionally, consider LTV or the “Lifetime Value of a Customer.” What is that customer worth to the business over time? This is a good way to gauge ROI and can be achieved by determining all sales the average customer has initiated over the course of your relationship with him/her.
While there is no doubt that key performance indicators should be an imperative part of growth strategy, it’s important to keep in mind that all the metrics must be mixed with editorial judgment. Being subjective when looking at the analytics keeps you from being ultra-focused on just the numbers. You also need to see your audience at the same time.

Keyword phrases

Using your web and content analytics platform, see which keywords and phrases lead consumers to find you. If this list is not optimal for your products or services, it might be time to use a focus keyword in your content marketing. Focus words not only improve your search engine ranking and visibility but also help ensure that visitors are looking for the subjects you specialize in. Implementing a focus keyword will increase quality leads and lower your bounce rate by guiding the right people to the right content.

Need help?

If you have a content marketing program or are planning one, download our e-book “100 Mistakes Businesses Make When Starting, Optimizing and Scaling Content Marketing Programs.”
This e-book will walk you through the mistakes of hundreds of other companies and the challenges they faced in implementing their content marketing programs. To learn more about how Tempesta Media can help you streamline your content creation process and deliver quality content at scale, contact us today.

How companies are using content marketing to grow revenue

STATE OF THE CONTENT MARKETING MARKET

In an effort to understand how content marketing and innovations in marketing technology are affecting digital agencies and PR firms across the United States, Tempesta Media created the first-ever State of the Agency Content Marketing and Technology report. Born out of several months of research involving more than a hundred organizations across the country, this study was designed to bridge the gap between content marketing and marketing technology from the perspective of digital agencies and PR firms.
The purpose of this report is simple: to provide quantitative metrics of the impact made by the combination of content marketing and rapidly evolving marketing technology on marketers throughout the country. For small to medium enterprises and growing companies, the report offers a clear picture of which strategy is working, and which strategy is not. The general finding was that agencies and PR firms are using content marketing to grow revenue. Some of our most noteworthy findings are outlined here.

Content marketing is used by a majority of agencies

Our researchers found that 76 percent of digital agencies and PR firms surveyed offer some kind of content marketing service, while another 5 percent are actively looking for a solution to integrate it into their services, such as a third-party agency, or are developing an internal department dedicated to content marketing.
Based on our research, which was participated in by more than 100 digital agencies and PR firm executives, we found that a company that invests heavily in robust, scalable content marketing services is more likely to achieve growing revenue than declining revenue. We found that at least 90 percent of organizations with revenue increases offered content marketing services, a marked difference compared to the 50 percent of companies with declining revenues that offer them.

Growing companies are more likely to offer content marketing

When comparing companies in terms of revenue, we found a bell curve in the presence of content marketing among digital agencies. According to our sample size of 107 agencies, we found:

  • The majority of small companies with revenues under $5 million offer content marketing
  • All companies with revenues over $5 million but below $25 million offer content marketing
  • This percentage drops with companies with revenues over $25 million

What does the drop-off above the $25 million mark indicate? Well, it may suggest that a larger agency or brand is slower to adapt to the growing prevalence of content marketing than a small business. Conversely, smaller firms with revenues below $5 million may not have the resources to offer content marketing, which explains why not all of them do.

A majority of companies know their clients want content marketing

Fortunately, the vast majority of agencies understand the views held by their clients concerning content marketing. Around 90 percent of our respondents believe content marketing is either extremely important, very important, or important on their customers’ list of priorities. Opinions on the importance of content marketing increase by agency size. The higher an agency’s revenue, the more likely they were to view content marketing as important to their clients.
Digital agencies and PR firms increase their odds of success by offering content marketing as part of their platforms. Our results show that companies that fail to embrace content marketing and marketing technology are more likely to put their organizations at risk, both in terms of revenues and competitive advantage. However, the manner by which marketers offer content marketing must also go beyond ticking off boxes on a list of capabilities. Growing companies must develop or embrace unique content marketing solutions that make them stand out and meet the needs of their clients.

INNOVATIVE CONTENT CREATION

A content creator or content provider who is new to the concept of creating digital content that does not explicitly promote a product or brand may have the misperception that content marketing consists of a single tactic: the publishing of articles via a company blog. The opposite is true. Here are three of the fastest-growing ways to help clients reach consumers with effective content that promotes a brand.

Video content is king

Video can be expensive to produce, but the payoff can be invaluable. A single how-to video that goes viral on social media can enhance brand recall among consumers. Moreover, it can strengthen a brand’s message and boost a site’s SEO. But for those who remain unconvinced regarding the future potential impact of video content, check out these numbers that Hubspot collected from 500 businesses, nearly 250,000 videos and over 600 million video streams.

  • Video is projected to claim more than 80 percent of all web traffic by 2019.
  • Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300 percent.
  • Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80 percent.
  • 90 percent of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • 64 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
  • 59 percent of company decision makers would rather watch a video than read an article or blog post.

The type and subject of video created is largely dependent on the stage of the funnel the target consumer is in. For instance, if the audience is at the top of the funnel, an appropriate video might be educational and simply focused on the brand itself. For middle-of-the-funnel customers, a video that clearly explains the service offering will help them quickly determine if it is right for them. There are also a few types of videos that work universally to nurture leads and are generally inexpensive to produce. These include how-to videos, which demonstrate a skill; vlogs, which tell a story in the life of the company; interviews, which sit down with a company employee; and live-streaming, which show off current events at the company.

Don’t build it; buy it

Online ads are dying. Ad blocker rate usage, especially for mobile content, is at a historical high and continuing to rise. Those who do not use ad blockers have learned to ignore the ads. But there is a type of advertising that surpassed “print advertising” in Google Trends in late 2016: “influencer marketing.” Influencer marketing uses key leaders in a market to widely distribute a specific message via their social network. Influencers are able to keep their content directly relevant to those they reach out to. They can easily cut through all the other clutter their targets receive and are more easily trusted than most – if not all – other forms of advertising.
Creating an influencer campaign for a client takes just five steps. First, plan the campaign. Determine the budget available for each influencer engaged, and how long the campaign should run for. Second, create the material. Decide on the message that should be distributed, and create material in the appropriate format. Third, find influencers. Programs like Tempesta Media’s MicroInfluencer make this step simple. Fourth, distribute the created content to the influencers. Finally, measure the effectiveness that the campaign has on distributing the message. As a bonus, take the most effective content and re-promote it through other marketing channels.

Be a guide

Rather than being a hero to the audience, high-quality content plays the part of a guide. Nothing accomplishes that better than, well, a guide. A guide is longer than a blog post, but shorter than a book. Its purpose is not to be the next best-selling book; rather, it is to present polished, helpful content in an attractive, mid-length format in exchange for information – usually an email address – from the customer. Excellent guides require three components: a good idea, a good digital content provider, and a good designer.
Several tactics work well for coming up with a solid idea for a guide. Four of the easiest to use are:

  1. Ask social media followers. Customers know better than anyone else what they need help with.
  2. Track which website pages an audience is visiting the most. There may be room to expand on one of the posts or to combine multiple posts into a guide.
  3. See what other brands are doing. If a competitor has already written a guide in a specific space, there may still be room to write a better guide or write one that is tangentially related.
  4. Use search engine tools. Sites like Google Trends can yield insight into what people are searching for so that the digital content will be current and relevant.

WILL CONTENT CREATION WORK FOR ME? 

Content creation is an investment of both time and money, and it can be hard to measure effectiveness. A business may spend hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars enlisting a content marketer to creating high-quality content before it starts to see any returns. Before taking the time to outline a content strategy, most companies want to know two things: Does content marketing actually work, and will it work for us?

Yes…

In short, the answer is a resounding “yes!” The difference content marketing can make for a business is astounding: The average conversion rate of sites that use content marketing is 2.9 percent, while the average of sites without a content strategy is a paltry 0.5 percent. But that is insufficient; it will not work if it costs more or if people prefer other forms of marketing. However, according to Demand Metric:

  • Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing.
  • Content marketing generates approximately 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.
  • 70 percent of all people prefer to learn about a brand through articles over advertisements.
  • 72 percent of customers believe they form a relationship with brands as a result of custom content.

In addition to increasing your conversion rate, content marketing also increases the number of inbound links to your website, boosts your SEO and raises your brand awareness. Finally, content marketing yields those benefits for nearly every organization, from a large e-commerce company to a small business. With such categorical benefits, it seems the correct question is no longer “will content marketing work for my clients?” Rather, it is “can my clients afford not to have an excellent content strategy in place?”

But only if…

However, there are a few caveats. The best content marketer in the world creating the best content possible will do nothing for SEO or brand awareness if a few key elements are not in place. First, there must be a comprehensive content strategy; spray and pray does not work for content marketing. Second, there must be a long-term commitment; neither inbound customers nor social profiles will explode overnight.
Most importantly, experts must be in control so that only high-quality content that will engage potential customers and retain existing ones is generated. In a recent study performed by the Content Marketing Institute, 42 percent of B2B businesses considered their content marketing efforts effective, up from 36 percent the year prior. Where did this increase in content marketing effectiveness come from? Of those businesses, 73 percent responded that they had added a dedicated professional overseeing their content marketing strategy. To reap the vast benefits of content marketing by enlisting a professional, contact Tempesta Media today.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

Is your content marketing effective?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, nine out of 10 marketers are using content marketing. However, only 9 percent of B2B marketers consider their content marketing efforts to be “very effective.” Another 33 percent rate it as only “effective.”
Content marketing is a great tool, but clearly some marketers don’t feel it’s working for them. Frankly, content marketing is not a magic bullet that will increase your brand awareness or sales overnight. You have to work with the tool to make your content marketing effective.
Here are some things you should examine if you believe your content marketing is not working.
Develop a strategy
As George Harrison sang in “Any Road” (and the band Dawes sang in “From a Window Seat”), “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
Simply put, in order to be successful, you need a strategy. You need an overall marketing strategy and you need a content marketing strategy that aligns with your goals.
In 2014, the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs conducted a survey of B2B marketers. They found that of the successful marketers, 66 percent had a documented content strategy. Of the unsuccessful marketers, only 11 percent had a documented content strategy. With B2C marketers, only 27 percent of all marketers had a documented strategy. Another 50 percent had a content strategy that is “not documented.”
It’s just not good business to get into content marketing for the sake of “having content marketing.” Flying by the seat of your pants will only make you frustrated because you will not see the results you hope for. You need to establish your goals so you can create a plan to reach them.
If your first efforts don’t succeed, don’t despair. Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics, says, “Any strategy — even a bad one — is better than no strategy. With a bad strategy, you can at least figure out that it’s bad and change it. With no strategy, you’ll just keep on doing what you’re doing, wasting your time, losing money, and ruining your brand.”
Consider these tactics:
Know your audience: Relevance engages an audience. They only way to find out what is relevant is to understand your audience. This can be achieved through polls, direct inquiries and examination of data and trending topics.
Neil Patel suggests creating a “buyer persona,” a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customers. Knowing your visitors allows you to tailor content to their specific wants, needs, concerns and behaviors.
Set your goal: By using content marketing are you hoping to obtain a certain amount of subscribers to your newsletter? Do you want to achieve a specific number of monthly visits to your blog? Will success be measured by the number of conversions?
Establish your voice: How do you wish to come across in your blog postings and social media? Are you casual? Serious? Playful?
Create a budget: There is no way you will ever stick to a budget if you don’t have a budget. Here, again, you cannot make the mistake of making decisions as you go along. You will most likely end up paying too much for too many things. If you have a budget, you will know when you need to cut back and where you might splurge.
Create content and be consistent: Simply publishing content is not a strategy. Deciding to develop a blog and writing articles is not a plan for true success. Expert marketing strategist Cathey Armillas, author of the award-winning book “The Unbreakable Rules of Marketing” reminds us that the medium is not the message. “There’s no single, magical medium that will make it stick or make it go viral. The magic that does that is the message itself,” she says. “If you have an amazing medium and a terrible message, it will go nowhere. Now, if you have a great message, it somehow finds a way to spread and resonate.”
Thus, you have to have good, solid and relevant content for your intended audience. Start by creating an editorial calendar. This will help you stay organized and plan your next steps. Be consistent with your message and deliver content on a regular schedule. Not only will it help with your SEO, it can help with your ROI.
You get what you pay for
The Content Marketing Institute found that generating a lead through traditional marketing costs $373, but with content marketing techniques it is only $143. B2B companies with strategic content marketing generate 67 percent more leads than companies without a content strategy.
While it is true that companies who spend a lot on marketing are able to grow their markets faster than companies that don’t spend as much, just throwing money at content marketing won’t deliver instant success.
To get the best ROI, go back to your overall plan. What is your strategy? Can this be accomplished through text? Video? Infographics? When you know what may work best, spend your money on these efforts.
Consider hiring a good content marketer, writer, graphics designer and/or video producer. A good content marketer will know where to spend your dollars most wisely. A good writer will research, write well and be accurate. A professional graphics designer will understand which colors, fonts and designs are most user friendly. A video producer can save you hours of time with pre-production planning and create visuals that captivate a viewer.
Good content is most important
Understanding your audience and being relevant is important, but you also have to deliver content to them that is accurate, unique and helps solve their problems. Be engaging and mix things up accordingly.
First and foremost, don’t post low quality anything. Putting up a bad photo is worse than no photo at all. Inaccurate information or misspellings will show your lack of care for what you present. Posting a video where the audio does not work is a recipe for a disastrous response. Don’t expect that any viewer will accept content that is “less than.” There is too much out there these days. Customers find good content elsewhere if your content is bad. Furthermore, one bad experience can go viral just as quickly as a great experience. Do not present an opportunity for your potential customers to find fault in what you deliver.
Do you best not to be boring. There are a lot of companies out there who post a lot of mind-numbing content. Make sure your content is focused, valuable and engaging. Remember that content does not have to be text only. Consider other options such as infographics, webinars, videos and slideshows. See how your audience likes their content delivered and present those formats.
Got it? Promote it!
Once you are satisfied with the content portion of your content marketing, do not forget the marketing piece. Many marketers who look at the ROI and see a poor success rate may have forgotten about promotion. You can’t simply create content and hope for organic results. Visitors will rarely come to you looking for your content. You have to engage with them via:

  • Social media: Facebook postings, Tweets, Google+, etc.
  • Email newsletters
  • Pitches to influencers in your industry who will share your content

Create a list of the most effective types of marketing and monitor the metrics. See what works well for you. Don’t feel like you have to do what everyone else is doing. Get creative in your approaches.
Be patient and make changes as necessary
Content marketing is a great tool, but it isn’t a lightning fast one. It takes time. Don’t expect results immediately. Allow visitors to find you and learn to love you. When they do, they will begin sharing your message as well.
Keep an eye on your traffic. As you continue to produce top-quality content, look at the results. See what works best and create more of the same. Alter content or promotions that don’t deliver the success you wish. Whatever you do, don’t move forward blindly. Use metrics to help you craft content that delivers results. And always go back to your foundation: your audience and your overall strategy. Double-check to be sure you are always aligned with your message.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.
Tempesta Media is a managed services provider of custom original content for digital agencies, website developers and PR firms.  We can help you develop a content strategy that meets all of your goals.

Measuring the ROI of content marketing

Investing in a content strategy is a must in today’s competitive business environment. The web has become a go-to place for consumers, clients and other interested parties looking for information. Direct marketing is still quite effective, but the scope and dynamics of marketing have changed through both the internet and the social web. It is important to keep in mind that buyers today prefer more than one-way direct marketing.

Ongoing distribution of content does take resources and a big question many marketers ask themselves is what they need to be doing to accurately measure the true ROI of content marketing. This concern with ROI is with good reason. According to statistics, a whopping 86 percent of B2B marketers and 77 percent of B2C marketers utilize content marketing. They want to be sure these efforts are paying off.

Mass marketing vs. direct response marketing

Traditionally, mass marketing is the primary route to brand visibility. After all, it keeps a company’s name in the forefront and lets people know the business is out there and ready to provide a solution. However, this method is expensive and labor-intensive because numerous marketing channels must be used — repeatedly. It can be difficult to ascertain which ads are bringing the leads in.

Smaller businesses without the “power” of mass marketing often turn to direct response marketing. This approach doesn’t require the considerable budget traditional marketing does. Direct response is personal — evoking emotion and action — and it can be especially effective. Putting the focus on the prospect instead of the seller also makes the interactions more successful.

Content distribution and social media interaction fit perfectly into this type of strategy because businesses can share the type of content that attracts an audience, putting the emphasis on them. Another big plus is direct response marketing is highly trackable and measurable.

Successwise.com notes, “Direct response is an accountable way to run marketing for a small business, as it is highly focused on return on investment.”

Why is tracking so important?

Like any other investment, content marketing takes time and money. Evaluating the metrics associated with content marketing allows businesses to track which areas are stronger than others. They can also pinpoint which areas are not working and/or need improvement. There is no sense in investing either time or money on a portion of an marketing strategy that simply isn’t working. There needs to be an ROI.

With web tools, many of which are offered at low cost or free, businesses can actively track who clicked on their content, who shared it, commented on it or forwarded it to someone else.

How are businesses measuring the ROI of content marketing?

There are several factors to look at when calculating the ROI on content marketing. Many use basic analytics tools; others pay for more detailed reports. There are several areas marketers should look at to measure attention. For instance, easy metrics that are measurable include click-throughs to website, navigation to sales pages, blog posts and social media. Other questions to consider include:

• Organic search. How much of the website’s traffic is coming naturally?

• How much do services, such as Google AdWords, cost in relation to the amount of traffic they generate?

• Are people signing up for email lists? Where did the visitor sign up from?

• Engagement on emails. How many opened or forwarded emails?

• What type of social engagement is occurring? Are visitors commenting on blog posts? Are they using social share buttons on particular types of content? Is the company actively engaging with its audience to encourage interaction?

• How many websites are linking back to content? Are they quality backlinks?

Understanding bounce rates

Other metrics to look at include other consumption metrics, such as unique visits, downloads, how long visitors stayed on the site (are they visiting other pages?) and bounce rates. For instance, a company could be generating a ton of traffic, but if the bounce rate is high, the traffic isn’t converting to customers. Understanding bounce rates helps businesses understand the adjustments that have to be made to their content.

Some companies measure themselves, but others hire a third party to evaluate the data. Whatever the approach, one big question to ask is whether or not these engagements and views are equating to sales. If conversion rates are low, it might be time to look at the type of content people are creating and sharing.

Attracting traffic to a website is important — after all, this is the gateway to a company’s products and services. However, marketers want to go well beyond the click to the website. Bring clients into your virtual door, but also make them stay and become repeat visitors and, ultimately, customers. Keep in mind that businesses typically do not see a rapid ROI. The Content Marketing Institute likens it to working out; it takes time and commitment to see results.

Need expert content for your client’s website, blog or other form of information distribution? Tempesta Media is a managed services provider of custom original content for digital agencies, website developers and PR firms that don’t have the resources to do it themselves. From content strategy, through to creation, optimization and amplification, Tempesta Media’s experts can provide the high-quality content businesses need today.

Get more information on what Tempesta Media can do for you.

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