content marketing

5 Ways to Assess Whether Your Content Marketing Is Doing Its Job

It’s a simple fact: Even if you write consistent content for your startup’s blog and website, you’re not guaranteed the results you want. Yet, not every entrepreneur takes the time to assess why they’re not succeeding with content marketing.

As a result, they’re left believing that content marketing is an ineffective tool that they shouldn’t bother with. That’s unfortunate, because it really is a powerful way to provide value and trust to potential customers.

Yes, it takes a little work to dig into analytics and data, but in the long run, you’ll be able to modify your content strategy to ensure that it’s aligned with what your customers really want. Here’s how.

1. Immerse yourself into your customer

If you really and truly know your audience, your content is already off to a good start. When you understand the different personas you’re marketing to, as well as their needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey, you can hit the mark and deliver real value with your content.

If you have email campaigns designed to hit different types of customers, look at what’s happening during the drip process. Is there a particular email that has seen high unsubscribe rates? Look at the wording and offer of that email, as it’s probably to blame.

Also, realize you don’t need a crystal ball to get to know your customers. You can simply ask what kinds of content they find valuable. Get feedback on existing posts or whitepapers to ensure you’re aligning with their needs. Even a simple survey can get you great data on who your customer is and what they want.

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2. Look at what the data tells you

There’s a reason we have website and social analytics: to use them. And yet, less than 30 percent of small businesses use analytics. Ignoring the data is a costly mistake you don’t want to make.

You can start with your Google Analytics dashboard, or whatever built-in tool your blog has to assess overall traffic to your site. You can dive into each post and see which attracted more readers and shares than others.

But don’t stop there; there are also content-specific tools that help you see your content’s reach through social media and other promotional channels. If you’re not doing your part to promote your blog content, you can’t expect it to reach a wide audience.

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3. Pay attention to call-to-action conversions

The conversion rate you get from your content’s calls to action (CTA) are another good indicator of how successful your content is. (First of all…you are leveraging calls to action, aren’t you?).

Ensure that you’ve got just one CTA per piece of content so you don’t overwhelm your reader, who won’t know which to choose. Then look at how many actions you’ve gotten from that piece of content.

For example: if your downloadable whitepaper has a CTA at the end to click to schedule a free demo, track how many people actually clicked the link to get a demo. If you’re not getting a high enough conversion, tweak one thing and try again for a few weeks. Maybe change the offer, or the placement or color of the CTA to make it more front-and-center.

4. Assess campaigns

Presumably, you have a campaign for every promotion you’re pushing, and that campaign involves content. As part of assessing overall campaign success, look at the content and its role in the campaign.

Did it drive to your targeted product landing page? What was the conversion? Did you see an uptick in sales over the last campaign?

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5. Tie content back to goals

There’s absolutely no value in content marketing if you don’t have goals attached to your efforts. When you know what you hope to achieve, you can then assess results. Some goals might be:

  • To increase email signups
  • To drive awareness of a product
  • To send blog readers to connect on social media channels
  • To buy products

While your overall content will have some goals of its own, make sure every post, eBook and email is affiliated with a particular goal and/or campaign. It should serve the purpose of contributing to whatever that goal is.

Data is our friend. It helps us improve our marketing efforts, particularly through content. But don’t be overwhelmed. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to look at information and understand whether you’re on track with your content marketing. A few tweaks here and there are usually all that’s needed to improve results significantly.

Originally posted May 30, 2018.

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