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5 content marketing goals for massive ROI

Success with content marketing goes well beyond research, writing, and publishing. Measuring the impact of your content marketing is the only way to know that what you’re doing is working.

A content strategy with clearly-defined goals is a must. Without well-defined goals, the content you’re producing is little more than noise – and it’s not going to satisfy the needs of your customers.

While content goals are highly individualized, there are five goals that every content marketer should keep in mind when creating and publishing content.

1. Developing Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is one of the most common goals for content marketing – businesses want their audience to see the valuable content and follow it back to them.

And it plays a major role in building revenue: a report from Oracle and Aberdeen Group showed that 74% of CMOs list increasing brand awareness as a top priority.

That’s because quality, authoritative content showcases the expertise of your company, and leaves the audience asking, “Who made this?”

Content and KPIs for Brand Awareness

Examples of relevant content for this goal include:

  • Funny, entertaining, or engaging videos
  • Ebooks and webinars
  • Infographics
  • Data sheets and SlideShare decks about popular industry topics

Common KPIs for branding campaigns often target the views and social shares tied to content, as well as those that might come from partnership audiences.

Measuring Performance for Branding Goals

Brand awareness is one of the hardest goals to measure. There are a few ways you can begin pulling the data together to show campaign performance and (hopefully) growth.

Measure Growth Through Surveys

Surveys can be conducted in a number of ways: ask customers how they heard about you, or select a group of people familiar with your brand and ask a similar question. You can also select a random group and ask if they’re familiar with your brand.

Use Website Traffic

Analytics can provide insight into brand awareness, alongside specificcontent campaigns you’re running.

The “Direct” channel in Google Analytics will show you the number of people who arrived at your site by entering your URL directly into the address bar, used a bookmark, or used an email link that wasn’t tracked.

Search Volume Data

Reviewing the volume of branded searches for your company name using a tool like the Adwords Keyword Planner or running Google Trends against your name can help you see if search volume is increasing over time.

Be mindful that if you have a generic brand name, the data is going to be fairly skewed with irrelevant searches.

Set Up Listening Posts

Look into brand mentions across social channels, especially where you target the promotion of your content. It’s an opportunity to listen to unsolicited opinions, as opposed to dealing with response bias that can occur with surveys.

2. Driving Traffic to a Website

While brand awareness is a broader goal of content marketing, driving trafficis a goal centered on pushing traffic into the top-level cycle of your sales funnel.

You’re creating content with the intent to drive people to your site, nurture the relationship with valuable content, and warm the lead towards the end of the sales funnel.

Content and KPIs for Generating Traffic

Examples of relevant content for this goal include:

  • Social media content that links back to your website
  • Videos that push traffic to a relevant landing page
  • Blogs and articles with a call to action that moves readers to an opt-in or landing page

KPIs for this type of campaign are often based on the number of visits the content receives, the number of visits to the website or target page per month, time on site, and the conversion rates of the content.

Measuring Traffic Generation in Content Marketing

How you measure the traffic generated by your content marketing will vary a bit depending on where you place your content.

Off-site Articles and Blogs

For off-site content, it’s easiest to track referral traffic using the “Referrals” data provided in Google Analytics. Under “All Referrals,” you’ll be able to see the amount of traffic generated by specific pieces of content, as well as the landing pages where referral traffic is funneling in.

This is a great way to see which topics and types of content generate more traffic so you can revise your strategy and trim out what’s not working.

Inbound Content Campaigns

Referrals from sources like email or webinars can be difficult to track – it’s what’s called “dark traffic.”

Here, you can utilize Google UTM parameters, which allow you to append any URL with data, including source, medium, content type, and the name of a campaign. That data is then fed into your analytics so the source can be easily identified.

3. Generating Sales Leads

A primary goal for most businesses is to have qualified leads come in as a result of content marketing. You want to convert that blog and website traffic into leads that you then begin to nurture as part of your sales cycle.

This is the stage in which potential leads fill out some kind of form to gain access to your content.

Content and KPIs for Generating Sales Leads

Examples of relevant content for this goal include:

  • Ebooks, case studies, and white papers
  • Solution demos
  • Tools and resources such as checklists, worksheets, or courses

The two KPIs that marketers focus on are the number of leads generated from individual pieces of content, and the conversion rates of landing pages.

Measuring Lead Generation in Content Marketing

Measuring the number of leads is as simple as counting the leads you acquire in your CRM or email platform and comparing it to your benchmark.

For the conversion rates, turn to your analytics. In Google Analytics, simplydefine the conversion goal:

  • Go to your Google Analytics standard reports
  • Click on the “Admin” button
  • Click on “Goals”
  • From one of the “Goal” sets, click “+Goal”

The focus here is the “Event” goal. Event tracking is a powerful way to identify specific actions on your site, particularly for conversions around downloads, video views, or buttons for opt-ins. Analytics allows you to use these events as conversion goals.

Events are a little more complex to set up because you have to identify the specific event you want to track – that requires a little bit of JavaScript within the element you’re tracking.

Google provides a complete walk-through on setting up Event Goals.

By tracking your conversion rate by goals, along with the number of actual leads acquired, you can tweak different aspects of your content so that you’re losing less traffic and improving that conversion rate over the life of your campaign.

4. Converting Leads into Customers

This is a goal that relies heavily on the quality of your content marketing. The content you create has brought the lead in, and now your continued efforts turn toward generating revenue from the lead in your database.

You’re nurturing that lead in hopes of closing the deal and making a sale.

Content and KPIs for Lead Conversion

Examples of relevant content for this goal include:

  • Case studies
  • Trials and demonstration videos
  • Eye-catching ads as part of retargeting campaigns
  • Infographics
  • Value-driven content that positions solutions to match the issues of the lead

Typical KPIs at this stage are the lead-to-conversion rate for each specific content campaign or piece of content being delivered, along with the average time to close new customers.

Measuring Lead Conversion in Content Marketing

With a content-focused sales funnel, track conversions in the same manner as the lead generation step above. Content should pull the lead to highly-targeted landing pages or encourage a phone call to sign up with a unique number that can be tracked.

Using the same “Event” goal tracking above – in comparison to when a lead enters that final conversion stage – you’ll know the percentage of converting leads.

When tied into a CRM for lead and customer management, you’ll be able to accurately track the amount of time it takes to make the lead-to-customer conversion.

5. Improving Retention and Driving Upsells

Once the customer is yours, the content marketing shouldn’t end. This is the stage where you’re creating custom content specific to your existing customers in order to reduce churn, nurture relationships and keep them coming back for more.

Content and KPIs for Customer Retention

Examples of relevant content for this goal include:

  • Blog posts on industry trends
  • Exclusive offers and deals sent via email list segments
  • Free, exclusive content for customers
  • Video tutorials for new product launches

KPIs can vary at this stage, depending on the content, customer retention rates, revenue growth from upsells, and percentage of repeat customers.

Measuring Retention and Upsells in Content Marketing

With retention, the measurement of the goal will vary based on the offers and type of content you put out.

For example:

  • Use UTM parameters and unique tracking URLs for email offers and retargeting ads
  • Create unique coupon codes for exclusive offers that go out in specific pieces of content
  • Create unique event goals for products and promotions targeting existing customers to track conversions
  • Review traffic data and social shares for video and blog content in relation to conversion rates of targeted landing pages

Putting the idea of metrics aside for a moment, the ultimate goal of your content marketing strategy should be to delight your customers.

It’s nice to track everything by the numbers, but believe it or not, the metrics will follow if you focus on the customer.

When customers are happy with what you provide, especially your communication efforts via content, it becomes much easier to drive loyalty and improve your revenue.



by Aaron Agius

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