Market Research

How to Measure and Make Great Marketing Content

Sandy McKee
6 min read

How successful are your content marketing efforts? Do you know what type of content your audience values? Do you know how to measure the success of your content marketing efforts?

Before you can measure your efforts, you first need to determine the desired result. What do you want your content to accomplish? Knowing your goal will help you understand which metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) so that you can determine whether you are meeting your objectives or not.

Before we get into answering those questions, lets review what goes into making good marketing content.


What Makes Good Marketing Content Great?

The best content marketing campaigns are a mixture of innovation and what’s worked in the past. As content marketers, we should always strive to create engaging content that provides value either in the form of educating or entertaining our readers and in turn results in an increase in web traffic and leads. People always want to learn something new so if you can find a way to be informative, you should see better results from your content. 

Your content should not be:

  • A sales pitch
  • An advertisement
  • A self-promotion
  • Purely SEO driven

It’s also important that you create the content where your audience spends its time. You could have the best series of blog posts around but if your audience is on YouTube, they’ll never read them! Identify how you can resonate uniquely with your audience and then deliver the content where they want it.

Finally, don’t make your content all about you! Be selfless. Your content should focus on solving problems for your customers. Offer a solution that helps your readers make better decisions, or entertain them, but, please, spare them the sales pitch.


How To Measure Your Content Marketing Efforts

It’s difficult knowing exactly what to measure because there simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when looking at your content marketing metrics. It’s up to you and your team to determine which KPIs are most important based on your objectives.

You will know that your content is hitting the mark when it is:

  • Driving in more traffic
  • Being shared socially
  • Increases leads
  • Improves your lead-to-paid customer conversion rate

Let’s define the actual key performance indicators that will help you determine whether you are achieving your objectives.


Content Marketing Key Performance Indicators

The distinguishing factor between a metric and a KPI, is that KPIs are actionable. They are outcome oriented, meaning you can affect the result and are directly tied to an objective.

KPI #1: Is Your Content Engaging?

While the number of page visits is a nice metric, there are several KPIs that will help you identify how well your content is being consumed. The following KPIs indicate your readers interest level and are a good place to start when measuring engagement:

Time On Site: This metric will let you know if visitors are really engaged with your content. It can provide indication of whether they only read the intro, quickly skimmed the content, or took time to entirely digest the content.

Bounce Rate: Bounce rate will tell you the percentage of visitors who came to your content but quickly exited without viewing other web pages. This can indicate that they did not have much interest in what you were offering. A 50 percent bounce rate is average. If you surpass 60 percent, you should consider making some changes to get your audience engaged.

On the other hand, a high bounce rate could also mean that your web content has met your reader’s objective and they did not need to view other pages. If readers are taking action then the bounce rate may not be meaningful.

Pages Per Visit: If visitors are continuing on to other pages, that is a good indicator that they place value in your content and want to continue exploring.

KPI #2: Does Your Content Have Value?

If content is released but no one outside your immediate sphere of influence sees it, did it actually have an impact? Content that is shared by others indicates that it has value. Consider these KPIs:

Social Shares: How many times was your content shared on social media?

Facebook Likes, Twitter retweets, Pinterest pins, and Google pluses are nice, but they may be a reflection of loyalty rather than a reflection of content value.

For instance, Facebook Like counts can outpace traffic for that content which suggests users click Like on the content they have never actually read. Likes and tweets vouch for your content, but sharing is a better form of endorsement. 

Referrals/Inbound Links: Referrals and inbound links are always a good indicator that your content is valued.

If your content is getting a lot of views, it is likely that you have inbound referral links. This is great; search engines use referral traffic as an indicator of popularity and authority (as long as the referral is coming from a reputable source).

Use web analytics tools to determine where the referrals are coming from and then use use Moz Rank or a similar SEO tool to determine if these are trustworthy sources. Besides site rank, you can use time on page, and conversion rate to help you determine the engagement level of readers from the referring site.

Comments: Readers taking the time to share their thoughts and opinions on your post is a clear indicator that they are engaged, even if the comments aren’t exactly what you’d hoped! Be sure to respond to further engagement and encourage other readers to add their voices to the conversation.

KPI #3: Is Your Content Generating Leads?

The bottom line of all marketing efforts is that you need leads to drive sales. Did any of your readers follow a call to action such as sign up for a trial, webinar or subscribe to your newsletter? Did they download any other content such as whitepapers, guides or case studies? If so, these readers are now engaged leads. Continue to nurture these with an email drip campaign until they are qualified leads that can be passed to your sales team. 

KPI #4: Does Your Content Lead To A Sale?

If your marketing content resulted in a direct sale that brought in revenue you know it is a success! Quickly celebrate with a round of high-fives and continue to promote this content to bring in even more leads! Also, don’t forget to check indirect conversions where your content might have assisted in a sale.


Successful Marketing Content

Once you have identified which marketing content has the best results, use this as your model for creating new content. What was it that made it resonate with your audience? Was it the subject matter or the style? Understanding your target audience’s interests and needs will positively impact your content’s performance.

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