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Measuring the impact of content

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By Mark Atterby

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????In recent years there has been a dramatic growth in content marketing. Spurned on by their Social Media initiatives, marketers are now producing more content than ever before. However, few to no standards exist that adequately capture the impact of content on the business, whether from a reputation, revenue, operational or brand perspective.

In this age of digital data driven marketing and analytics it’s important to measure results. But that’s the problem with content marketing. Compared to a direct mailshot or telemarketing campaign or some other form of hard selling technique – measuring the effectiveness of content marketing, in real dollar terms, is difficult. Recent research from Altimeter, highlights how content strategists and digital marketers struggle to select the right metrics and frequently opt for measuring volume rather than impact when impact metrics are too complex to measure, or the required data or tools are not available.

Tying metrics to real business outcomes is lacking in many content marketing projects. It becomes almost a case where organisations are producing content for content’s sake. Unless you’re a publisher that’s unlikely to offer many benefit for the business. It’s no point having thousands of people like or follow a piece of content unless that demonstrates a tangible business outcome.

Compared to a direct mailshot or telemarketing campaign or some other form of hard selling technique – measuring the effectiveness of content marketing, in real dollar terms, is difficult.

The content you produce needs to encourage action just as much as a hard sales campaign, though it does it in a more subtle way. Content that demonstrates solutions and solves customers’ problems is particularly effective at supporting a call to action.

Susan Etlinger and Rebecca Lieb, authors of the Altimeter Report, recommend the following when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing strategies.

  • Before you start, know what you want to achieve. Is it to drive more awareness? Build an audience? Encourage people to convert?
  • Make sure that metrics are based on a business outcome
  • Fully understand the metrics and the data used to measure performance
  • Be realistic about the organisation’s capabilities and tools to assess performance

June 16, 2015
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