A version of this originally appeared on ADGCreative.net
There are many ways to measure your content marketing program. Some are useful. Many are not. Where do you start?
Several years ago, Linkedin for Business launched a “Content Marketing Score” to help businesses on their platform glean insight from engagement with their sponsored content, company pages, group content, employee updates, and other content on LinkedIn.
But, like most content analytics or SEO platforms, it has opaque metrics and required prior knowledge and experience to read the tea leaves. It also only provided metrics on the content posted to LinkedIn, so it wasn’t much help in assessing your full content program.
You don’t need a massive platform to score your content marketing program.
You just need a simple scorecard.
We’ve done most of the homework for you and developed a three-part content marketing scorecard. Stick around and learn how to pull your score together and what to do next.
Here’s an overview of the three components and what they each score:
Use & Availability of Content
Do you have a variety of content types on your website and are they easy to find?
Social Presence & Engagement
Are you putting your social engagement effort into the right platforms?
Is your website coded properly so that it’s accessible to search engines and assistive technologies?
Each evaluation is easy to complete but takes a little time. Let’s take them one at a time.
Use and Availability of Content
First, take a look at your owned media channels (your website or other assets you directly control) to see if you have enough variety in your content.
(8 possible points)
Give yourself a point for each of the below content types that you regularly post.
- Blog posts – Blogging is still a key component of content marketing. If you regularly produce fresh thought-leadership content that’s different than your competition, your audience will come back time and again to your website.
- Press releases – Press releases are old-school and more formal than a blog. But if you want your company to show up in the news, you have to make news. Publish press releases to wire services or simply post them on your own site.
- White papers – Think of them as deep-dive documents you want your audience to “take away” from your website and read later. White papers can also be gated, which means the user provides their information (typically an email address) in exchange for the download.
- Guides – These are quick, easy-to-read documents that leave your audience with tangible value but also provide a path for them to engage further (we call this a “conversion path”).
- Video – According to HubSpot, 85% of businesses use video as a content marketing tool. There are many types, but a good video is worth more than a thousand words.
- Webinars – If video content is king, interactive or live video content is not far behind. Webinars are much more than Zoom calls, though. They take coordination, planning, and a little creative magic to make them engaging.
- Case studies – Part blog and part whitepaper, a case study can be on-page or a downloadable document that showcases your offering and the value it’s brought to your clients.
- Email newsletters – All of the above content types can be promoted through a marketing email list. This is the one content tactic where you actively “reach out” and contact your audience, so it needs to be attractive and valuable to them. Otherwise, they’re likely to unsubscribe.
(Whew! That’s a lot of content types. Eight, in fact.)
Of course, you don’t need to do everything. Choosing the right content types for your company depends on your industry, offerings, and audience. But we recommend aiming to include at least six of them for a good variety.
You can create many different types from one piece of core content also.
Turn a big white paper into a blog article, then into a guide, then into a video, then into a webinar. Presto! You’ve just created four pieces of engaging content out of one. Talk about efficiency!
That efficiency will pay off with part two of the content scorecard, social media.
Social Presence and Engagement
Social media can take up a lot of resources, but that outreach is critical to engage your audience. So make sure you’re posting quality content in the right places.
It creates a “top of mind” brand awareness. When your ideal buyer is ready to buy something, you want your brand to come to mind, not one of your competitors.
As with content types, you should decide what works best for you and your audience. But here are our recommendations.
(5 possible points)
Give yourself a point for each platform you’re posting on regularly.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn maintains a reputation for being the professional’s social media platform and is also fantastic for developing recruiting campaigns.
- Twitter – Twitter is a fire hose of the up-to-the-moment world and local happenings. The stream updates quickly, but you can often insert your messaging into emerging trends and movements, gaining momentum.
- Instagram – Depending on how visual value your offering is, Instagram could offer a way to showcase your brand. There are no links back to your owned media channels, so be selective in what you post.
- YouTube – YouTube is more than a place to host videos. Your audience will expect lots of fresh content and engagement. (If you are just looking to host video to post elsewhere, consider Vimeo.)
- Pinterest – It’s not just for crochet and cake fails anymore. Pinterest is growing rapidly and could be a place, like Instagram, for your highly-visual content.
“Where’s Facebook?” you ask. While it’s still the king of non-professional social media, it has continued to see a decline in organic reach for branded content since 2017. B2B companies seem to be taking their content elsewhere.
Where are they going? Maybe to Pinterest, which is why we included it. It doubled its active users in 2019 and its users are also more likely to have higher income and education levels.
So you now have a variety of content on your site and your social media engagement is relevant to your audience. The world will be knocking down your door, right?
Social engagement can drive some traffic to your site. But to really increase unpaid search engine discovery traffic (which is golden, by the way), make sure the bots that populate search engines like Google can find your site.
Let’s pop the hood on your website and see if it’s technically-ready for an influx of traffic.
We want to increase the human eyes on our content. To do that, we need to make sure our content is found, understood, and favored by … robots.
Why’s that? Behind every webpage is the code that makes it run. This is the content that is evaluated by Google and other platforms to figure out what it’s about and how it should be presented on their search results. If your written copy is perfect and your metadata is missing, Google may simply ignore your page. So write for people, but publish for robots. This is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
SEO is can encompass a wide range of tactics, but here are two simple ones you can use to get an idea of where you stand.
(2 possible points)
Give yourself a point for each of the below.
- Website traffic – You can’t improve your website traffic if you’re not measuring it. Work with your technical team to gain access to your Google Analytics platform or use a site like ubersuggest.com to look at your web traffic. There are ma publicly-available traffic tools that can help you estimate your competition’s traffic for comparison. Give yourself a point for even being able to find your traffic numbers.
- Metadata – Robots don’t know the most important part of your webpage without some code to tell them. This is content about your content. There should be code on every page that announces to Google what each page is all about. We call these H1 tags. Without getting too technical, you can think of an H1 as the “big idea” for each page. Your pages should all have them, and they should be unique. Give yourself a point if they do (or a half-point if some of them do).
If you’re really ambitious, We’ve written previously about making sure your site is optimized for voice-enabled search. These tips will help with your SEO efforts.
The score will take care of itself when you take care of the effort that precedes the score.
Adding It all up
If you’ve gotten this far, we salute you (really). There are 15 possible points to account for above, and it can take a little time to collect all the information.
(We said building a content marketing scorecard was easy. We didn’t say it was short. )
Your scorecard is your periodic checkup and checklist for what you’re doing well and what you might want to consider adding as your program grows.
However you put together your scorecard, remember that it’s only a baseline. Every program is different, so don’t sweat the actual score. Rather, use your scorecard as a guide for what to do and your score will undoubtedly improve.