If you showed someone else the same saber, they would also use adjectives to describe their feelings:
How can we compare this adjective-filled data?
Step one is to use numbers
Instead of asking for verbal opinion, let’s have them rate different features on a scale from 1-10. It’s much easier to compare a 5 to a 7, than an “awesome” to a “how much does it cost?”
Numbers make thing easier to compare.
There’s another reason hidden in that above example. When you, as the content marketer, present your plan to the bosses, they will ask, “How much does it cost?” They want to make sure the return on investment (ROI) is going to be worth it. That’s easier conveyed using marketing metrics.
According to the B2B Content Marketing 2019 report, only 39% of companies have a formally documented content marketing plan. Making sure your company is part of the 39% who have a documented plan is step one. We’re going to be dealing with numbers so everything must be standardized to ensure accurate analysis.
Step two is to determine your goals
Time to get measuring!
What do you want to accomplish with your content marketing? Do you want more eyes on your website? Do you want more shares and likes of your social media posts? These will be the metrics you will be monitoring to determine if your marketing is headed in the right direction.
Exactly what you will measure depends on the type of content you will be marketing. If you’re pushing your website, you’ll be tracking pageviews, unique pageviews, sessions, impressions, CTR, and CPM. Working on an email campaign at it will be open rate and clicks. Social media content will have you studying likes and shares and comments. And, since most content marketing plans cross the whole spectrum, you’ll probably be looking at all these factors at once.
Do make sure, though, the metrics you are monitoring align with the goals you put together earlier. 52% of B2B content marketers said their metrics didn’t align with their goals, which means a lot of their work is for naught and, even worse, they might be operating based on incorrect associations of that data.
What to do with your data?
So, now you’ve been collecting data for some time. It’s time to start analyzing to see how your marketing is doing. Once you have some analysis, you can evaluate what is working and what needs to be tweaked. Remember, marketing online gives you fluidity to shape and reshape your methods as needed. Evolve your awesome.
Google Analytics will be one of your best friends. With it, you can monitor many different metrics. In a fantastic post, Michele Linn highlights many of the key Google Analytics reports you’ll use, where you can find them, and what they’ll teach you. We’re just going to touch on one of those reports: conversion.
Most likely, your bosses are going to ask you about how your website is converting because in the sales world, conversion equals cash. We know that conversion in the marketing realm means the user took the action you were trying to make them take. But since the bosses know that word as it applies to sales, it’s an easy metric to get ‘em listening (plus it’s used in calculating your ROI which normally will be the bottom line they crave).
Google Analytics will give you another super helpful tool with its Benchmark reporting. These reports will let you compare your results to other companies in over 1600 industries. Knowing where you stand with your competitors can help you better refine and present your message, which will increase your conversions and up your ROI.
If you’re also monitoring social media and email campaigns, you’ll need some extra tools. (Google can give you tracking tags to monitor non-webpage things but having multiple tools will give you even more fun data to analyze.) More often than not, the social media or email platform will offer analytic tools. Use them all. The more data you have, the more insight you’ll glean. And the more insight you have, the better you’ll be able to craft your marketing to convert those users from strangers to friends. And to quantify your successes to your bosses.
One final note.
Often in content marketing we try a thing and when that thing gets results, we continue doing that thing. Over and over and over and over. When we do this, though, the user eventually stops listening. Blame their brain. According to Dr. Kathie Nunley, one of the four things that dominates the focus of your brain is novelty.
If you present something new to someone, their brain is hardwired from years of evolution to focus on it. So, don’t stop doing the things that work with your marketing; but remember to spice it up every once in a while. Wave a laser sword or something.
Want some help planning your content marketing strategy? Our strategists can help you ensure that your efforts count (get it?)