How to Measure Content Marketing Performance

When you’re posting content it’s easy to get caught in the vanity metrics around likes, comments and shares. And when you start looking at these to measure your content marketing performance it’s equally easy to wear yourself out trying to create more and more content, as you continue to chase more likes, comments, and shares.

Neil Patel, an expert on content marketing, has written extensively on measuring content marketing performance… but when he mentions likes, comments and shares, it’s only as a small metric among a much larger analytic strategy. And that’s because while social metrics are valuable, they’re certainly not the be all end all.

I was recently working with Veronica who has had her business for over 30 years. She specialises in leadership communications and has written three books, has great IP and a large, engaged database. But when we spoke the first thing she mentioned in terms of her content marketing strategy was how she wanted to do Facebook ads because one of her friends was.

I was surprised.

Facebook ads, Google ads, LinkedIn ads and the like are great for the early days of your practice, or for when you are launching a new product or offer. But when you have great positioning you don’t necessarily need ads. Veronica had written three books, yet something she hadn’t done was send them out to any ideal clients. She was more interested in how many she sold on Amazon and whether she became a best seller. She had great positioning, and yet she wasn’t using it for her marketing. Instead, she believed she needed to pay for ads in order to see any return for her business.

There’s a better way.

Using Positioning in Your Content Marketing

Instead of paying for an expensive price per click ad (and, for example, LinkedIn ads can be as much as $5.26 per click), it can be a better investment to utilise your own positioning. For example, set yourself a KPI of posting 10 books per week to your current leads. Why pay for ads from a business branded page, when people buy from people? They want to hear from you directly — either via a newsletter, by a sales call or through your book or other collateral. And when you have a great positioning, you can do this. You don’t need necessarily need to pay for ads.

So, why did Veronica, with such excellent positioning and boasting a successful and established business, feel that she needed ads? It’s because she was measuring the success of her content marketing with the metrics that she thought mattered.

Two Types of Content

It’s important to remember that there are two types of content.

  • The first is content that builds relationships.
  • The second is content that drives revenue.

Too often we get caught up in measuring the first type of content and get excited about how many views there were on an article, without giving proper consideration to the second type. Yet both are equally important.

Andrew Davis, best-selling author and marketing thought leader, says, ‘Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.’

When you’re measuring your content’s success, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself whether that piece of content is building your tribe. If it is, then it doesn’t matter if you’re not driving revenue directly from that content. Because over time, you will.

Relationship-Building Content is Like Your Support Team

You can think of relationship-building content like your support team. Professional athletes might be rightly concerned about running faster, winning games or breaking records. But to get there they need coaches, nutritionists, dietitians, sleep, strength and conditioning and a myriad of other ‘supporting’ elements that drive their success.

In the same way, you can’t have revenue-driving content in isolation. It works together with all your other content marketing elements to drive your success.

Steps for Content Marketing Success

1. Identify the brand you’re trying to build, your positioning and what you’re trying to ultimately sell.

2. Integrate your sales and marketing tactics so they work together and don’t operate in isolation. For example, if you’re just sending out a newsletter, but aren’t proactively reaching out to clients through sales calls, you miss the opportunity to leverage that content creation for greater benefit.

3.When you do sell, ensure you track where the sales came from. Was it a referral? Was it from speaking at a conference? Pay attention to what’s working and incorporate more of that into your strategy. You may even be able to stop creating content on social media. Double down on what works!

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Jane Anderson is a strategic communications expert, speaker, and author of seven books including the upcoming Catalyst Content. With over 20 years of experience helping people to communicate confidently, she is obsessed with authentic influence and human connection to drive business growth in a world of disruption and automation. She delivers Content Creation Bootcamps (Virtual and Face to Face), Coaching and Keynotes. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.

Originally published at on Oct 21, 2020.