1. Why is content so important to your marketing strategy?
Content marketing has been instrumental to the tourism industry for its ability to strengthen relationships with prospective and existing consumers. For example, consumers rely on a tourism company for information related to their travel needs such as dining, entertainment, and accommodation. Therefore, as a reliable source of information, it is possible to reinforce your reputation through the implementation of content. Studies have further indicated the value of content in the tourism industry for its power to build customer loyalty, increase engagement and strengthen brand awareness.
Without question, content has been revolutionised thanks to the internet. Now it is possible to store a great amount of content on your site, which means that competition for user attention is at its highest. It is no longer sufficient to simply have an interesting idea and write about it. Instead, you need to consider your audience and make it possible for them to find your content and share it. Essentially, content breeds credibility, with 95% of B2B buyers considering content as trustworthy when evaluating a company and its offerings (DemandGen, 2017). Content also helps to shape the customer experience, with 75% of consumers expecting a consistent experience wherever they engage (Salesforce, 2018).
Content marketing is a branch of marketing that works by sharing valuable materials online to attract and build relationships with a brand’s target audience. The emphasis in content marketing should never be to just promote your products like a sales pitch, but instead to offer valuable and actionable content that your audience will respond to.
Content marketing can also help to foster relationships with potential customers, capturing leads, driving sale and establishing your brand. Moreover, it can improve your credibility and your search engine rankings, with 61% of marketers stating that improving their SEO and growing their organic presence to be their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2018). In fact, organic SEO is about 5.66 times better than paid search ads (New Media Campaigns, 2018). When creating a content marketing strategy, it is important that you identify the goals that you want to reach and how you plan to accomplish them. Metrics can aid in measuring the impact that your content makes on your marketing strategy, enabling you to track, analyse and optimise your content’s performance on a continual basis.
2. Introducing metrics into your marketing strategy
Only a few years back, content marketers were comfortable with measuring the success of their content with page views. However, thanks to the technological advances in marketing analytics, it is now possible to measure and analyse just about everything, with every euro spent accounted for. This means that content marketers must not only be good at telling stories, but to use content to drive business results, with a content strategy capable of improving your company’s performance. Using marketing analytics, marketers are able to create informed content strategies, perform real-time optimisation and generate real business value to the company.
Even with the increased adoption of content marketing and the technology to measure it, 67% of marketers highlight performance measurement as one of their most challenging areas. This is because when it comes to businesses achieving their content marketing goals, they often will not think further than its creation and distribution. According to a recent study by Curata, 37% of content marketers never complete a content analysis, which when conducted correctly and on a regular basis can improve your overall content marketing strategy. Moreover, performance of web content can reveal your strengths and weaknesses which can be adapted to your goals and activities. With this in mind, let’s take you though some essential content metrics which will aid you in interpreting, analysing and measuring your audience.
2.1. Measuring behaviour
- Page views: This indicates the number of people that visit a page on your website. Page views can give you a basic understanding of how good your content has performed as well as show you the types of topics that attract the most attention from your audience. This is one of the key metrics to take from a website content analysis, allowing you to intelligently consider your strategy moving forward.
- New and returning users:This shows the ratio between new and returning visitors, with the number of new visitors indicating the number of potential leads and the number of returning visitors indicating if visitors like your content. It is better to have a healthy mix of both so that your content can attract new consumers as well as retain existing ones.
- Page depth: Essentially, this demonstrates the average number of pages your users visit per session and can help indicate how engaging your overall content is. For example, if this number is too low, this might be a sign of poor content interlinking or low-quality website design.
- Average time on page: This shows if visitors are attentively reading your content or simply brushing past it. If the time spent on some content is significantly lower than on others, it can show you which types of content are liked more and to use this as a basis for future content.
- Traffic sources: This shows you which sources bring traffic to your website. Through analysing traffic sources, it is possible to identify which marketing channels and strategies are working best for your content distribution. You can also identify the channels with good potential and dedicate a larger proportion of resources or a tweaking of strategy.
2.2. Measuring engagement
- Likes and shares: Essentially, these are indicators of your content engagement and popularity among your audience. It has been noted that a share is more significant than a like because it not only shows that someone found your content interesting but also expanded its reach by sharing it with others.
- Comments - The number of comments under the post demonstrates the level of content engagement as a signifies that a reader was motivated enough to express their opinion through words.
2.2. Measuring SEO Outcome
- Organic Traffic: This shows the number of people who found your website through a search engine, with low figures indicating that an article or page was not optimised enough. If you want to increase organic traffic, implement thorough SEO practices into your website.
- Keywords: You can check the performance of your post through the use of targeted keywords. For example, how many keywords have you included, and how is your page performing in comparison to your competitors?
- Number of leads: This is the number of potential clients who have shared their personal details throughout the content produced by you. You can get them through contact forms, sign-ups for updates and newsletters, downloads of materials and so on.
- Conversion rate: This is the percentage of visitors who took a desired call to action (CTA) after interaction with your content.
3. The big picture: Analysis through the customer journey
According to Salesforce, it takes a customer 6 to 8 touch points before making a purchase. Therefore, when you are measuring the performance of your content, why not consider the value and information that you provide to your customers at every stage. These are a representation of the customer’s journey and an effective content marketing strategy should ultimately be designed to provide all the necessary information for a prospect to move through the conversion funnel. This is supported through studies, as only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. (Econsultancy, 2018).
An alternative way of measuring performance is by considering funnels. In a funnel model, content is created that attracts the user and builds brand awareness, activates the user into a qualified leas and facilities the business conversion of this qualified lead. Without taking your customer journey into consideration when analysing will not give you the big picture necessary to optimise and improve results.
3.1. Top of the funnel (ToFu)
Also known as the awareness stage, the content created here is designed to communicate solutions to your visitors. If this is successfully achieved, then the visitor will become a potential lead. With a single goal in focus, you can easily measure the performance of this content by looking at the number of potential leads generated through content and other magnets designed to acquire visitors’ email addresses.
Supporting metrics also include:
- Traffic generated
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rate into a potential lead
- Time on page
- Brand awareness
3.2. Middle of the Funnel (MoFu)
Also known as the consideration stage, here the user has a specific set of questions and providing them with answers to these questions through problem-specific content that will increase your conversion rate. The goal of most types of websites and businesses is to acquire qualified leads who are aware of your product but are not ready to make a purchase. Therefore, the performance metric to track is the number of qualified leads generated whereby content with the highest number of qualified leads generated is ranked highest.
Supporting metrics also include:
- Traffic generated
- Offer conversion rate
- Nurture email opens and click-through rates
3.3. Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu)
The final step in of the customer journey is to figure out what content your leads need to make an informed purchase decision. The goal here is to convert qualified leads into paying customers and if the content you create can effectively facilitate this then you have a complete funnel. The performance metric to track here is the number of conversions generated, where content with the highest number of conversions generated is ranked at the top.
Other metrics to measure include:
- Number of sales to qualified leads
- Offer conversion rate
- Promo email opens and click-through rate.
When you understand the key metrics on which your content strategy runs across the customer journey, you will have a clear view of how you can optimise and improve the content strategy.