Each company type, contingent on industry and market, will have a unique set of goals and expectations that are attributed to their investment in content marketing. Furthermore, the ultimate goal for each company or organization is to gain a larger return on investment (ROI). In terms of content marketing, ROI can relate to more than just sales, conversions or revenue. Meeting non-monetary goals, such as traffic, leads or engagement, can be seen as an actual return on conducting content marketing.

Over the next several weeks, I will be discussing and analyzing the desired goals of content marketing to discover the goals that can be identified as a genuine return. We will also cover the measurement criteria for content marketing success. With the help of the Content Marketing Examiner’s experts and c9 360 (a content marketing measurement tool), we will be able to truly draw some lines in the sand to mark the correlations between the content marketing goals that companies believe will deliver return, and the measurements that demonstrate the success of their content marketing initiatives.

The series will be composed of individual analysis, covering business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), government, education and non-profit businesses. Dependent on the findings, content marketing ROI goals will range from implied (sales/revenue/conversions) to empirical evidence (traffic/leads/engagement). Implied evidences are ambiguous results that stem from content marketing, making it difficult to definitively relate actions with return. Empirical evidences are factual observations that are directly linked to a company’s content marketing efforts.

Currently, there are a number of charts and graphs that depict the organizational goals/measurement criteria for content marketing. As usual, there are some subjective opinions in the industry; however, similarities can still be found when looking at the specific goals that represent a return on investment from content marketing.

Chief Strategist of the Content Marketing Institute, Robert Rose, makes an interesting point that encourages marketers to select goals based on actual value. “As marketers, we look at the totality of metrics that we’re accumulating, and we use that to ascribe to goals. In other words, we make sure our lines and our graphs are going up into the right constantly, and we assume that more means better.  Therefore, we try to make everything go up into the right, thinking that it will meet all the goals that we have for marketing. What I typically find is that this is a mistake, because more doesn’t always mean better. More traffic does not necessarily mean more relevant traffic, more conversions don’t necessarily mean that they’re better customers, more followers more fans, all of those things don’t necessarily equate to meeting the goals that we have. So I think one of the biggest things that we can do as marketers is to align those goals with the metrics that matter.”

When looking at organizations as a whole, David Publishing produced a PDF, titled Organizational Goals and Performance Measurement Criteria for Content Marketing. A total of 171 respondents completed a survey, signifying their primary content marketing goals, with the majority of respondents coming from North America (70.8%) and Europe (22.2%).

Results from Organizational Goals and Performance Measurement Criteria for Content Marketing

These goals and measures of success are representative of what most companies and organizations have converged on. To examine these areas at a more granular level, I will begin my series with a business-to-business (B2B) evaluation and consensus.

It’s important to define the data metrics that are critical success factors for your organization, Common key metrics to measure are…
Step 7 - Measure - Content Marketing Lifecycle

  • Knowing the types of content you will NOT produce is just as important as knowing what you will produce.
  • If your target audience isn’t active on a particular social media or content destination, do you really need to be producing content for that platform?
  • All content you create & publish should have information about how to reach you.