As digital marketers we’re so accustomed to relying on metrics to gauge the success of our efforts. And rightly so. What get’s measured, improves. Right? But sometimes we forget to look up from our excel spreadsheets and think of alternative ways to measure success.

The Hidden Content Marketing Metrics

Take for example content marketing. If you asked a digital marketing manager how they would measure the efforts of their content marketing they would likely point to a number of different metrics such as:

  • Visits to the website or blog
  • Sources of traffic
  • Number of shares on social media
  • Leads generated via forms or downloads

There’s nothing wrong with these metrics. They can paint a picture whether your content marketing efforts are headed in the right direction. But don’t rely on them too much because they don’t paint the entire picture.

I recently spoke with a writer who had blogged for a digital marketing agency. I was asking him about how he measured the success of his efforts. Amongst the typical answers you’d expect, the one anecdotal insight he shared but for some reason even he didn’t put too much credence in, was that content marketing made it easier for their sales team to sell their services. Whenever their sales reps met prospects, for prospects that had read their blog they mentioned they discovered the company through their content and furthermore made the sales process much easier than prospects who had never read a single thing online about their agency.

Content marketing made it easier for their sales team to sell their services.

How Do you Measure “Greasing” the Sales Process?

Many companies get it. Much like the digital agency in this parable, many companies know that content marketing is a critical part of their marketing and sales process and regardless of what the vanity metrics may indicate, in the end it pays off in easier sales.

But not all companies see it that way. They want something tangible they can put on a spreadsheet with month-over-month increases.

How do you measure discovery, thought leadership & serendipity?

It’s not easy, but here are a few qualitative ways to look at an old problem in a new way.

  • For every new sales lead, whether they originate online or in person, ask them if they’ve read your blog or any whitepapers.
  • Regularly survey your clients and ask them whether your content influenced them in the decision to select you as a vendor.
  • Ask your clients if they’ve shared your content with their colleagues.
  • Ask your sales team for anecdotes on whether content you produced helped during the sales process.

By asking these questions you will be able to:

  • Gauge whether your content is being read by your target market
  • Determine whether your content is having a positive impact in sales
  • Find out whether your content has credibility

Although these insights don’t fit neatly on a dashboard or spreadsheet, these are critical indicators of whether your content marketing is working. It’s also powerful proof that executives want to hear…that your content is making a difference in sales.

What type of metrics or measurement methods do you use to find out whether your content marketing efforts are working? Feel free to post it below in the comments.



Hey there, I'm Marc!

I'm the Director of Growth Channels @Hootsuite. I've worked in digital marketing since 2000 for agencies, startups and companies like Electronic Arts & SAP. Thanks for checking out my site where I share digital marketing strategies on how to increase website traffic and generate more revenue.

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