How to Grade Your 2018 Content Marketing Strategy: A Year-End Review
Putting together a content marketing strategy for the coming year is a big job, but far too many businesses and organizations skip a critical step. You can’t truly put together the most effective plan possible for the new year unless you’ve analyzed what happened in the past.
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Using metrics and conducting audits is the best way to determine whether your previous year’s plan truly worked. Armed with new information, you can put together an even better content marketing strategy for 2019.
Take a Look at Overall Traffic Numbers
One of the most successful ways of analyzing your content marketing success over the past year is to look at overall traffic numbers. There are two key figures to look for here: The first is total views, and the second is unique visitors. For consistency, looking at unique visitors or unique views is recommended. As you take a look at your numbers, don’t worry too much about seasonal ups and downs or trends. Instead, look at the current year’s results compared to last year’s results. If you had more views this past November than the previous November, then you’re on the right track.
Compare Page Views for Various Types of Content
The next step is to look at the unique views for various types of content. Pull out your top performers for the year as well as the content that was viewed the least. You might start to notice that certain types of content consistently do better. Were your e-books a hit but your staff interviews went largely unnoticed? You might find that lists were well received but that longer pieces were skipped over. By compiling all this data, you can determine what types of content to focus on in the next year. Although you can and should still include a variety of content types, you can invest more money and effort into the guaranteed successes.
Look at Both Sales and Lead Generation Numbers
When you’re tracking the success of your content marketing strategy, it is important to look at your overall goals and objectives. Few people create content just for the sake of it. Instead, content is a means to an end, whether that end is increased conversions or more sales. With that in mind, look at your conversion numbers, the number of leads you’ve generated and total sales. If possible, evaluate the number of links clicked in CTAs and determine how many leads came from your content. This is one of the best ways to analyze just how much your content is impacting your total sales, conversions and profits.
Consider Time on Page and Bounce Rate
Another fantastic way to grade your 2018 content marketing strategy is by establishing how much time people are actually spending looking at your content. If 10,000 people clicked a link and viewed one of your blog posts, you might be right to call it a success. However, do you know how long each person spent on that page? If the average user left after 30 seconds, then they probably didn’t read all of your content or even get to the CTA at the bottom. You can also look at bounce rate, which measures whether users click through to a second or third page on your website before leaving. All of these statistics help you understand whether your audience is sticking around and truly finding value in the content you provide.
Track Social Media Metrics
Social media and content marketing go hand in hand. Ideally, social media would be a big part of your content distribution and marketing approach. Therefore, one way to judge the success of a content marketing strategy is to look at your social media metrics. Over the past year, are your numbers increasing across multiple platforms? Are more of your content pieces being shared? Are you getting more clicks on each link that you post on Facebook or Twitter? If not, then you might need to rethink how your business is using social media as a content distribution mechanism.
Measuring User Engagement
It can also be helpful to look carefully at your user engagement. A key element of content marketing is adding value to the lives of users and creating a relationship. One way to measure that relationship is through user engagement. On platforms like Facebook, engagement might include likes and other reactions, shares or comments. If user engagement is up, then you are doing well. If user engagement isn’t increasing from year to year, then it may not be the fault of your content. It could mean that you need to get more involved in the comments section and respond to users on your own platform. However, it might also mean that you need to reconsider the frequency or type of content you’re sharing on social media.
Look for Commonalities Among Your Most Successful Pieces of Content
The final step in evaluating the previous year’s content marketing strategy is to establish what your most successful pieces of content have in common. Pull out the 10 pieces of content that got the most views, had the highest levels of engagement, were shared the most and led to the greatest number of sales or conversions. Then, figure out what these pieces of content have in common. Are they written by the same author? Are they all on the same topic? Looking for commonalities can help you focus on what works as you plan out your 2019 content calendar.
A year-end review is an ideal way to determine how successful your content marketing strategy really was. By learning more about what worked and what didn’t, you can put together an even more effective plan for the coming year.
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