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Content Marketing Metrics You Should Care About

by Trenton Reed   |   Jul 19, 2019

About a month ago, I discussed the differences between B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) copywriting. In this post, I emphasized how target audiences make all the difference in business writing. Whereas B2C writing targets individuals, B2B often deals with multiple stakeholders. The buying activities and sales cycles of each audience are different. And knowing the needs of your target audience is essential.

In my current role, I’m a marketer who markets a marketing company (try explaining that to your mother...). It’s up to my team to promote our agency’s services in a way that attracts new leads and current clients.

This content is inherently different than the type I’ve created for clients in previous roles. From social posts and blogs, to industry-specific ebooks and guides, we create content around the greater marketing funnel. Increasing brand awareness means introducing our services to prospective clients—and catering and customizing our offerings to fit their unique needs.

The goal of our content is not always to sell products. Unlike other industries—in which sales-centric ad copy is the name of the game—our goals are varied. They may include driving awareness, nurturing leads, or providing insight to readers (as is case with this specific post!).

Naturally, the metrics we measure vary.

How to prove the value of content marketing.

Quantifying creativity can be challenging. Just because something reads well—or looks pretty—doesn’t mean it’s successful. There are numerous factors that contribute to the success of a display ad or blog. The digital age has opened up a world of possibility for us wide-eyed creatives. Now, we’re able to tack KPIs to individual pieces of content.

While by no means a comprehensive list of all metrics that marketers must track, below is a quick and dirty list of which ones you should care about.

Reach

Traffic is one of the most obvious starting points for most marketers. As one of the foundations of SEO, organic traffic finds your content by searching for keywords or phrases on search engines. Therefore, unique page visits are an indicator of authority. It shows exactly how much organic traffic individual posts are receiving—and how optimized your efforts are.

Within the total number of traffic, however, marketers can zero in how much of that traffic is from original or repeat users—which ultimately, provides insight into the reach of your content. Google classifies new sessions as a “visit from a new visitors” and return sessions as a “visit from a returning visitor.”

So, what’s the best for your efforts? It depends. Not all traffic is good traffic. It can be argued that attracting new visitors means your outreach efforts are effective, or that your content is optimized around your end users. On the other hand, return visitors may be revisiting a blog for specific reasons.

Google Analytics also allows users to track the geographic location of their readers. As marketers, this insight can be leveraged when executing hyper-local campaigns. Regardless of the source of your traffic, however, it’s important to track how they interact with your content marketing.

Which leads us to my next point…

Engagement

Traffic only tells you so much. While unique visits are an essential indicator of popularity, keeping your readers engaged is an equally important objective. What’s the average time spent on a specific landing page? Are users bouncing—or leaving your blog post—immediately?

Bounce rate and time on site are two metrics that help answer these questions. They also calculate the engagement of your traffic. Low bounce rates indicate that your users are invested in your content. And time on site metrics show how long users are spending on your webpages. When paired together, these two data points help illustrate what's resonating best with your audience.

While these two measurements show how long users are sticking around, heatmap tools take things one step further and provide insight into which parts of each post or page are most popular. Heatmap tools like HotJar (which we use at the Workshop) visualize human behavior and show where users are scrolling, clicking, and stopping their interactions.

This user feedback is used to increase improve conversions. Which, again, leads me to my next point…

Conversion Rates

As an internal marketer, one of my biggest focuses is on lead generation. My team spends days—sometimes weeks—creating campaigns around specific verticals and industries. They span the entire sales and marketing funnel and guide users down the next respective stage.

The more high-quality leads we attract, the better conversations our sales team members have. That’s why it’s essential to optimize conversion rates.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) turns existing traffic into qualified leads and potential clients. It uncovers the best ways to communicate business value propositions to your customers. It shows which components of marketing collateral are driving action. For example, A/B testing button copy and placement helps refine content marketing efforts. And knowing how and when users are converting helps optimize your efforts.

Ultimately, I pay the most attention to noticeable growth—whether that's embodied by page views, email subscribers from blog pop-ups, or ebook downloads. Tangible increases illustrate user interest in specific content pieces and validates that your efforts are paying off.

portrait of Trenton Reed

Trenton Reed

Trenton joined the Workshop Digital team in January 2019. After earning his B.A. in English from Virginia Commonwealth University, he moved to Denver, where he explored the Rocky Mountains and built a writing career that spanned the digital marketing, advertising, and journalism realms. Since relocating back to Richmond in late 2017, Trenton has freelanced with local agencies and national nonprofits. As our in-house writer, he’s in charge of maintaining our brand voice across all channels.