B2B companies know they must measure the results of their content marketing.
They want to tie their results to conversions, leads, and revenue.
But it’s not easy when you have multiple buyers participating in a long buying cycle with many stages.
We still have a lot to learn on this subject.
Rebecca Lieb described what we can do today to measure content marketing at a recent session of the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit. She draws on her experience as editor-in-chief of the ClickZ Network and from her current role with the Altimeter Group.
Online Behavior posted a video of Lieb’s talk. Lieb has also posted her Measure Content Marketing slides.
Guess what? Now you’re a publisher!
She started by making this point: “If you are adding content to your site on a regular basis, guess what? You’re now a publisher! You own the media, you control the media, you control how you broadcast the media.”
You have to approach your work like a publisher — including the development of ideas, copywriting, graphic design and production — all focused on your topic and released according to your editorial calendar.
So how do you measure content marketing results? Lieb said you might first look at what publishers measure: pageviews, time spent on page, top stories, popular content, number of subscribers, and ad sales.
But because your purpose is to create demand for your company’s products and services, you have to go well beyond the typical publisher metrics in how you measure content marketing. You have to be confident enough of your measurements that you can go into the CEO’s office and make the claim that you are affecting revenue.
And yet, Lieb cautioned that you avoid trying to assign a dollar value to all of your key performance indicators. You don’t want to miss some useful soft metrics. “I believe in soft content metrics. Many of these can be taken as proxies for harder metrics.”
Lieb made these recommendations to measure content marketing results:
Look for conversion. You want people to see your content and to do something.
- Top converting referrers — Of your sources who refer traffic, which ones convert the best? Encourage and nurture those referrers.
- Top converting pages — Which pages convert the best? What is the topic of those pages? Do you need more content on those topics?
- Top converting keywords — Which keywords convert the best? Do you need more content around the topic of those keywords? Look for phrases in the long tail where you can rank highly in the Search Engine Response Pages.
Attribute specific content to sales — Here is where the rubber meets the road. How can you attribute particular content to a sale?
- Ecommerce — Here the link between content and a sale is closely linked, not so hard to capture.
- Dedicated 800 numbers in your content let you link action to your content.
- Online forms for downloads — By filling out a form, buyers are signaling interest. They give you the information that lets you connect the download to the rest of the sales cycle.
Find the content that correlates closely to quality leads.
- Define your leads in a way that fits your business and your product.
- A/B Testing — Was it when a prospect first watched a video or downloaded a white paper that you created a higher quality lead? You’ll have to test to find out which behavior was more closely linked to a lead.
Lieb’s parting words:
Be patient. This is not advertising. It’s not campaign based. When you are thinking and acting like a publisher, you are slowly building up an audience over time. It’s going to take you time to figure out what people want. They are going to tell you. You are going to serve it. It’s really a give and take. It’s more of a dialogue than it is broadcasting. This is slow and steady wins the race.