How to Measure the Impact of Your Content Writing
December 10, 2018
By Meryl Kremer
In an age when 71 percent of B2B consumers start their buyer’s journey with organic search and 81 percent of shoppers use online research to inform their buying decisions, it’s no secret that content plays a key role in commercial success. Creating a comprehensive content strategy can help you earn more organic site traffic, engage more qualified leads, and convert those leads into loyal, paying customers. On average, content creation is also less costly and more effective at generating and engaging leads than paid advertising alone.
If you’ve already created a content marketing plan and established your buyer personas, then you’re off to a great start. But if you aren’t measuring the impact that content is having on your bottom line, you’ll never be able to reap the greatest rewards. Below, we’ve laid out three steps to evaluate and improve the impact that content writing is having on your business.
1. Set Clear Content Goals and Determine KPIs to Track
Every piece of content you create should be written with a specific goal and audience in mind. Before you begin writing, identify:
- Which of your buyer personas you’d like to target
- What challenge(s) you’d like to address
- What keywords you’ll focus on
- What action you’d like your audience to take after engaging with your content
Setting specific parameters and goals at the outset of the content creation process will help you determine how to structure your content and what KPIs you should use to evaluate your performance. If you’re creating content around a specific initiative, event, or campaign, it makes sense to measure success within that context.
Let’s imagine that your company is hosting a dance-a-thon. You’d like to create a blog article that promotes enrollment and targets your Dancer Debbie persona. Your overarching goals for this piece of content might be:
- Attract and engage more Dancer Debbies
- Inspire visitors to sign up to get down at the dance-a-thon (i.e., convert into leads)
Once you’ve established your persona, CTA, and goals for the content in question, it’s easier to identify what KPI criteria to use to evaluate its success. For the article in question, you’d likely want to track:
Volume of organic traffic generated
Number of call-to-action (CTA) clicks to register for the dance-a-thon
Click-through rate (the number of CTA clicks / the overall number of visitors x 100)
Total number of conversions earned (i.e., the number of prospects that actually registered after clicking the CTA)
Overall conversion rate for your article (the number of conversions / the number of visitors x 100)
Percentage of those conversions that were Dancer Debbies
2. Draw Intelligent Insight from Data
Once you’ve collected data on your chosen KPIs, you can use that data to gain insight into the impact and effectiveness of your copywriting strategy. Imagine that the Dancer Debbie article mentioned above attracted 200 visitors via organic search, but resulted in only one CTA click, and no new conversions.
It’s natural to assume that the post was successful simply because it captured the attention of a wide audience, but the relationship between your KPIs reveals more about the effectiveness of your strategy than any single metric. The fact that your dance-a-thon article had a low click-through rate and a zero percent conversion rate likely indicates that it wasn’t attracting the right audience, or wasn’t resonating with Debbie’s pain points.
If, on the other hand, the same post had attracted 10 new visitors, led to six CTA clicks, and five dance-a-thon registrants, your click-through rate would be 60 percent and your conversion rate for the article would be 50 percent. Such a high conversion rate suggests that your copywriting is attracting, engaging, and resonating with the right audience. The high click-through rate also suggests that the CTA is contextually relevant to the material, the persona, and their position in the buyer’s journey.
If you’re just beginning to track the performance of your content, it can be hard to know how to interpret the results without a baseline of comparison. Look up data benchmarks for your industry and chosen KPIs to lend context to your analysis and help pinpoint areas for improvement. If the data still isn’t lining up with your expectations, you may need to examine other KPIs and variables to get a more complete picture of the problem.
For instance, you may discover that your Dancer Debbie article resulted in a high volume of new blog subscribers, despite the fact that it had a zero percent conversion rate. This suggests that your messaging is on point, but the content is too top-of-funnel to warrant a middle-of-funnel (Register for the dance-a-thon!) CTA. In that case, you may consider swapping out the CTA for something more contextually relevant, rather than rewriting a successful article because it didn’t have your intended result.
3. Optimize as You Go
Your content strategy should evolve in tandem with your audience, your business objectives, and your industry. In order to continue growing in the right direction, it’s important to use the insight you derive from KPI analysis to guide your strategy moving forward.
If you found that your initial article attracted a large volume of visitors but had a dismal conversion rate, you may want to revisit your buyer persona’s pain points and look for ways to rework the copy to better speak to their challenges. As you work to optimize your content strategy, focus on improving one metric or reworking one variable at a time in order to better understand the impact that your changes are having. Creating a closed-loop reporting infrastructure will help streamline your reporting and provide insight into how your content strategy is performing in relation to other marketing initiatives.
As you continue building out your content repository, make sure to create content for each of your buyer personas, at every stage of their buyer’s journey. Mapping existing content to a specific persona and funnel stage will help you strengthen your conversion pathways and identify content gaps to focus your content creation efforts on.
For guidance on how to map content to your buyer personas, identify funnel gaps, and optimize your content strategy, download our free e-book below.
About the author
Meryl Kremer was formerly a copywriter at SmartBug Media. She has experience championing inbound-savvy content strategies and writing compelling copy for a wide variety of clients, audiences, and industries. Read more articles by Meryl Kremer.
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