How successful companies make the most of their content marketing
Over the last two years, many companies have reallocated marketing dollars or invested additional dollars into content marketing. HubSpot notes that 90% of marketers using content marketing plan to continue investing the same amount in the channel in 2022. Additionally, 66% of marketers expect their 2022 content marketing budget to increase more than their 2021 budget.
Based on those stats, it’s highly likely that somebody at your company has already asked or will soon ask, “has our investment in content paid off?” Or, if you are increasing your budget or just starting out, you might hear “how will we measure the success of these dollars?”
There’s a few different ways to answer this question. Some are very quantitative and others more qualitative. Let’s dig into how I’d suggest you answer the ROI question:
Is your content empowering your sales team?
Good, fresh, on-trend content provides a motive for your sales team to share information, as long as it offers value to their prospects. To get at this answer, ask your sales associates if they have good content to share with their contacts. Does that content get their MQLs to turn into SQLs? It should if it’s relevant, timely, and useful. Content may not be the only recipe for pipeline success, but it should help. And, if not, what content is missing or do you still need to add to your site?
While it feels like a very qualitative metric, one potential quantitative measure for success is your pipeline velocity and close rate. I wouldn’t say that if those rates and numbers look good, you can attribute all of the success to good content.
However, maybe you recently started writing content and your sales team is sending it out to their targets. If your engagement and close rates are better, this COULD be related to the content you’re producing.
The bottom line is that good content should bridge the gap between your marketing and sales teams. Effective sales teams need to constantly stay in touch with their deals and prospects. New, timely content will give them something relevant to say.
Is anybody reading your B2B content?
Here’s where we’d be looking for completely quantitative data. It’s not just about the number of visits to a specific web page. You should also consider whether your site visitors are spending enough time to digest the information in other meaningful ways.
For example, if your content is long-form text (typically more than 1,200 – sometimes 1,000 – words), then you want to make sure people are on the page for long enough. And if it’s video content, you want to make sure people are watching enough of the video. Through our digital strategies, we often suggest B2B content marketing that leads to gated downloads. This is useful because leads quantity (form submissions) then becomes an important measurement for successful content.
Imagine a life sciences company advertising products through content, providing education about how those products can be used in labs. There may be a blog post that educates the client on best practices and why their product is better than others. But, there should also be a strong call-to-action (CTA) at the end of that piece of content.
CTAs direct the reader to do something next. It could be to download a comparison of their products alongside the competitors. The lead form can be used to gather new leads, of course. But, you can report on the number of lead form fills as a measure of success for that piece of content, among other things like time on page and number of page visits.
Are people entering your website through this new content?
All too often we see people put an emphasis on the number of page views. But Google has a very beneficial report called “Landing Pages” to see which pages a user is coming into your website. (Note: as of July 1, 2023, with the conversion to GA4, this may change).
Most websites attract users to highly-optimized content pages rather than the homepage. Let’s use the example above.
Maybe somebody searching for how to solve their problem in the lab doesn’t come directly to the homepage, but instead lands on the product page. The product page has been optimized to talk about the problem that the product solves, who uses it, and how it works. If traffic is coming in to this page and people are staying on the page long enough to read the content, we know this page is performing well.
Are people engaging with your content on other platforms?
B2B content marketing goes beyond “on-page” website content. Your engagement rates on social media posts are a good measure of whether or not people care about what you’re saying.
So let’s stick with the topic of that life sciences product. While there might be great content on the website about that product, there should also be social media posts and content related to that product on other channels. Think Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and maybe even Tiktok.
By tracking engagement (views, likes, comments, shares), you get a measure of if that content is resonating with your audience. You can carry that engagement rate forward to measure things like podcast listens, YouTube video watches, and other social pieces of your strategy.
Which pages of your website did leads and prospects visit?
If you don’t have this data, you are truly missing out. Using a tool like HubSpot, we can track lead level information about what users are doing on our website.
So, let’s say that the life sciences product page visitor filled out a form after reading up on the product benefits. After that, the visitor journeyed through other pages of the website, such as the company information and a case study. Using HubSpot, we’d be able to see which other content pieces that lead thought were relevant.
When doing this for long enough, you’ll start to be able to go back to leads that have converted into sales. You can reference the journey visitors took to know which pieces of content helped a successful sale before they became a customer.
This ties right back to our first point about providing sales teams good content to share. With this tracking in place, your sales team can gain insight into how (and which) content they share with leads results in deals closing.
Finding the right content marketing data
Hopefully, a key takeaway is that measuring the success of B2B content isn’t hard. As with any data, you need to know which question you are trying to answer. Then, you need to know where to look for the information and how to interpret it.
Think of it somewhat like tracking the success of healthy living and exercise. There may be very quantitative metrics like the number of calories burned or steps walked per day. But then, there will be qualitative aspects like how you feel when you wake up and overall day-to-day energy that isn’t as easy to measure.
And for the most part, just like with healthy living and exercise, you can get very far doing things correctly, yourself. But, sometimes it takes a nutritionist to craft a plan, read the results, advise, adapt, and push you to reach your goals.
Accelerate your content marketing success
That’s what we do for our clients from a holistic digital marketing perspective. We partner with clients in a variety of industries including (but not limited to) life science companies looking to improve their content marketing efforts and measure the results.
If you need help, give us a shout! You can be sure that we’ll know exactly which pages you visited, how long you spent on each page, and which content pieces really resonated with you. Fill out the form below and we’ll show you how 😉