You’ve been churning out blog posts, writing ebooks, firing out monthly email newsletters and shooting some killer videos. But how do you know that your hard work has been paying off?
In order to measure the success of your content marketing efforts, it is essential that you create a content marketing report.
What is a content marketing report?
A content marketing report is a way that you can analyse various metrics that show how your content is performing. It allows you to view what is and isn’t working, making you aware of what content needs to be changed, improved, or kept ongoing in order to reach your business goals.
Why should I construct a content marketing report?
Not only is having a content marketing report vital for you to understand your own work, it is also crucial for any managers or investors to see how you and the business are performing. A content marketing report allows you to present your findings in a clear, professional format.
Writing a content marketing report for client work is also very beneficial. Reporting to your current clients builds trust, provides value and educates them. This means they are more likely to want to continue working with you as well as potentially recommending you to others.
There are a multitude of other benefits of writing a content marketing report; these include:
- It allows you to adapt and develop your future content marketing and campaigns based on what has or has not worked
- It improves communication and understanding between employees
- When content works towards achieving a business goal, it can boost morale within the company
- It allows you to provide an overview of valuable information in a formal manner to your colleagues
- You are able to use reporting to attract new clients and keep existing ones around for longer
- The analytics are specific, allowing you to get accurate insights
- By adapting future content based on the report, you are able to improve the potential for return on investment (ROI)
What metrics should I be measuring?
What you choose to measure is based on what you want to achieve with your content marketing campaign. In order to be sure that your work has been successful, it is important that you define your campaign goal before you create your content marketing report.
Some common content marketing campaign goals are:
- Build brand awareness
- Generate leads
- Increase conversion rate
- Increase traffic to your website
- Improve SEO (search engine optimisation)
- Establish brand identity
- Retain existing customers
What are SMART goals?
After you narrow down what your main goal is you can start thinking about the specifics. An effective strategy for writing a specific campaign goal is setting a SMART goal.
Specific – A specific goal is focused on one particular metric.
Measurable – A measurable goal is a numeric expectation that you are aiming to reach.
Attainable – An attainable goal is something that you are capable of achieving.
Relevant – A relevant goal is something that is appropriate for your business.
Timely – A timely goal is something that you can achieve within a specific timeframe.
An example of a SMART goal:
Specific – ‘We want to encourage more people to sign up for our email newsletter.’
Measurable – ‘We want to increase our amount of email sign-ups by 15%.’
Attainable – ‘We have an appropriate amount of time, resources and staff to achieve this goal.’
Relevant – ‘Spending time on increasing our email sign-ups will help us to boost our brand awareness.’
Timely – ‘We want to increase our email sign-ups in the space of one month.’
By setting a SMART goal, you are able to clearly define exactly what you want to get out of your content marketing campaign.
What are KPIs?
Once you have defined your campaign goals, you can think about what your key performance indicators (KPIs) would be. KPIs are the metrics that you can use to monitor your progress.
Some examples of useful KPIs relating to content marketing include:
- Referral traffic
- Page views
- Email/whitepaper subscriptions
- Email open rate
- Email forwards
- Bounce rate
- Total downloads (eg. an ebook)
- Number of shares
- Social mentions
- Inbound links
Which metrics are best for measuring my goals?
There can be multiple metrics that are good for measuring each goal. Here are some example scenarios:
Goal: Increase engagement
Metric 1: The amount of shares your content gets on social media
Metric 2: How many people have left comments on your blog, website or social media channels
Goal: Increase sales
Metric 1: Conversion rate (the number of site visits that end in a completion goal such as purchasing or downloading a product)
Metric 2: Vesting rate (how many people that have signed up to a free trial hit the first payment date before they cancel)
Goal: Grow brand awareness
Metric 1: Reach (how many people have seen your content)
Metric 2: Inbound links (how many other websites or pages have linked to your content)
How do I create a content marketing report?
When you’ve established your content marketing campaign goals and defined your KPIs, it’s time to start writing your report.
To find out the performance metrics for your content you will have to use an analytics tool. Google Analytics is the best tool to use when collecting data for a content marketing report, as you can view a wide range of in-depth metrics. You can use Google Analytics to create a customised dashboard showing all of the key metrics that you want to measure.
How to create a custom dashboard in Google Analytics:
- Log in to Google Analytics
- Navigate to your view and open Reports
- Click on Customisation > Dashboards > + Create New
- In the Create Dashboard dialogue, you have two options. Either select Black Canvas for no widgets, or select Starter Canvas with a default set of widgets (for further customisation, you are able to import Dashboard Configurations from the Solutions Gallery)
- Add widgets and segments to your dashboard
- Customise your Dashboard’s layout by selecting Customise Dashboard to change how your widgets appear on the page
The main things to keep in mind when writing your content marketing report are:
- Make sure that you only include the information that is the most relevant and useful in terms of your KPIs and campaign/business goals.
- Customise your report so that it accurately reflects your business. It may be helpful to use a pre-designed template that you can download from the internet, but make sure to adapt it to suit your branding.
- Make your report looks professional by including charts, infographics and bullet points. This makes the information easier to digest by showing it in a visual format, which is particularly useful if you will be presenting the report.
- Different people may require different reports. A report that is to be presented in a board meeting may not be relevant to freelancers you work with. In cases like this, it may be relevant to write multiple reports.
- Conclude your findings. It’s important that you sum up the results of the report with an actionable target. The purpose of a content marketing report is not just to see how your content has performed, it is to help you to turn that information into your next marketing strategy.
How to write a content marketing report for a client
- Make sure that the content that you are creating accurately reflects the business goals of your client – If you know what your client would like to see within a content marketing report, make sure to be strategic when creating content. The report you create should be as relevant to your content creation as possible. Everything that you create for your client should have a purpose behind it.
- Adapt your report for who you’re talking to – Different professionals (such as investors, business partners and team members)will respond differently to different kinds of reports. Always think about what their main business goals are and how your work is relevant. As well as making sure your content marketing report looks impressive to them, think about how they can use the report to impress any others that they may report to.
- Address any questions that you have asked them beforehand – Make sure that you have asked them exactly what they want to learn from a content marketing report. Sometimes people will be unsure, so it will be up to you to talk through the factors that would be most relevant for their business.
Want more help with content marketing?
We hope you can use what you learnt in this guide to create a killer content marketing report! With the help of a successful report, you’ll be well on your way to smashing your business targets.
If you would like to know how to do the same for social media, head over to our post on how to run a social media report with free tools. Or, If you’d like some inspiration for new content ideas, we’ve written about 15 types of content that you should try.