Content strategy & content measurement

Top 100 Content Marketing Question: How can content marketing be measured in my business?

Content marketing plays multiple roles to grow your business

To measure content marketing in your business, take these 4 steps:

  • Measure the value of content as a long-life asset.
  • Be crystal-clear about the jobs you want content to do.
  • Define specific marketing goals for content to achieve.
  • Align your content measurements with your marketing goals.
right tools for the job
To measure content in your business, decide which jobs it needs to do, then align content strategy and measurements with marketing goals.

In your written strategy, be crystal-clear about the jobs you need content to do.

Is your content marketing intended to:

  • Build awareness?
  • Guide buyers through a decision process?
  • Generate and qualify leads?
  • Ensure customers get maximum value from purchases?

So the more clarity you have about the roles content marketing plays, the easier it is to measure content marketing in your business.

Measure the value of content as a long-life asset

Smart business people look at content not only as a short-term expense, but also as a long-lasting asset.

Why? Because the evergreen content you create today can help your business succeed years from now. That’s what building a content base is all about.

If you build your content base by creating the ultimate piece of content in your space, it will bring you new business for years to come.

Home Heating & Cooling for Dummies
Thousands of people have downloaded a free e-book that helps customers compare their choices.

For example, Service Experts offers the Home Heating and Cooling for Dummies, an eBook that tells consumers all they need to know about home heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC).

When I blogged about this guide in 2017, more than 1,000 peopled had downloaded it. And it’s still going strong.

You can extract even greater value from perennial content assets by refreshing and repurposing them.

How? Turn long-form content into short form, text into graphics, photos into videos, and blogs into eBooks. This blog offers ideas on how to repurpose your content.

As Andy Crestodina observes, “I often get better results updating an older article than by writing a new one.”

This month, my blog on content marketing and Message Maps celebrates its 5th birthday! So what started as a weekly blog has become a long-lived content asset that’s now available in other media.

5th birthday
My blog celebrates its 5th birthday this month! Blog content has turned into eBooks, a marketing workshop, and a future book.

Cross-fertilize Blog Content

Here are ways I cross-fertilize blog content. I:

  • Compiled key blogs on content marketing into an eBook called Fast Forward Your Content Marketing 
  • Gathered over 1,600 questions in workshops to define the Top 100 Questions about marketing
  • Taught content from my blog in content marketing workshops
  • Am writing a book on Message Maps that draws ideas from this blog.

That’s why, to measure the value of content in my business, I must go beyond measuring blogs alone. Think about how to extend the life of the content you already created. You too can squeeze more value out of your content.

Define marketing goals for content to achieve

To measure content marketing in your business, consider the goals other marketers achieve with content. The 2019 Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs studies offer key insights about goals marketers achieve with content marketing.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers have learned to achieve many different kinds of goals with content marketing. Here are the top goals consumer marketers achieve:

  1. Create brand awareness, cited by 4 out of 5 marketers (79%).
  2. Build credibility and trust, cited by 2 out of 3 marketers (67%).
  3. Educate audiences, cited by 2 out of 3 marketers (65%).
  4. Building loyalty of existing customer and clients, cited by 3 out of 5 marketers (63%).
  5. Generate demand, leads, sales and revenue, cited by more than half of marketers.
Measure the value of content marketing
To measure content marketing in your business, consider 10 goals consumer marketers achieve.

Goals Achieved by Business Marketers

Business-to-business (B2B) marketers achieve similar goals with content marketing. Here are the top goals achieved by business marketers:

  1. Create brand awareness, cited by 4 out of 5 marketers (81%).
  2. Educate audiences, cited by 3 out of 4 marketers (73%).
  3. Build credibility and trust, cited by 2 out of 3 marketers (68%).
  4. Generate demand and leads, cited by 2 out of 3 marketers (68%).
  5. Nurture subscribers, audiences and leads, cited by more than half of marketers (58%).
  6. Build loyalty of existing customer and clients, cited by more than half of marketers (54%).
Measure the value of content marketing in B2B
To measure content marketing in your business, consider the goals B2B marketers achieve.

Now that you know what jobs other marketers get done with content, you’re ready to measure content marketing in your business. Align your content measurements tightly with your marketing goals.

Build awareness 

If the job of your content is to build awareness, create content that teaches buyers to help them:

  • Become aware of a problem or unmet need.
  • Learn about potential solutions and sources.
  • Solve specific problems with educational content before you sell.

Relevant measures for building awareness include web page views, website traffic, time on site and traffic sources.

Also measure social media followers, likes and shares.

Sales Funnel
To measure content in your business, create content that helps buyers advance through their decision journeys.

Nurture users

If the job of your content is to nurture users, create content that:

  • Provides the information buyers need at each step in the journey
  • Makes it easy to compare all of a buyer’s options – including what you and competitors sell
  • Teaches buyers what they need to know before making a purchase, through a guide, eBook or video series.

Relevant measures for content that nurtures users include the number of:

  • Downloads of your owned content
  • People who took a quiz or assessment
  • Subscribers to your blog, email, magazine, podcast or video series
  • Email open rates and click-throughs.

Qualify and close

If the job of your content is to qualify and close business, create content that:

  • Shares success stories, case histories, and testimonials from other customers to provide social proof
  • Is interactive, such as webinars, trade shows and live events
  • Is thought-provoking long-form content, requiring registration
  • Offers a free trial of the product.

Relevant measures for content designed to qualify and close business includes how many:

  • People sign up for and participated in a webinar or live event
  • Customer success stories you offer
  • People download the free trial
  • People consume 7 or more pieces of content, particularly in a short time frame.

Maximize value

If the job of your content is to build loyalty, credibility and trust with customers, create content that shows:

  • How to use a product, especially videos
  • Multiple product use cases and application ideas
  • Customers’ ideas for how to get the most out of a product
  • A Q&A that addresses user-level concerns.
Cinnamon at Penzey's
What to do with cinnamon? Penzeys shows how to sell more product by telling stories.

If you sell through third parties such as Amazon, consider offering information that will give you access to more customer information, such as:

  • Discounts on future purchases
  • Upgrades and add-ons
  • Bonuses.

Some of my favorite examples of bonuses include:

  • Authors provide a summary, quiz, template, tool or bonus content related to their book.
  • Musicians include bonus tracks and content for buyers.
  • A French press maker offers the first replacement screen free.
  • A mortgage company sends customers a sapling to plant in their yards.

Content marketing can many different roles in growing your business. To measure content marketing in your business, take these 4 steps:

  • Measure the value of content as a long-life asset.
  • Be crystal-clear about the jobs you want content to do.
  • Define specific marketing goals for content to achieve.
  • Align your content measurements with your marketing goals.

To dive even deeper into how to measure the value of content in your business, read my blog How to Measure Content Success?

Top 100 content marketing questions
Here are answers to marketers’ top 100 questions about content marketing.

“How can content marketing be measured in my business?” is one of marketers’ Top 100 Questions on #contentmarketing. Here are the answers.