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5 Basic Metrics to Measure Your Content Marketing ROI

You can produce quality content that is interesting and provocative, but if it’s not the content your target audience wants, then it might as well be bad content.

By tracking metrics that measure the results of your content, you can actually determine which types of content bring the most results.

Update: For a more comprehensive look at how to measure the effectiveness of your content plan, download our free e-book, Content Methodology: A New Model for Content Marketing.

The first step is to understanding overall how to measure the return on investment on your content strategy. And then make sure you that you are tracking the right metrics.

The Content Marketing Institute says that there are 21 Real Blog Metrics that you should be tracking. But not all of the metrics listed pertain directly to the quality of content and certain measurements more accurately show the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of your content marketing strategy.

Here are the five easiest metrics to measure if you want to increase the ROI of your content:

1. Number of Social Media Shares

When someone likes something they read or watch, they share it with their friends. By tracking how many times readers share your content through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, you get a good picture of how many times readers are intrigued enough by your content to recommend it others. You are also getting a higher ROI on your content when someone posts your content on social media because your readership and exposure is exponentially increased.

2. Time Spent On site

Content Market Institute specifically recommends tracking the average time people spend on your site overall and also how much time they spend on specific pages. If someone is not engaged in your content, then they will click to another site pretty quickly. When your readers are spending a significant amount of time on your site overall or on a specific topic then you know that you are delivering the content that they want.

3. Visitors & Return Visits

While it’s important to know how many people are visiting your site, it is even more important to track the trends in the numbers. Has the number of visitors risen with your increased focus on content marketing? Are your numbers higher when you post on a certain topic? How many are repeat visitors? Or do you see spike in visitors when you promote your content on Twitter or Facebook? By tracking the trends of visitors in relation to your content and marketing, you can continue to focus your content efforts in the right direction.

4. Blog-related Expenses

If you don’t know what your investment in content is, then you can’t determine the ROI. By having a baseline of what you have spent, then you can begin to determine the ROI using the Blog Related Revenue metric. And if the expenses are too high for a large return, then these numbers can help you trim expenses to increase your return.

5. Blog Related Revenues

One common mistake is not building mechanisms into your site that track revenues that come directly from your blog traffic. The simplest way to do this is to add Google Analytics tracking code to your site and set “goals” and “funnels”, so Google can track when your visitors convert to leads or sales, and whether those conversions came through your content or some other source. While some of the ROI, especially in the beginning, is not directly related to revenue, the ultimate goal of a content marketing strategy is to increase revenue.

Other Content ROI Metrics

One goal common among brands and other content marketers is to increase “brand awareness”. Beyond traffic and shares, metrics like mentions and reblogs can act as proxies for brand awareness, especially when viewed over time. We’ll blog more about that in an upcoming post.

Update: For a more comprehensive methodology on studying brand awareness, check out our latest study.)

You may wonder why “number of comments” was not included in the top five metrics. While comments are tangible and an ego boost, they often don’t provide a good illustration of the ROI of your content. Many people who become customers may not ever post a comment and oftentimes the most prolific posters have no intention of purchasing.

By following these five metrics, you will have good start to monitoring results and knowing where to focus your content marketing strategy.

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