What are the goals for your content marketing efforts? Many people start to stutter when they get this question.
The answer may not always be simple. But every content marketing program should have the same goals:
Reach. Engagement. Conversion.
I'll explain in a little more detail and provide a simple infographic template you can modify for your own organization.
The CEB released the stat almost 2 years ago that buyers will complete about 60% of the purchase process before reaching out to a vendor sales person. I have seen unverified reports of research that found this number to be edging toward 70% and more.
It is no longer enough to push promotional messages out to an audience of prospects that are becoming experts at tuning you out. And while we need our websites to explain who we are and what we sell, our buyers will visit those when they are already more than halfway through the sales process.
So how do you reach buyers who are unaware of who you are, what you do and why you are better than your competition? The answer is content marketing.
Sometimes, reach measures can be criticized as vanity metrics. But it's important to be building a healthy audience of the right people and to track those measures over time. Common reach measures:
Visits and Visitors
Unique visitors, Visitors from mobile devices, visitors by source (search, social, direct traffic, etc.)
My favorite: Visitors from unbranded search terms (reflects how many people you are reaching who didn't type in your brand or product names.)
It's not enough to reach people, you have to engage them with high-quality, informative, interesting content. Engagement is a way to tell how good your content is at answering your target audiences' most important questions. Or it can show you how well you are distracting your target audience from their biggest headaches (by entertaining them.)
Some common engagement measures:
Pages per visit
Average time spent per visit
Social actions (likes, shares, comments)
I reject any notion that content marketing shouldn't demonstrate a return on investment. As such, conversion has to be an important goal for any content marketing program. The only reason to execute a content marketing program is to drive business outcomes. And those outcomes come in the form of actions taken by the readers you are attracting. And while they may not be direct sales conversion, they should be conversions from one stage of the buying process to another.
Some common conversion metrics:
Registrations to gated content
Clicks to your "Buy Now" button (or "chat now" or "call now")
Leads from your track-able 1-800 number
Visits and conversions on other landing pages