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Measuring up: Does Content Marketing work?

Written by Emma Smith on 16 Mar 16
Measuring up: Does Content Marketing work?
How do you know when content marketing is working for your business?

Our Content Marketing Manager, Emma, tells us more. 

One of the best feelings you can get as a writer and marketer is the one you have when an audience responds to something you've created. 

There's - almost - nothing better than having someone connect with your content in some way, whether that's by sharing it with their networks, commenting favourably on it or simply clicking that magical 'like' button.

However, all the warm fuzzies and positive feedback in the world mean nothing if your content isn't doing the one thing you really, really need it to do - provide a tangible return on investment.

And even if it is working, how will you know what that looks like?

Content Marketing: It’s just like sport

I like to think of Content Marketing as a game of two halves. 

The first half is all about building a platform for success. It involves building up an audience, creating your pool of valuable, quality content and promoting this content around the web.

This part of the game requires patience, persistence and a variety of resources with which you can grow your strategy.

You often don’t get any payoffs at this stage - at most, you can hope for a small proportion of regular readers, some sign-ups to your blog and potentially some leads to conversions.

But if you put your game plan into place, you’re in an excellent position to reap rewards further down the track.

It’s not until the second half of the game that all that hard work starts to pay off. This is when you’ve built up a breadth of content and have developed a steady promotion program.

Essentially, when you’ve put the time and effort into developing your Content Marketing offering, the results will follow.

You should notice more conversions, return audiences, subscriptions and activity on your content, plus more traffic and engagement. 

This is the payoff you've been waiting for - but what exactly should you be looking for?

Use your tools

The most important metrics used to measure success in Content Marketing are sales and sales lead quality. This comes directly from UK marketers, as outlined in the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 UK Content Marketing report.

This is an obvious one - if you’re going to spend time and money on a Content Marketing strategy, you’ll need to show it’s financially viable and contributes to your bottom line.

However, there are plenty of other things you can look into to judge how well your strategy is doing.

One such technique involves measuring your content’s effectiveness based on the organic traffic it delivers to your site. 

By comparing this figure to the price you would have paid to generate the same level of traffic, through a paid promotional tool, you can get more of a tangible idea of how well your organic content is performing and how profitable it is.

However, it’s not just sales and site traffic you should be looking at.

For recruitment companies, Content Marketing success could be a blog that leads on to people applying for a position.

It could be candidates signing up to receive regular job alerts, or readers sharing content with their friends and social networks.

Perhaps it’s getting a retweet from an industry influencer, or collecting information from users who sign up for subscription services.

Define what success looks like, and there’s bound to be a metric/tool that can show you how your content is helping you to achieve it.

No metric is an island

Unless your sole business aim is to sell a product, you should never rely on measuring just one metric to indicate the success of your content strategy.

Different goals and targets require different measurement approaches, so it’s important to tie all those little threads of insight together to present an overarching impression of how well your content is doing. 

It will take time to collect data, but eventually patterns will emerge and you’ll have a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t. 

The important thing here is to track all your data regularly and record it in order to show weekly, monthly and annual trends. 

Once you have this, you can amend and redirect your strategy accordingly. 

Make things easier for yourself

Strategising, writing, measuring…if it all sounds too much like hard work, you’re in safe hands!

4MAT provides a full suite of recruitment digital marketing services for organisations, including content marketing development and 

We can also support your content marketing with tailored SEO to help drive traffic and engagement. Just get in touch with our Client Development Team to find out what we can offer to support your business.

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