Delving deep to measure results and determine ROI are important parts of digital marketing. But we know a lot of you prefer to leave the in-depth analytics and analysis to someone else. And that’s OK. Assuming they know what they’re doing. But if you’re a business owner or manager who just wants basic, overarching ways to tell if your content strategy is working—as well as its execution—it’s not hard to figure out, even just by glancing over some high-level numbers on a monthly basis.
So, below are some easy things to look at without getting bogged down in statistics, science, and theory. They’re all simple but telling numbers, quick and easy to find in your website and social media account reports.
How to Determine Content Marketing Success
- Is your content being found? The unique page views for each piece of content tell you whether people are finding it via search, backlinks, social media shares, and by exploring your website. Page views are a basic part of site analytics reporting. If people aren’t getting to your content, it’s not working for you. Focusing more on SEO and building social media followings comprised of your target market are two key steps to increasing readership. An effective content strategy brings more people to your website over time and increases the number of pages they view while they’re there.
- Is your content being read? Site analytics also let you know how much time visitors spend on each page. If people are sticking around on a page, they’re probably reading it; if they click away quickly, it obviously didn’t appeal. This commonly indicates a problem with the content’s quality or its relevance to your audience, or how well it delivers on what readers expect from the headline. If people are landing on but not reading your content, the strategy isn’t helping build your brand authority or trust—and may in fact be accomplishing the opposite.
- Is it getting engagement on social media? Hopefully, when you share your blog posts, articles, infographics, videos, and other content through your social media pages, it’s getting likes, shares, and comments. And these engagement numbers should increase over time. If not, it often points to some of the same problems mentioned above. It might also mean you’re making some common social media marketing mistakes.
- Is it earning newsletter subscribers? Using content to build an email list is a fundamental part of digital marketing. If people aren’t signing up to get your content via newsletter, it’s not speaking to them. Again, it’s probably due to quality or relevance, or perhaps the content is too self-promotional and not delivering value to its readers. A steady stream of subscribers is good, but a growing rate of sign-ups is better. If you’re losing subscribers, it’s time to completely reevaluate what you’re publishing.
- Is it getting backlinks on reputable websites? When others find your content valuable, they might link to it from their sites. This helps build your domain’s authority and SEO, and drives more direct traffic. It’s particularly beneficial when backlinks come from high-quality sites somehow related to your site’s main target keywords. A quick Google search turns up free online tools to track down backlinks to any given page on your site. See if people find your content good and valuable enough to send their own readers to it.
- Is your website climbing the search engine results for its main keywords? A smart content strategy supports an overall SEO strategy. Publishing on topics and keywords directly and tangentially related to your site’s primary target keywords should gradually raise it in the search engine results for those keywords. If your site isn’t budging, enough of your content isn’t relevant enough to your brand’s industry, area, products, or services. If your website is dropping in the rankings, take a look at these common reasons websites are penalized by Google.
- Is your content spurring action? Every piece of content should end with a call to action that makes sense in light of the presumed intent of people reading it. It might prompt them to learn more about a product or service, contact you, download additional information, sign up for your newsletter, and so on. Compelling, relevant content yields clicks. It also triggers people to email or call you or to buy something from your e-commerce store. And, ideally, people who read it occasionally mention it in their messages, in person, or on social media. If you don’t see any action on or off the page as a result of your content, it’s not working for you as it should be.