If you’ve ever run Facebook or Google ads for your business, you’ve taken a look at conversion rates and cost per conversion, among other numbers. Because you want to make sure the money you’re spending on the ads is actually doing something for your business.
If return on investment for advertising is so important, why are you not tracking your ROI on your content marketing?
Lead nurturing and lead generation are two of the most important goals for content marketers, according to the Content Marketing Institute. But you’re not accomplishing either goal if you’re not paying attention to the analytics in your content.
Two of the most important guidelines in content marketing (says me) are:
- Don’t create content without a strategy.
- Every content strategy plan needs to include analytics (among other things).
Of course, a lot more goes into creating a quality content plan for your business, including revisiting the plan regularly and aligning your content with your business goals. But I digress.
[bctt tweet=”You won’t reach your biz goals if you’re not paying attention to your content’s analytics.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Analytics come in many forms and from many places. You’ll find them with your email provider, on social media and Google Analytics. And you can find additional analytics on YouTube, if you’re a video person (if you’re not, you should be).
You can also find analytics (sometimes called “insights”) on social posting tools and elsewhere online. It really depends on where you’re creating, scheduling and posting content.
But let’s talk numbers here. If you’re not looking at your analytics on a regular basis, here’s exactly what you won’t know:
Who is consuming your content (when and where)
With Google Analytics in particular, you can find out who is visiting your website and where they’re coming from. You’ll know where you’re attracting the largest audience (down to the city, with the right report); whether they clicked to your site from a guest post, email or social media; and what time they’re most likely to visit your website.
This is huge. If you’ve guest posted somewhere or were featured on a podcast, you can tell if that was a good use of your time and resources–because you’ll know if anyone clicked on a link to your site from the blog or podcast. And if you’re a local brick-and-mortar business but are attracting a wider audience across the country, you’ll know that it’s time to tweak your marketing efforts (or step up your plans to offer virtual services). You’ll also know if people are finding you natively (by typing in your domain) or on Google.
[bctt tweet=”Looking at analytics will tell you who is consuming your content (when and where). This is vital.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Tells you what people are doing with your content
Once you know who your content is reaching, you’ll want to know what they’re doing with it. What happens once someone lands on your home page, for example? Is there a clear path that they go through–from your home page to your About page to your Work With Me page? If you’re seeing that people leave your website after visiting your About page, this is a clear indication that they don’t know what to do next, or your About page doesn’t provide enough information for someone to make the decision to work with you.
Take a look at your blog performance. What happens after someone reads your blog posts? Are there blog posts that are more popular than others? What trends do you see in your most popular blog posts? (Hint: Publish more of THAT!)
Tells you your ROI
It’s difficult to map out your return on your content marketing dollars, but when you look at your analytics you can tell if you’re making an impact.
In general, you’re not going to see direct sales as a result of your content marketing efforts. Rather, you’ll see a growth in your audience and engagement. Your email list will grow. You’ll become the go-to expert in your field. But, for the most part, no one will come to your blog and shout, “I need to hire this person!” It just doesn’t work like that, much to the dismay of many business owners.
But when you lead your audience through a journey with your content, when you provide value and education, eventually they will buy.
[bctt tweet=”You’re not going to get immediate results with content marketing. But you will get results.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Helps you plan future content
Looking at your analytics helps you determine what people are reading, watching and sharing. And that’s the kind of content you’ll want to keep creating for them. When you that your Facebook Lives get loads more interaction than your last inspirational quote (go check…it did), you’ll start getting in front of your webcam more. And when you see that few people shared your blog post about one thing but hundreds shared your post about something else, you’ll start exploring why that is–then create more content like something else.
Without looking at those analytics, you have no idea what content is performing well. Which means you’re creating content for the sake of having content on your site or social media. A modest amount of quality, shareable content is a much better investment than loads of content that just sits there, doing nothing for you or your audience.
Before you start throwing content against the wall to see if it will stick, have a plan in place. Know what you want to accomplish with every piece of content and be strategic about what you’re creating and where you’re sharing it.
Whether you’re hiring out your content creation or doing it yourself, you need a content strategy to make sure the money and time you’re spending on it is a good return on your investment. You can get inside my head and learn more about WHY numbers are so important (and grab the analytics tracking spreadsheet I mention in the video!):