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How to Measure Content Marketing Success Without a Marketing Automation Platform

Content marketing helps companies achieve a variety of goals, both quantitative and qualitative. Many businesses use marketing automation systems to help measure their content marketing progress and optimize their strategies. While there's no question these systems help, you don’t have to overhaul your entire marketing operation to enjoy the benefits of content marketing.

Most of Influence & Co.’s clients cite lead generation as their primary motivation in our partnerships. The most effective and measurable content-driven lead generation strategies work best on top of marketing software that provides context for lead generation and nurturing, but we have worked with plenty of companies without advanced tools at their disposal.

Without automation, you can still use lots of valuable data from social media platforms and Google Analytics to measure the impact of your content strategy on your SEO and thought leadership goals.

What Can You Track Without Marketing Automation?

Even without a marketing automation system, you can still use your content to boost your SEO performance and improve thought leadership.

Some of the SEO metrics you can track without advanced tools include:

  • Page views, bounce rate, average session time, channel-specific data, demographic data, and page-level data. You can track these figures both quarterly and yearly to judge the effectiveness of your content marketing. These can all be tracked through Google Analytics.
  • Keyword rankings and keyword target data. When your rankings go up, you know you’re putting the right content in the right places. We use SEMrush to track this for ourselves and our clients.
  • Domain information. As your domain authority, backlinks, referring domains, and referring domain diversity improve, you can trace that performance to your broader content strategy. We've used both Moz and Ahrefs to track this metric for ourselves and our clients.

You can also track a few thought leadership metrics on your own:

  • Social media shares across platforms. If people share your content more, you know your voice matters.
  • Influencer mentions and shares. Big voices in your industry can give you a huge lift when they call out your content online.
  • Content syndication. When more sites pick up your content, you gain free exposure to new audiences.
  • Organic brand-building opportunities. Awards, new partnerships, and chances to speak at conferences increase in frequency when you have a good content marketing strategy fueling your growth.

If you’re just getting started with content marketing and have yet to choose a marketing automation system, focus your content goals on SEO improvements. A strong SEO strategy is imperative to lay the foundation for successful lead generation down the road.

How to Get More From Your Content

As you scale your marketing efforts, you will quickly hit a limit on how much you can accomplish without the right tools. We would be happy to help you get a running start — our clients love the gains in SEO and thought leadership we help them achieve — but eventually, you will need to add to your marketing arsenal to see the growth you want.

With marketing automation, you can add a host of lead generation information to your content strategy. Better tools allow you to score leads, track clickbacks to your site, and optimize your funnel to increase conversions. HubSpot reports that companies see bumps of 10% or more within 6-9 months of automating lead management.

Don’t let a lack of marketing automation software discourage you, though. Content marketing is as versatile as it is powerful.

As you create and publish great content, you will develop a robust knowledge bank filled with useful information contributed by the experts at your company. You can use that knowledge bank to inform content down the line or refresh and republish old content. When you eventually adopt marketing automation software, your early content marketing efforts will put you in a great position to see substantial early returns.

Want to learn more about how to generate leads through content without a marketing automation system? Download your free Guide to Content Marketing for Lead Generation.

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About Becky Ruyle

I'm an outgoing die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan and sushi enthusiast. I get excited about creative writing and helping entrepreneurs present their accomplishments to the public.

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