You can read all the advice about how to create and promote effective content, but if you do not measure the success of your content, you'll never know if your efforts are paying off. Don't waste another minute focusing on a subject that isn't gaining traction or an outlet where you're not getting readers. Check these metrics regularly so you can focus your efforts where it matters.
1. See Who is Reading
The first place to check the success of your content is to see who is reading it. These numbers are usually very straightforward and measure the volume of simple traffic that your content is getting. For websites and blogs, Google Analytics can tell you how many page views and visitors you're getting and how long the average visitor is spending on your site. You'll also want to keep an eye on how many of your emails are being opened and how many get a click-through.
2. See Who is Sticking Around
Once you get an idea of the total number of clicks and visits you're getting, it's time to take a look at how many of those people are interested enough to stick around. Google Analytics can tell you how many of your website's visitors are repeat guests and how many pages each guest is visiting. It will also provide you with your bounce rate, or the percentage of visitors who leave your website after landing on one page without taking any other action.
You'll also want to check in with your subscribers, fans, and followers. Keep track of how many people subscribe and unsubscribe to your newsletters, and how many new social media followers you have from month to month.
3. See Who is Spreading the Love
If your content is connecting with your readers, they will be inspired to share it with their friends, family, and professional connections. Tracking this sharing activity can tell you what content is breaking through. There are a variety of tools to use on your website - you've probably seen them while browsing in the form of little icons at the bottom or on the sides of pages. If you're posting links through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, a tool like bitly can help you track clicks and shares, too.
Getting reader engagement involves establishing trust and delivering quality, useful content on a consistent basis. Engaged readers will read down to the bottom of the page, click links to find more information, comment on your blog posts and social media posts, and tell their friends about your content. Engagement can be elusive to track because it's an evaluation of trends that become visible in other metrics instead of being a separate number to track.
If your unsubscribe rates generally hold steady, but have a sudden jump, you might attribute that to an individual message. On the other hand, if your unsubscribe rate is steadily rising over time, you're having a problem with engagement. Similarly, if you have a blog post or two that tank, then you just missed the mark on those two posts. If your blog isn't getting off the ground, or if you're losing traffic on a steady basis, you're lacking engagement.
5. Lead Generation
If your content is delivering lots of fresh visitors, plenty of repeat visitors, and is engaging readers so that they trust you and want more of your content, you're almost there. Tracking leads is the last piece of the puzzle. The best way to track leads is to use individual landing pages for your offers and signup pages for subscriptions. These pages act as gateways to whatever the visitor is after (ebooks, whitepapers, subscriptions, and actual products) and should collect visitor information before delivering and turn those visitors into countable leads.
Reaching Your Goals
Measuring the success of your content is a vital part of the content marketing process, and it doesn't have to stop at lead generation. You can continue down the sales funnel to see if those leads become customers so you'll know if you're pulling in the right leads. You can also check in with the search engines to see how your pages are ranking. You can dig as deep as you have the time and resources for, however, sticking with these 5 on a regular basis will ensure that you're always heading in the right direction.