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You Ask, I Answer: Most Important Content Marketing KPIs?

In today’s episode, Brian asks, “In your opinion, what are the most important or insightful data points to track to ensure that your content marketing is effective?””

You Ask, I Answer: Most Important Content Marketing KPIs?

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Christopher Penn 0:13

In today’s episode, Brian asks, In your opinion, what are the most important or insightful data points to track to ensure that your content marketing is effective? Is anybody there? Anybody consuming my content? And then are people doing what we want them to do after they consume the content? Might awareness, engagement conversion? Those are the data points and what those metrics are vary on the content, right? Well, podcast is going to have some different numbers than a YouTube video is going to have some different numbers than a white paper or an ebook, or blog post or newsletter.

They’re all gonna have different numbers.

But those are the three big categories.

Awareness is the first and most important with content marketing, if nobody’s reading, or watching or listening, everything else doesn’t matter.

And while some folks will rant about the importance of vanity metrics, or how pointless they are, like how many followers you have, or how many subscribers do you have, if the number zero, you’ve got a problem, where things like vanity metrics run into trouble, of course, people think that is the goal.

It’s not the goal, but it’s a goal on the way to a business outcome.

And if that number is zero, nothing else matters.

It’s it’s your standard top, middle and bottom of the funnel, what’s happening at each of these stages? And how is content playing a role in each of those stages? content has to fit intent.

Right? There’s so there’s four basic intents, there is, I’m trying to figure out the problem is number one.

Number two is I figured out the problem, I’m trying to figure out how to solve it, it’s to number three is I figured out the problem, I figure out how to solve and I need to figure out who I’m going to do business with.

And number four is I bought the thing to solve my problem.

Is it solving my problem, which is essentially, awareness, engagement, conversion and retention.

We know these metrics, we have these metrics in every piece of marketing software that worth its salt, or you know, at least in our tech stack.

But we don’t ever really spend a lot enough time telling the story of it along the way.

What content you have for retention is not the content that is going to be great for awareness, right? Here’s how to use our product is very useful for retaining customers, here’s how to get the most of our product.

If someone doesn’t even know what their problem is that content is not going to help them.

Right, here’s a instruction manual on this video camera.

Do and the person you know the awareness person’s like, I don’t even know if I need a video camera.

And so those are the data points to look at.

And then map them to the individual pieces of content.

If you think about setting up conversions, and something like Gale, say Google Analytics.

And you were to then map out the content that participated in each of those conversions, you should see content in different places, right? Your white paper probably shouldn’t, depending on the white papers topic.

A white paper might not be an awareness generator, but it might be an engagement generator, who could be a conversion generator.

But where do you intend for it to be? And here’s the part that goes wrong with all content marketing analytics.

You don’t do anything with it.

Seth Godin said this best if you’re not going to change what you eat, or how often you exercise don’t get on the scale.

Right? You’re gonna you’re collecting data that is going to make you feel bad.

And you’re not willing to change with your content marketing, if you’re measuring awareness, engagement and conversion and retention.

If you don’t do anything different, why bother? There’s no.

So what is my business partner and friend, Katie robear, would say, No.

So what what are you going to do with this information? What decisions are you going to make? What actions are you going to take? If you say that your awareness numbers are low? And then that’s it, you hand off the slide and your monthly report and then you move on with your day.

And you didn’t change what you’re doing to generate awareness, then you shouldn’t have bothered putting together in the first place.

It was just a waste of your time.

On the other hand, if you just measure one thing, like say, Yeah, you know what, we’re, we’re not in a position to measure engagement or conversion and retention, but I can tell you how many people I’m in front of, and you optimize the heck out of that.

You will do well.

There’s a lesson that my friend William Smith said, you said pick a number,

Christopher Penn 5:04

that it is something you have control over.

That’s related to your your buyers journey and make it go up 8% week over week, one number that’s it, pick one number, maybe it’s new users to your website, if you can make new users to your website go up 8%, week over week, without fail.

Everything else in the value chain will do better.

Right? Pick one thing and figure out what levers and knobs and dials and buttons you have to manipulate to get that number to go up 8% week over week, and you will see success flow from that point.

So that’s the, that’s the corresponding side to these data points is you’ve got to take action on them.

And the more data points you have, and the more that you track, the more decisions you have to make.

So if you don’t have the bandwidth, or the budget, or the people to make a bunch of decisions, then just pick one.

And start there until your business improves enough that you have the budget to work on a second point.

And then work on that, and so on and so forth.

If you tried to do everything all at once, you’re going to do nothing for a very, very long time.

It’s like having a jar of jelly with a white one spot one spoonful of jelly at the bottom and you got 100 pieces of bread? Should you try and put a tiny bit of jelly spread super thin like one atom, then across all 100 pieces of bread that can be very satisfying.

It’s going to take a really long time.

And by the time you’re done, it’s not going to have much of an impact.

Or do you say you know what, we’ll put 99 pieces of bread aside and put jelly on on enough on one piece enough that I can taste it.

Everything in content marketing is about focus, right, you can create content about everything.

But in doing so you really create content about anything.

On the other hand, if you create content in a focused manner, in a channel where you want to do well, like video, for example.

And you You knock it out of the park, you will create the resources you need to do it again.

And again.

It’s kind of like investing, right? You could spread out 1 to 100 different banks a penny here a penny there.

But when you think about how interest works and compounds, you’re better off putting that1 In one bank, and then figure out how do you get your next dollar.

So that’s my caution with data around content marketing, yes, you can measure all these things and you should collect the data.

So that’s available for you when you do want to process it later on.

But focus on one thing and improve it, improve the daylights out of it.

And then use the the revenue and the business impact from that to invest in the next thing one at a time.

So that’s my answer to Brian’s question.


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