The effectiveness of your content marketing depends on many factors, including your audience, the problems you’re trying to solve, your tone, your promotion methods and the list goes on.

You may be pumping out content day after day thinking that you’re doing the right thing, but how do you really know? How do you measure the impact and effectiveness of your content? What stories are more engaging and which ones are stirring the least interest?

Knowing what works and what doesn’t can help you dramatically increase the engagement with your audience, create more value for them and become more of a resource in the marketplace.

Here are 5 steps to easily measure the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts for your business:

Step 1: Adopt The Optimal Mindset For Content Marketing

Content marketing is about attracting your target audience to an experience, whether it’s a blog post, a video, a podcast, a social media post, with the intention of educating people and providing solutions to their problems, needs and wants. Often it has to be fun and engaging.

While content marketing can be fun and rewarding, as an entrepreneur your main goal is to bring traffic to your site (or to other places like a YouTube channel, an email list, etc.) and convert as many leads into paying customers. This is what will keep you in business.

So it’s important that you measure and optimize the effectiveness content marketing has on your traffic, conversions and, ultimately, your profit.

Step 2: Identify The Top Content Marketing Goals

Assuming you already have a vision for your content and know how you want your stories to affect and influence your audience, the next key step is to set out some clear goals for benchmarking purposes. Without a tracking system, you won’t be able to know what works and what doesn’t and that’s just no good.

So how do you identify the best goals for your content marketing strategy? Well, start from asking a few basic yet crucial questions:

  • How do you want your target audience to experience your brand?
  • How do they first hear about you?
  • How do they get involved?
  • How do they consume your content, product or services?
  • Do they know about all your offerings?
  • Do they actually know how to use what you’re offering?

The better you understand your customer’s journey through their interactions and touchpoints with your brand, the easier it will be for you to create content for every step of their journey with your brand. This type of thinking also allows you to crate various buyer personas and spot any gaps or opportunities within your content.

The main stages of a customer’s journey are Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Decision and Retention. And for each of these stages you can set a few key KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure your efforts.

Here are some KPIs you can start tracking:

  • Awareness – blog posts, Facebook page likes, impressions
  • Interest – webinar registrations, free offer downloads
  • Evaluation – quote requests, free trials
  • Decision – conversions and total buyers
  • Retention – subscription renewals and social community engagement

After documenting your goals and KPIs, audit your current content and assign it to the appropriate stage in the customer journey. This will help you create stronger and more realistic goals and identify any gaps in your content coverage.

Step 3: Segment Your Target Market

To scale your brand effectively, you also need to focus on identifying specific subgroups of customers who are most similar to your best current customers. This is called customer segmentation and it basically means identifying the different needs your brand can fulfill and building different offers for each subset.

Let’s take a look at how Mercedes-Benz is carrying out their customer segmentation. The German company understands how success and the desire for utmost quality & luxury are important for millions of Gen X and Y members. Therefore, Mercedes offers them a car with an affordable price point, creating a strong brand relationship at a young age.

As this demographic gets older, Mercedes gradually increases the prices of their future models, knowing that this group of loyal customers will continue to buy Mercedes cars, given their desire to maintain their high standards and to keep up with the Joneses.

Another benefit of segmentation is that you can split test and see which subsets convert better. The lesson here is to aim to create customers for life and develop products and services that will help them at various stages of their life and business.

This is why engagement with your audience is so important. The more questions you ask, the higher the chances that they will tell you exactly what they need from you to improve their life and business. Ask them what type of content they want to see more of from you and what other problems they are looking to solve.

Step 4: Stop Creating Content For Your Boss

So many businesses create content just because the boss said so, without taking the time to actually listen to their audience, develop a customer journey, create subsets in their target audience and create at least some basic content goals and KPIs.

Stop creating content that everybody else is pushing out there. At least not until you take all the steps mentioned above. Because if you don’t take the time to analyze who you’re talking to, you won’t know who’s listening and that’s like shooting in the dark. And that is very difficult to measure and optimize.

Instead, develop a long-term vision, a strategy for serving your audience for as long as possible and only then start implementing that strategy with well-crafted pieces of content that actually help your audience to better understand their needs and the solutions you offer.

Step 5: Define Your Measurement Plan

If you’re just getting started with measuring your content marketing efforts, you don’t want to get tangled in tracking to many variables. Just look at the following variables:

  • Traffic (visitors and page views) – look at the number of users who consume your content, the channels they use to discover you content and how often they return.
  • Engagement (social shares, comments, time on site) – this helps you understand how well your content resonates with your audience. What do you want them to do after consuming your content? Asking questions is always a great way to spark conversation and keep people engaged with your brand.
  • Conversion (subscribers, contact-form submissions) – the higher the number of opt-ins, subscriptions and sales the better!

In the old ways, marketing was about “how many”. Today, marketing is about “who”. If 100 people come to your blog or YouTube channel or your Medium page, but they are the right 100 people with a serious commitment to change and a healthy buying power, then that’s what matters. Instead of having thousands of subscribers with no intention to buy from you, or have little spending power, then what’s the use in having “many” followers?

Hopefully, these five steps will help you create a healthy vision and strategy for your content marketing and give you a boost in traffic, advocacy and conversions. One way to gain a certain level of predictability in your business is to focus your site on selling subscriptions.

Having monthly and yearly subscribers offers a measure of reach, engagement and conversions. These guys are your loyal audience for every new story you out, they can be your early adopters and advocates. What are your experiences with measuring your content marketing efforts so far? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave your comment in the comments section below.

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