In my past life as a young, inexperienced content marketer, I loathed the inevitable end-of-month reporting meeting with my marketing team.
Each time we gathered in the freezing boardroom to show off our Piktochart-designed monthly metrics, my colleagues presented a sea of endless slides with solid figures showing off the effectiveness of their efforts. My slides were less compelling.
This was partly due to my lack of design skills (I’ve always been better with words), but also because we didn’t really have any clear objectives for the content we produced, and our content programme was still in its infancy.
Sadly, there was nothing I could do about my design skills. But I now know that setting objectives would’ve been a great place to start. I’ve also since learned that content is a slow, but steady burn.
It requires ongoing effort, with one piece building on the next. Looking at individual pieces won’t give you the full picture of your content’s value – you need to look at it as whole. Which is why it’s tricky to measure.
The secret to measuring content
Recently, we worked with a lender that realised first-time home buyers get confused about what home loan pre-approvals mean. They wanted to use this opportunity to build credibility and trust by providing truly useful information for their customers and generate leads.
We created a blog post explaining the ins and outs of pre-approvals in simple, easy-to-understand language, with a clear call to action. They shared it via their usual channels and recorded above-average engagement with the content. Over a few weeks, they also received 10 enquiries directly from the blog post – averaging a cost per lead of $2.91. Their secret? Apart from the, dare we say, well-written content, was having a clear objective.
Because the key to measuring the effectiveness of your content starts with your objectives.
After all, if you’re not clear on what you’re trying to achieve, how can you produce an engaging piece of content? How will you know if it worked?
It’s also handy to set up some internal benchmarks to see how your content tracks over time. And industry benchmarks can help you see how your efforts stack up against others.
Match your objectives with the right metrics
Some of the common objectives we come across at Writers are lead generation, building credibility and trust, and raising brand awareness. Let’s look at what to measure for each objective.
One of the more ambitious goals of content is lead generation. Remember, content is a slow burn, so it might take a while for a reader to turn into a lead.
Things to measure include:
- Organic traffic
- Form fills
- Phone enquiries
- Click-through rates
- Conversion rates
- Engagement rates
- Time on page
- ROI or cost per lead
Building credibility and trust
In a highly competitive and sceptical environment, publishing informative, useful and relevant content consistently will help your brand build credibility and trust over time. But it does take time. And trust is possibly the hardest thing to measure.
Things to look at include:
- Brand sentiment
- Online reviews
- Social engagement
- Referral traffic
Raising brand awareness
Content can be very effective at raising brand awareness. Some ways you can gauge it include:
- Direct website traffic
- Referral traffic
- Search volume
- Social engagement
The real weight of words
As writers, our job is to make sure our words help you hit and, ideally, exceed your targets. But without clear objectives, we’re flying blind. So next time you brief your writer, make sure they know what the content piece needs to achieve. And don’t forget to share the results, so everyone can learn and make the next piece of content even better.
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