7 Content Marketing KPIs - You want to Be Tracking In Your Strategy

Photo by Marissa Grootes on Unsplash

If  you are feeling  this way while staring at the long list of content marketing KPIs you could be tracking, wondering which to pursue or forgo, you’re  never  alone. There are thousands of content marketing metrics, spanning dozens of categories. And if this weren’t overwhelming enough, all the experts and metric-tracking tools — including Google Analytics, HubSpot, and Semrush — have different recommendations of which work best. 

After teaching thousands of companies  the way to  build world-class content marketing programs — many recognized as some of the best inbound marketing case studies on the planet — we’ve narrowed down our list to 7 KPIs that generate the most content marketing wins.

But before we get to the list,  we would like  to share with you the single most important thing your team can do to nail its content marketing goals.

What’s the one thing that enabled all  of those  companies to achieve such incredible success? 

They all hired a full-time in-house content manager whose sole job was to own the content marketing for the company.

If  you would like  to improve your content marketing wins — and fast — you need to hire an in-house content manager. 

Whenever  one among  our clients starts a content marketing initiative without a true “owner” of the content, it never works out. Other priorities always take precedence, production  is just too  slow,  and therefore the  entire team never catches the vision.

Companies that hire an in-house content manager have one person whose only goal is  to make  content,  and that they  are far more invested in the success of your content marketing program than any freelancer or agency could ever be. 

Not only will your content manager ensure content is published regularly without fail,  they're going to  also:

  • Obsess over creating high-quality content that accurately reflects  truth  tone and spirit of your brand.
  • Interview your company’s  material  experts and capture their insights (and your company’s unique perspective) and integrate it into your content.
  • Work directly with the sales team and help them integrate content into the sales process, allowing them  to shut  more deals faster.
  • Monitor your organic search performance and routinely improve ranking and traffic results.
  • Update existing content  to make sure  it remains relevant and effective.
  • Oversee  the opposite  areas of your sales and marketing initiatives where content is critical (including your website, email, and social media).

As  you'll  see, this role  is actually  a full-time job and someone has to own it. We’ve seen businesses add content marketing responsibilities to staff who are already wearing too many hats, and it’s never  figured out .  you want to  have a content manager if you want to be successful.

We’re often asked, “Can’t we just outsource our content to a freelancer or an agency?”

The answer to this question is a definitive no.  the bulk  of companies embracing inbound marketing take this path, and it’s a path that  results in  inconsistent, lackluster results. 

We’ve seen it too  repeatedly . 

No freelancer or agency is ever  visiting  be able to give your content marketing efforts what they need to succeed. They aren’t as invested as an in-house content manager would be;  they're going to  always be juggling your work with the needs of other businesses.

Content marketing KPIs  to trace  for better results

Now  that you simply  have your content manager in place (you took that first step, right?), let’s dive into the 7 content marketing KPIs  the foremost  successful content managers track — and your content manager should too.

1. Number of content marketing pieces published per week 

The most important KPI to track — especially when you’re first starting out — is publishing at least three pieces of quality content (articles, video, etc.)  hebdomadally . 

This is because search engines have one mission: Find information that best answers their searchers’ questions and help them meet their goals.  once you  publish valuable and transparent content on a regular basis, search engines will recognize that your website provides  plenty of  useful information, and  you'll  rank higher and faster in SERPs.

In other words, if  you would like  your website to rank well for lots of terms, and if  you would like  Google to see you as an authority in your area of expertise,  you want to  publish at a consistent rate. 

Our data shows that when companies produce three or more pieces of great content per week, for  a minimum of  one year, traffic and leads generally explode.

Some companies publish more  to urge  bigger results even faster. But  generally , three higher-quality articles, videos, or other content is what  you would like  to get search engines to recognize your website and offering up your information in search results. 

Take Ragan Roofing,  for instance . After publishing two articles per week, they weren’t seeing much change in website traffic (they were getting around 200 to 300 page views per month, which were increasing slowly). After working with IMPACT to publish three pieces of content per week, they experienced  a way  faster increase in organic traffic with page views nearing 40,000 per month — that’s 16 times the traffic!

Once again,  so as  to hit this metric,  you would like  to hire an in-house content manager.  it's  extremely difficult to rely on freelancers or agencies to wrangle enough quality content per week to get you to this place. Your content manager, however, should be  ready to  hit this metric easily (and even more). 

Note: If you’re still thinking three articles per week  is just too  many, consider this: One great article should take a competent writer  at some point  to produce. If this individual  is sweet  at their job, and assuming  they need  subject matter experts available to them (leadership should ensure this happens), three solid posts should absolutely be possible.

Another reason you MUST have a content manager on staff. 

2. Organic website traffic 

Despite what other sources might say, at IMPACT we believe organic traffic is  a particularly  important metric to track. For starters, it’s  one among  the best ways to measure how well your company is educating people (more traffic means more people are finding you). Also, it’s  a number one  indicator of more inbound leads and sales. The more  folks that  are on your site, the more opportunities  you've got  to convert leads.

Now, is all website traffic great?  in fact  not. Website traffic  is merely  great if you have the right type of website traffic.  and that we  can tell you definitively there is a surefire way to get qualified traffic — meaning real buyers looking for products and services like yours, on your website.

When Marcus Sheridan,  one among  the principals here at IMPACT, owned his pool business, he and his entire company, River Pools and Spas, almost lost everything to the 2008 recession.  to save lots of  his business from going under, he published content on his website that answered the questions his customers were asking. But not  in only  any way — with honesty and complete transparency.

As a result, his website’s traffic and sales erupted, saving  the corporate  – which is still thriving today. 

After seeing  such a lot  success by using content to drive more traffic, Marcus analyzed the patterns that indicated  which sort  of content was driving the best results. He discovered five topics that drove  the foremost  traffic — and this traffic was from real potential buyers, also  resulting in  more sales opportunities. 

These  could seem  simple to you or even obvious, but after teaching  many  companies his method and helping them get the same results, it’s clear  that the majority  businesses aren’t doing this at all, or  a minimum of  not well (typically because most businesses are afraid to tackle these topics head-on). Marcus also found these  are often  effective in any industry, whether your business is B2B or B2C.

We call them  the large  5,  and that they  are:

  • Pricing and costs:  what proportion  your solution costs (factors, considerations, what defines value, etc.). 
  • Problems: The negatives about, or issues with, your solution that buyers ask about. 
  • Versus and comparisons: How your product or solution compares to similar products or solutions. 
  • Reviews: Honest and unbiased opinions and observations about your product, solution, etc. 
  • Best in class: What  the simplest  solution available is. 

When people keep coming to you for these answers, search engines feel  easier  offering your content to other searchers. The  result's  typically organic traffic that increases steadily month over month, which indicates that the content you’re producing is establishing a precedence of reliability and trust with prospects and search engines alike.

For most companies, picking between tracking organic traffic metrics  like  “sessions” or “new users” doesn’t matter too much. As long as  you choose  one, measure it consistently, and  ensure  you’re seeing consistent improvement month over month to determine whether your content strategy is working.

3. Session-to-contact rate

After publishing  plenty of  content, it’s exciting  to work out  the organic traffic pouring in; however,  you would like  to be sure it’s not just any traffic — but the right traffic. 

Measuring your contact conversion rate can  facilitate your  gauge this. 

To calculate your contact conversion rate, divide new contacts by  the amount  of total website sessions.  a robust  contact conversion rate means your website visitors are clicking on your calls-to-action (CTAs) and filling out forms, exchanging their personal information for content they find valuable. (A tool like HubSpot will manage this for you.)

Some of the high-performing content we see our clients use that drives the most conversions include:

  • Buyer guides
  • Ebooks 
  • Webinars
  • Self-service or self-assessment tools

When you see an increase in conversions, it means your content is providing  such a lot  value that your prospects don’t mind sharing personal information — such as their name, email address, and  name  — to gain access to that content.  this is often  difficult to do sometimes because we all want to guard our personal information and are reluctant to share it.

4. Sales opportunities generated from inbound (SQLs)

When you invest in a content marketing program,  this is often  likely the KPI your company will pay the most attention to because you want to know the content you’re creating is not only driving more organic traffic to your site but that it’s also increasing sales opportunities.

By applying the principles of the previously mentioned  the large  5, you’ll attract real potential customers who have problems that your company helps them solve. This creates more (and better) opportunities for your sales team. 

This is because by the time your prospects reach out to you, they’re already educated about your products and services. (Which  may be a  direct result of the incredible content you’re creating that answers their questions and helps them solve their problems.) 

If done correctly, your website  are going to be  your company’s best salesperson. 

This was a discovery that slapped Marcus  within the  face back when he was selling for River Pools and Spas.

After receiving  an invitation  for a sales appointment, Marcus noticed that  an opportunity  (whom we’ll call “Mr. G.”) landed on his site after searching “cost of a fiberglass  swimming bath .” He found that Mr. G.’s wife, Mrs. G., was also reading pages on the River Pools and Spas website. They stood  bent  him for one very peculiar reason: these two users had viewed over 500 pages of his website! Marcus went ahead and scheduled the appointment. 

5. Average length of the sales cycle 

Speaking of shortening the sales cycle,  one among  the biggest lessons we teach at IMPACT is the importance of aligning marketing and sales. When your sales team and content manager are in step with which pieces of content your sales team  must  close deals more efficiently, the effect this has on your revenue  are often  incredible. 

We call these revenue teams, where the key players in your sales and marketing teams meet weekly  to make sure  both departments are headed toward the same goal: increasing company revenue. 

The revenue team is  responsible  of developing and executing a content strategy that can be used to increase closing rates and close deals faster — and we do this with the process of assignment selling. 

Remember the incredible example of Mr. G.? He and his wife consumed over 500 pages of content and knew exactly what they wanted  during a  swimming pool.

When Marcus showed up for the sales appointment,  it had been  a 45-minute visit versus the typical 2½ hours. And again, he didn’t  have to  do any actual selling. The couple had their minds made up.

We’re not saying  you would like  to assign this much content (30 pages or more is key), but with assignment selling, you’re sending prospects information about your products and services before they meet with sales. This way, when prospects reach  bent  you, they’re more educated about your offerings and closer to being  able to  buy. 

With content tracking tools  like  HubSpot,  you'll  also see which specific pages prospects have visited.  this protects  your sales team time and helps them close more deals faster because they’ll know what information they can leave out and quickly fill in the gaps of what your prospects need to learn to make a purchasing decision.

6. Ranking for important keywords

When your website starts ranking for  the highest  keywords in your industry, it shows that your dedication to providing valuable content and being the No. 1 teacher in your space is paying off. You’ve hired your content manager, they’re  ensuring  you’re publishing high-quality content at a regular cadence, and your prospects are finally finding you. Search engines are noticing, too.

This creates a snowball effect because as your content ranks well, your overall  program  optimization (SEO) success improves — which means more visibility on those search engine results pages (SERPs). In turn, the speed at which your content produces results increases.

IMPACT client AIS, a B2B technology company, saw these results  once they  addressed all The Big 5 questions in their industry. They initially thought  it had been  too late to beat out their competition with content, and even worked with  workplace  — but when they addressed those difficult-to-talk-about topics,  like  copier costs and comparisons (e.g., Sharp copiers vs. Kyocera copiers), they went from ranking for important keywords in about  fortnight  to a few minutes.

They even ranked for  a really  short, difficult-to-own keyword in their space: copier. And even more impressive, this keyword ranking is  before  big-name companies in their space such as Xerox, Canon, and Konica Minolta.

7. New sales attributed to content marketing 

When your sales are increasing as  an immediate  result of the content you’re creating, it’s no surprise  this means  a content marketing win. Again, content-tracking tools  like  HubSpot can tell you exactly where – specific articles or videos – a prospect entered your site,  and the way  many pieces of content they touched before making a purchase. 

You can use this information to tie back one piece of content to a specific dollar amount or ROI, and  you'll  tell exactly how many new sales are coming in because of your content marketing program.

This means you will never second guess whether the time and energy you’re putting into your content marketing initiative are actually worth it — you will have the numbers to back you up!

(If  you're  putting together a complete marketing program,  take a look at  this  broader look at the marketing KPIs that matter.)