Remember how you had to define your content marketing goals when creating your content marketing plan for your business? Once you’ve started producing content, you need to make sure that your content is actually helping you achieve those goals. In order to find out, you will need to take some time to measure your content marketing results. The following are things to measure with your content marketing and the tools you will need to measure them.
When it comes to on-site content (generally in the form of an on-site business blog), there are a few goals you can measure relatively easily with the right tools.
Traffic & Conversions
If you want to find out whether your content led to conversions such as product purchases through a shopping cart, lead generation form submissions, and mailing list opt-ins, you will need to set up Google Analytics to track conversions. Once you have done this, you can go to your Google Analytics and start seeing how your content performs.
To see the most popular content on your website, you will need to visit Content > Site Content > All Pages.
To see conversions based on landing page content, you will need to visit Content > Site Content > Landing Pages and switch the explorer from Site Usage view to Goal Set view.
You might discover that your most popular content is not your highest converting content. But once you do discover which content has a nice balance of traffic and conversions, you will know what type of content to increase your focus upon.
If one of your content goals is to increase visibility of your brand in social media, then you will likely want to know what content leads to the most social sharing. If you use WordPress (self-hosted, not WordPress.com), then you can try out a plugin called Social Metrics Pro. This plugin tracks social shares of your content within the WordPress dashboard.
You can sort the columns based on number of tweets, likes, +1′s, or other social sharing stats including LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Pinterest. This can help you figure out which content resonates well with specific social media audiences.
If you don’t have WordPress, you can rely on outside services to find your top social content. If you search for your domain on Topsy, you can see the most popular content based on number of tweets.
You can also use the SEOquake extension in Firefox or Chrome to sort search results from your own domain by social shares. Just go in and edit your parameters in the SEOquake settings to include the social shares your most interested in first, then search your domain on Google using site:domain.com.
Note that this tool is sometimes hit or miss as far as functionality, but it’s probably just a few updates away from working spectacularly.
While social media is considered engagement, some people find onsite engagement in the form of comments more meaningful. For WordPress users, it should be easy to find your most commented upon posts – simply go to your Dashboard > All Posts. You can filter your posts by category or date, and then click on the comment icon to sort the posts by the ones with the most comments.
A high volume of comments generally equates to finding topics that really hit home with your readers. You may also want to cross reference content with the highest amount of onsite engagement with content that generates the most conversions.
When it comes to off-site content (generally in the form of guest posting and article marketing), you can measure goals similar to the ones for on-site content, just with different processes and tools. One thing you’ll specifically want to know is which pieces of content you published elsewhere drive the most traffic to your website.
One way to do this is by creating Advanced Segments in your Google Analytics. If you do a heavy amount of guest posting across multiple sites, you may want to consider creating several segments based on specific criteria such as topics of the posts submitted or grouping blogs by their topic, size, etc. since you can only include up to 20 sources per segment. Or you may want to separate blogs that you have written for once from blogs you regularly guest post upon.
To create the Advanced Segment, click on Advanced Segments in your Google Analytics profile. Name your segment appropriately and start adding each site you guest post upon using the following setup.
Once you’re finished, save your segment. Now you can view all of your Google Analytics data based on visitors from the sites you have placed content upon. For sites that you regularly contribute content to, you can go to your Traffic Sources > Referrals, click on the site in question, and then see the specific posts that have driven the most traffic and conversions to your website.
This can help you create more topics to publish offsite that will drive qualified visitors back to your website.
Since your infographics will likely be on your website as well as offsite, you can use the measurement tips listed in onsite and offsite content. One extra measurement you might want to take when it comes to infographics is how many links you gained from it. You will need to wait anywhere from 30 to 60 days to see a realistic count, but after that time period, you can use tools like Open Site Explorer to quickly check the number of backlinks and see the links gained from top sites.
Even if you analyze each of your infographics using this tool without an account, you can see quickly which ones received the most backlinks as well as the highest quality backlinks. PRO members can also get social shares for the infographic page as well.
Most of the above tips should help you measure other types of content posts either on your own website or offsite as well. Be sure to compile your information into a spreadsheet for future reference, that way if you should get slightly behind in your content production, you will always have a reference to your best content on hand and ready to go when you pick it up again.
What other analysis do you perform when it comes to measuring your content’s success, and what tools do you use to do it? Please share in the comments!
Photo Credit: Mark Fidelman on FlickrContent Analytics: Measuring Your Content Marketing Results,