Digital marketers who live and breathe content understand its value, but how do you communicate that to your team?
No matter how witty or engaging your latest blog post is, you need to show the business value of investing in content. Without proof of success, you may struggle to win budget approval for content marketing, or face backlash when proposing new content ideas.
In this article, we’ll delve into the various ways you can measure content performance. I’ll then share the benefits of communicating these metrics to your team to prove the importance of content.
Measuring the business value of content
You need to measure the business value of your content to demonstrate its marketing success to the entire company. But what exactly do we mean when we say “business value?”
A universal definition for business value doesn’t exist. To some organizations, it means monetary gain achieved from business activities, but it doesn’t have to involve 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 video directly drove sign-ups (for example, via UTM tags or a customer survey).
Assuming your content possesses business value isn’t practical. You need to measure its effectiveness to illustrate how it furthers your business goals.
Examining pageviews, for example, provides insight into how many people view your article, but offers little data about their intentions. Pageviews is an example of vanity metrics, which require more information to show a clear picture. You need to track customer intent, leads, revenue, and other measurable quantities.
Social media following, pageviews, 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 your attention to impactful analytics to assess progress and inform your future marketing decisions.
How to increase your blog’s business value
Before measuring your content’s business value, you can take specific actions during planning and execution to better your chances of success.
1) Know your audience
Customer research is the first step to create relevant, engaging content. You need to know who you’re addressing, their pain points, and the right voice and tone to use in your communications.
Here are a few general questions to gauge how well you know your target audience:
- What are their 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 turn to for advice or education?
2) Use high purchase intent keywords
It’s important to capitalize on potential business value when writing new blog posts and on-page content. One option is to utilize high purchase intent keywords in your content.
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 centered on buying decisions and suggest a strong intent to purchase. In contrast, low intent keywords consist of informational or navigational search terms.
People using low intent keywords are most likely in the awareness or interest stage of the buyer journey. They’re just searching for information or looking to visit a specific website, and don’t have an explicit intent to purchase.
Incorporating high intent keywords into your content will raise the number of customers you attract who are in the purchase stage of the buyer journey.
3) Do keyword research
To find high intent keywords, you need to search for them properly. Although many people concentrate on search volume and traffic, your aim should be to choose keywords your target audience uses. Draw them in with a potential solution to their problem and they’ll be more likely to convert to customers.
Ahref’s Keyword Explorer is one option for conducting keyword research. The tool allows you to search by intent so you can find suitable keywords to include in your content. Priority keywords should tick the boxes for high intent, high business value, and low competition.
4) Use wider marketing initiatives
In addition to creating and analyzing, you should also align your content with other marketing initiatives, instead of producing it in silos.
When developing a content marketing plan, be sure to incorporate how you will distribute the content. A wider reach will further its chances of success. You can align your content with an email marketing campaign, use it for organic social media or paid advertising, or distribute it as a PR campaign.
Remember to use UTMs if you plan to promote externally. UTMs detail which methods of distribution are effective, illustrating the impact of your content within wider marketing initiatives.
Benefits of measuring content business value
One of the obvious benefits of measuring your content’s business value is viewing the results of your hard work. Seeing how your efforts directly affect your business helps keep you motivated and inspired.
But there are other benefits, too. Other positives include:
1) Create feedback loops to supercharge your content
Your content’s performance doesn’t rely solely on the marketing team. If you want it to reach new heights, you 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 the time of day!
One way to convince them is to show your content’s business value assessment. Seeing other teams’ buy-in will then create feedback loops with more departments.
Once you demonstrate how content will help them, talk to customer-facing roles to learn about the customer journey, pain points, and the best way to reach leads. Collaboration between organizational teams is a key component of ensuring you provide value. When done correctly, content can be a powerful tool for recruitment, sales, customer service, and many other business aspects.
Departmental feedback loops fine-tune and strengthen your content machine. For example, active feedback loops involve customer-facing teams sending you their most commonly asked questions. You can then 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 expenses and budget requests
Demonstrated business value justifies the budget you request to fuel your efforts.
If you can show how content contributes to the business in terms of revenue or lead generation, you have a bargaining chip to try things that may be riskier but have the potential for higher returns.
Justifying your budget requests earns you funding to try new things, drive lead growth, and perfect your content strategy.
3) Know where to invest and improve
When you identify which content performs the best in terms of bringing in leads and revenue, you’ll have a clearer picture of where to invest your efforts. Use analytical tools and metrics to see what works and what doesn’t, then learn from this to improve your content strategy.
We’ll dive further into measurement below.
Tools to measure business value
Now that we’ve covered the what and why of measuring the business value of your content, it’s time to explore how to measure it.
As mentioned earlier, vanity metrics are not useful for measuring content performance. Instead, you need to focus on impactful elements.
There are plenty of tools to help you measure and improve your content to build up its business value. We’ll go over a few of the most popular, including Google Analytics, HubSpot, Ahrefs, and SEMrush.
Most people’s starting point when evaluating their content is Google Analytics – the industry-standard analytics platform that tracks and reports website traffic. Within Google Analytics, you can set up goals and conversion funnels to follow the actions of your web visitors. Establishing a conversion funnel will divulge the steps your web visitors took before finally converting.
With Google Analytics, you can analyze attribution as well. The first and last touchpoints of attribution signify the first and last interaction a user makes with your content before converting. Analyzing attribution shows which pieces of content were most prevalent in the buyer journey.
Similarly, in the “assisted conversions” section, you can see which channels contributed to the conversion or sale. For example, assisted conversions might reveal your social media posts played a role in encouraging someone to place an online order through your shop.
Furthermore, with Google Analytics, you can take a deep dive into your page metrics for individual blog posts on your website. In the Google Analytics behavior area, you can explore the pageviews, time on site, and bounce rate for your content.
Once you set up your goals, you will also see a page value. The page value denotes each page’s contribution to your website’s overall revenue. This is a great tool to convince senior management that your content leads to conversions.
If you’re looking for an all-encompassing approach to your content marketing strategy, HubSpot could 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 while reaping the benefits of optimized content.
If you have all of your content on HubSpot pages, you’ll be able to track leads through different deal stages, attribute them to exact entry pages, and measure how well different pieces of content drive conversion.
The Ahrefs Content Explorer tool allows you to discover top-performing content within your niche and view content trends over time. You can then analyze this content and use it to inform decisions about your own content marketing strategy.
Combine your findings from the Ahrefs Content Explorer and Keyword Explorer to produce content that delivers high business value.
You can analyze your content performance in Ahrefs to see:
- Which keywords are ranking well in search
- Whether those keywords have high purchase intent
- How well your content generates backlinks
- Which keywords or phrases get the most traffic
Tip: Look at whether your target keywords and phrases have search ads. This shows that they have business value.
Once your content has been published, you can delve deeper into its performance using SEMrush. Using the content marketing platform within SEMrush, you can easily track the Google positioning and any featured snippets you secured for your content.
Additionally, you can monitor how many backlinks and external shares your content receives, which helps you map its reach.
These metrics gauge the SEO success of your content, which, in turn, will help you assert its impact and importance on business value.
Content engagement metrics are a key method for tracking business value because they show how your content strategy aligns with user interest.
Pageviews can be a good indicator that your content is of interest to your audience. However, it doesn’t disclose the success of your content.
Analyzing pageviews with time on page and bounce rate indicates whether or not your audience finds your content useful. If your results across these three metrics are low, you may need to readjust your content marketing strategy.
Another useful on-page metric is page/scroll depth. The scroll depth Google Analytics plugin records how much of your content readers absorb. For example, if readers are dropping off after consuming only 25% of your content (and don’t go on to make a purchase), it’s safe to say your content isn’t meeting its desired goal. Page/scroll depth tells you if your content needs refinement.
You can use heatmap tools or similar programs like FullStory to understand how your visitors interact with your content, what they find most engaging, how they interact with CTAs, and what drives them to sign up for more.
Another way to strengthen the value of your content is through lead magnets, which can increase leads and track their quality. You can then nurture these leads with a tailored marketing campaign to convert them to customers.
Tip: Repurpose your content for more value
An article isn’t limited to a single format. If you have a blog that converts well, you can extend its value across channels and through different mediums.
- Use the article as the basis for an animated video script. Post the video on YouTube, add it back into your original article to make it more interactive, and take clips from the video to share on social media.
- Combine the article with other relevant ones to create a downloadable eBook you can give away to newsletter subscribers.
- Turn the article into an email course that links back to the original as well as related resources on your blog.
- Transform the article into an infographic and share it with relevant online communities.
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.
Once you publish your carefully curated, well-researched content, you can use analytical tools and metrics to measure its actual business value. This helps you get intrateam buy-in, justify your expenses, and create feedback loops to improve your content. From there, you can employ wider marketing initiatives to amplify it. These steps will allow you to present the business value of your content confidently to your company, senior management, and board members.