It’s time to figure out what’s working and what’s not.

Proving the ROI of your content marketing activities can be challenging, but it’s important to understand the impact your efforts can have on the overall strength of your brand and the success of your business. How else can you determine what’s working, what’s not, and what content will best facilitate your company’s growth?

Without established systems and standards in place, each campaign or piece of content that your brand produces is a shot in the dark. Let’s take a look at why determining your content marketing ROI is so important, and the performance metrics that can help you determine the success of your efforts.

Where Art Meets Science

You may employ some of the most talented content creators in the business — and if you’re lucky, the material they’re naturally drawn to correlates with your brand’s overarching business goals. But what about content that’s instinctually great but dies on the vine, or doesn’t align neatly with your company’s core values?

It’s important to have clear criteria that guides each piece of content back towards your bottom line. That’s not to say that creativity should be quashed, but these conceptual boundaries — correlated with proven success metrics — ensure that your brand’s overall body of content is thematically tight and business-focused.

Metrics for Success

Successful content marketing is a significant boon to your profitability: it generates brand awareness, expands your audience, helps guide consumers into your sales pipeline, nurtures leads, and builds brand loyalty. But an important question remains: how do you measure this success?

Thorough data analysis of your various publishing platforms can provide crucial insight into consumers’ response to your content. Some content may thrive on social media, sparking social dialogue and directing consumers back to your brand channels. Other pieces may present a convincing sales pitch, converting leads at a high rate. The best content, of course, does it all, but marketers should define their brand’s specific terms of success and evolve a comprehensive strategy from there.

“Most people start by talking about page views, social shares, and clicks,” says Michael Brenner for the Content Marketing Institute. “But it’s important to first tie your content performance to the business case that got you started in the first place.” Be consistent as you evaluate each campaign against a general rubric that considers cost per piece of content (employee salaries, production and design costs, and agency fees included), performance (traffic and sales data), and engagement (social media chatter, shares, time spent). Once you’ve determined what each type of content costs your company, gauge whether the return justifies the time and resources spent. If the answer’s ‘no,’ it may be time to scrap further installments of the series or initiative.

A Team Effort

When it comes to content marketing, a realistic and effective business strategy doesn’t place the burden on (or point the finger of blame at) one writer, social manager, or salesperson. It considers your business holistically, and carves out a clear and ambitious route to success.

To prove the ROI of your content marketing efforts, you need to build out a clear set of business goals — are you hoping to increase organic search traffic, engage new prospects, or double your conversion rate? Outline a clear and detailed picture of what success looks like with those goals in mind. Then, identify the specific cost vs. performance metrics that characterize a brand win — and define what constitutes failure.

Clearly outlining the path to success unites your team to reach new customers, engage them in a meaningful way, and convert your expanded audience into loyal customers.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer content marketing services and strategies to transform your company blog into an authoritative trade publication. Click to learn more about how to produce great content and prove ROI on your marketing efforts.

Author Jamie Ayers

A graduate of Skidmore College, Jamie works at L&T as a content strategist, account manager, and editorial lead across a wide range of industries and fields, specializing in the digital economy, experiential marketing, and campaign-led initiatives. His other interests include electronics, Agatha Christie novels, and being outside.

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