In the world of social media marketing, content is king. By providing and sharing great content, your brand will get the attention of your target audience of choice. Content is a powerful tool for growing an audience, but not all content is created equal. Giving your audience high-quality, engaging content is the key to success. So how do you know if you’re creating and sharing the right things?
There are 10 keys for measuring the success of marketing through content creation and curation. Pay attention to these metrics, and you’ll be in an excellent position to use this powerful weapon to its full potential.
The most obvious measure of success is how many people access your content. That is one of the easiest metrics to track, with most hosting platforms giving website owners instant access to this information.
While this is undoubtedly important information, it doesn’t tell you everything. If you’re using content curation and creation to generate sales, short one-time visits to your website will be a lot less valuable than regular return visits and engagement with your content.
Successful content marketing is all about building a relationship between a brand and its audience. Each view is potentially the starting point of a long-term relationship that adds value to a brand, but other metrics say far more about how content marketing affects a brand’s bottom line.
- Time on Page
Do visitors click on an eye-catching headline, briefly scroll through an article, then hit their browser’s back button and never return? Or do they read the content thoroughly?
The time each visitor spends on your blog or website provides an important insight into how engaging your content is. Brands should think of each piece of content they share as being a virtual brand ambassador. If a salesperson stops a hundred people on the street and says a few words before those people say they’re not interested, it’s unlikely to lead to anything meaningful. A salesperson who engages each passer-by in a five-minute conversation is far more likely to make sales.
Measure what kind of content people spend the most time engaging with and try to produce more of it. Ditch the clickbait content that visitors discarded within seconds of accessing.
- Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is similar to time on page. It directly measures how engaged new visitors are with your website. It provides a percentage of first-time visitors who take a brief look at one page of your site and then leave without engaging with your content.
A high bounce rate could be indicative of poor content and problems with your web design. If it’s difficult for visitors to find what they’re looking for, they’ll soon get bored and try to find it elsewhere. Good website design lays everything out in a concise and clear manner. It’s intuitive and encourages visitors to delve deeper into your content.
Comments on articles and blog posts are a direct measure of how engaged visitors are with your content. Most visitors won’t take the time to leave a comment even if they love the content that you’ve shared.
You should value comments and do as much as you can to encourage more of them. One way to do this is to reply promptly to all comments you receive. Make sure you have notifications turned on for new comments on all your pages and posts.
New visitors are much more likely to contribute to a comment chain that is already going strong. Try to engage commentators and answer their questions as fully as possible.
To get the ball rolling, it’s tempting to astroturf and leave a few comments yourself under a fake username. This duplicitous technique can be useful in avoiding the curse of barren comment sections, but you need to employ it with caution. Most internet users can tell when comments seem overly positive. If you’re going to use this technique, try to avoid gushing about how great your content is. Instead, opt for constructive comments that build on the content you’ve shared or created.
There is no greater endorsement of your content’s quality than people sharing via social media. Every share means that somebody enjoyed what you’ve created or curated so much that they wanted to share it with their friends and followers. Shares are the holy grail of content curation and creation. So how can you maximize them?
The most important thing is to provide excellent content. One well-researched blog post or video is far more valuable than a hundred pieces of lesser quality. The idea of content sharing is that good content promotes itself. People enjoy what you give them so much that they make sure it reaches as many people as possible.
There are then various techniques you can use to encourage more sharing. Most importantly, make sure every page on your blog or website has buttons that allow for instant sharing on social media.
Post content to your social media accounts accompanied by dynamic text that encourages engagement. Asking questions and adding opinions works a lot better than posting content and allowing it to speak for itself. Adding something as simple as “What do you think about the ideas in this blog post?” or “Some really cool ideas here!” can make a huge difference in engaging your social media followers and leading to more shares.
Comments and share counts provide a lot of information about engagement with your content, but they don’t tell the whole story. These two metrics are fantastic at telling you what is and isn’t working with your content but they don’t give a lot of insight into what you could be doing to improve these metrics. That’s where mentions come into play.
Mentions are a huge part of social media analytics and there many free and paid tools available for investigating them. A lot of the leading social networks have analyzing mentions built into their design. Twitter hashtags are essentially just a handy way to monitor mentions.
Savvy social media marketers will analyze mentions of three things: their brand, their industry, and their competitors.
Monitoring mentions of your brand will allow you to eavesdrop on conversations that people are having about it outside of your pages and comment sections. Using Google Alerts and similar tools to monitor mentions allows you to develop a real-time picture of how people are feeling about and reacting to everything that your brand does.
Keeping tabs on mentions of competitors and the wider industry in which you operate is the best way of staying up-to-date with emerging trends. Mentions give you an incredible insight into how your target market feels about everything within your field. Copy what’s working for others and try to improve upon areas they’re failing in. Social media mentions are an incredibly powerful market research tool that will give you an unbeatable insight into what steps should be taken to grow your brand.
- Sources of Incoming Traffic
There are many reasons you should be keeping track of how people are finding your content. The most obvious is to get concrete evidence of how well any paid advertisements are performing.
Incoming links from other blogs or websites reflect how much impact your content is having with others operating in the same area. Building relationships with others who are linking to your content can lead to mutually beneficial relationships with incalculable long-term benefits. The old phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats” has never been truer than in the age of social media.
Monitoring how people reach your content is also vital to understanding how well your site is performing on search engines. As Google personalizes each user’s search results, it isn’t easy to tell how well it ranks your content. Traffic generated by search engines is a solid indicator of exactly how well any search engine optimization efforts you’ve made are going.
- Media Coverage
Media has a much broader meaning today than it did twenty years ago. Every user of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is a content creator, and everything they post online is a form of media. A post from a Facebook user with 500 friends probably has a similar reach to a short article in a local newspaper.
For brands with big ambitions, it’s vital to know what forms of media are most influential among your target audience. There are popular blogs, websites and YouTube channels catering to every conceivable niche. These are powerful influencers that can provide your brand with enormous benefits. If you’re investing a lot of time and effort into content creation, you should be aiming to generate buzz with whatever media outlets are popular among your target audience.
This idea is completely scalable. The principle is relevant for major record companies getting reviews in major news outlets. It’s also appropriate for a niche post-vaporwave/punk-crossover record labels getting mentions on highly-focused music blogs and subreddits.
If you want to improve your brand’s performance in this metric, you must build relationships. Contact blog and website writers, YouTubers, and other influencers directly. Be both respectful and personal. Don’t react to criticism and negative coverage. Keep producing or curating great content and building your brand. If you’re catering to a similar audience as these media outlets, you can help each other immensely.
- Lead Generation
If your end-goal with content marketing is selling a product or service, it’s vital to measure how your content contributes to lead generation. This process is straightforward if people who view your content immediately register an interest in you. However, this won’t give you a complete understanding of the relationship between your content and leads. When someone is just hearing of your brand for the first time, it’s likely they’ll want to find out more about you before jumping in and making a purchase.
Many online businesses measure where leads come from simply by asking those contacting them to tell them how they found out about their brand. There are more sophisticated ways to analyze this if you’re after a complete picture. See if posting certain types of content results in a spike in lead generation. Using straightforward statistical formulas, you can analyze how lead generation interacts with other metrics of your content’s success.
The end-goal for any brand is turning content marketing into profit. Conversions can be measured similarly to leads, with statistical analysis showing how other metrics of content success influence the brand’s bottom line.
Conversions can also be measured when content is specifically designed to prompt a purchase. If you’re looking to build a profitable long-term relationship with a broad user base, it’s best not to push too hard for conversions through your content. If you’re doing everything right to build a loyal following, conversions will come.
A successful content marketing strategy can have a positive impact on your brand in a variety of ways. Most importantly, keep track of all your content successes and failures, learn from your mistakes, and repeat what works.