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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Lee

How to Build the Content Marketing Dashboard of your Dreams

Updated: Feb 17, 2022


For years, marketers have been forced to change their ways of engaging with customers. In the past, they did it by relying on a drawn-out sales process and complicating interactions. In recent years, however, B2B marketing has changed so that it now relies entirely on customer feedback. As customers have more control over the marketing messages they want to consume, businesses must now focus on content that is useful.


Content marketing is not an easy task; it takes time and effort to achieve success. Although there are many different types of content, this blog will focus on blog posts, white papers, eBooks, case studies, infographics, reports, and newsletters. But B2B content marketing is a process that makes your business more visible, strengthens brand recognition, and drives leads or sales through other businesses. And while there is plenty of content being created every day, most of it never gains any traction! Why? Because, despite the volume of content being created daily, most of it is never seen.


According to WordStream, 55% of B2B marketers are unsure what leads to a successful content marketing strategy.

Content marketing is essential towards the success of your business because B2B buyers are more likely to buy from businesses that they can trust and feel like they have a relationship with. Content marketing is supposed to be the center of your business, but how do you know if you're heading in the right direction?

Article Contents:

Target Audience


In order to begin creating marketing content that people will enjoy, you must first gain a deeper knowledge of who your content will be aimed at and what they desire to know. Defining your target audience is essential for measuring success.


Take time to think about the problems your products or services solve, who currently purchases these goods and services from you, who your competitors are, and what benefits customers receive when they choose to work with you.


Firstly, you want to establish the mission of what your content marketing is trying to achieve. Is it going to:

  • Inform

  • Persuade

  • Or entertain?

Understanding your goal and audience is essential in building a clear picture of how you have defined content marketing.


Secondly, you want to create reader personas based on your target audience. Create a description that can be used to describe your prospect archetype in order for you and everyone on your team to remember what type of person you are trying to reach with your content marketing efforts. These personas will help you to create content that appeals to your readers and makes them feel like they have gained important, beneficial information about your products or services. You want to break down the demographics of your audience by asking who, what, when, where, and why. Then, include specifics such as their age, gender, location, job title, job function, income, and other relevant characteristics of your target audience.


Lastly, conducting regular surveys helps you monitor your audience's thoughts and opinions. From this feedback, we are able to better understand our target audience. Running annual surveys also helps keep track of changes in the demographic of your audience throughout time.


Types of Content Marketing


Once you've determined the purpose and audience of your content, the sort of metrics you employ will need to align to the type of content you are measuring. Sorry to inform you that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing analytics! But where would be the fun in that anyway? Amirite?


Blog Posts


Blogs are one of the most important aspects of any content marketing initiative, due to its sheer reach and ability to influence your audience. Blog posts have been proven as a viable method for driving sales and leads, but they won't work if you don't have an established audience that trusts what you are saying. Building up your blogger reputation takes a lot of time and effort, but the more you put in the bigger your returns. Building thought leadership through these blogs is also a great way to establish yourself as an industry expert.


Page Views: A “page view” is a single measure from any time a user views your website. Multiple visits and page refreshes are included in the measurement, which means you need to really analyze the numbers for more information about who's visiting your blog.


Top Traffic Posts: In addition to measuring your overall web traffic, monitoring your top posts specifically will let you learn about which topics resonate with your readers. You can use this to decide how best to increase your output of content or where you need to focus your resources.


Organic Search Traffic: Having your blog listed on major search engines is beneficial for many reasons. Not only are you making it easy for visitors to find your content, but search engine listings will also increase SEO traffic to your site. The more organic (free) traffic, the more authoritative your brand appears to your target audience.


Comments and Engagement: Blog comments are not only a good way to increase the visibility of your site, but it's also a great indicator for judging your content quality. If you have an established comment section on your blog, then visitors are obviously enjoying reading what you have to say and will be more willing to follow through with other parts of the sales funnel when they're ready.


Subscribers: A “subscriber” is someone who requested to receive future blog posts related to your niche and are automatically added to a RSS feed. A good blogger must have an established subscriber base in order for his/her content to be read by the maximum number of people.


Newsletters


A newsletter is similar to a blog. It's a frequently updated content series that provides readers with regular, bite-sized information about an interesting topic. Newsletters are great for building relationships and driving traffic back to your website because they provide a steady stream of content for visitors, but they do require upkeep in order to be successful.


Subscribe Rate: The successful use of a newsletter hinges on the number of subscribers you have. The higher the number, the more people will be exposed to your content and therefore become acquainted with what you do.


Open Rate: The percentage of contacts who opened your email, as opposed to deleting it or archiving it without viewing, is known as the open rate. This is one piece of data that separates newsletters from blogs. A high open rate indicates that readers are interested in what you have to say. It also shows that they liked the content enough to check out your website when you provided a link in your newsletter.


Bounce Rate: This is another statistic to include in your content marketing dashboard that separates newsletters from blogs, because it provides insight into how many people clicked through on an email and immediately left or deleted without reading anything at all. If you find that your bounce rate is higher than you would like, then you may need to change your content's formatting or the subject matter in order to improve engagement levels.


Unsubscribe Rate: Unsubscribe rates are a good way to figure out if you're sending too many newsletters. If a large portion of your subscribers opt out, then you need to either include more relevant content or make your emails less frequent.


Case Studies


Similar to blog posts, case studies offer a way to showcase how an offering has helped certain customers solve their problems through your technology or products. Case studies analyze a business challenge that they overcame, the solution you provided for them, and the outcome of their final success. Being able to provide proof of results and testimonials from satisfied clients is crucial for any company because you are able to position your company as a specialist in your field, while also attracting more qualified leads.


Average View Time: Since case studies are more detailed than posts, they usually have longer average view times. As B2B marketers, we have a very limited amount of time to make an impression with our content, keeping your reader engaged is a critical objective. Be sure to include view time in your content marketing dashboard.


Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is an important number to pay attention to when it comes to content and this is especially true of case studies. If your bounce rate falls too low, then viewers may be leaving the page before they have had a chance to read anything or click on an embedded CTA.


Click-Through Rate (CTR): The number of people who viewed your content and then clicked on the CTA from that page. This shows how enticing your call to action is, as well as whether or not people like what they see enough to contact you about it.


White Papers


White papers are an excellent way to provide in-depth information on a topic, demonstrate yourself as an expert in your field and build credibility. These publications are usually 8-23 pages long and can contain statistics, cost analysis, data, and other valuable information that will make you stand out within the industry. White papers are also usually gated content since they deliver more value than blog posts, which means that if you can deliver a helpful white paper, more people will be willing to give you their contact information.


Download Rate: This is a measurement of the number of times your white paper has been downloaded from your website or blog. If you notice that there are very few downloads, then it may be because not many people know about it, so you can try boosting its visibility by adding an image to the document and embedding a call-to-action in the metadata


SEO Rank: The white paper's SEO ranking is a good gauge of how much exposure it has received and the quality of content. Make sure that your white paper ranks for a wide variety of relevant keywords and anchor text to ensure that visitors are able to find it in search engines like Google.

Average View Time: Like case studies, this number is a good way to see how many minutes, on average, each reader spent perusing your white paper. If this is too low, then you may need to consider cutting some of the extra details or offering better incentives for reading it.


EBooks


Just like white papers, eBooks are a way to deliver more value than blog posts. Although they are not as academic as white papers, they still allow you to distribute information in a long-form format, typically 12-40 pages, to show your audience that you're an authority within the industry.


However, eBooks tend to have a much higher conversion rate than white papers because they give you an opportunity to include case studies, how-tos, videos, and other interactive elements. They also tend to be gated pieces of content, so it's important to add as much value as possible to the eBook. With this content, you're able to give more information than a blog post since there is no character limit for them, which means that you can create longer pieces of content rather than short articles.


Sign-Up Rate: If you have people signing up for your email list, you can use their information to contact them later about additional offers. However, make sure that this does not become spammy because there are many services that allow you to send out marketing emails without having permission.


Lead Gen Rate: The number of leads you generate per download is a good way to see how popular your eBook is. You will need to consider why the lead generation rate might not be high by checking for broken links, typos, and other issues that may make people hesitate about downloading it.


Download Rate: The download rate is the number of times your eBook has been downloaded from your website or blog. If you notice in your marketing dashboard that there are very few downloads, then it may be because not many people know about it, so one way to boost its traffic is to add an image and a call-to-action within the document's metadata.


Infographics


An infographic is a lighthearted way to present a graphic image that shows facts or information, created to explain complex ideas. An infographic can serve as a piece of standalone content or be the first step towards an ongoing series on one topic.

Infographics are important to content marketing because they appeal to emotions as well as facts. The visual aspect of an infographic gets people's attention, and the data or information included in the infographic will help people retain what they learn. Either way, infographics are a great piece of content that is both easy for you to create and share with others.


Inbound Links/Backlinks: The number of inbound links is a good way to see how many people have linked back to your infographic. This shows that others are interested in the information presented, which will help you generate more organic traffic and leads.


Reverse Image Search: The number of conversions that come from a reverse image search is an important metric to consider because it will tell you the popularity of your infographic. If there are not many, then that means that no one knows about it or has linked back to it.


Reports


A report is a piece of content that encompasses almost all other content types. It can be a formal research paper, or it can include structured data from an experiment or survey. Reports are often used in academic papers and grant applications, but they shouldn't stop there. Good reports are helpful for anyone who needs to learn something new. They are a great addition to content marketing since they explain a subject in detail, but they do require more research and time to create.


Reach: The number of people your report reaches is significant because it shows how many people are interested in the topic.

Publishing Rate: The number of times you publish a report is important because it will show how frequently you create content. This helps your audience know that they can rely on you for new information and ideas.


Citations: Citations are the resources that tell people where to find more information about the topic, which means that if there are not many citations, then it's probably because no one knows about the report.



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What to Measure Across Content


In order to successfully incorporate B2B content marketing into your strategy, it's important that you establish these core KPIs for all types of content.


Return on Investment


A common mistake that B2B marketers make in measuring content marketing is basing ROI on short-term goals while overlooking long-term ones. According to ConvinceandConvert, 46% of marketers believe that determining ROI is the biggest challenge, and 44% also face a lack of resources and budget needed to measure the performance of their content marketing efforts.


ROI is calculated by dividing revenue by cost (distribution + production costs). However, there are many other steps needed to measure ROI. For example, what is the business objective (short or long term) that you are trying to achieve through content marketing? To seize an opportunity or create awareness? If you need to engage with a more targeted audience, how will your team measure that?


Website Traffic


Measuring website traffic is essential in measuring your content marketing performance because website traffic is the fuel that powers your content engine. Website traffic can be measured in a number of ways from total visits to unique visitors. What you are measuring depends on what goals you have for your website. If you want people to buy products from your online store, then monitoring traffic towards the shopping section of your website would be useful. However, if your goal is to drive awareness, then what would be more useful to keep track of is traffic towards the blog section of your website.


Ultimately, traffic monitoring is about two things: 1) asking yourself questions regarding your audience and 2) taking action based on the answers you find. By knowing where your audience is going, you can make more informed decisions regarding their interests, preferences, and needs.


Click-Through Rate


The click-through rate, or CTR, is the percentage of recipients who clicked through your website to engage with your content. This metric is useful because it shows how engaged the audience is with the content you're providing. If your open rate is high but your CTR is low, then most of your subscribers probably viewed the email without clicking through to read it. This means that although people are opening your emails, they aren't engaging with them and you'll need to re-think what content you're sending.


Call to Action


The number of clicks on your CTA is a good way to measure whether or not people have been interested enough in the topic to email you with questions. Are viewers taking the next step and contacting you about your service or product through an embedded call to action (CTA) in the content? If there are very few clicks, then you may need to make it clearer that they can ask for more information by clicking on the button.


Landing Page Conversion Rate


Landing pages are the last page a visitor sees just before they take an action, such as buying something, downloading content, making a donation, or filling out an inquiry form.

This is an important metric to measure because while it is valuable to track website traffic, ultimately what matters most are the actions people take on your site. This allows you to answer questions like "What content and marketing strategies attract the most traffic?" or "Which landing page converts visitors to customers?"


Lead Conversion Rate


Converting leads into sales is the end goal of your marketing campaign. Although sales and income conversions are the most noticeable, advertising campaigns can track other converting actions. For instance, newsletter sign-ups, demo or consultation sign-ups, and eBook downloads are all conversions worth keeping an eye on. Rather than benchmarking your conversion rates to the industry average, analyze what rate relates best with your campaign goal.


Tools for Measurement and Tracking


In order to measure your content marketing efforts, there are a wide variety of tools that you can use to analyze your content, as well as track audience engagement.

  • Hubspot is very robust with its task management system and tracking implementation. They also help you measure the ROI of each stage in your sales pipeline.

  • Buffer allows you to build detailed reports with custom metrics on just one dashboard. Each account has its own engagement metrics so that you can understand how customers are interacting with each platform, measure content performance, and access audience demographics.

  • Google Analytics is a free tool that is easy to navigate and can be integrated with a lot of Google's business software. This tool is good for tracking social media pages, listening to customers' feedback for your brand, and keeping track of all competitor's analytics.

  • Moz measures a search engine’s reaction to your content. Gain insight into how your work is ranking among other companies in the same industry and which keywords are most effective for your content strategy. Moz’s reports catalog how your content spreads and what you can do to increase engagement.

  • Hotjar produces heat maps of where customers visit when they are on your website. There are videos that record a site's visitor traffic and can help companies see which content is appealing to their customers. Furthermore, you can track conversions and draw inferences about where customers are in the buying journey.


Summary


Content marketing is the foundation of your marketing strategy. When you create content for the prospect, make it simple and valuable. The more value you generate for your audience, the more you'll win their business. Not only is content marketing a good strategy for winning sales leads, but it also helps you attain your company goals through increased brand awareness and outreach.


You should always analyze data by watching trends over time to identify opportunities for growth. By aggregating trending topics in your industry on a regular basis and turning them into blog posts or white papers that are featured on relevant sites, you can generate more leads and sales. This allows readers to see how much you know about the business world. The better you understand the market, the easier you can establish thought leadership and build your brand.


Using the tips and metrics in this article will help instill a measurement process that builds an effective content marketing machine.


If you're struggling with where to get started and how to automate all these metrics, Optimax can help you evaluate your existing data, build reporting, and uncover how you can increase your Content Marketing ROI and better utilize CMS and SEO platforms. Reach out to us to schedule a free consult.


Join the conversation: What types of content do you publish most? Which CMS platforms do you use? How do you attract leads? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

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