Most content marketers know that they need to measure what they’re doing to be able to demonstrate ROI effectively. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy or that it’s something that they do as often as they should. In fact, according to a recent survey by Altimeter Group, 67 percent of marketers identified measurement as the top area that they need to invest in this year. That’s just one of many data points that illustrate the growing importance of not only measuring your content performance, but also knowing how to do so properly.
With that in mind, we’ve scoured the Web for the best resources that explain how to measure content performance. Some are for novices while others are aimed at more advanced audiences, but they all provide useful insights. Below we have curated what we believe to be some of the best advice available today. It’s all recent (about no more than a year old), well written and argued, and from authoritative sources that we trust.
1) The Fundamentals of Tracking: CMI’s Back to Basics Blog Series
Last year, the Content Marketing Institute’s marketing director Cathy McPhillips wrote “A Simple Plan for Measuring the Marketing Effectiveness of Content” as part of a broader back to basics series on content marketing. Rather than offer detailed advice on what specific metrics to track, this post provides operational guidance on how to go about measuring content performance. For example, it provides a templated spreadsheet that you can use to start tracking metrics. That, plus the great advice the article shares makes this post a nice primer on how to get started measuring the effectiveness of your content.
2) The 411 on Metrics: Jeff Bullas’ Blog Tells You Which Ones Matter Most
In a guest post on Jeff Bullas’ wildly popular blog, Aaron Agius shares “17 Key Content Marketing Metrics to Start Tracking Today.” In it, Agius explains what each metric means and why of all of the different potential metrics out there, these are the most important ones for measuring content performance. As such, this is a great foundational post for anyone looking for a quick overview of content marketing metrics.
3) The 2 Steps to Showing ROI: HubSpot’s Blog Post on Benchmarking
In a guest post for HubSpot entitled “How to Create a Benchmark to Measure Content Marketing ROI,” Eric Murphy shares a two-step plan for establishing a baseline for evaluating content effectiveness. Murphy refers to Jay Baer’s field guide to content to content marketing metrics (another good resource that’s worth a look), but takes things a step further by explaining how to map those metrics to the sales funnel. That’s a critical step for demonstrating ROI in terms that everyone in your organization can understand.
4) Dun & Bradstreet Hones in on Brand Awareness, Thought Leadership and Engagement
In “6 Ways to Measure B2B Content Marketing Performance” author Derek Edmond outlines how to demonstrate B2B content marketing performance in terms of brand awareness, thought leadership, and engagement. Edmond’s post is probably the most analytical of the resources featured here. It describes how to use a variety of tools like Google and Bing Webmaster Tools, as well as how to best use social media results to benchmark content performance.
5) The Mother of All Resources: Altimeter Group’s Best Practices Guide
Authors Susan Etlinger and Rebecca Lieb have put together a formative resource with their “Content Marketing Performance: A Framework to Measure Real Business Impact.” The report “lays out a framework for measuring the impact of content across the business, and includes a set of case studies and recommended metrics to enable content strategists to approach measurement at the outset, rather than at the conclusion, of their content development initiatives.” At 30 pages, we like the level of detail that the document provides and appreciate its case study-based approach. This is a great resource for anyone looking for different ways to measure content performance that you can tie back to your company’s bottom line.
We hope that you find these resources helpful. If there are others that you like, please point us to them in the comments section below.