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How Do You Set KPIs for Content Marketing?

Date published: December 18, 2023
Last updated: February 20, 2024

KPI stands for “key performance indicator.” These are more than generic goals you aim for as a business. They are specific, targeted objectives with quantifiable value.

Good KPIs are clearly associated with metrics that allow you to understand if and when you hit them. “Growing revenue by 6%” is a business goal. “Increasing sales conversions by 6% by the end of the quarter” is a KPI. 

You can apply KPIs to any part of marketing — including content. But what do content marketing KPIs look like? Let’s break it down.

What Are KPIs for Content Marketing?

Businesses use KPIs to achieve specific results. In the case of your content marketing strategy, the overall objective of any piece of content is to provide value for the consumer.

However, there are many other ways valuable content can positively impact your brand, such as building authority, credibility, and visibility. When you dig into the details (which is necessary to establish effective key performance indicators), content marketing KPIs can take a variety of forms. Your content marketing goals may include:  

  • Increasing organic traffic
  • Ranking higher in SERPs
  • Generating leads 
  • Identifying, researching, or expanding your target audience
  • Moving a potential customer down the sales funnel
  • Improving conversion rates (such as sales or email sign-ups)
  • Customer retention

For any of these KPIs to work, they must be fleshed out, properly defined for your specific marketing activity, and tracked over time.

How Do You Write a KPI Statement?

As a content marketer, if you want your KPIs to be effective, it’s best to formally write them down. You can create effective KPI statements by taking the time to consider each KPI before you decide what the specific objective is that you’re trying to achieve.

Begin the process by reviewing your content marketing strategy. This is your roadmap that considers your larger content-related goals as well as the tactics, resources, time-tables and other factors that go into achieving them. 

Once you’ve considered your overarching goals, you need to define what it would take to turn them into reality. This criteria is essential if you want your KPIs to be effective. It’s helpful to remember the SMART acronym. What are the Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based details that can turn each broader goal into a series of targeted benchmarks?

SMART goal setting helping to set KPIs for content marketing

You also want to consider the data that you have available. What information do you already have, and what additional information can you gather?  

For instance, if you’re trying to increase email sign-ups, how many do you currently have? How many new sign-ups did you get last month, in particular? This kind of past data helps you gauge how many more sign-ups you can aim for and reasonably expect to achieve as a future KPI.

Once you’ve taken all of this into consideration, decide what KPI or KPIs you specifically want to measure. Write them down, along with things like metrics to track and the time within which you want to reach the goal.

How Do You Set KPIs for Content Marketing?

Understanding how digital marketing KPIs work within engaging content is one thing. The tricky part is applying that knowledge to your specific content strategy. If you want to figure out the best KPIs to track for your marketing efforts right now, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What are you trying to achieve with your marketing? Again, always start here. What is your larger content marketing campaign and its goals and objectives? Do you want to build brand awareness? Close sales? This is ground zero for every KPI.
  • Do you need leading or lagging KPIs? Leading KPIs are initial goals that project potential future outcomes and dictate the direction your marketing needs to take. Lagging KPIs are indicators that consider past performance and measure them against preferred benchmarks.
  • What areas are you addressing well already? There are many areas of content marketing. Which ones are working? Is your social media performing well? Are your email marketing efforts seeing good user engagement? Has your keyword ranking improved? KPIs can help anywhere, but identifying what is already working helps you focus on the trouble spots.
  • What areas need work? Where is your content underperforming? Did a recent blog post flop? If that’s the case, you can set KPIs for writers to beef up your SEO, add CTAs, or otherwise improve the text. Whatever the situation, build your content KPIs around areas that need improvement.
  • What marketing metrics do you have in place? How can you track your content marketing ROI? Google Analytics can help with things like traffic and content performance. Social media has analytics built right into each platform. Identify how you can measure each KPI over time.

Use these questions to personalize your KPIs and align them with the specific content marketing goal you’re trying to achieve as a marketer right now. If you’re still struggling to set effective KPIs, working with a content marketing agency can help.

Setting Content Marketing KPIs That Work

Content KPIs can take on many forms. At the end of the day, though, you want them to serve as specific, data-backed stepping stones that help you move toward your larger objectives — both with your content and your overall growth marketing strategy.

Use them to keep you focused not just on larger goals but on each content-related benchmark and achievement that keeps you moving in the right direction.

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