For content marketing to be successful, organizations must develop a comprehensive content marketing strategy and remain committed to that strategy.
From research about your target audience to creating buyer personas and content repurposing, many elements need to come together like a well-tuned orchestra.
To produce those fruitful results, however, the marketing department must understand how to evaluate success and identify the correct metrics for measuring that success.
Understanding What Success Means in Content Marketing
Content marketing is not a new concept.
However, some organizations that attempt to incorporate content marketing into their overall strategy struggle to maintain that commitment since their efforts don’t produce immediate conversions.
“One of the biggest issues I see on measurement and reporting, for sure, is that the marketing metrics we use are disconnected from the things that actually impact the business goal.”
- Rand Fishkin, the founder of SparkToro and Moz, and author of Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World
Content marketing does contribute to conversions, however, other metrics that are just as important can sometimes be more actionable. In order to maximize the impact content marketing can have on your business, understanding these metrics is an important first step.
Not only will you be able to identify content that isn’t providing enough impact and improve it, but you’ll be able to take your high-performing content and repurpose and recycle it.
This first part of the series will explore how content marketing influences your market positioning among your competition.
What is Market Positioning?
Market position is about understanding what sets your organization apart from your competition in the minds of your customers.
Every business wants to influence consumers and their perception of the brand.
There are several elements to help measure your content’s impact on that perception:
- Brand Awareness
- Share of Conversation
- Competitive Opportunities
Try to imagine a customer buying your product without knowing where it comes from or who produces it. Doesn’t happen very often, right?
This is where brand awareness comes in.
Brand awareness is often the driver of consumers choosing one product over another and, ultimately, determines market share.
By examining your target audience’s awareness of your brand, you are doing more than simply finding out if they have heard of your company or if they recognize your logo.
To measure brand awareness:
- Measure and study website traffic. Fluctuations in the number of visitors to your site after publishing content provide a good indication of brand awareness success.
- Track search performance in Google analytics. When consumers type brand names into their browsers, they are clearly expressing interest in those brands. Correlations between this performance and the release of content provides actionable insights.
- Track and follow up on targeted campaigns. Knowing where your visitors typically originate helps you update your content and optimize where and how you share that content.
Measuring brand awareness enables you to get a handle on how consumers perceive your brand, how well they understand your company’s purpose, and how attached they are to it. Then, most importantly, you can adjust your content marketing strategy to refine your messaging where necessary.
Share of Conversation
Marketing is really just a conversation.
One of the key metrics marketing departments should be looking at is how often your brand is showing up in online conversations. Content marketing plays a powerful role in influencing this.
The number by itself might not seem important, but it can help you understand if your strategy is on point, when compared over time and to relative to your competitors.
Think of it this way: the objective of content marketing is really to increase your brand’s share of the conversation.
Because share of conversation is extremely customer-centric, the topic of the conversation is determined by the customer. So, your brand won’t be creating a conversation as much as it will be joining one.
Investigate how often your brand is mentioned in conversations you want to be in and then seek to grow your share of those conversations.
This step is simple: keep tabs on the competition.
You know that your content is competing for attention. Each consumer has a finite amount of attention and time. So, every new piece of content created by you and your competitors is fighting for that time and attention.
A content marketing competitive analysis can provide a more comprehensive view of where your target audience’s needs, wants and desires are being met and where pockets of opportunities exist.
With three simple steps, it is easy to get started:
- Take stock of your competitors’ content. When you understand what is being published, you can ensure that your content is more informative and more engaging.
- Evaluate content quantity and quality. Spend a few minutes examining competitor content in a variety of ways. For example, find out how fast the websites of your competitors operate and make sure that yours is faster. Use the information you gather to produce content with better images, improved SEO, etc.
- Analyze content topics. There is no need to recreate the wheel. Scan the competition’s content topics. See what valuable information the content conveys. When you design your content, you can now provide better information.
These are just a few ideas for measuring market positioning and competitive opportunities.
Every organization has its own unique business values, culture, and products and therefore also has a unique approach for maximizing market position. There is no one magic solution to measure every element because of how complex market position is.
Continue to seek out and leverage the synergy that several diverse metrics can provide. Then pull these metrics together into a cohesive assessment and you will be on your way to uncovering actionable insights.