Content marketing

At times, content marketing is something of an ethereal beast. You spend months publishing relevant, unique and – in your mind – engaging blog posts and go to great lengths to ensure they are delivered to your list of subscribers at the same time each and every week.

You’ve even brought onboard industry influencers who are contributing their own content.

Lastly, your team has developed a calendar that will see you through for at least the next three months.

Basically, you’ve done everything you’re supposed to. But how can you tell if all of that effort is about to pay off? What’s the biting point for content marketing and how do you know when it is about to demonstrate its true value?

There are a number of early signs that your content marketing effort is about to pay off and below, I’ve picked out 5 of the most common.

1. You’re starting to receive comments

Gaining comments on your blog doesn’t necessarily mean that the world is beginning to take notice of your content, but they do provide an early indication of what’s to come.

If you start to spot comments from real people (make sure you haven Akismet installed if you’re using WordPress) on posts which either agree or disagree with whatever it is you’re writing about, that’s a very positive thing indeed. Even better, if a collection of people add their commentary and begin discussing or arguing their points of view amongst themselves – your content marketing is starting to work.

2. Increased website traffic (to the right pages)

You should be keeping a weekly if not daily eye on your website stats. If, over a period of time, you start to see a noticeable rise in overall visits, that’s a positive sign. There’s just one additional check you need to make.

Take a look at the landing pages – which content assets are most popular? If your content marketing is starting to work, you should see your blog posts and landing pages that feature lead magnets and other downloads filling the top 10 most popular pages.

3. Decreased bounce rates and increased on-page time

The point of content marketing is to create stuff that people want to spend time with. Whether it be a video or blog post, you want to ensure visitors to your website stay long enough to digest the information and, ideally, share it with others.

Your content marketing is starting to work if you see decreased bounce rates (the number of people who arrive at your website and immediately leave) and increased on-page time. Google Analytics refers to the latter as ‘average session duration’.

4. Increased (pre-qualified) leads

By the time prospective customers contact you they will either be at the start of their buying journey or somewhere near the end. If it’s the latter, they will probably have pre-qualified themselves thanks to becoming an engaged subscriber to your content marketing.

If your sales teams are starting to receive leads that are practically at the ‘give me it, please’ stage, there is a very good chance this is down to the effort you’re putting into content.

Task your sales staff with finding out exactly how each lead came to be and pay particular attention to the number that have spent time observing your commentary on the topic or product they’re willing to invest in.

5. Increased profit

This will make anyone in business sit up and take notice. The end game of content marketing is to create a more profitable venture that relies less on paid advertising and more on the tricks of the publishing trade.

If there is a marked increase in your profit margins and you haven’t increased pricing or reduced costs elsewhere, your content marketing deserves a pat on the back.

Summary

Content marketing can feel like a long, arduous slog at times. Akin to shouting into an empty room when first starting out, it’s no wonder many businesses fail to keep up the momentum required to make it a success. However, keep an eye out for the green shoots of success above and you’ll see why you have been putting in all of that had work.

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