As we accept that our consumers are learning about, and navigating through, more and more information about our brand, organisation, industries or topic areas as they research online, we're needing to deploy more sophisticated strategies in order we can earn attention, and importantly trust. This is what sits behind the drive of content marketing's rise to the forefront of the digital marketing agenda.
Below is a simple matrix of ideas to help you set the KPIs or metrics based on what we've used on different projects. We're not saying "this is the way you must do it" or that you need to use all of these KPIs. Instead, we hope this is a useful framework to help select the best type of KPIs for different markets.
We've taken three angles here to illustrate, so we've got the full range of measures covered from hard sales vs softer engagement metrics.
Using these different types of measures is even more important for companies with long purchase or repeat purchase cycles, such as automotive, furniture or maybe PCs - and certainly for B2B businesses. The longer buy cycles require the need to demonstrate ongoing engagement.
As you can see from the table above, content marketing KPIs go hand in hand with social media marketing, content fuels social media. The two come together when working on social media optimisation (SMO) which Dave has recently posted on. SMO for me centres on the distribution of social objects and their ability to rise to the top of any related search query [Dan - I disagree on this - the poll in our post show that most think it's broader - maximising reach and interaction in social channels to achieve your goals].
Brian Solis talks about SEO + SMO = Amplified Findability in the traditional and social web. I think that's a great way to summarise it [Dan - like that although I'd call it Amplified Visibility FWIW - for me Findability is about efficient customer journeys on websites - it's a user-centred design technique, but I guess Brian doesn't know about that!).
Since tracking within SMO is also important, how do you do it? At the centre of a SMO programme are social objects. Social objects represent the content we market via social media - images, videos, blog posts, comments, status updates, wall posts, and all related activity that creates the potential for online conversations. It follows then, that the goal of SMO is to measure, monitor and improve the visibility of social objects as a means to connecting with individuals who are proactively seeking additional information and direction.
Given that social objects are contextualized through keywords, titles, descriptions, and/or tags so the measures here are not so different to SEO in terms of inbound links, as well as referring web sites where your content, the social objects, are placed. So you need to develop an analytics dashboard that reviews your effectiveness within this content eco-system.
Following on from the above table, these measurements are great and you also have to be able to do something with them. The analytics guru's like Avinash Kaushik, and of course Dave Chaffey 🙂 will always talk about actionable metrics. How might that apply to content marketing, here are a few examples of questions to ask for which you need to review the analytics to get the answer:
The general rule of optimisation is to monitor and test and don't stop! Websites and web based content are not brochures, they're never 'done'. Focus on testing and trying new things where the analytics and customer feedback data indicates the best opportunity to improve.
By Danyl Bosomworth
Dan helped to co-found Smart Insights in 2010 and acted as Marketing Director until leaving in November 2014 to focus on his other role as Managing Director of First 10 Digital. His experience spans brand development and digital marketing, with roles both agency and client side for nearly 20 years. Creative, passionate and focussed, his goal is on commercial success whilst increasing brand equity through effective integration and remembering that marketing is about real people. Dan's interests and recent experience span digital strategy, social media, and eCRM. You can learn more about Dan's background here Linked In.
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