Most experts in the field agree that content marketing is one of the most powerful tools companies have in their arsenal to engage consumers. However, with the increasing effectiveness of search engines in directing users to results by intent, the content you produce must guide users to what they want.
The only way a business can know if their copy is performing this crucial job is by analyzing it and managing its distribution. Some content works better in some channels than others, after all. Thirteen contributors to Forbes Agency Council explore how businesses can manage and analyze the effectiveness of their content for maximum success.
1. Consider Your Content’s Shelf Life
If you’re seeking thought leadership, the acid test for content is shelf life. An article on how to celebrate a corporate anniversary, that I wrote seven years ago, continues to generate reads and business. There are dozens of similar evergreen topics that will sustain market interest and engagement over time. – Gordon Andrew, Highlander Consulting Inc.
2. Look At Who Consumes Your Content
Who is consuming your content matters. It is only worth the time and investment to create marketing content if it’s reaching individuals who can eventually become your customers. A high number of leads with .edu emails could be an indicator that your content is attracting students learning about the industry and not experts at the right level who are qualified leads. – Keri Witman, Clever Lucy
3. Measure Impact Throughout The Funnel
Engagement and conversions from the content are important, but that’s not the only role it plays. It’s critical to also measure the impact throughout the full marketing funnel. Think about internal links, remarking, email capture and topic clusters instead of just positive consumer actions from a single piece of content. – Seth Winterer, Digital Logic
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4. Incorporate Cross-Channel Measurement
Don’t just look at traffic, time on site, bounce rates or impressions from organic traffic when evaluating content’s effectiveness. Look at how else you’re using that content. Does your content feed social? Email? Customer service? How do those channels impact the bottom line? Content can/should be used across channels, so evaluating effectiveness needs to incorporate cross-channel measurement. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures
5. Determine If It Adds Value, Entertains, Educates
The content being created has to add value, entertain or educate the viewer. Too many times, content falls flat because it doesn’t add anything of importance. The best way to analyze the effectiveness of your content is to see if it’s causing a positive impact on your sales, brand awareness and overall reputation of your business. You can gauge this from an increase in messages and engagement. – Tony Pec, Y Not You Media
6. Check The Relevance Of Your Keywords
Check the relevance of your keywords versus your target persona. Relevance is the defining factor when it comes to the bounce rate of your long-form web pages. Monitor your web page’s bounce rate to gauge its efficiency. The more relevant your content is, the less likely the user will bounce off of your page and land onto another. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
7. Take A Human-First Approach
When you take a human-first approach to business, your content is inevitably effective. That means showing the humanity behind the brand. Remember that people do business with people, so it can’t be a faceless brand speaking — it has to come from the heart, to pull at the heartstrings of the customer. That is when your content is most effective! – Lynne Golodner, Your People LLC
8. A/B Test, Look At Engagement
Content is king, as the saying goes. I believe that the analysis of good content can be based on the volume of engagement it is getting. Similar to advertising, it is crucial to conduct A/B testing to see what sort of content works best for you. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. – Roy Kek, DIFY
9. Perform A Content Audit Regularly
In addition to tracking metrics like conversions, perform a content audit at least every six months. Just collecting data isn’t enough — you need to actually analyze it and draw a conclusion. An in-depth audit provides the big picture and allows you to easily identify what’s working and what isn’t. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions
10. Measure Content Impact On Sales
Ultimately, the best way to measure the effectiveness of your content is the impact it is having on your sales. If the feedback from new customers is that they loved your LinkedIn or social media posts, then you have your answer — keep doing what you’re doing. Drilling down to analyze each individual metric doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t have a positive impact on your bottom line. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR
11. Implement A Test-And-Learn Approach
Implement a test-and-learn approach. Track your metrics from a 360-degree perspective, including not only your website visitors but also how that content is performing on social media. The higher the impressions and engagements, the more interested in that topic your audience probably is. Do more of what’s working, but also don’t be afraid to test different and new strategies. – Maddie Raedts, IMA – Influencer Marketing Agency
12. Make Sure All Content Has A Goal
Every piece of content needs a goal that works toward your overall marketing goals. Lay out a strategy that covers the next three, six, 12 months to keep you on track, and use a tool to ensure deadlines are met. For reflecting, keep an eye on your website’s visitor analytics and trends over time while factoring in seasonal changes to take advantage of hot topics to capture more digital search traffic. – Evan Nison, NisonCo
13. Leverage Google Analytics
Tools like Google Analytics provide data points such as time on page and bounce rate (are people clicking to view but not reading?), source (is this content resonating more with my audience?), behavior (where are viewers navigating to next?) and organic keyword position (is it ranking for the terms I’m targeting?) This data can help determine what content is resonating and what needs improvement. – Laura Cole, Vivial
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Author: Expert Panel®, Forbes Councils Member