Content marketing is essential for modern brands, no doubt about it. Now that both audiences and commerce are online, producing engaging, high-quality digital content to attract those audiences to your site is crucial.
That content can (and should) include diverse and creative content types: consistent blogging, social media marketing, guest-contributed content, video, etc. But simply creating this content and putting it online isn’t enough. You have to tie metrics to content goals and use that data to find out what’s working and what’s not.
Here are seven key signs to help you determine whether your efforts are paying off or are in need of a more aggressive approach:
1. The analytics aren’t adding up.
One of the most obvious metrics to determine whether your content is attracting attention is page views. Most content management systems offer built-in analytics, but it’s good practice to track your content’s performance and offer your own analysis to get a full picture and draw your own conclusions.
For example, WordPress allows you to access basic records in view count and visitors, yet it’s difficult to track referrals or the time spent on each article. As post clicks alone aren’t a good representation of engagement, it’s impossible to get a realistic overview without additional stats. Employing a third-party tool, such as Google Analytics, can give you a more comprehensive view of what’s working.
2. Search engines aren’t playing ball.
Search engines rely on content, which makes your company’s content especially important for SEO and ranking purposes. If you aren’t showing up on at least the first few pages of search results, that should be a red flag regarding your strategy. Review SEO best practices for better content to get your strategy back on track, and consider a few tools to give you a richer understanding of your ranking:
- Moz created the Domain Authority metric, used by plenty of marketers to predict rankings, and its range of SEO tools can help you figure out how your content compares to content on other websites and pages.
- Using a virtual private network or incognito browser will give you an objective view of your ranking. Without this, your results can be affected by your location, regularly visited sites, and tailored advertising.
- SEMrush gives you a detailed breakdown of your ranked keywords, plus a backlink checker and a full site audit.
3. You’re not getting feedback.
The old adage “any publicity is good publicity” is still true! Obviously, marketers welcome positive, encouraging feedback and comments on content. But don’t shy away from less-than-positive feedback. Many brands delete negative (yet constructive) feedback, even though disagreement can spark conversation and engagement.
What if your posts aren’t getting positive or negative feedback? If your posts are silent in the comments section, then it’s time to be more direct with your tactics. A simple trick is to invite readers to share their opinions.
Ensure your posts are relevant, touch on trends or global events, and showcase that you’re taking a stance on a topic — not just saying what everyone else is. Most importantly, commit to addressing comments and answering questions; no one will invest in your ideas if they feel you won’t offer them the same courtesy.
4. You’ve only got fair-weather fans.
If your site is getting lots of views but few subscriptions or conversions, you could be experiencing a surge of one-time visitors. Encouraging return visits and developing a stable readership is the key to success in content marketing.
Keeping visitors around means giving them incentive to come back. Aside from consistently good content (which you should be publishing, anyway), incentives might include a content series, giveaways, competitions, or compelling email newsletters. To encourage email subscriptions and limit churn, you can even consider producing exclusive content for your email subscribers.
5. Your sales are low.
At the end of the day, a successful website with loads of traffic is useless if you aren’t turning those visitors into leads and sales. This is a situation where it’s definitely time to get more aggressive.
The conversion from reader to customer is a crucial metric — one that deserves significant focus. If you’re slipping up here, it could be that you need a clearer audience for your content, a better user interface, or obvious contact details to inspire trust. And don’t forget to collaborate with the sales team to create content that enables sales.
6. Your social media is silent.
Any good marketer knows how to set up a basic social media campaign. But generating results takes more than just setting up a campaign. You’ve got to actively manage your social community, and if you’re not seeing the engagement you want, try a few new tactics:
- Put your focus on the platform that generates the best results. Countless platforms are available, and it’s nearly impossible to master them all. Direct your attention to what works best, and master that first.
- Join online groups. Niche social media groups will share your content if you return the favor.
- Hire a team. Social media marketing is labor-intensive. Once you have a social media strategy, bringing on enough team members to do the work is essential.
7. Your guest content isn’t taking off.
By producing guest posts for other sites, you can create a web of backlinks leading to your domain while building your industry influence, which makes guest content a critical piece of your content strategy.
If you have started guest posting and aren’t seeing results, one of these problems might be to blame:
- You published one article on a site and aren’t asked to contribute again.
- You’re publishing content on sites that don’t reach your target audience.
- The comments and social shares on your articles are low.
- You’re not getting referrals to your site.
Content marketing is a formidable tool for your brand — if it’s used properly. Merely hoping for the best is not going to cut it. How can you know whether your strategies are working if you’re not regularly monitoring success and amping up your efforts when you need to? Use these points to assess your content and determine whether your efforts are paying off.
What are the signs telling you? What changes will you be making soon? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!