Many businesses get into content marketing because it is the "in" thing to do online. If you ask those firms whether they have any goals for their content, you usually get responses that include words like brand exposure, social awareness, link usage and sometimes lead generation.
The problem is that when you ask those very same businesses whether and how they are measuring their content marketing to check whether they are achieving any of their goals, the answers are often vague and non-committal and will vary from ‘we are pretty sure it works’ through to a hopeful ‘we have Google analytics installed’. Most look back at you with the sort of look that says can’t you ask me something else entirely.
What is strange is that while it’s not easy to allocate all of the goals mentioned above to a specific monetary value, they are all fundamentally measurable if someone is prepared to do some work and research – something that can lead to a passable measure of ROI.
What is clear is that simply publishing a blog post isn't enough of a measure of success. Naturally you will have to go and look at the underlying data in more detail looking at elements like whether it was shared, how much conversation it generated, whether it drove any calls to action and ideally did it convert any readers into buyers. This last one is of course the best measure of the effectiveness of the content and a real measure of its ROI – measuring the actual pounds/euros/dollars attributed to sales compared to the cost of its production and distribution. That said it all depends on the goals being set.
Defining the goals is sometimes tricky. Should it be as simple as tracking new followers, filled out contact forms, newsletter subscriptions and downloads or should it be more focused on important purchase lead pages and online purchase numbers? What is important irrespective of each goal is that every one has a monetary value assigned to it so you can see very quickly if it is delivering.
High-quality content can be very expensive to produce, but evidence shows that once published it will tend to yield higher levels of engagement for longer – and engaged visitors are more likely to subscribe, signup or transact.