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BrightonSEO | How to Measure the Real Success of Content Marketing

How to Measure the Real Success of Content Marketing-01It's always a pleasure to join BrightonSEO

The session moderated by Kelvin Newman today was great. I met some great people and heard many interesting ideas.

I had a presentation about how marketers can measure the success of their content marketing campaigns, going beyond the shares and likes.

For years we’ve only been looking at a few metrics of content marketing, typically Buzz signals like Facebook shares, Tweets or Google+.

I talked about the “Impact” metrics that measure the long-term effects of content marketing.

Here is a short resume of my presentation, along with a video recording.

I hope that you'll enjoy it!

The goals of content marketing

To measure the success of content marketing, we first need to define the GOALS of content marketing.

If you don't have any goals, you can't define success.

The first goal of content marketing is user education.




What John Hall said was:

 “Educating potential customers is one of the most efficient ways to put content marketing to work.”

Potential customers? That's what we're trying to do, right? We're writing all this cool content, and we want to educate people to understand that our product is the best.

User engagement is another goal of content marketing.




Neil Patel said:

“I define content engagement as real people responding in measurable ways to your content.”

When we look at social signals like tweets and likes, we can see that they only measure the distribution. This is important, but I can like 50 posts per minute. I can scroll down my Facebook feed and like one post after the other.

Does that mean I'm engaged?


I can do this at 5 am, scrolling down my feed, liking everything, sharing everything without even clicking through, without even reading what's there.

These social signals I call BUZZ. They are:

  • easy to buy
  • easy to fake
  • volatile
  • one side of the coin
  • not relevant for all content types

There are niches where BUZZ is not a relevant metric to look at when you measure the success of a content marketing campaign.

When was the last time you saw a tax law article in your Facebook feed?

Social signals are not good metrics for measuring user engagement. But what are the right metrics?

1. Links

Coming from the SEO world, the links can be a good measurement for user engagement.

People who engage with your content and write about your content, write about you, your company, your product, are highly engaged and link to you.

This is not the SEO aspect of links; this is looking at links to measure engagement, resonance, the response from the market.





People who read your content, who discuss your content with you or with others, are engaged users.

You've got their share of mind, and this is what you're after in marketing. Nobody's getting paid to count the number of tweets and likes hopefully. We don't need that. We want a share of mind. We want people to act upon our message.





You can download a Slideshare presentation for example.


Because you're a collector? Because you want to send it to your team? Because you send it to your boss, and he sends it to his boss or you might use that slide deck and take the best parts out of it, best practices, learn from them. Some people may call this stealing the ideas.

From a marketing standpoint, I call this IMPACT. The person spreads your message, your idea. This is exactly what we want. Please take my message and repeat it as often as you want.




4. Clicks & Views = User Engagement

The content hosted on a website obviously needs to be read. People click through from Facebook, from Twitter, from LinkedIn. By clicking, they engage and then they view your content.




I call all these user engagement metrics: IMPACT.

They have a long term effect. A download has more weight than a Facebook like.

These metrics are hard to fake and even dangerous.

Think about links. Google penalizes websites that buy links.




There are two different dimensions you need to look at when measuring the success of your content marketing: BUZZ andIMPACT.

When you see this in a matrix like the one below, you understand that content with a high BUZZ and a low IMPACT is viral cat content.

If you sell construction materials, gardening tools, life insurance, mortgages, air conditioners, your content is not funny and cute. It's not meant to create a lot of BUZZ, but that is still useful and engaging content created in these niches.

An article on air conditioners may not be shared on Facebook or Twitter, but it may have a high IMPACT: lots of comments, lots of downloads, lots of links. That would be the typical content for "boring industries".

Content with low BUZZ and low IMPACT is possibly good content lacking distribution and feedback.

The content that you want to create is content that has both a High BUZZ and a high IMPACT. That's great content created by you and amplified by influencers that are relevant to your niche.




You only understand the value of a piece of content by looking at the BUZZ and IMPACT all together.

Most marketers look at BUZZ signals like Facebook Shares, Tweets or Google+ every time they measure the success of a content marketing campaign.

But there’s more to content marketing success than that. BUZZ doesn’t say much about user engagement.

To measure the long-term effects of content, marketers need to look at different metrics. I call that “Impact.” It includes downloads, backlinks, and comments.

By looking at the IMPACT metrics, you can analyze and learn best practices of content marketing even for "boring" industries. Here is a great example on how you can find great content ideas if you need to do content marketing for "Air Conditioners".

Do you think that this 8-year-old presentation engaged users?



YES! It’s a very successful slidedeck.

Even if it has only 800 tweets in 8 years, it was downloaded 11.000 times and got 27.000 backlinks.

And look who shared it....




How did I find this presentation and how fast?

It's a pain to search for such a successful piece of content manually. That's why we built Impactana, to measure the success of content and to find the influencers sharing that content.

Impactana allows you to look beyond the BUZZ. If you want to measure the success of your content marketing in a proper way, you need to look at the IMPACT your content made on your target audience.

“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” (Lord Kelvin)

So…you’d better start measuring today.

 P.S You can also download my presentation from slideshare. Feel free to share it with your colleagues and your friends. :).





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Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper started working in the internet marketing business as an SEO and Link Builder in 2003. He began developing SEO software for internal use in 2006. In 2009, Christoph launched his favorite SEO tools as LinkResearchTools in the SaaS model. When the famous Google Penguin update changed the rules of SEO in 2012, Christoph started Link Detox, software for finding links that pose a risk in a website’s backlink profile. He introduced ongoing link audits and risk management to the market in early 2011. In 2015, Christoph introduced Impactana, a new technology platform and SaaS product to measure the success of content beyond "social buzz", to find content, videos and people that make an impact.
Christoph C. Cemper

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