How to Measure Content Curation ROI
As B2B marketers mature in their content marketing efforts, they're starting to look more closely at the tactics they use. They know content curation is a big part of their programs, and they are starting to dial in the right mix of created/curated/syndicated content. (According to Curata, most marketers are using a 65%/25%/10% mix.)
One of their biggest challenges is measuring their content curation ROI, since they're sharing content created by others. How can they measure these third-party assets effectively, ensure the readers know who shared the content with them, and demonstrate their success with curated content to the rest of their organization?
Let's look at some of the metrics you can help your clients track in content curation, in each curation channel (email, web, social media, etc.).
Websites and blogs
Curating content on a website and blog can be a great way to build an audience over time. Here are the metrics to care about:
- Page views and visitor growth: Not only should you be tracking these numbers for your original content, but track it for the curated content as well. You'll have a better idea of how your audience is growing and the topics they're interested in.
- Return visits: First-time visit numbers are important to know, but also how many return visits the content gets. If readers find the information relevant and useful, they'll return frequently. In a curated content post or page, return visits show that the collection is a trusted source for the topic.
- Days since last visit: Curated content gives you the perfect reason to update a page, and thereby invite readers to come back over time. They'll want to see how you've updated the page and information, and keep coming back. Set up some good tracking on the page, and you'll be able to identify trends, such as how many readers return weekly or monthly.
How to track this in Google Analytics
Log in to your GA account. To count visits and days since last visit:
- Click Audience > Behavior > Frequency & Recency.
- Under Distribution, click Count of Sessions or Days Since Last Session.
Ignore these metrics about websites and blogs
While you're tracking these three metrics for your curated content, you can ignore other commonly tracked metrics as they don't add much to your program (though they may be useful metrics for your content marketing program as a whole, so don't ignore them completely).
Because you're encouraging readers to click through to other websites and third-party marketing assets, you can safely ignore engagement and bounce rates, and the total time on the site.
Also, since your curated content may be hyper-specific to a group of readers or audience, the total number of site visitors may not be useful to you either. In this case you're looking at the quality of the visitors, not the number of visitors.
Email lists are another great way to distribute curated content, as you've got a captive audience who's already expressed interest in the topic. Check out these metrics to assess your content curation ROI:
Subscriber growth: Steady growth in the number of subscribers on your list demonstrates that site visitors and readers are interested in your curated content collection.
Make sure there’s a signup form on your website, as well as in the email. If your readers share the information with others via email, you’ll want to make sure to capture that growth as well.
Opt-outs and unsubscribes: Keep an eye on these numbers for your curated content. Generally speaking the number should be low; however, if it increases at any point, take a look at the content you're curating in the newsletter.
Perhaps it's time to change the frequency of the emails, segment the email list by topic so the curated content is more relevant to readers, or improve the quality and insights of the content you're selecting.
- Click-through rates: Click-through rates will help you gauge content relevance. Higher rates mean readers value the information and are viewing the articles you're curating. But lower rates don't necessarily indicate a lack of interest in the content. They could simply mean your readers are skimming your newsletter, rather than clicking through right away to read the third-party content.
How to track your email newsletter metrics
Tracking these stats will depend on the newsletter service you use, as some have internal tracking tools, while others let you integrate external tracking tools like Google Analytics. See your provider's support pages for the exact details.
Ignore this metric about email newsletters
Open rates on email newsletters with curated content aren't the best metric to look at because they're typically counted only for readers who click links in the emails themselves. They don't count the number of readers who skim the newsletter, forward it to a colleague, or have the "change status of email" option turned off in their email client.
Social media posts
As social media continues to gain traction for B2B marketers and in the industry as a whole, it's becoming even more important to track the distribution and promotion of your curated content through it. Tools are getting more refined as well, giving you more ways to track the metrics for your social media posts.
- Follower/fan growth: Track the number of social shares and people viewing your curated collection. Increased numbers here can indicate growth in views on a curated website or blog, which in turn can lead to an increase in newsletter subscribers.
- Retweets/shares/likes: Instead of simply sharing the third party content, consider using this trick: retitle the article and use your own URL shortening program. This lets you share your perspective on the topic or article, tailor it to your audience, and make it more appealing, but more importantly, it lets you track the shares more cleanly.
How to track your social media metrics
Many of these metrics are the same as the typical content marketing metrics you're used to seeing. Content curation changes the way you look at them and what they mean to your efforts. Content curation may look easy, but measuring its impact sure isn't. So before retweeting that next social media message, why not take a look at what's important for you and then measure it?
Are you having success measuring your content curation ROI? How about for your B2B writing clients? Hit the comments and let us know how you're doing it and how it's going. We'd love to hear more.
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