So your company has a blog, and it’s drawing people to your website. That’s great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your content is working.
Pageviews and visitors can deceive any organization. You get pumped up when you see those numbers growing, and that makes sense. Traffic does indicate some level of success, but it’s not the only way to measure effectiveness. Other metrics exist depending on the specific goals you set for each piece of content.
Your content can give you insight into user behavior and engagement habits. It can improve your brand reputation and google rank, making it easier for potential customers to discover your solution. Last but certainly not least, quality content creates avenues for lead generation.
You’re settling for less if you’re just looking at traffic.
This blog will give you insight into four different categories of more advanced metrics that will help your team get the most out of your content marketing efforts.
1. New Leads
Content has become a highly effective lead generator.
Demand Metric recently found that companies that blog see a 67% increase in leads compared to companies who don’t blog, so if your goal is to bring in new leads with your content, you’ll need to set up ways to measure whether or not that’s happening. One of the biggest issues with prioritizing pageviews alone is the potential for fluff traffic: people who visit your site with no real interest in buying the product or service.
The most fundamental way to fix this is by asking visitors to do something on the page that pushes them into the next stage of the customer journey. They might subscribe to a newsletter or give their information in exchange for a PDF document.
Whatever it is, let each piece of content play its specific function by aligning the ask to the customer’s journey. A top-of-funnel blog post shouldn’t ask visitors to meet with a sales rep. That’ll just push them away. Instead, the call-to-action (CTA) could be as simple as a button that reads: “Like this content? Receive more of it straight to your inbox!”
Even if that visitor isn’t ready to purchase right away, the blog still accomplished its goal. By getting their information, you can follow up and guide them to the next stage of the customer journey. The more you put your valuable content in front of them, the more you nurture that lead.
Measuring lead generation effectiveness looks like identifying how many visitors convert to leads. These “conversion rates” give you insight into how well your customers are moving through the funnel.
As a bonus tip, there are also a handful of ways you can experiment with the CTA to identify best practices, including:
- Trying different CTA phrasing to see which ones get the most conversion.
- Placing the CTA in different parts of the blog.
- Designing the CTA button in various ways.
Experimentation with the CTA will help your company continue to optimize its content for lead generation.
2. User Behavior
Pageviews and visits don’t tell the whole story around customers.
According to Google Analytics, a pageview gets counted anytime a page is loaded or reloaded in a browser. It tells you nothing about what the visitor actually does while on the page. You’ll gain a fuller picture of user behavior by looking at bounce rate, time spent on page, and click through rates.
Time spent can give you a sense of how much the user actually interacts with the content during their visit. If you know it takes 5 minutes to read the blog post, and the average time spent is only 30 seconds, you can assume that they’re either leaving before they get through the post or that they’re scanning the content.
While these sound negative, they can help you improve what you’re doing. You can use this insight to try new forms of writing, for example adding in more personality and conversational content or by creating more scannable pieces with lists or bullet points.
Bounce rates give you similar data on user behavior. They measure the amount of times someone leaves your website after a single visit. So a bounce rate of 30% means that 3 out of every 10 visitors “bounce” out of your site after looking at one page.
High bounce rates can alert teams to a lack of compelling content, especially for pieces at the top of the funnel that are meant to drive visitors into the next stage of the buyer’s journey. If the visitor’s bouncing, they probably aren’t buying.
Click-Through Rates (CTR) function as more positive user behavior metrics that indicate how often your visitors click through the links available on a page. In this case, a higher CTR is actually better because it means that users are following the link trail you’ve set out for them. You might check CTR on embedded links to other blogs, landing pages, or call-to-action buttons to see where the user heads after engaging with the original blog.
3. Quality Engagement
Businesses want compelling content that creates value for their readers and customers. The challenge comes when you try to measure quality. How can you ensure your posts are actually compelling?
Returning users is one good metric to use. This number measures the amount of visitors who keep coming back, which indicates that something intrigued them enough to return.
Another indication of quality comes from backlinks, a metric for measuring when another company or publication links back to a piece of content from your website. This usually shows that what you’re producing has made some sort of splash in the industry as a whole.
Backlinks may happen naturally, or they can come from partnering with another organization or publication that agrees to backlink to your content in exchange for something that benefits them, often a returned backlink, guest blog post, or something in that vein.
The final metric for quality engagement comes with social sharing, but in the B2B world, this one is honestly a little weak. Niche companies shouldn’t expect game-changing sharing numbers. A blog post about the growth of sensors in contract manufacturing probably won’t go viral, nor will a deep dive into the latest trends in product marketing software solutions.
But virality is not the point. The value of your content comes from connecting with your audience, so social media engagement can still help companies identify quality pieces by measuring likes, comments, and occasional shares on their social outlets.
4. Brand Reputation
The internet is saturated with content and companies claiming that their solution best solves customer pain points. One surefire way of standing out is by using your content to develop a positive brand reputation.
This can sound like too abstract of a goal to measure with metrics, but you can quantify it. For example, organizations can look at their domain authority, a metric developed by Moz that assesses a website’s likelihood of ranking.
Social media and backlinks also come in handy here. When an industry leader shares some of your content, it improves your brand reputation by association and knowing this information can shape your long-term content strategy.
You’ll likely find well-researched posts that speak to your audience’s needs get more shares than super salesy content or opinion pieces. Targeting your efforts towards those kinds of posts could result in a higher ROI.
Similarly, the more frequently you post valuable pieces, the better chances you have of increasing your Google rank because search engines reward those who produce consistent, high-quality content. They weed out keyword-stuffed posts that exist only to push a product and promote the brands with a good reputation.
Improving and quantifying your brand reputation–through domain authority, backlinks, engagement, consistent high-quality content, and Google rank– enables you to better understand and communicate how your organization stands out amongst competitors. B2B customers buy from authorities they know and trust, so setting yourself up as a reputable organization will increase awareness and validate your trustworthiness.
Know Whether or Not Your Content is Working
Your content will only be as meaningful as it is effective, and measuring effectiveness requires the right metrics.
With these 4 categories in place, you will be able to better quantify the value of your content marketing efforts and optimize best practices.
Content will do much more for your company than simply drive up pageviews. Great content produces leads, provides insight into customers, and helps you improve your brand reputation. Looking at more complex metrics will give you a complete picture of your content’s effectiveness.
Don’t settle for less by measuring the wrong things.