Saturday, September 24, 2016

Digital Natives Need Social Media Training Just Like Everyone Else

Image result for Why Digital Natives Need Social Media Training Just Like Everyone Else
 Digital Natives Need Social Media Training Just Like Everyone Else

Today’s college students are digital natives. An 18-year-old entering her college freshman year this fall was around six years old when Facebook was released and around eight years old when the world met Twitter. Because college students can barely remember a time before social media, many are beaming with confidence about their social media savvy. But comfort and confidence with social media alone doesn’t make one ready to handle a brand’s Snapchat account.

Indeed, the digital native as social media expert fallacy is real. Just ask the interns so often blamed for social media gaffes.

In a recent study co-authored with Emily Kinsky, Karen Freberg, Carolyn Kim, andWilliam Ward, students completed Hootsuite Academy training as part of a social media class at one of five universities.

At the start of the semester, and prior to taking the training, we asked students “What is your comfort level on social media?”

We asked that same question after the students finished most or all of the course and had earned Hootsuite Certification.

While the average score went up a little, some students were more confident at the start of the semester than after taking the course and completing the certification.

It appears these students were facing somewhat of a social media paradox. Despite being digital natives, it seems some students may have been uncomfortable in the realization of how much they didn’t know.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A false sense of confidence does no one any good. What I’m sure most employers would say they want are social media workers who are confident because they have gained the appropriate education and preparation.

And the only way we prepare students to become truly confident leaders in the social media profession is by committing to social media as part of the curriculum.

In fact, what we found for many participants in our study is that the social media education experience gave them specific reasons to be confident. In talking to students following completion of most or all of the course and after they had earned their Hootsuite Certification, many reported how their experience boosted their understanding of the professional application of social media tools, concepts, and strategies. This knowledge helped empower the students to be leaders in their jobs and internships.

That type of confidence, when coupled with education and preparation, can produce results that benefit the student and the employer.

For example, student Gisselle Kohoyda, who worked as a social media coordinator at SwimSam, told us: “Most people are afraid to pass off such a large portion of their company to a 23-year-old kid with an Instagram account, but after I elaborated my formal training and my experience, they are almost relieved to be passing off a piece of their business, especially to someone who actually knows what they are doing and has a very concise plan on scheduling that will benefit them.”

Another student, Nicole Gabriel, told us that before she joined the nonprofit she’s working at, there was no cohesive approach to posting to the organization’s Facebook and Twitter feed. This, she said, resulted in “a confusing wall and news feed that didn’t mesh well together.”

As a result of her education and training, she was able to shift social media management to Hootsuite to produce a more effective social media posting schedule.

This is the type of confidence we want our students to gain—confidence that comes from education, training, and experience.

Yes, our students are digital natives. But, for those of us teaching in communication and related fields, we can’t take that fact for granted by failing to make social media education a robust part of the curriculum. When it comes to the professional use of social media, today’s college students still have a lot to learn.

With the right education and training, digital natives can become true social media experts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Steps to Drastically Improve your Blog Search Ranking

Once upon a time, ranking well in Google was as simple as inserting a keyword in your blog post title and sprinkling a few more throughout the post. If the keywords were well-chosen, you stood a good chance of appearing at the top of the search engine results page.
Unfortunately, things have changed over the years. Not only is the competition between blogs fiercer than ever, but Google and other search engines have gotten a lot smarter. Search engines are now better at understanding high-quality content and differentiating it from lower quality content.
How well your article is optimized for keywords still matters, but search engines can dig deeper to discover how relevant your content is, whether it actually answers niche questions, and much more. This calls for a new approach to optimizing blog posts for search engines, and we put together a simple 3-step process will help you optimize your blog for maximum results without risking any penalty.
This is what the experts are doing.


One keyword per blog post is no longer an effective strategy. Using a main keyword and a few secondary keywords related to it is also not ideal. What you should be aiming for instead is depth. Google now understands the vocabulary of your content – it makes sense of related phrases and synonyms.
Several tools can help you enlarge your keyword list, generating related keywords and synonyms that can add depth to your content. This generally calls for longer form content, in that it’s easier to include a varied selection of related keywords in longer pieces in a natural way.
The aim here is not keyword stuffing, but simply making your content more specific to your topic or niche. Here’s how to get started.
  • Use to generate keyword suggestions and completions based on what people search for on Amazon, Yahoo, Wikipedia,, Bing, and YouTube. It supports more sources that the Google Keyword Suggest Tool.
  • Use online dictionaries of synonyms like to generate synonyms for your main keywords. Other similar tools include Thesaurus.comOxford Thesaurus, Even if you write blog posts for a very specialized niche, you should still be able to find synonyms that Google can then pick up to better understand and rank your content.
  • Use Serpstat to scan your most popular blog posts to find out which keywords your competitors are ranking for higher than you. With this tool you can identify valuable keywords that your blog is not using but could benefit from. For best results, ensure that the pages Serpstat scans have already been optimized for search engines.
  • Once you come up with related keywords and synonyms, you can start using them in your new posts. But there is something else you can do with them: insert them into your already published posts. A simple way to do this is to add new sections to your posts and tweak subheadings. Start with the posts whose content is not likely to go out of date soon and then work on improving the rest.
By following the steps above, you increase Google’s understanding of your blog posts, which in turn can lead to a better search engine ranking. Over time, a consistently high search engine ranking for your blog can result in more visitors, more comments, and more social media shares. Your blog is very important, and optimizing it for search engines is a must.


Google Entities include notable or well-known people, places, or organizations that are associated with your keywords. For example, if you search for a favorite book or film, Google displays in the right hand side of the screen a short summary, together with notable people (such as writer, director, actor), country of origin, and other related information. These are all entities.
Entities are important because Google uses them to determine the ranking of a particular search term. A longer blog post that mentions notable people or events performs much better than a short one that is only filled with keywords. It’s easier for Google to place content that refers to entities in context and understand its value.
The algorithms Google uses for this are complicated, but the strategy of using entities to increase your search engine ranking is simple. Here are some tips to inserting entities into your blog posts — you can also add them to social media content and content in general.
  • Draw on your own knowledge of a topic to come up with related entities and refer to them in your content. That said, be careful not to turn entities into keyword stuffing. One or two references for each entity per post is enough.
  • Pay attention to the related entities or concepts that Google sometimes suggests when you type your keywords into the search bar. Some of these suggestions can be used as entities.
  • Notice the Google Knowledge Graph that appears over the search results, providing insight and lists about particular searches, such as music albums or films. Those are all entities related to the keywords you searched for.
  • Extract entities from popular content — whether it’s yours or a competitor’s — to explore concepts such as Targeted Sentiment, Relations, and other concepts that can help you understand what entities are the most important for you topic or niche. To generate a relevant list of entities, you can use apps like Rosette or AlchemiAPI which you can try for free.
Working with entities may sound a little challenging at first, but it really isn’t, especially if your keywords target a particular audience in a specific area. Specificity helps narrow down options and clears confusion when working with entities, just as it does with keywords.


Google likes content that is able to answer specific niche questions. Have you ever noticed the answer box at the top of the search results? For example, if you type “distance to the moon” into Google, it will serve you the answer right away: 238,900 miles. This saves you the trouble of having to click on a search result and be taken to a web page to find out the answer.
This answer box highlights the importance of content that answers specific, technical questions relevant to your industry or niche. For best results, answers can be woven into your blog posts alongside your keywords and entities. To identify the main questions your audience are likely to want answers to, there are several tools that can help you.
  • Use Serpstat to generate question-focused keywords. For example, if you search for “search engine marketing”, it may generate questions such as “what is search engine marketing”, “why search engine marketing is important”, as well as a variety of more complex questions, all of them based on keyword popularity. All of these can be covered in your long-form posts.
  • Use Answer the Public to view visualizations of the different questions web users often ask related to a set of keywords or a specific word. It uses modifies such as where, why, or how to generate related questions. This can be a great tool in itself for helping you come up with SEO-friendly content ideas for your blog. Lots of ideas.
  • Take advantage of Twitter’s advanced search functionality to research niche questions on a social network where a huge number of questions are being asked and answered every day. Type your keywords, press space, and then add a question mark, so that your query looks like this: “outsourcing” ? or “search engine marketing” ? This filters tweets, displaying only those relevant to your business. Keep in mind though that the results are not as in-depth as those provided by Serpstat or Answer the Public, hence it’s best to use them mostly for Twitter marketing.


The tools and strategies mentioned above do require an investment of time. After all, research always takes time. But the time you invest discovering related keywords, synonyms, entities, or questions worth answering is time well spent.
Organic search engine optimization is one of the best vehicles you have for increasing your online visibility. Increased visibility will also mean a better reputation on the web, which can be the foundation for your social media marketing efforts.  
Another benefit of that research will be fresh inspiration for your blog content. It’s like brainstorming ideas for future content while taking into account keyword performance and the interest and needs of your audience.
Researching related keywords and entities takes a bit of work, and we would love to hear how it goes for you. We specialize in content writing and research is something we do for many of our clients, we would be happy to help you with any challenges you may be facing. You can reach me here if you want to chat.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tips for Better Facebook Video Ads

Are you creating video ads for Facebook?
Wondering how you can make stronger video ads?
Whether you’re working with promoted video posts or videos uploaded as ads, paying attention to the details can improve the impact of your content.
In this article, you’ll discover nine ways to improve your Facebook video ads.
optimize video ads on facebook
Discover nine tips for better video ads on Facebook.

Why Video Ads?

While video gets three times the engagement of other content, it’s largely underutilized. According to a Buffer study, of the seven Facebook posts that brands share per week, 80% are links, 19% are photos, and less than 1% are videos.
Because video ads get so much visibility, marketers not only need to publish them more, but also do them better. In the Internet Trends Report 2016, Mary Meeker states that many online ads are ineffective, especially videos. “If there’s ever been a call to arms to create better ads, this is it,” she says.
Remember, only a video created as a Facebook ad can include the link to a call to action.

#1: Focus on Quality From the First Frame

Since videos on the desktop and mobile news feed autoplay, you have 3 seconds to convince users to watch your video. You don’t need a long intro or animated logo. You want to engage people immediately.
Fitness expert Natalie Jill created a 43-second montage that captures the audience’s attention in the first few frames. Sound is optional (since it’s background music), and there is minimal text. She’s promoting a 30-day series of fitness videos, and this video is indicative of what users get when they opt in.
natalie jill fit facebook video
Natalie Jill’s video ad captures attention from the start.
Get your viewers invested in your content immediately. Show who you are and what you do visually, concisely, and from the get-go.

#2: Include a Compelling Offer

There’s no point in doing an ad if there’s no compelling offer for your call to action.
In this video for EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey entices employers with a solution to their company’s gossip problem. What business owner wouldn’t click?
dave ramsey facebook video
Include a compelling offer so viewers respond to your call to action.
Create an offer your target audience can’t resist. Then be clear and succinct with the text. Don’t forget to track the links using UTM codes or another system so you know whether your video is effective.

#3: Show Your Personality

Video gives your audience a glimpse into who you are, so show them!
Les Brown is a motivational speaker who has embraced video ads. He has an inviting profile picture and is fun on camera. People feel like they’re guests at his personal party. He also talks in the first person in the video description, speaking directly to his audience.
les brown facebook video
Les Brown invites viewers into his world with his personality.
When you record your video, be excited and enthusiastic about your topic. It will show through and engage your viewers.

#4: Add Captions to Your Videos

As previously mentioned, Facebook autoplays videos in the news feed. Add captions so your videos can be consumed with the sound off.
Facebook adds captions to your video ads automatically. Just click Add Captions when you’re ready to promote them.
add captions to facebook video ad
Facebook gives you the option to generate captions automatically on video ads.
However, if you upload your video as an organic wall post, you need to add the captions yourself. One way to get the text for your video is to use a transcription service such as
Alternatively, you can upload your file to YouTube and get an SRT (SubRip Text) file. Because the process is automated (and not 100% accurate), you’ll need to read and edit the transcription.
To get YouTube captions, upload your video to YouTube. Depending on the length of your video, you may need to wait a bit for the captions to auto-populate. Once they’re ready, go to the video player and click the CC icon in the list of tools under your video.
This takes you to the Subtitles & CC section. Select the default language.
On the next screen, click the Edit button. Play the video and click on the sections of captioning you need to revise.
edit youtube captions
Click in each section you need to update.
Click in any caption segment to replay any part of the video. You can choose to automatically pause the video when typing. When you’re finished editing, click the Publish Edits button to save your work.
Next, download your fileClick on the new captions language to the right of your video (not the one listed as Automatic). On the next screen, look for the Actions drop-down menu at the top of the Captions section, and select .srt under Download.
Rename the file per Facebook’s syntax: “” (“en” is the two-letter language code and “US” is the two-letter country code.)
Now, go to your Facebook video and click the gray arrow at the top right of the post.Choose Edit Postgo to the Captions tab, and click Upload SRT fileUpload your fileand click Save.
upload captions for facebook video ad
After you rename the .srt file per Facebook syntax, edit your video and upload your captions.
Facebook’s news feed is designed to be viewed with the sound off. Make your videos understandable and graphically enhanced so users will be able to watch anything you post without the need to hear it.
Ideally, your videos should grab your audience’s attention within the first few seconds when watching with the sound off. They will then feel compelled to enable sound.

#5: Connect on a Personal Level

People make connections with people, not businesses. Create videos that show you’re relatable.
Flixel is a tool for creating cinemagraphs, which are living photos (Flixel animates a part of a video clip). The company’s video ad shares the story of how the tool got started and the names and faces behind the app. Plus it demonstrates how the tool works. By doing this, Flixel humanizes the brand and makes a personal connection with the audience.
flixel facebook video ad
Give your audience a behind-the-scenes view of you and your product or business.
Think about how you can tell your business’s story in an informal, yet authoritative, way. Plus look for creative ways you can both stand out in the news feed and relate more deeply with your audience, such as using cinemagraphs.
When you appear on camera, first and foremost, be yourself. Also, do the recording somewhere you feel comfortable, since that will make you feel relaxed and genuine too.

#6: Use Headlines to Create Curiosity

The viewer’s eye takes in the movement of the video, but a compelling headline is what makes it hit home.
Pique your viewers’ interest with a headline teaser so they can’t help but want to watch. Just be aware of Facebook’s newest news feed signal for reducing clickbait headlines.
Upside Travel captures the user with its header: “The Creator of Priceline Is About to Rock the World of Business Travel.” The implied exclusivity in the video (“Space is limited!”) also lends itself to a must-click scenario.
upside travel facebook video ad
Draw in your viewer with a great headline.
Take the time to think through your headlines. Write something engaging and informative, because it will grab viewers’ attention in the feed.
Ideally, split-test multiple headlines in your ads so you can see which headlines get the best response.

#7: Add Lower-Third Highlights

Text on video helps you highlight salient points.
When you include lower thirds on your videos, viewers can consume your video content and grab the high points without watching the whole video or reading a detailed description or related post. Although it’s called “lower thirds,” you can place the text anywhere on your video.
add lower thirds to video
Emphasize key points by adding text overlay to your videos.
Use your favorite video editing program (even iMovie or Movie Maker) to add text to your videos. In the example above, I used ScreenFlow to add an overlay to one of my videos.

#8: Write an Informative Description

Part of being an expert is sharing lots of information.
Zhena Muzyka is the founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, and author of Life by the Cup. Her description in this example is an extensive supplement to her video. Zhena also includes testimonials and she repeats the call to action and link several times, much like in a sales page or email offer.
zhena facebook video ad
It’s okay to have a lot of text in your video description.
Don’t be shy about adding text to your video description. Say whatever you feel you need to supplement and support your video.
Some studies show that short narrative performs best for Facebook posts. I tend to write rather lengthy descriptions on my Facebook posts and over the years, my audience has come to know that my posts are informative in this way.

#9: Provide Value

If you’re doing a demo, make sure it’s understandable, so purchasers of your product know what to do from the start.
In this video, I go through what users need to do to review their Facebook pages after the recent page design update. Note: This is another example of an extensive description, as I highlight the salient points from the video in the text.
useful facebook video example
Make sure your video contains useful information.
When showing your audience how to do something, include step-by-step instructions and be as clear as possible.
If you’re sharing your screen, be sure to record using a trusted screen capture tool. You could also broadcast via the Facebook Live API using a third-party tool such as Telestream Wirecast or OBS Studio, and share your screen. Then once the broadcast ends, turn your live video into an ad.
Another way to be valuable is to share other uses for your products or special tips. Your viewers will feel special for knowing about your insider hacks.
In Conclusion
The examples above put multiple best practices in place.
This video from brain science expert John Assaraf actually has all of the elements, from engaging, authentic content to a detailed description. Plus, because his video has captions and lower thirds, his info is understandable for anyone who’s watching without audio. John also includes a compelling call to action and with Facebook’s video ad tool, he can include an actual CTA button.
john assaraf facebook video
Put as many best practices into each video as you can.
The more best practices you’re able to incorporate into your video ads, the better. Take time to brainstorm ideas, record, and add the technical elements (captions, text graphics, etc.).
You never know which of your videos will take off, so any videos you share should be worthy of boosting. You don’t need to promote all of your video posts, but you should make sure they’re all positioned for success.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Content Marketing Mistakes Your Company is Making

Content Marketing Mistakes Your Company is Making

Nearly nine out of 10 B2B companies report using content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, but most are doing it wrong.

Even a few years ago, when I'd mention the term "content marketing" to business owners, I got a lot of blank stares. It's amazing how far we've come in such a short time.

Now, 88 percent of B2B companies report using content marketing as part of their marketing strategy. In fact, CMOs at the largest tech companies reported that building out their content marketing as an organizational competency was their second-most important goal (right after measuring ROI). But despite the excitement businesses have about doing content marketing, there's much that can go wrong.

This post will look at 12 common content marketing mistakes your company may be making.

1. Your content isn't the right fit for your audience

The most amazing content served to the wrong audience will never achieve its purpose. You could be investing more than enough time and money into excellent content, but if it doesn't answer the questions your audience is asking, it's doomed to failure.

The key is to get to know your target audience, if you haven't already. Spend time reading blogs and blog comments. Hang out in industry forums and Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Figure out which questions and problems are coming up again and again.

Tailor your content so that it directly answers those questions. When I write a blog post, I usually have a specific person (or group of people) in mind as I write. I may not know their name, but I know their problem and I write specifically with that issue in mind.
2. You don't have a distribution plan

It has been suggested that marketers should spend approximately 20% of their time writing a piece of content, and 80% promoting and distributing it. Unfortunately, these percentages are usually reversed, with most time being spent on content creation.

According to research from Altimeter, marketers understand the importance of distribution: over half (53%) of marketers surveyed said they need to invest in distribution. However, only 25% say they actually do invest in it.

Content that simply gets published on your blog is unlikely to gain traction and to help you achieve your goals. To ensure the best outcomes, have a plan in place for exactly how you'll promote and distribute each piece of content you create.

I personally like to push our blog to Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Linkedin, mention it in my other blog posts on places like this. I've also been having HUGE success with syndicating our blog content to Medium. We've become the 8th most followed publication on Medium due to our amazing content. Try it and find your distribution plan.
3. You're too focused on SEO

If the words "SEO content" are still in your vocabulary, you could be focusing too much on keywords and not enough on your audience. While SEO and keyword research should be a crucial part of your content marketing, they should never be a substitute for creating high-quality content driven by the needs and desires of your audience.

SEO is a necessary strategy for showing up for relevant words and phrases in search, but don't let it distract you from your primary purpose: to create amazing content that drives traffic, engagement and sales. For more on this, check out my post Why SEO is Sabotaging Your Content Marketing.

4. You're not focused enough on SEO

You may have heard content marketing being touted as the "new SEO." However, content marketing works best when used alongside SEO, not in place of it.

When coming up with new topics for your content, keyword research can be invaluable. It gives you insight into the words and phrases people use to find your products or services, allowing you to create content that's actually being looked for.

Add to this that organic search is still the #1 driver of traffic to business sites, and the importance of SEO can't be denied. For more guidance, see my newly-updated postThe Beginner's Guide To SEO.
5. You're not documenting your content marketing strategy

At last count, only 32% of B2B companies had a documented content marketing strategy. B2C companies were slightly ahead of the game, with 37% saying they had a strategy. This means that the majority of companies are doing content marketing without a solid plan in place.

Not only is documenting your strategy important for maintaining consistency, it's actually been shown to increase overall content marketing effectiveness.

Don't think you have the time to document your strategy? It doesn't have to be elaborate to be effective. Check out Marketing Land's 1-Hour Documented Content Marketing Strategy.

6. You're not reusing content

Creating new content isn't cheap, but is a necessary part of the content marketing process. Fortunately, one way to minimize your costs while maximizing investment is to reuse and re-promote, and repurpose old content. There are a number of ways you can do this, including:

  • Updating old content to make it more relevant 
  • Re-promoting older content on new platforms 
  • Sharing your content again (even on the same platform) 
  • Re-optimizing your content so it ranks in search 
Reusing content can save you time and money, and should be a part of every business's content strategy. For more on this, see my post How To Repurpose Content So You Can Get More Done.

7. Your content doesn't hold enough value

The word gets thrown around a lot, but "value" is something that's missing from most content that gets published online. It can mean different things to different people, but the gist of it is this: your content either needs to say something new, or it needs to be new to your audience.

According to a recent study by BuzzSumo (shared on Moz), over 50% of blog posts get 2 or fewer Facebook interactions, and over 75% get zero external links. In other words, there's a whole lot of content getting posted that no one is reading, liking or linking to.

Don't just publish content for the sake of publishing content. Make sure it brings true value, either by adding something new to the conversation or by presenting it in a way that resonates with your audience.
8. You're not publishing to multiple platforms

In the early days of content marketing, businesses were told to publish content to their blog and then share it via a variety of channels (social media, email, etc.).

However, what many are finding now is that viewers and readers are increasingly reluctant to leave the platform they're on to view content on another site. In other words, they still want to consume your content, but they want to do so here and now.Contently has declared 2016 as "the start of the omni-channel publishing era." Rather than promoting content on multiple channels, businesses must actually be present on those channels, providing long-form content that can be enjoyed on those channels. Contently says it best: "The magazine of the future is no longer the one you print yourself; it's everywhere your audience hangs out."
9. You're not properly tracking ROI

Tracking the ROI of your content marketing is important, however according to theContent Marketing Institute, 52% of B2B businesses struggle with it.

If you want to get (and keep!) buy-in for your content marketing program, you'll need to regularly track and report your ROI. The Content Marketing Institute recommendsaddressing the following components as part of your calculations:
Content cost: Including copyediting fees, design services, etc.
Content utilization: Are you actually using all the content that gets created? If not, that content is 100% waste.
Content performance: Look at engagement rates, not just traffic.
10. You're not respecting the buying cycle

Visitors will arrive at your site with a wide variety of goals and expectations. They could be in the initial stages of researching a problem or question, or they could be wallet-in-hand, ready to buy.

As a content marketer, it's your job to know how each segment of visitors arrives at your site, and to understand where they're at in the buying cycle.

Your content should then be tailored to speak to the specific concerns of that segment. One of the biggest mistakes you could make at this point is pushing sales too early. If visitors are at the early stages of the cycle, you could be alienating them and losing out on a sale that could have happened down the road. In the same way,not encouraging a sale when someone is ready to buy could also be costing you.
11. You're not learning from your analytics

In order to be as effective as possible, your analytics should constantly be informing your content strategy. Tracking relevant metrics ensures you're creating content that consistently drives results.

According to Jay Behr, there are 4 primary metrics that should inform your content strategy: consumption metrics, sharing metrics, lead generation metrics and sales metrics.

Each of these metrics can help you figure out whether your content is hitting its mark or not, helping you avoid creating and sharing content that will never help you achieve your goals.
12. Your content has no specific purpose

Some of the benefits of content marketing can be rather vague, and can therefore be difficult to quantify; take brand awareness and loyalty for example. Your content can help achieve these goals, even with little or no specific effort on your part.

However, this is not a great strategy if you have specific goals you want to accomplish: for instance, increased traffic, opt-ins or sales. The majority of your content should have a very specific, trackable goal, and should use a strong call-to-action (CTA) to help achieve this goal.

This will not only help you determine the effectiveness of your content, but will allow you to more accurately track ROI.
Final thoughts

Making one or two of the mistakes above may not undermine your content marketing's effectiveness. However, given the amount of time and money you're likely investing in your content, a
nything you can do to increase effectiveness is a good thing.

Quick Guide to Measuring Content Marketing Efforts

Simply put, if you’re not measuring, you’re not marketing. In fact, if you’re whipping up blog posts and infographics without business objectives, you’re basically partaking in a very expensive version of arts and crafts.
Your job as a content marketer is to show your boss the money — not traffic, not links — mon-naay.
Let’s talk about how to get started effectively measuring your content marketing efforts.


As a native Philadelphian (I live in Brooklyn now), I know a little too much about John Wanamaker.
Most people in marketing and advertising know him for this quote:
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.
However, this sentiment does not hold true for digital marketing.
If an action happens online, it can likely be measured. You need a plan to effectively measure the tasks that impact your business goals.
If you do this right and pay attention, you’ll be able to identify content marketing tasks that aren’t benefitting your business goals.
Unfortunately, there are a good portion of people that appear to be asleep at the wheel.
According to a poll by Oracle Marketing Cloud, many in-house professionals believe that it’s difficult to measure your content marketing’s return on investment (ROI).
In fact, I’ve seen numerous studies make this declaration.
Let’s just be clear right now — that’s poppycock!


Instead of analyzing the true factors that affect your business, many people focus on vanity metrics when measuring content marketing effectiveness.
Here are some of those vanity metrics and a brief description of why they aren’t good measures of content marketing ROI by themselves:
  • Traffic: Knowing the number of visitors that came to a website is not an indicator that you reached a business goal. For example, you could spend $1,000 on StumbleUpon Paid Discovery and get 10,000 people to visit your blog post in the next 30 minutes, but more than 90 percent of those people won’t read a single word beyond the headline. When someone excitedly announces, “We got more traffic this month!” the only response that makes sense is, “Cool. What did that traffic do for us?”
  • Search rankings: It’s difficult to tell if search rankings drive traffic, and even if they do, once again you have to be able to quantify how the traffic actually helped your business goals.
  • Social shares: Just because someone shared your content doesn’t mean that he actually visited the page or that any of his followers will visit the page.
  • Impressions and reach: Similar to rankings, impressions and reach are indicators of possibility. They are not indications of whether or not people saw or consumed your content. It’s the equivalent of saying people in cars are carefully paying attention to the billboards they drive past and taking specific actions because of them.
  • Page views: A page view doesn’t inherently mean the user took any action that benefits your business.
For most aspects of your business, these vanity metrics are simply indicators of possibility — not true indicators of action or even interest.


There are a number of great measurement frameworks out there.
At iPullRank, we typically refer to two distinct segments: business metrics and channel metrics.
Business metrics have a direct impact on the company’s performance. They are often referred to as a subset of “business intelligence.”
Examples are:
  • Number of leads
  • Amount of revenue generated
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Churn rate
Your content marketing efforts should impact these metrics.
They’re the metrics that get you your bonus! And they’re the metrics your boss cares about.
Channel metrics are the levers you directly control that impact those business metrics.
Examples of channel metrics are:
  • Conversion rates per channel
  • Personas visiting per channel
  • Scroll depth of content per channel
  • Traffic per channel
Ultimately, these are the metrics that you can impact through direct and specific on-site changes.


Let’s walk through your first steps of measurement planning.
1. Determine your business goals
Are you looking to generate more leads, sell more products, or perhaps grow your email list? Knowing your business goals will help you determine conversion values.
Be careful with business goals, however. Although you may just be responsible for one certain channel, those channel metrics arenot business goals. For example, “increase Facebook Likes” is not a business goal. Driving more conversions from Facebook traffic is a business goal.
2. Determine your audience
Who are you speaking to with your content? How do they align with what can be tracked by your current setup? What features make up an audience segment? These answers help you determine the value of your traffic.
You can specifically do this in Google Analytics by creating advanced segmentsleveraging data from Demographics and Interests reports.
3. Determine your channels
Where do you distribute your content? PPC? Social Media? Email? Display? Native Advertising? Each channel has its own measurable attributes.
4. Determine your tools
What tools do you have at your disposal for measurement? Google Analytics? Or other channel-specific analytics, as well?
5. Determine your key performance indicators (KPIs)
The combination of your channels and your tools determine your KPIs. Based on your goals and the data available to you, what will you use to determine the effectiveness of the effort? What is a conversion?
Once you’ve done all this, you’ll have several business metric KPIs that look like this:
Now you know what to focus on so you can start measuring your content marketing!


Measurement requires deliberate thought and alignment of your efforts with your goals.
So let’s all stop doing arts and crafts.
Let’s illustrate how our content is truly making businesses mon-naay!