How To Prove Content Marketing ROI

While it is known that words have the power to influence, it may seem difficult to actually quantify just how much that article, blog, or social media post really motivated someone to buy your product. The challenge of content is that it is often around awhile and tends to circulate to various sources who then may be moved by it, decide to think about it awhile before purchasing but pass it onto others, or simply disregard it.

The complexity of interaction and engagement with the content, combined with numerous factors related to time and other influences, can seem like results would be impossible to measure. However, in using online platforms for content marketing, new analytics tools have been developed that help you determine the type of return on investment you are getting for those influential words.

Content Marketing Metrics And Measurements

There are various types of analytics tools now available that not only track content marketing results, but they also break down these results into various categories of behaviors and reactions to the content so you know what, when, and why certain content was more accepted than other types. Here are some of the specific types of metrics and measurements now available:

  • To understand whether your content was read, you can use tools like Google Analytics. This tool will also tell you how many visits you received to that content, how many unique visits, whether anyone downloaded it, and how long the visitor was there reading that content. It can even track the path of that visitor to see what they did after reading that article or blog post, such as whether they then clicked on a different page, filled in a form, purchased something or left your site.
  • Other types of content have been created for the specific purpose of getting new leads. This involves other types of tools determine which source prompted a person to get more information by visiting your site. These tools look at the click-to-open rates of an email or other content source. From there, these tools can determine how many of those leads were then converted into sales. “Measuring the click-to-open rate was crucial to the success of my practice”, says Dr. Nakul Karkare, distinguished orthopedic surgeon from NY. “My team was able to pull our click-to-open rate into our analysis and increase our average by 67%.”
  • Content can also be generated for performance. If you’re looking to monetize your traffic, you need to have quality and be able to track every aspect of the process. You need to be knowing what’s going on behind the scenes. There are now different performance exchanges you can use so that you can focus on what you’re doing best… content.
  • When the content begins to be passed around to others is when attempting to calculate the quantitative value of that action becomes more difficult. However, many of the social media sites now offer analytics tools, such as Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights, which return information on how many times a post was viewed, viewed and shared, and viewed, shared, and commented on by all involved in reading that content. This delivers the level of engagement, which is important in deciding the influence your content had on the intended audience.
  • Inbound links also become a key performance indicator that can deliver a quantitative reporting on how valuable your content is to others. The more people want to link to your content, the greater its value.
  • Other ways to track the return on investment for your content is to determine how many people have subscribed to your blog, like your page, follow your profile, made comments on your content channel or filled in a contact form.

Calculating your return on investment is similar to any other type of marketing effort in which you take your total investment cost on a particular content campaign effort and then measure that against how many new leads and sales you converted within the time that the content ran to see what you got in return for that cost. Although this is somewhat simplifying it, this overall quantitative picture can give you a guideline to follow while these other metrics provide specific information on what is working and what could be done more effectively.

Tips On Generating A Higher Return

The content that has been proven to generate the highest return on investment has some specific attributes:

  • It is highly relevant to its audience, providing application and assistance now with key problems or issues that they need to solve. Your audience will return regularly if you continue to provide information that helps them get things done whether this is related to a business issue, such as budgeting, marketing, or employee relations, or a personal matter like gift-giving, home repair, or travel tips.
  • It is personable and speaks directly to the audience. Your audience wants to read something they feel was written for them. Therefore, it can’t be dry or generic. The content has to feel like it is full of life so that it engages with the audience like a person would do in a face-to-face conversation.
  • It is authoritative. Your audience wants to know that what they are reading has come from a true expert on the subject so they can trust that the information has true value. This also establishes trust with your audience, which is necessary before they will decide to share your content with their circles.
  • It is optimized for search engines so your audience can find you. With so much content now available, you may be hard to locate if you don’t compose content that includes content that a search engine can understand and rank accurately.

Just remember that content marketing sometimes takes longer to deliver the expected results than other types of online marketing. However, once it does, that content can continue delivering results for weeks and months to come as it is discovered and shared by more of your audience. This is another reason that the new metrics available are so important as they will follow these responses as long as the content is available.

This post originally appeared on Forbes.

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