how to measure content marketing success other than ROI

We often talk in meetings about online success is all about the sales. When it comes to the overall campaign, is certainly true. If we as an agency year-over aren’t making you more money than the year previous, it’s probably not a good fit. But, when it comes to content marketing the successes can be much different.

It’s often hard to get an ROI directly from a content marketing campaign. It’s often a support tool for keyword growth and driving traffic, not a means to a sale. So how do you measure the success? Here are 3 ways that we measure content marketing success, other than getting an ROI.

Did it Increase Relevant Traffic?

First off, let’s talk about relevant traffic. What constitutes relevant traffic? These are my key metrics to ensure that the traffic that we’re getting relevant visitors.

  1. Bounce Rate
  2. Session Duration

For this we’ll look at an example of our most popular blog. It accounts for about 17% of our total traffic. It’s never yielded a sale, it’s ROI is a big fat $0 if you look at it like that. But what it has done is bring in tens of thousands of relevant visitors. How do we know? It has a boune rate of 14.42% and a session duration of over 2 minutes.

This means it’s answering the question that people are asking; which is generally anything having to do with website deliverables. So looking at this metric, when 92% of the sessions come from new visitors, this would be a successful content piece.

Did it Increase Relevant Search Terms?

Long long ago in a blog far far away, we ranked really well for “Ikea standing desk hack.” It brought in tons of traffic, and the metrics would tell you that it was relevant traffic. Hell, it is the blog that has had more natural non-spammy comments than any other blog we’ve ever written.

Now, if we were interior designers, furniture bloggers, etc. we’d love this kind of attention. But, that’s not what we do for a living. We make websites and market companies online. So this isn’t really a relevant search term.

Going back to the “Core Deliverables” blog, it’s website related. The search term of “website deliverables” is something that a website design company might want to rank for. So yes, this content piece has scored 2 points for being successful while creating no ROI.

Can You Use it Multiple Ways to Gain Traffic?

When we’re creating a content strategy, we are thinking of how we can reuse it in an appropriate place in the sales / marketing funnel. For the core deliverables blog, it’s a good blog to send after you’ve had a proposal, to let a potential client know what to expect from you.

As you can see, it’s had modest success in open rate and click through rate. This is driving some traffic back to our website, but more importantly it’s giving a potential customer some insight into our process and what to expect.

How Do You Replicate This?

We have hundreds of blogs, covering dozens of topics. None have had the success yet of that blog. But, the real success is in their cumulative effect on our website. Setting the home page and that blog aside, there’s still 40% of our website traffic remaining. That means that 40% of visitors found us via the content that was created in our blog or elsewhere on the website.

If that content hadn’t been created (even our service pages and other non- blog pages only count for about 5% of traffic, so 35% is from blogging) we’d have lost out on a huge chunk of traffic. That’s a lot of mostly relevant traffic we would have missed out on. It’s also a lot of key phrases that emphasize what we do to Google, to keep our rankings up.

The way you (and we) replicate this success is by continuing to create content. It could be this blog that gets linked to and ranks well. But it’s not about the one piece that drives traffic. It’s simply, does your content marketing strategy drive relevant traffic? Since 30+% of ours comes from content marketing, I’d say it’s a success. And that, anyone can repeat, you just need to do the work.

Published 01/24/18 by Eric Lynch