By Andaiye Taylor • NewsCred Blog • Aug 27, 2013
By: Andaiye Taylor, NewsCred Contributor –
Content marketing has caught fire recently as an effective marketing strategy for B2B brands. Initially, it’s common for brands to focus exclusively on the content creation process. But over time, questions arise about how to measure your content’s effectiveness.
The fact is that while content marketing, as a discipline, contains many creative elements, it’s truly a strategic endeavor and should therefore yield measurable results.
Luckily, there are ways to know you’re doing content marketing right. When effective, you’ll see measurable results including: increased leads and sales, higher quality sales prospects, increased traffic and engagement, and social referrals.
Let’s dive into the specific ways in which you can tell your B2B content marketing is working for your brand.
1. More site visits
We live in an on-demand world where “appointment viewing”, whether on TV or online, happens less and less. But if your content is high-quality and relevant, you can become part of users' morning coffee or evening commute reading routines.
2. Higher engagement with content
Do your visitors read to the bottom of the page or watch to the end of the video? You’ll know your content is entertaining if users are consuming it thoroughly.
3. More subscriptions and lower unsubscribe rates
If customers opt in to the direct delivery of your content, you’ve proved your usefulness. Of course, users can be fickle, and unsubscribing is easy. You’re on the line every time you send out new content, and high retention lets you know you’re consistently hitting the mark.
4. People see your brand as a thought leader
You could almost be forgiven for thinking that HubSpot is a stand-alone social media strategy publisher. Why? Because their content is so strong that it could be separated from their products. In this way, content marketing gives B2B brands the same opportunity for branding that business-to-consumer brands have.
5. Content ideas come more easily
Starting a content practice from scratch can be daunting, and B2B marketers frequently worry at the outset that they won’t be able to produce enough content consistently. But, with content, success breeds success.
Reader feedback from previously published pieces tends to spawn new ideas. Data about who’s consuming your content will help you customize it to different audiences and across different formats, allowing you to produce more distinct and appealing content.
6. Increased sharing
Content marketing is all about sharing information users find useful and entertaining: characteristics that get content shared online, regardless of the source. Increased social shares is a clue that you’re speaking to the right prospects and customers in the right voice.
7. Higher click-through rates
How compelling is your content? While CTR isn’t always a measurement of content quality per se, it should increase if your headlines continue to grab your target audience’s attention.
Keep in mind that people often discover content when it hits them in crowded places like social media platforms or in their inboxes. Your ability to break through the noise is indicative of the fact that you’re saying something worthwhile.
8. Larger inbound sales pipeline
If your content is effective at defining problems and solutions, it should make more people raise their hands and ask to hear your pitch. Ask any salesperson: these conversations are almost always more effective than calling a lead cold.
9. Better-quality inbound sales pipeline
Content marketing allows you to make your prospects aware of the solutions your products and services aim to solve, educating them in a way that’s auspicious for you and instructive to them.
Tracking the performance of your content helps you weed out solid prospects from ones that are unlikely to pan out while helping you manage your time and maximize productivity. The content itself will help you prime your customers to hear your pitch before sales even picks up a phone or steps in front of a client.
10. Conversation starter
If your content kicks off broader discussions across social media – on LinkedIn discussion groups, Twitter, or in comments on your company’s blog – you’ve most likely got a piece of high-quality content on your hands.
The advantage? Those conversations tend to increase your exposure to other potential leads and customers. Not to mention they’re great fodder for customer-brand engagement and for generating ideas for future content and social campaigns.