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Online marketing is getting more and more difficult to establish the true value it brings to businesses. This is not due to the ability to measure performance – the emergence of new monitoring tools have, in fact, made the measurement and analysis process quicker and simpler.

The problem lies in businesses identifying which performance measures should be chosen for different activities and the value each holds towards the various goals and objectives.

How do you know if one performance measure that looks positive is of higher value than another performance measure that looks average? It could be that the average value is actually much harder to achieve and adds a lot more value to your campaign.

So you see, it’s not straight forward.

Each business objective should be broken down and different performance measures that affect it’s success or failure should be monitored.

Always remember that every performance measure you take the time and effort to measure must be aligned to an objective, else it shouldn’t impact the business and so what’s the point in measuring it?

Content marketing is thought to consist of 4 interconnected components. Each of these pillars impact the performance of your content marketing campaigns and should therefore, warrant a different set of performance measurements.

Here are 4 main pillars of content marketing performance measuring:

  1. Message
  2. Format
  3. Channel
  4. Promotion

 
Effective Content Marketing Performance Measures - 4 main pillars of content marketing

Message

Performance measure include:

  • Feedback rating
  • Mentions
  • Comments
  • Returning visitors
  • Engagement post consumption
  • Content curation

Measuring and analysing your messages can be tricky. There are two approaches you can take; AB testing or by using dynamic content.

Dynamic content requires a lot of volume and traffic to collect significant results, which is sometimes unfeasible. AB testing is more popular, but requires constant refinement over time to adjust your overall messaging performance.

There are WordPress plugins that can help split test your headlines. Power Headline does just that, enabling you to input multiple variations of a headline and once the time limit you set ends, the title with the most clicks is permanently chosen.

The number and quality of comments and mentions can be a measurement on the messaging impact. The more content you produce which gathers feedback, whether positive or negative, the better you will understand your audience’s needs and behaviours. This will enable you to steadily progress in creating relevant and quality content.

Format

Performance measure include:

  • Views
  • Pageviews
  • Downloads
  • Shares
  • Total links

When a particular format of content, such as PDF or video, has high levels of shares, downloads, views, and page views, it is a strong indicator that the reading audience is well engaged.

What can also be measured with digital content is the amount of the publication the audience has read. You can understand how much of the content has been consumed before visitors clicked off using heatmaps, or viewing time for video. By determining when the audience drops off, you can better understand the content and what your audience values.

You can run tests on the format of your messages by re-purposing content into various types and measuring their impact. This is often undertaken by summarising a long post as an infographic, or discussing a series of articles during a Podcast.

When people take the time to share content, they are doing so because they found your content to be useful to them and it might also be beneficial be to their audiences. They are promoting your content for you. It only takes a few people initially sharing your content to expand your audience and dramatically improve your content marketing performance.

Channel

Performance measure include:

  • Reach
  • Total visits
  • Engagement
  • Virality
  • Total leads

Where you publish and distribute content plays a huge impact on your content marketing campaigns.

Depending on your goals and success metrics, it’s sometimes more suitable to publish an article on another site with a larger distribution network. This can be viable if you’re attempting to reach a larger audience than you can penetrate alone.

On the other hand, if you’re objectives are to build your audiences and develop authority, then publishing an article to your own blog would be more appropriate.

You need to ask yourself similar questions for every type of content (message and format) you publish. Secondary and tertiary channels need to be considered to establish an array of networks where your content marketing efforts will be performed.

Since your chosen distribution channels determine your volume of exposure, you should test various channels to learn which channels provide the best performance in terms of reach, visit, engagement, virality and ultimately, leads.

Promotion

Performance measure include:

  • Referrals
  • Cost per acquisition (opt-in, download etc)
  • Total qualified leads
  • Cost per engagement
  • Engagement rate

Publishing should be seen as the first step in getting your content to the masses. It then needs to be promoted. If you’re publishing blog posts or articles and then waiting for things to happen, you might be disappointed when in fact, nothing does happen.

You need to take your content to where interested readers will value reading it.

Depending on the Channels chosen to promote your content, this sometimes means tactics are to drive traffic back to your website, for example in the case of Twitter Marketing.

Any how, performance measures should be used to establish how well your promotional activities are working towards fulfilling your business objectives.

What Content Marketing Performance Measures Matter To You?

Hopefully, you will now have a good grasp on what performance measures you should be monitoring and analysing.

It’s important to understand that if you’re heavy on measuring one or two pillars in your content marketing efforts, then you’re missing out on other performance measures that can give valuable insight into how you can improve. There could be huge gaps that you’re missing out on or opportunities that are passing you by.

Which performance measures you are keeping track of?

What tools do you use to monitor and analyse your content marketing performance?