You’ve probably realized this by now, but measuring likes, click rates, and downloads will only take your content marketing so far. If you want to invest in content that resonates with your audience and impacts your company’s business, you need to go deeper.
Until recently, most companies simply ‘did content marketing’. There was no real strategy or business goals tied to the function. Some did a good job aligning with the target audience and delivered content that resonated. But did this create the desired results for these businesses?
Both B2B and B2C organizations now realize the power and benefits of connecting content marketing to specific goals. The year to come will see more and more CMOs looking at content beyond SEO – they’ll lean towards metrics such as pipeline contribution, retention, and LTV. Is your content strategy ready for this transformation?
Recommended reading: See how top brands use content marketing to drive business results.
A framework to align content marketing with business goals
Aligning content goals with the business objectives seems obvious; however, the challenge begins when you start looking at metrics. Often, companies measure content using metrics that indicate the quality of a content asset. Some examples include the number of views, time spent on the page, bounce rates, and so on. While these metrics are good indicators of the engagement score for your content, they might not always be able to measure the business impact. That’s the distinction you’ll need to make as you define goals for your content marketing function.
Here’s a framework to help you align your content with desired business outcomes while staying relevant to your target audience across the purchase cycle.
Top-of-funnel (TOFU) metrics:
At this stage, organizations aim to be discovered by their target audience. You engage with a larger audience and bring in new traffic to your website or mobile app. Your content gets consumed by existing customers, new prospects, and many other users who might not be very relevant to your company. Many B2B companies might also notice that multiple users from the same customer engage with your content. All of these overlaps could skew the meaningful impact of content marketing on your business. Brands should drill down and begin measuring the new accounts/users who have consumed content.
Metrics to get started:
Metric Source to measure B2B New users visiting your website Google Analytics New subscribers on your YouTube channel YouTube Studio Analytics New focus accounts that have consumed TOFU content CRM + Multi-touch attribution Tool B2C New users visiting your website Google Analytics New subscribers on your YouTube channel YouTube Studio Analytics New users who have signed up on your website or app CRM + Multi-touch attribution Tool
Middle-of-funnel (MOFU) metrics:
When your customers move to the middle of your marketing funnel, it means they realize they have a problem and are looking for the right solution. There are two ways your content marketing can contribute to the business at this stage – bring in new customers who are looking for an answer or nudge existing prospects from the top to mid-funnel stages of the purchase cycle.
Metrics to get started:
Metric Source to measure B2B Traffic to your product pages, pricing pages from focus accounts Google Analytics + CRM Repeat visitors on your explainer videos YouTube Studio Analytics New visitors from focus accounts who have consumed MOFU content CRM + Multi-touch attribution Tool Focus account movements from TOFU-MOFU based on content consumption CRM + Multi-touch attribution Tool B2C Traffic to your product or category pages from existing users Google Analytics Repeat visitors on your YouTube channel YouTube Studio Analytics Existing free users on your website or app who have engaged with your communication about a paid subscription CRM + Multi-touch attribution Tool
At this stage, remember to measure traffic and downloads specific to the MOFU content assets and not the overall traffic to the blog or website.
Bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) metrics:
Prospects know that they need to purchase; they just haven’t decided whom to buy from. All they need is that final nudge to purchase with your company, and your content should provide that final motivation to make a purchase. Measure the number of opportunities or conversions that your content marketing has influenced. Most times, the purchase journey involves multiple touchpoints, and your customers consume content across different channels. Implement multi-touch attribution to determine how content has influenced the purchase.
Metrics to get started:
Metric Source to measure B2B Opportunities that have consumed at least one content asset through their purchase journey CRM + Multi-touch attribution Tool Inactive or lost opportunities revived using content CRM + Multi-touch attribution Tool Focus account movements from MOFU-BOFU based on content consumption CRM + Multi-touch attribution Tool B2C New visitors to your product or category pages who complete a purchase Google Analytics + CRM Inactive or lost opportunities revived using content CRM + Multi-touch attribution Tool Existing free users on your website or app who have engaged with your communication about a paid subscription CRM + Multi-touch attribution Tool
Learn more about the various stages of the purchase cycle and how to plan content for each step.
Measure brand, public relations (PR), SEO campaigns:
In the past, organizations found it tough to measure the impact of brand and PR campaigns. Many companies measure the success of these strategies in terms of the number of press articles, media coverage, website traffic, and social media engagement metrics; however, these activities have a more significant impact on your business.
For example, at MoEngage, we found that PR campaigns contribute to traffic and high-intent leads generated on your website through brand search (number of prospects that search for your brand and sign up for the product) keywords.
Similarly, most companies measure organic traffic and DR (Domain Rating) directly from SEO programs. While these are essential metrics to track, you can measure the impact of SEO in terms of organic sign-ups or app downloads.
The creativity-business alignment paradox
Now that you’re implementing a data-driven approach to your content marketing function, does this mean that creativity takes a back seat? Not necessarily. You’ll need to walk the tightrope between data-driven content strategies and creative processes that fuel any content marketing team as a content leader.
The best way to do this is to leverage data to fuel the research and determine the business challenges you need to solve. Analyze what content led existing customers to purchase your product, what messaging and channels engaged them the most. Use this data to brainstorm engaging themes and formats that can further your reach.
Five steps to implement business-driven metrics for your content team
Here are five steps to begin measuring content marketing success for your business:
- Secure buy-in from upper management. The first and most crucial step is to get buy-in from the upper management. It is essential to explain the need to align content with your business and measure performance effectively.
- Get your content team onboard. Discuss this approach with your team and ensure that they have realized the benefits of re-aligning the metrics and understand how they contribute directly to your business.
- Set goals. Understand the organization’s business goals and determine the right metrics for the content marketing function. Evaluate the data for these metrics from the past (6-12 months of data is a good indicator). Use this data to define the key OKRs for the content marketing team. Break these down to individuals based on their roles and projects.
- Align metrics and measurement tools. Ensure you have the right tools to evaluate these metrics. Set up dashboards and reports that enable the team to track these metrics on a day-to-day basis. If you have trouble choosing the right analytical tools, look at the 16 content marketing tools you must have in your back pocket.
- Rinse and repeat. Weave data-centricity into the culture of the team. Set up content assessment discussions to measure the business impact at fixed milestones. Ensure this is organic and part of the content production/distribution process.
As content marketing becomes integral to your business strategy, it needs to transform into a growth driver, creating value over time. To do this, it is critical to align content marketing goals with core business goals, weaving in a data-driven approach to the fabric of content teams. If not, you’ll remain a company that continues to ‘do’ content marketing, rather than using it to ‘grow’ the business.