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4 Metrics to Measure Content Marketing and the Tools to Help

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Gauging the success of content is like judging how successful your high school classmates will be: Only time will tell. That kid who was a physics genius may have spent his twenties playing video games in his parents’ basement, while the guy who goofed off constantly may have launched a well-known business.

Similarly, views, shares, and comments compiled within a specific timeframe can all indicate that one piece of content garnered a lot of short-term attention, but it tells you very little about the success of your content efforts in the long run.

The benefits of content marketing can take months to realize — or longer. The good news is that high-quality, educational, shareable content can deliver long-term results that build your brand for years, not just months.

Relevant Content: Choosing the Right Publication for Your Content Checklist

Tools of the Trade

The impact of high-quality content occurs across many facets of your business, which means no single metric can tell you the full story of its success. But there are a few benchmarks you can use to compare how different pieces of content perform:

  • Traffic: While traffic doesn’t necessarily translate to engagement, more exposure leads to greater brand recognition, which is one benefit of good content.

  • Conversions: Every piece of content should drive a specific business goal. Downloading a whitepaper, completing a contact form, or subscribing to a newsletter are all valid ways to measure conversions. A free download may not translate directly to a sale, but every conversion brings your visitors closer to becoming customers.

  • Social Shares: Higher social shares indicate engagement, which shows that your readers think your content is valuable and worth passing on.

  • Searches: Good content gets ranked higher in search engines. This means when someone is looking for advice about your industry, you’ll be among the first results they see.

Ready to find the right platform to dig into these numbers? One of the best tools for content marketing is HubSpot. It combines almost everything you need for organizing your content with clear ways of measuring traffic, conversions, and social engagement in one interface.

However, HubSpot is a platform built for an entire inbound marketing effort, from email to social to conversion optimization. If you’re just beginning to dabble in content marketing and don’t have the resources for a holistic inbound marketing initiative, HubSpot can be a large investment.

Don't know what Inbound Marketing is? Learn from the best.

Moz is a good alternative that puts your data in an easily digestible platform with strong visuals for simpler data analysis. It works well with most content management systems and can even work for your custom website. While it doesn’t provide content management or lead capturing, it’s a good tool for inserting analytics into any platform.

Need content management? Whether your needs are basic or advanced, WordPress is a simple CMS with robust capabilities. It allows you to create, publish, and customize a basic blog or an entire website.

Thousands of available plugins (many of them free) allow you to build your site to fit your needs. Best of all, WordPress works seamlessly with Google Analytics, which can tell you almost everything about your traffic sources, visitor flow, driving keywords, and more.

Putting Your Content to Work

If you’ve crunched the numbers and still aren’t satisfied, you might want to reconsider how you’re using your content. Have you repurposed it in email campaigns? Do your salespeople use it when following up with leads? Have you sent it to current clients? Do you share it on social media and engage with readers’ comments?

All of these will factor into your content’s success — right now and down the line.

Remember: One of the most important intangible benefits of content marketing is credibility. You can’t assign a number to how much your customers trust you, and trust is the cornerstone of any successful business.

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Post by Joshua Johnson.

About Joshua Johnson

I am a Vice President of Influence & Co. I'm passionate about entrepreneurship, technology, Mizzou, and all St. Louis sports teams. I've contributed to Forbes, Entrepreneur, Under30CEO, and Linked2Leadership.

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