Most digital marketers who live and breathe content already understand the value of creating great content, but how do you communicate that to the rest of your team?
No matter how sharp, witty or engaging your latest blog post may be, you need to prove the business value of investing in content to the rest of the team. Without proof of success, you may struggle getting budget approval for content marketing or face backlash when proposing new content marketing ideas.
By opening up communications around content (and backing your point up with metrics) you can work together as a team to ensure your company gets the best possible results from your content.
In this article, we will delve into the various ways you can measure content performance. We’ll also be sharing how these metrics can then be communicated to the rest of your team to prove the importance of content marketing.
Measuring the business value of content
Being able to measure the business value of your content marketing is crucial for proving the success of marketing to the entire company. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about “business value”?
A universal definition for business value doesn’t exist. To some organizations, business value means monetary gain achieved from business activities, but it doesn’t always have to be about the finances. Business value can include customer retention, competitive positioning, market sentiment, and other non-monetary factors.
As a rule of thumb, one of the best measures of content success is leads. Aim to show that your article, social media post, whitepaper, newsletter, or something else directly drove signups (for example, via UTM tags or a customer survey).
Simply assuming your content adds business value isn’t enough. You need to be able to measure the effectiveness of your blog posts and prove that they have contributed to increasing whatever target business value you set as a goal.
Looking at pageviews provides a brief insight into how many people are viewing your article. However, reporting on this metric alone doesn’t offer much usable data about the intentions of your web visitors. Pageviews is just one example of the vanity metrics that need more information to show a clear picture. You need to be able to track customer intent, leads, revenue, and other measurable metrics.
Social media following, page views and time on site look positive on paper, but they don’t move the needle for your business goals. That’s why it’s time to throw out vanity metrics and shift our attention towards measurable metrics to assess progress and provide context for future marketing and business decisions.
How to increase the business value of a blog
Before you start measuring your content’s business value, there are a few steps you can take during planning and execution to help increase your chances of success.
1) Know your audience
Customer research is the first step to creating relevant, engaging content. You need to know who you’re speaking to, their paint points, and the right voice and tone to use in your communications.
Here are a few general questions to gauge how well you know who you’re writing for.
- What are your target audiences’ most pressing pain points?
- Which tools/services do they currently use?
- How much time or effort could your product/service save them?
- Where are they most likely to discover a product/service like yours?
- Who (or what blogs) do they look to for advice or education?
2) Use high purchase intent keywords
It’s important to consider the potential business value of your content when writing new company blog posts and on-page content. One way you can do this is by using high purchase intent keywords within your content marketing.
By optimizing their content for search intent, Ahrefs increased their traffic by 677% and secured the number one spot in Google search results.
Search intent refers to the ‘why’ behind a search query. High purchase intent keywords are keywords centered on buying decisions and suggest a high explicit intention to purchase. In contrast, low intent keywords are instances where the user uses informational or navigation search terms.
People using low intent keywords are most likely to be in the awareness or interest stage of the buyer journey, as they are just searching for information or looking to visit a specific website, without an explicit intention to purchase.
Making use of high intent keywords within your content will increase your chances of attracting customers who are within the purchase stage of the buyer journey, increasing your likelihood of converting those visitors into buyers.
3) Do keyword research
In order to find high intent keywords, you will need to perform keyword research. Although many people focus on search volume and traffic when performing keyword research, your main focus should be to choose keywords that your target audience are using, satisfying their needs and eventually converting them into customers.
By doing this, you will be able to ensure the business value of your content. One marketing tool that can be used to conduct keyword research is Ahref’s Keyword Explorer. This keyword research tool allows you to search for keywords by intent. You can then find the most suitable keywords to use in your content marketing. Keywords that tick the boxes for high intent, high business value and low competition should be your priority.
Keyword research is just one part of building a content marketing strategy. If you want your content to deliver valuable results for your business, you’ll also need to measure the performance of your content, make adjustments where needed and repeat this process for new pieces of content.
4) Use wider marketing initiatives to increase content value
Ensuring the business value of your content doesn’t stop at creating and analyzing your blog posts. You should also be aligning your content with other marketing initiatives, instead of producing it in silos.
When creating your content marketing plan, be sure to incorporate how you plan to distribute that content. There are many ways you can distribute your blog articles to further their chances of success. You can align your content with an email marketing campaign, use it for organic social media, paid social advertising or distribute it as a PR campaign.
Remember to use UTMs if you plan to promote your blog posts externally. By using UTMs you will be able to track which method of distribution worked most effectively, allowing you to confidently report on the impact your content marketing had within wider marketing initiatives.
Benefits of measuring content business value
One of the obvious benefits of measuring your content’s business value is you can see the results of your hard work. Being able to see how your work directly impacts your business helps to keep you motivated and inspired.
But there are other benefits, too. Here’s a few ways knowing your content’s business value can help you in the long run.
1) Create feedback loops to supercharge your content
The success of your content doesn’t rely solely on the marketing team. If you really want your content marketing to reach new heights, you’ll need to collaborate with customer-facing teams like sales and customer service. However, these teams are also busy and need a good reason to give you and your content efforts the time of day!
One of the main benefits of measuring your content’s business value is getting buy-in from other teams. And getting buy-in from other teams helps to create feedback loops with other departments.
Once you can demonstrate how content will help them as well, talk to customer-facing roles to learn about the customer journey, pain-points, and the best way to reach leads through content. Collaboration between organizational teams is just one of the key components in ensuring your content provides business value. When done correctly, content can be a powerful tool for recruitment, sales, customer service, and many other aspects of the business.
Use departmental feedback loops to fine tune future content and make your content machine stronger. For example, active feedback loops means you’ll have customer-facing teams sending you the most common questions they get asked. You can create content that answers those questions, so customers can find it themselves, or your customer-facing teams can send a link to easily answer multiple questions at once.
2) Validate your budget and budget requests
Demonstrating the business value of content means you can justify the budget you request to fuel those efforts.
If you can show how content marketing contributes to the business in terms of revenue or lead generation, that’s your bargaining chip for trying new things that may be riskier, but has higher potential for returns.
Justifying your budget requests means you get funding to try new things, drive lead growth, and perfect your content strategy.
3) Know where to invest and improve the overall content machine
When you know which content performs the best in terms of bringing in leads and revenue, you’ll have a clearer picture of where to invest more of your efforts. Use analytical tools and metrics to see what works and what doesn’t, then use those findings and improve your content strategy moving forward.
We’ll dive further into measurement below.
Tools for measuring business value
Now that we’ve covered the what and why of measuring the business value of your content marketing, it’s time to explore how you can measure your content’s business value.
As mentioned earlier, vanity metrics are not a useful tool for measuring content performance. Instead, we need to focus on measurable metrics.
There are plenty of useful tools to help you measure and improve your content to increase business value. We’ll go over a few of the most popular, including Google Analytics, HubSpot, Ahrefs and SEMrush.
The first place most people start when looking to measure their content is Google Analytics – the industry-standard analytics platform for tracking and reporting website traffic. Within Google Analytics, you can set up goals and conversion funnels to track valuable actions taken by your web visitors. Setting up a conversion funnel will also allow you to see what steps your web visitors took before finally converting.
With Google Analytics, you can also analyze attribution. The first touch and last touch points of attribution signify the first and last interaction a user makes with your content before converting. Analyzing attribution allows you to see which pieces of content were prevalent in the buyer journey.
Similarly, in the “assisted conversions” section, you can see which channels contributed towards the conversion or sale. For example, assisted conversions could show that your social media posts played a role in encouraging someone to place an online order with your shop.
Furthermore, with Google Analytics, you can also take a deep dive into your page metrics for each individual blog post on your website. In the behavior area of Google Analytics, you can explore the page views, time on site and bounce rate for your content.
If you’ve set up your goals, you will also see a page value. The page value denotes how much each page has contributed to your website’s overall revenue. This is a great tool for measuring the business value of your content and proving to senior management that your content contributes towards conversions.
If you’re looking for an all encompassing approach to your content marketing strategy, HubSpot can be an insightful tool for your business. HubSpot’s blogging software provides a platform for blog posts that have been optimized to drive traffic and convert visitors into customers.
From on-page SEO advice to as-you-type keyword suggestions, HubSpot’s software is useful for anyone looking to automate their content marketing strategy whilst still reaping the benefits of optimized content. You can also track leads within HubSpot to create improved content marketing campaigns for these leads.
The Ahrefs Content Explorer tool allows you to discover top performing content within your niche and see content trends over time. You can then analyze this content and use it to make informed decisions about your own content marketing strategy.
By combining your findings from using Ahrefs Content Explorer with your findings from using their Keyword Explorer, you can improve your likelihood of producing content that delivers a high level of business value.
You can analyze your content performance in Ahrefs to see whether your high-intent keywords are ranking well and generating traffic and backlinks.
Once your content has been published, you can also delve deeper into the performance of your content using SEMrush. Using the content marketing platform within SEMrush, you can easily track the Google positioning and any featured snippets you have secured for your content.
In addition to this, you can monitor how many backlinks and external shares your content receives, which helps you track the wider reach of your content.
These metrics enable you to gauge the SEO success of your content which, in turn, will help you explain the importance and impact your content has on business value.
Using on-page metrics to track business value
Content engagement metrics are a key method for tracking business value because they show how your content strategy aligns with user interest.
Page views can be a good indicator that your content is of interest to your audience. However, looking at page views in isolation doesn’t reveal much about the success of your content.
By analyzing page views with time on page and bounce rate, you can make informed decisions about whether or not your content is proving useful to your audience. If your results across these 3 metrics are low, you may need to readjust your content marketing strategy to ensure it’s delivering value for your business.
Another useful on-page metric you can track is page/scroll depth. Using the scroll depth Google Analytics plugin you can track how much of your content readers absorb. If readers are dropping off after only absorbing 25% of your content, and don’t go on to make a purchase, you could infer that your content isn’t meeting it’s desired goal. Therefore, page/scroll depth enables you to see if your content marketing needs refinement.
You can use heatmap tools or something like FullStory to see how your visitors are engaging with your content, what they find most engaging, how they interact with CTAs, and what drives them to hit sign up.
Take time to consider the different ways you can analyze and improve the business value of your content marketing. One way you can increase the value of your content is through lead magnets. Using lead magnets throughout your content can help you increase leads and track lead quality. You can then nurture these leads with a tailored marketing campaign that sets out to convert them from leads to customers.
Once you’ve hit publish on your carefully curated content, you can use analytical tools and metrics to measure the actual business value of your content. From there, you can also use wider marketing initiatives to further boost your content’s business value. Together, all of these steps will allow you to confidently present the business value of your content to the wider company team, senior management and board members.