No matter how good the content that your team produces is, an effective content measurement plan is a critical part of maintaining executive buy-in and creating a sustainable content strategy. Consider that the most successful B2B content marketers utilize 39% of the marketing budget for content, and that will give you an idea of the critical role that content measurement plays.
There’s an interminable number of data points relevant to your content’s performance: bounce rates, exit rates, dwell time, session time, conversion rates, click-throughs, backlinks, social media mentions—the list goes on and on. While these data points may be interesting for science-minded marketers to geek out on, content measurement data points need to be translated into business-ready goals that demonstrate clear returns-on-investment to management.
The Content Measurement Plan to the Rescue
A content measurement plan with methodical and consistent reporting will help you translate that data into an understandable ROI. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 B2B Content Marketing Trends Report, a meager 51% of content marketers include “a measurement plan to provide both insight and progress toward the business goals” in their content marketing strategy.
That means that 49% of businesses are sitting on—or casually using—mountains of data. If you fall into that camp, it’s time to adopt a content measurement plan that will help take your content strategy to the next level.
(Check out our latest publication, the Content Measurement Handbook, to get a jump-start on your content measurement plan using Google Analytics.)
A study by Kapost found that content marketing, per dollar, produced three times more leads than traditional marketing. That makes sense, considering that strategically-produced content is designed to appeal to different personas throughout the customer journey. When you commit to a content measurement strategy to understand why your leads responded to that content, it creates a snowball effect of ever-improving content production and refinement.
What Does a Content Measurement Plan Need?
We’ve established that content marketing is good and content measurement is important to make it great. The question now is, how do you create a content measurement plan?
First, you’ll need to know:
- The content types that make up your customer-facing online presence. Everyone thinks about blog posts when it comes to content marketing, but what about your self-service pages?
- The goals that your content type is trying to achieve. Each of these content types is meant to prompt a certain form of engagement with a prospect or customer. Realistic expectations are required here—don’t expect to generate many sales from a self-service page.
- What phase of the customer journey your content targets. Blog posts, for example, are often geared towards the awareness stage, when consumers are just learning about your company and message.
- The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that correspond to each content type. For example, for blogs intended to target the awareness phase of the customer journey, you’ll want to focus on the organic search sessions each page is generating.
- The Google Analytics Dimensions that matter to each content type.
Most companies (and 56% of all websites) use Google Analytics. But, as we discussed earlier, only about half take the time to connect the data in Google Analytics all the way up to their broader marketing goals. While marketers may be able to make good decisions based on Google Analytics data alone, better long-term strategies are crafted when they’re based on insights gained from a consistent content measurement plan.
If you’re new to content marketing, or you’re just getting started developing a content measurement strategy, check out our Content Measurement Handbook, which includes a simple content measurement plan template. With this straightforward template, you can connect all the data in Google Analytics to meaningful insights and actions in your content strategy.