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How to Track Content Marketing Goals and KPIs - Seth Czerepak
Content Marketing Goals and KPIs – Your content marketing goals should be: 1) Specific Enough to Be Measurable. 2) Given a Definite Deadline for Review. Tracking your Content Marketing Goals and KPIs will help you quickly discover what’s working, and what isn’t. This gives you the clarity to do more of what’s working and less of what’s not. Tracking your content marketing goals and KPIs helps you analyze and troubleshoot the weak links in your content marketing funnel.

How to Track Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

Content Marketing KPI: a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving a key content marketing goal or how well a piece of content is performing. Companies use content marketing KPIs to make small-scale and large-scale evaluations of content engagement and ROI.

Topics Covered in This Article

This article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs was last updated Tuesday, June 28th 2022.

How to Track Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

The seventh step of your Content Marketing Strategy is to track your Content Marketing Goals and KPIs. This step is based on a simple yet powerful idea that applies to all types of marketing:

“What gets measured, gets better.”

The first step of your Content Marketing Strategy is to set measurable, time-sensitive goals. This seventh step is how you track your progress in reaching those goals. It’s also how you track the performance of EVERY piece of content you publish. 

Tracking your Content Marketing Goals and KPIs will help you quickly discover what’s working, and what isn’t. This gives you the clarity to do more of what’s working and less of what’s not. Tracking your content marketing goals and KPIs helps you analyze and troubleshoot the weak links in your content marketing funnel.

Most importantly, tracking your content marketing goals and KPIs helps you increase your profits, decrease your cost per customer acquisition, and maximize every dollar you invest into content marketing. It’s hard to overstate how valuable this is.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, tracking your content marketing goals and KPIs is the most important factor in the success of your content marketing strategy:

Content Marketing Goals and KPIs as Top Success Factors

Top 3 Success Factors in B2B Content Marketing

  • Uses metrics to measure content performance: 95%.
  • Rates their ability to demonstrate ROI as excellent/very good: 84%.
  • Has KPIs to measure content initiatives: 83%.

Top 3 Success Factors in B2C Content Marketing

  • Uses metrics to measure content performance: 93%.
  • Prioritizes delivering relevant content when and where a person is most likely to see it: 84%.
  • Prioritizes their audience’s informational needs over the organization’s sales/promotional message: 73%.

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Setting Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

Tracking your content marketing goals and KPIs starts with setting good content marketing goals. This gives you an objective standard to measure your progress against. Good content marketing goals are important for every step in your content marketing plan, from content distribution to content creation, to managing your marketing team, to conducting your Cost-Benefit Analysis.

Most importantly, good content marketing goals will help you persuade either your client (if you’re providing content marketing services) or the people in your C-Suite to continue supporting your content marketing efforts.

Solid content marketing goals should meet two standards:

  • Specific Enough to Be Measurable.
  • Given a Definite Deadline for Review.

You can test your content marketing goals against these two standards by trying to break them down into smaller milestones. 

Content Marketing KPIs

If you can’t break your goal into milestones, it means your content marketing goals aren’t meeting the above standards. For example, let’s assume you set this content marketing goal:

“Our goal is to increase our total number of qualified inbound leads.

Notice that you can’t break this content marketing “goal” into milestones. It doesn’t define a specific number of leads, nor does it specify a definite deadline for reviewing your progress. Now, let’s assume you set this content marketing goal:

“Our goal is to increase our inbound leads from 25 a month to 200 a month by January 1rst 2023.

Notice that you can break this content marketing “goal” into milestones. It defines a specific number of leads and a definite deadline for reviewing your progress. Now you simply take your end goal of increasing your inbound leads from twenty a month to two hundred a month and cut it into two milestones. So, if you start your goal on January 1rst and give yourself a year to achieve it, you would now have two six-month milestones which you would document like this:

  • Increase our inbound leads from 25 a month to 100 a month by July 1rst.
  • Increase our inbound leads from 100 a month to 200 a month by (next) January 1rst.

From there, you could break your six-month milestones into quarterly milestones and document them like this:

  • Increase our inbound leads from 25 a month to 50 a month by April 1rst.
  • Increase our inbound leads from 50 a month to 100 a month by July 1rst.
  • Increase our inbound leads from 100 a month to 150 a month by October 1rst.
  • Increase our inbound leads from 150 a month to 200 a month by (next) January 1rst.

Now we have our long-term goal broken down into short-term milestones. You’ll see why this is important as we move through the rest of the steps in this content marketing strategy. Before we continue to step two, let me make two more points about this simple goal-setting formula:

Your Content Marketing Goals Formula

  • Make it Specific Enough to Be Measurable.
  • Give Yourself a Definite Deadline for Review.
  • Break Your Goal Down into Smaller Milestones.

Notice that the purpose of the deadline is to review your content marketing goal, whether you reach it or not. All or nothing deadlines work well for some types of goals, but not for others.

For example, if your goal depends primarily on your efforts, a hard deadline is fine. The same is true if you’re setting a goal for a small team of people whose capabilities and limits you understand well. 

Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

However, most marketing goals depend on multiple unknown variables, including the buying behaviors of your prospects and customers, economic trends, or changes within your company. This is why, when it comes to your content marketing goals, I suggest using deadlines to review your progress, adjust your strategy, and move forward with a better plan.

Sometimes, you’ll overshoot your goal. Other times, you’ll miss it. What matters, however, is that you review your progress and analyze the role your plan played in creating the outcome. This approach has a psychological advantage and a tactical advantage. The psychological advantage is based on what psychologists call “Incentive Salience.” Incentive Salience determines a person’s motivation to move either towards or away from a particular goal or outcome.

Contrary to the myths of most motivational “experts,” neuroscientists tell us that setting and achieving small goals increases how intensely the reward center in a person’s brain responds to achieved goals. In other words, people who set smaller, achievable goals and overshoot them will receive a bigger boost of chemical stimulation (via the reward neurotransmitter dopamine) in their brain than people who set big goals and achieve them.

Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

Moreover, the failure to achieve a big goal (even by a small margin) dramatically increases the likelihood of discouragement or even depression. This is why, in my personal development writing, I encourage people to set modest goals and focus on mastering processes and developing habits.

The tactical advantage of this approach is that lasting success is more often the result of developing habits than it is the result of achieving goals.

Teams, organizations, and individuals who focus on turning processes into habits will achieve results more naturally and consistently because their positive habits will inevitably produce positive results. Treating goals as pure “hit or miss” targets don’t promote this kind of growth-focused and process-based mindset.

This is why I suggest setting and documenting modest, measurable content marketing goals with definite deadlines for review. This is the first step toward developing and implementing a winning strategy for tracking your content marketing goals and KPIs. 

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The Seven Content Marketing KPI Groups

The VQ Success Content Marketing Strategy organizes content marketing KPIs into seven groups. This section defines these KPI groups and why they’re important for optimizing your content marketing strategy. Once we’ve defined these groups, we’ll talk about how to use them to track your content marketing goals, optimize your content marketing funnel, and increase your ROI.

  • What to Measure: the number of people who see your content.
  • Why to Measure It: to gather data for calculating your other KPIs (below).
  • How to Measure It: most digital content distribution platforms will show you the total “impressions” for your content. You can estimate this number for offline content channels using distribution rate formulas. For example, a magazine with a circulation of 100,000 might give your content at least 20,000 views/impressions.

One example of a Visibility KPI is when you use Google Search Console to measure how many times a page or article on your website showed up in the search results. Paid digital advertising platforms (pay per click, retargeting, etc.) give you tools for tracking ad views (aka, “impressions”). If a content distribution platform doesn’t let you track impressions (content views), you can use the content marketing KPIs below to track a your content’s performance on a channel.

Combining Visibility KPIs With Other KPI

If you have high Visibility KPIs, but poor performance on other KPIs, you’re either targeting the wrong Buyer Persona or using a content distribution channel that isn’t used and/or relevant to your Buyer Persona.

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

  • What to Measure: the number of people who interact with your content.
  • Why to Measure It: to find out how engaging your content is to your audience.
  • How to Measure It: some digital content distribution platforms show you how people interact with your content. However, the best way to measure engagement is on your owned content distribution channels (website, email list, etc.).

One example of an Engagement KPI is using an analytics tool to track how long a visitor stays on your web page, how far they scroll down the page, and other on-page behaviors from link clicks to file downloads. Some video hosting platforms have analytic features that show you the average length of your video views and how many people have “liked” or upvoted your video.

Types of Engagement KPIs

  • Time on Page: how much time they spend on your web page.
  • Page Scroll Depth: how far down your web page they scroll.
  • Reactions: how many people react (like, emoticon) to your content.
  • Duration: how much of your video/audio they watch or listen to.

Combining Engagement KPIs With Other KPIs

If your other content marketing KPIs are underperforming, and you’re confident that you’re targeting the right Buyer Persona and using relevant content distribution channels, Engagement KPIs are the first thing you should look to improve. Many times, you can improve all your content marketing KPIs, simply by getting more content engagement.  

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  • What to Measure: the number of people who submit contact info in response to your content.
  • Why to Measure It: to find out how effective your content is in helping you collect leads.
  • How to Measure It: customize your lead collection links and/or offers so that you know where the lead came from. You can do this using the standard marketing UTMs in your inbound links.

One example of a Collection KPI is when you add interest tags to your lead collection offers to track which of your website article generated each of your leads. For example, you might have your webmaster code a hidden field into your lead collection form. This field will use data from your marketing UTMs and/or your web page (page content title, location on page, etc) to your prospect’s profile. This is why you should collect as many leads as possible from your website and owned content distribution channels.

Types of Collection KPIs

  • Lead Collection Rate: percentage of content views (impressions) that turn into leads.
  • Cost Per Lead: content production cost (see below) divided by the number of leads collected.
  • Lead Collection Cycle: average number of days from first content view (impression) to lead collection.

Combining Collection KPIs With Other KPIs

If you have good Collection KPIs, but your other KPIs are low, you might be targeting readers who are interested in your content, but not in your offers (your products and services). You can correct this by researching other topics that your Buyer Persona might be interested in, creating content for those topics and seeing how your KPIs fair for that content.

You can discover untapped opportunities by finding relationships between your Collection KPIs and Engagement KPIs. For example, you might notice that your lead collection rate improves as people spend more time on your web pages. You also notice that your total cost per lead improves as this improves. This would tell you that if you improve your Engagement KPIs by improving your Collection KPIs. 

Likewise, if you improve your Engagement KPIs, but don’t see improvements in your Collection KPIs, you know that you need better lead collection offers. These are examples of how you can use Engagement KPI and Collection KPI tracking to discover weak links in your Content Marketing Strategy AND your Sales Funnel and reach your content marketing goals. 

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

  • What to Measure: the number of people who become customers because of your content.
  • Why to Measure It: to find out how effective your content is in generating new customers.
  • How to Measure It: customize your sales page, webinar, or order form links and/or offers so that you know where the sale came from. You can do this using the standard marketing UTMs in your inbound links.

One example of a Conversion KPI is when you add interest tags to your order forms to track which content piece generated the sale. For example, you can have your webmaster build a hidden field into your checkout forms and contact forms. This hidden field will use data from your marketing UTMs and/or from your page content to tag the prospect’s profile and customer profile.

Types of Conversion KPIs

  • Conversion Rate: the percentage of collected leads who become customers.
  • Conversion Cost: content production cost (see below) divided by number of sales.
  • Conversion Cycle: average number of days from lead collection to first purchase (conversion).

Combining Conversion KPIs With Other KPIs

You can strengthen your content marketing funnel by looking for relationships between your Engagement KPIs, Lead Collection KPIs, and Conversion KPIs. For example, you might notice that  your lead collection rate AND your conversion rate improves when users spend more time on your web pages. You might also notice that as these metrics improve, your total cost per lead and conversion costs improve.

This tells you that improve your Engagement KPIs by improving your Lead Collection KPIs AND your Conversion KPIs. On the other hand, let’s assume that you improve your Engagement KPIs AND your Lead Collection KPIs, but your Conversion KPIs don’t improve. This tells you that you need to improve your conversion offers.

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  • What to Measure: the number of people who share or promote your content or offers.
  • Why to Measure It: to see how useful your content is for word of mouth (viral) marketing.
  • How to Measure It: some digital content distribution platforms show you when people share your content. However, it’s also important to use custom offers or UTMs on your promotional offers (or referral incentives) to track when your current customers bring you referrals in the form of leads or customers.

One example of a Promotional KPI is a referral or affiliate program that lets your existing customers can earn money or rewards for referring new leads or customers. For example, you might have your webmaster build a hidden field into your contact forms, lead collection forms, and order forms. This hidden field will use data from your marketing UTMs to tag leads and customers with a referral code (or affiliate ID) based on the customer who referred them.

Types of Promotional KPIs

  • Shares: total impressions generated by a customer (affiliate) referral link.
  • Referral Leads: total leads generated by a customer (affiliate) referral link.
  • Referral Conversions: total sales generated by a customer (affiliate) referral link.
  • Referral Income: total income resulting from referral conversions (above).

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

  • What to Measure: the total cost (in time and money) to produce a piece of content.
  • Why to Measure It: to better calculate the total ROI of your content marketing pieces.
  • How to Measure It: add up the total product cost (in money, time, and payroll cost) to create each piece of content, including the cost to publish it.

Production Cost KPIs don’t tell you how your content is performing. It does, however, help you discover how profitable a piece of individual content is. You do this by analyzing the Production Cost of your content in light of your other content marketing KPIs.

For example, let’s assume an SEO article on your website took a total of 100 hours for your content marketing team to create, design, and publish. Let’s assume that you pay your content marketing team members $30 an hour (on average). This makes your total product cost for this article $3,000.00.

If this article generates a total of 100 leads, your total cost per lead for that article is $30.00. If ten of these leads become customers, your total cost per customer acquisition is $300.00. If the total cash value of these customers’ purchases equals $5,000.00, your total ROI for that article is $2,000.00. This is an example of the clarity Production KPI tracking will add to your content tracking strategy.

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  • What to Measure: the total cost (in time and money), income, and profit of a piece of content.
  • Why to Measure It: to calculate the total ROI of your content marketing strategy, and individual items in your content marketing funnel.
  • How to Measure It: combining Production Cost KPIs with the ROI KPIs covered in our article on How to Track Content Marketing ROI.

ROI KPIs are the ultimate bottom line indicators of how profitable your content marketing strategy is. You can also use them track the profitability of individual products, offers, content distribution channels, and even for individual pieces of content in your content marketing funnel. We cover this topic in more detail in our article on How to Track Content Marketing ROI.

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Reviewing Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

The best way to track and improve your Content Marketing Goals and KPIs is to create a KPI Review Schedule. This schedule will tell you when to review your content marketing goals and KPIs and for which pieces of content:

  • DAILY: Review your KPIs for content any items currently being split tested.
  • WEEKLY: Review your KPIs for content published during the current month.
  • MONTHLY: Review your KPIs for all content pieces, comparing their performance to the previous month AND the same month of the previous year.
Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

Breaking Marketing Content Goals and KPIs into Milestones

Your KPI Review Schedule should also be based on your content marketing goal(s). For example, let’s assume you’ve set the following three content marketing goals:

  • Increase inbound leads from 25 a month to 200 a month by January 1rst 2023.
  • Increase conversion rate for inbound leads to 50% by January 1rst 2023.
  • Increase average income per customer to $750.00 (per month) by January 1rst 2023.

Here’s how you’d break these three content marketing goals into quarterly (every three months) milestones:

  • GOAL: Increase inbound leads from 25 a month to 200 a month by January 1rst 2023.
  • Increase inbound leads from 25 a month to 50 a month by April 1rst.
  • Increase inbound leads from 50 a month to 100 a month by July 1rst.
  • Increase inbound leads from 100 a month to 150 a month by October 1rst.
  • Increase inbound leads from 150 a month to 200 a month by January 1rst 2023.

© 2022 VQ Success Content Marketing Services – Step #1

  • GOAL: Increase conversion rate for inbound leads to 50% by January 1rst 2023.
  • Increase conversion rate for inbound leads from 10% to 30% by April 1rst.
  • Increase conversion rate for inbound leads from 30% to 40% by July 1rst.
  • Increase conversion rate for inbound leads from 40% to 45% by October 1rst.
  • Increase conversion rate for inbound leads from 45% to 50% by (next) January 1rst 2023.

© 2022 VQ Success Content Marketing Services – Step #1

  • GOAL: Increase average income per customer to $750 (per month) by January 1rst 2023.
  • Increase average income per customer from $350 to $450 by April 1rst.
  • Increase average income per customer from $450 to $550 by July 1rst.
  • Increase average income per customer from $550 to $650 by October 1rst.
  • Increase average income per customer from $650 to $750 by (next) January 1rst 2023.

© 2022 VQ Success Content Marketing Services – Step #1

Your Content Marketing Goals and KPIs Review Schedule

Once you have a set of quarterly milestones for reviewing Content Marketing Goals and KPIs, you would use them to build a KPI Review Schedule. This schedule will combine your daily, weekly, and monthly KPI review schedule with your goal milestones to create a robust blueprint for assessing the progress of your content marketing strategy: 

MONTHLY (January, February, March): Review the following Content Marketing KPIs as they apply to each corresponding goal:

  • GOAL #1: Lead Collection KPIs.
  • GOAL #2: Conversion KPIs.
  • GOAL #3: Income KPIs.

DAILY: Review your KPIs for content items currently being split tested. These split tests should be testing items that effect your content marketing goals (lead collection offers, sales offers, upsell offers etc.). You’ll use the findings from these tests to inform future split tests and to improve the above three KPIs.

WEEKLY: Review the above KPIs for content published during the current or previous month. You’ll use these findings to plan your next month’s content and to tweak existing content where needed.

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

MONTHLY (April, May, June): Review the following Content Marketing KPIs as they apply to each corresponding goal:

  • GOAL #1: Lead Collection KPIs.
  • GOAL #2: Conversion KPIs.
  • GOAL #3: Income KPIs.

DAILY: Review your KPIs for content items currently being split tested. These split tests should be testing items that effect your content marketing goals (lead collection offers, sales offers, upsell offers etc.). You’ll use the findings from these tests to inform future split tests and to improve the above three KPIs.

WEEKLY: Review the above KPIs for content published during the current or previous month. You’ll use these findings to plan your next month’s content and to tweak existing content where needed.

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

MONTHLY (July, August, September): Review the following Content Marketing KPIs as they apply to each corresponding goal:

  • GOAL #1: Lead Collection KPIs.
  • GOAL #2: Conversion KPIs.
  • GOAL #3: Income KPIs.

DAILY: Review your KPIs for content items currently being split tested. These split tests should be testing items that effect your content marketing goals (lead collection offers, sales offers, upsell offers etc.). You’ll use the findings from these tests to inform future split tests and to improve the above three KPIs.

WEEKLY: Review the above KPIs for content published during the current or previous month. You’ll use these findings to plan your next month’s content and to tweak existing content where needed.

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

MONTHLY (October, November, December): Review the following Content Marketing KPIs as they apply to each corresponding goal:

  • GOAL #1: Lead Collection KPIs.
  • GOAL #2: Conversion KPIs.
  • GOAL #3: Income KPIs.

DAILY: Review your KPIs for content items currently being split tested. These split tests should be testing items that effect your content marketing goals (lead collection offers, sales offers, upsell offers etc.). You’ll use the findings from these tests to inform future split tests and to improve the above three KPIs.

WEEKLY: Review the above KPIs for content published during the current or previous month. You’ll use these findings to plan your next month’s content and to tweak existing content where needed.

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

Once you have your KPI Review Schedule, you’ll use it to conduct one of the most important steps in your Content Marketing Strategy, your Cost-Benefit Analysis. Your Cost-Benefit Analysis is essential for determining how profitable your content marketing strategy is, and how effective and efficient it is for achieving your content marketing goals.

Your Cost-Benefit Analysis is also important for persuading either your client (if you’re providing managing content marketing services) or the decision-makers in your C-Suite to continue supporting your content marketing efforts or even to expand your budget.

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KPIs and Your Cost-Benefit Analysis

Cost-Benefit Analysis is a business term that describes the process of evaluating how effective a project is, and/or how effective it might be in the future. In the context of content marketing, your Cost-Benefit Analysis determines how effective your Content Marketing Strategy is in achieving your Content Marketing Goals. It also helps you drill down on the effectiveness of each of your content distribution channels, and each individual piece of content. 

Most importantly, your Cost-Benefit Analysis gives you an objective set of facts to present to your client (if you’re selling content marketing services) or to the decision-makers in your C-Suite. This is how you persuade your client, or your company decision-makers, to keep investing in your content marketing efforts or to increase your budget. We’ll discuss this later when we talk about your Internal Promotion Strategy.

The Cost-Benefit Analysis model we recommend has three ingredients:

  • Clarity: clearly-defined goals (w/milestones), relevant KPIs and how you’ll use them to achieve your goals and track your progress.
  • Profit: well-documented evidence of concrete results (based on your relevant KPIs) to justify investments in your content marketing strategy.
  • Vision: exciting and achievable projections of long-term (future) results based on past data.
Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

Ingredient #1: Clarity

A good Cost-Benefit Analysis starts with clearly-defined goals (w/milestones), relevant KPIs, and how you’ll use those KPIs to achieve your goals and track your progress. This is how you set concrete expectations for your client (or the C-Suite) and give your content marketing a practical plan for achieving it. Here is an example using the first content marketing goal we defined earlier:

  • GOAL: Increase inbound leads from 25 a month to 200 a month by January 1rst 2023.

Goal Milestones

  • Increase inbound leads from 25 a month to 50 a month by April 1rst.
  • Increase inbound leads from 50 a month to 100 a month by July 1rst.
  • Increase inbound leads from 100 a month to 150 a month by October 1rst.
  • Increase inbound leads from 150 a month to 200 a month by January 1rst 2023.

Relevant Visibility KPIs

Goal Relevance: more web page views means more opportunities to collect leads

  • Search Visibility: get 10(+) of our web pages appearing in top 10 search results.
  • Search Click Rate: double our click rate for web pages that appear in search results.
  • Social Visibility: increase our total number of post views on social media by 500%.
  • Social Click Rate: double click rate from social media teasers to full website articles.

Relevant Engagement KPIs

Goal Relevance: higher content engagement rates should increase lead collection KPIs

  • Time on Page: increase average time visitors spend on our web page(s).
  • Page Finishes: increase % of visitors who scroll to the bottom of our web page(s).
  • Page Read Rate: increase % of visitors who read to the bottom of our web page(s).
  • Play Time: increase average listening and viewing time for our podcasts and videos.

Relevant Lead Collection KPIs

Goal Relevance: directly measures progress toward increasing our total leads per month

  • Lead Collection Rate: double % of web page views (impressions) that convert into leads.
  • Lead Collection Cycle: decrease time between the first content view and lead collection by 25%.

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

Ingredient #2: Profit

A good Cost-Benefit Analysis should be based on well-documented evidence of the bottom line income and profits generated by each of your content distribution channels, and each individual piece of content. 

This is how you justify investments (past, present, and future) in your content marketing strategy to your client (if you’re selling content marketing services) or to the decision-makers in your C-Suite. 

Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

Since we discuss this topic in more detail in our article on How to Track Content Marketing KPI, I’ll make a few general comments here. First, it’s important to note that these documented results must be based on recent data, not projections. If you’ve been implementing your content marketing strategy for a few months or longer, you should already have this data available. 

If you’ve just started your content marketing strategy, you’ll need to focus on setting expectations based on clearly-defined goals (w/milestones), relevant KPIs, and showing how you’ll use those KPIs to achieve your goals and track your progress. This will help you set clear expectations so that your client (or your C-Suite) will be patient while your content marketing strategy gets traction. 

Finally, these documented results need to clearly demonstrate the ROI of your content marketing strategy, as well as your content distribution channels, and each individual piece of content. The good news is, that once you’ve had some time to document evidence of the bottom line income and profits generated by your content marketing strategy, you can use that data to inform your future content marketing goals.

Ingredient #3: Vision

A good Cost-Benefit Analysis should make exciting and achievable projections of long-term (future) results based on past data. This is how you keep your client (or C-Suite decision-makers) excited about the long-term and future benefits of your content marketing strategy. In my experience, it’s hard for people outside the content marketing process to understand the benefits of a content marketing strategy.

Moreover, many clients and decision-makers aren’t even interested in learning about the process of content marketing. Because of this, even people who are willing to invest in content marketing often give up or cut budgets before the strategy has gained any momentum. This is the biggest challenge for every Content Marketing Manager, whether you’re managing an in-house team/department, or running a content marketing agency.

The good news is, if you’ve done well with the first two ingredients (Clarity, and Profit) of your Cost-Benefit Analysis, it will be much easier to solve this problem. You accomplish this through something I call your “Internal Promotion Strategy.”    

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KPIs and Your Internal Promotion Strategy

Your Internal Promotion Strategy is how you sell your client, or your C-Suite, on the bottom-line value of your content marketing strategy. You do this using the three ingredients of the Cost-Benefit Analysis which we covered in the previous section:

  • Clarity: clearly-defined goals (w/milestones), relevant KPIs, and how you’ll use them to achieve your goals and track your progress.
  • Profit: well-documented evidence of concrete results (based on your relevant KPIs) to justify investments in your content marketing strategy.
  • Vision: exciting and achievable projections of long-term (future) results based on past data.

You’ll use these three ingredients to create your complete KPI Review Schedule, as well as a quarterly presentation and meeting agenda for you and your client. This presentation will set clear expectations of what you plan to achieve (your content marketing goals), how long it will take (your goal milestones), and how you’ll be tracking and reporting your progress (your content marketing KPIs). 

It will also help you make projections about the future results your content marketing strategy is likely to produce if your decision maker continues to support and fund it. This is how you keep your client (or C-Suite decision-makers) excited about the long-term and future benefits of your content marketing strategy. The following schedule is based on the sample Content Marketing Goals and KPIs we’ve discussed so far in this article:

KPI Review Schedule for First Quarter:

MONTHLY (January, February, March): Review the following Content Marketing KPIs as they apply to each corresponding goal:

  • GOAL #1: Lead Collection KPIs.
  • GOAL #2: Conversion KPIs.
  • GOAL #3: Income KPIs.

DAILY: Review your KPIs for content items currently being split tested. These split tests should be testing items that effect your content marketing goals (lead collection offers, sales offers, upsell offers etc.). You’ll use the findings from these tests to inform future split tests and to improve the above three KPIs.

WEEKLY: Review the above KPIs for content published during the current or previous month. You’ll use these findings to plan your next month’s content and to tweak existing content where needed.

Client Meeting for First Quarter:

Schedule this meeting for either the last week of March, or the first week of April. In this meeting, you’ll show your client (or C-Suite) the first quarter progress you’ve made with your three content marketing goals and their corresponding KPIs:

  • GOAL #1: Increase inbound leads from 25 a month to 50 a month by April 1rst.
  • GOAL #2: Increase conversion rate for inbound leads from 10% to 30% by April 1rst.
  • GOAL #3: Increase average income per customer from $350 to $450 by April 1rst.

MEETING OBJECTIVE: to show your decision maker how your content marketing strategy is supporting your Content Marketing Goals and KPIs. If you missed your first quarter milestone for a goal, use this meeting to show your client the performance gaps in your content marketing funnel and how you plan to fix them. 

For example, you might have barely missed your goal to increase your inbound leads from 25 a month to 50 a month. However, you might have also discovered weakness in your Engagement KPIs or your lead collection offers. Show your client that you have a measurable plan for improving these, and prepare to show up to your second quarter meeting with evidence that your theory worked.

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

KPI Review Schedule for Second Quarter:

MONTHLY (April, May, June): Review the following Content Marketing KPIs as they apply to each corresponding goal:

  • GOAL #1: Lead Collection KPIs.
  • GOAL #2: Conversion KPIs.
  • GOAL #3: Income KPIs.

DAILY: Review your KPIs for content items currently being split tested. These split tests should be testing items that effect your content marketing goals (lead collection offers, sales offers, upsell offers etc.). You’ll use the findings from these tests to inform future split tests and to improve the above three KPIs.

WEEKLY: Review the above KPIs for content published during the current or previous month. You’ll use these findings to plan your next month’s content and to tweak existing content where needed.

Client Meeting for Second Quarter:

Schedule this meeting for either the last week of June, or the first week of July. In this meeting, you’ll show your client (or C-Suite) the second quarter progress you’ve made with your three content marketing goals and their corresponding KPIs:

  • GOAL #1: Increase inbound leads from 50 a month to 100 a month by July 1rst.
  • GOAL #2: Increase conversion rate for inbound leads from 30% to 40% by July 1rst.
  • GOAL #3: Increase average income per customer from $450 to $550 by July 1rst.

MEETING OBJECTIVE: to show your decision maker how your content marketing strategy is supporting your Content Marketing Goals and KPIs. If you missed your second quarter milestone for a goal, use this meeting to show your client the performance gaps in your content marketing funnel and how you plan to fix them. 

For example, you might have barely missed your goal to increase your conversion rate for inbound leads from 30% to 40%. However, you might have also discovered weakness in your sales offers or conversion KPIs. Show your client that you have a measurable plan for improving these, and prepare to show up to your third quarter meeting with evidence that these improvements are working.

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

KPI Review Schedule for Third Quarter:

MONTHLY (July, August, September): Review the following Content Marketing KPIs as they apply to each corresponding goal:

  • GOAL #1: Lead Collection KPIs.
  • GOAL #2: Conversion KPIs.
  • GOAL #3: Income KPIs.

DAILY: Review your KPIs for content items currently being split tested. These split tests should be testing items that effect your content marketing goals (lead collection offers, sales offers, upsell offers etc.). You’ll use the findings from these tests to inform future split tests and to improve the above three KPIs.

WEEKLY: Review the above KPIs for content published during the current or previous month. You’ll use these findings to plan your next month’s content and to tweak existing content where needed.

Client Meeting for Third Quarter:

Schedule this meeting for either the last week of September, or the first week of October. In this meeting, you’ll show your client (or C-Suite) the third quarter progress you’ve made with your three content marketing goals and their corresponding KPIs:

  • GOAL #1: Increase inbound leads from 100 a month to 150 a month by October 1rst.
  • GOAL #2: Increase conversion rate for inbound leads from 40% to 45% by October 1rst.
  • GOAL #3: Increase average income per customer from $550 to $650 by October 1rst.

MEETING OBJECTIVE: to show your decision maker how your content marketing strategy is supporting your Content Marketing Goals and KPIs. If you missed your third quarter milestone for a goal, use this meeting to show your client the performance gaps in your content marketing funnel and how you plan to fix them during the next (fourth) quarter. 

For example, you might have barely missed your goal to increase your average income per customer from $550 to $650. However, you might have also discovered a weakness in your Customer Journey Strategy. Show your client that you have a measurable plan for fixing these weaknesses, and prepare to show evidence of these improvements at your fourth quarter meeting.

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

KPI Review Schedule for Fourth Quarter:

MONTHLY (October, November, December): Review the following Content Marketing KPIs as they apply to each corresponding goal:

  • GOAL #1: Lead Collection KPIs.
  • GOAL #2: Conversion KPIs.
  • GOAL #3: Income KPIs.

DAILY: Review your KPIs for content items currently being split tested. These split tests should be testing items that effect your content marketing goals (lead collection offers, sales offers, upsell offers etc.). You’ll use the findings from these tests to inform future split tests and to improve the above three KPIs.

WEEKLY: Review the above KPIs for content published during the current or previous month. You’ll use these findings to plan your next month’s content and to tweak existing content where needed.

Client Meeting for Fourth Quarter:

Schedule this meeting for either the last week of December, or the first week of January. In this meeting, you’ll show your client (or C-Suite) the fourth quarter progress you’ve made with your three content marketing goals and their corresponding KPIs:

  • GOAL #1: Increase inbound leads from 150 a month to 200 a month by (next) January 1rst.
  • GOAL #2: Increase conversion rate for inbound leads from 45% to 50% by (next) January 1rst.
  • GOAL #3: Increase average income per customer from $650 to $750 by (next) January 1rst.

MEETING OBJECTIVE: to show your decision maker how your content marketing strategy is supporting your Content Marketing Goals and KPIs. If you missed your final quarter milestone for a goal, and therefore missed the goal, use this meeting to show your client the performance gaps in your content marketing funnel and how you plan to fix them and set a new goal. 

For example, you might have barely missed your goal to increase your conversion rate for inbound leads from 45% to 50%. However, you might have also discovered weakness in your sales funnel, your sales process, or your conversion KPIs. Show your client that you have a measurable plan for improving these starting the first quarter of the current year, and prepare to show some evidence by achieving your conversion rate goal for this year. 

*You are reading the VQ Success article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

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Improving Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

The most powerful way to use and improve your Content Marketing KPIs is through smart split testing experiments. Split testing is when you take one key feature (your headline, call to action button, etc.) of your content, create two versions of it, and track the KPIs related to that feature to see which version is more effective. 

For example, let’s assume you’re split-testing these two headlines for one of your SEO articles:

  • Headline Version A: How to Track Content Marketing Goals and KPIs
  • Headline Version B: Content Marketing Goals and KPIs – Your Complete Guide

You would split test these by showing Headline A to half your website visitors and Headline B to the other half. 

Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

If your website is built on WordPress, I suggest Vervenia’s WordPress Split Testing Plugin for split testing your headlines and web page content. Some paid content distribution channels let you set up split tests that show you which headline or ad version has the higher click rate. 

Regardless of what technology you use, split testing shows you the weak links in your content marketing funnel, improves your content marketing KPIs, and achieves your content marketing goals. For example, let’s assume that while reviewing your Visibility and Engagement KPIs, you realize that Headline Version A is getting more clicks and that people who see that headline are scrolling farther into the article.

This means your Visibility and Engagement KPIs are telling you that Version A is your most effective headline. This is a simple example of how split testing can give you valuable clues for improving your content marketing KPIs. A second example would be split testing two lead collection forms, which are exactly the same, except for their button text. Your split test would compare these two versions of your subscribe button text:

  • Button Text Version A: Click Here to Subscribe Now
  • Button Text Version B: Get My Free eBook Now

Now imagine you run this test and find that Version A yields a higher Lead Collection Rate. You’ve now improved one of your Lead Collection KPIs with a simple split testing experiment. Other split testing experiments might involve everything from headlines to buttons, to file download text, to article openings, add-to cart buttons, lead collection offers, and much more.

The point is to pick features of your content that directly affect the Content Marketing KPIs that are most relevant to your content marketing goals. Most importantly, you should use your split testing experiments to gather the information that will help you create more engaging content and offers. 

Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

For example, when you run a split test, ask what that test taught you about any (or all) of the following:

For example, imagine you create an ad with two headlines—one headline targets Stage #2 Prospects, and the other targets Stage #3 Prospects. 

Your split test reveals that your Engagement KPIs are better for the Stage #2 headline. This tells you that the people seeing that ad are mostly Stage #2 Prospects. You then use this insight to optimize your landing page, message, call to action, and other features of your landing page for Stage #2 Prospects. This should further improve your Engagement KPIs and Lead Collection KPIs for that landing page.

You can use similar split testing experiments to refine your knowledge of your Buyer Persona Traits, psychographics, content preferences (media, distribution channels), shopping habits, and much more. This is how you use split testing to inform your content marketing efforts and accelerate your progress.

By combining this kind of smart split testing with the other strategies in this article, you can create a content marketing funnel that is remarkably effective for achieving your goals and improving your content marketing KPIs. 

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Final Thoughts on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

We hope you enjoyed this article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs. In closing, let me make a few final points about setting and tracking Content Marketing Goals. Firstly, in addition to being measurable and deadline-driven your Content Marketing Goals should do two things: 

The first is important for keeping your client (or C-Suite) bought in to your content marketing strategy.

The second is important for making sure that your content marketing strategy isn’t sabotaged by a poor sales process or a failure to get your sales and marketing processes working in harmony.

Content Marketing Goals and KPIs

I’ve seen content marketing strategies generate inbound leads, only to see the leads go to waste when they hit the end of the sales funnel. This is why I suggest having a Salesperson at your company double as a member of your Content Marketing Team. This team member will work with your Content Marketing Manager to make sure your content marketing efforts are supporting your Company’s Sales Process, and vice versa.

This is also why I’ve created a complete article on the perfect B2B Sales Process based on my experience as a salesperson and sales manager back in the corporate world. Bottom line, good content marketing goals are achievable, measurable, deadline-driven, aligned with your company goals, and integrated with your company sales process.

If you use the content marketing KPIs and strategies discussed in this article to track your progress and set future goals, your content marketing strategy will be remarkably effective. Most importantly, you’ll have an easier time persuading your client, or the decision makers in your C-Suite, to continue supporting and investing in you and your content marketing team.

This concludes our article on Content Marketing Goals and KPIs.

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-Best



           
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