The must-know metrics for content marketing effectiveness: move from output to outcomes | Marq


We all know content is the “fuel” for your business. The case is often made for consistency and connection with your audience. But how do you measure content marketing effectiveness?  It’s easy to get sucked into the trap of vanity metrics. If you focus on clicks and visits instead of quality leads, you may find your fuel is actually just burning the candle from both ends. 

You want to build content that converts, and your goals depend on it. In this article, we share insights into how to measure content marketing effectiveness so you can better shape your content strategy. 

You will learn:

  1. How to reframe the way you think about content marketing effectiveness

  2. How to shift from content output to better content outcomes 

  3. Content metrics your CEO actually cares about

Read on as we answer the questions about how to measure content marketing success by narrowing in on what objective you set out to do in the first place.

Reframe how you think about content effectiveness 

On the most basic level, we know that content delivers valuable benefits for businesses far beyond website traffic. Audience retention depends on it. It is used to demonstrate thought leadership and build industry authority. We rely on it for SEO, and we deem it reigns supreme with the title “content is king.” 

Whether you are new to measuring content effectiveness or have been at this for a while, remembering the benefits of quality content can help you shape it to deliver on your objectives. 

Some of these benefits include:

  1. You’ll generate more leads.

  2. More website traffic (through SEO).

  3. Builds brand awareness.

  4. Builds audience trust. 

  5. Establishes your business as an industry leader.

These benefits only scratch the surface of what quality content can do for your business. So often, though, despite understanding the many benefits of content, businesses fail to deliver impactful outcomes because they are hyper-focused on quantity and consistency. Don’t get us wrong, we believe consistency is important. And we’d even say that the more you can connect with your audience through your content, the better. But, the aim should be focused on strategic thinking regarding your content. 

How do you know if your content is effective? We care about clicks and build-out tracking models. Hence, we properly attribute revenue, but when your intention is broader, or your initiatives are harder to track, how do you measure content success? 

Rather than focus on the metrics tied to a piece of content, it’s important to look at your broader marketing goals first. While this step may seem very basic, too often, the content-building and publishing process becomes so chaotic that it is easy to lose sight of your objectives. Perhaps you are committed to a specific velocity, and the pressure to deliver moves you to a place of producing content to demonstrate participation over strategy. The most important thing to remember when you are faced with content demand is to remember that your content will only be successful if it drives growth for your business. The content volume will not matter if it isn’t resonating or delivering on the objectives you set out to do. 

When you think about content success in this light, you can better align your content strategy and keep your goals top of mind as you create new content. In practice, this looks like a deep focus on outcomes instead of output. While you may have published a lot of content this quarter, was the goal about frequency or were there larger outcomes tied to this initiative? We bet that the initial objective had nothing to do with frequency and instead had a more tangible result in mind. 

Leads that turn into pipeline and revenue that you can attribute to your content is fantastic, but to do this successfully, your content has to be comprehensive and of the highest quality. If your strategy is to increase frequency without looking at the impact of the content that you publish, then you are missing it and likely spending a lot of time on content that isn’t helping your business. 

Think about it this way. If your content isn’t delivering on the objective you set out to accomplish, then it is wasted effort unless you are using it as a benchmark to iterate and improve upon. The cliche quality over quantity is actually true when it comes to measuring content effectiveness. Your content will perform better if you focus on the outcome.

Ask yourself about these outcomes before you hit “publish”:

What do you want your audience to do?

Which stage of the buyer’s journey will this content piece influence?

Does your content support your strategic initiatives?

This outcome focus on your content will help you build your content better. And still worth mentioning, how important it is to let your content creators know the impact of their work. Pulling them into the larger objectives will help them deliver more strategic content and create with the overarching goals in mind.

Strategic content is king 

Sometimes, the content will meet quality standards but fall short of delivering on your initiatives. This happens when the content isn’t threaded to your goal. That is why we can’t just say that content is king, rather, strategic content is. 

A well-planned content strategy is pivotal to the success of your content. When you set specific goals, whether they be related to increasing website traffic or building brand equity, your content should be tied back to that specific initiative. Then, your initiative is the marker for success, with content fueling it. 

So, if strategic content is king and to measure content success, you need to have a specific initiative, how do you set an initiative? 

Characteristics of a well-planned initiative:

  1. Specific

  2. Measurable

  3. Drives revenue for your business

When you plan initiatives that are specific, measurable, and drive revenue, you can always come back to them when checking your content to see if it fits the bill. Now, your questions about content effectiveness are tied to a specific goal, making it easier to track and understand. 

For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic, the content that you create and share will have to deliver a powerful CTA to bring your audience to your webpage. While other aspects of your content will be important, the CTA should inspire your audience to click through. If you do not see the increase in traffic that you had hoped, you know that you need to revise your content. 

A simple way to think about this is to look at your content with these questions in mind. 

  1. What is your initiative?

  2. Did you achieve it?

  3. What metrics prove it?

  4. If you missed your target, how can you adjust your content to help support this initiative?

The truth? This is the kind of reporting structure that your CEO cares about. While perhaps there is interest in looking at the specific content, the reality is that, you want to be able to present a strategic plan and be able to explain how your content supports your initiatives. And, if you are thinking about this in advance, the chances are, your content will be more effective and more likely to drive results. 

Consider this structure when you are developing your strategic iniatives:


  • We want to do XYZ

  • Here are the things that we are going to do to hit this goal. 

Predicted outcome: 

  • We think we will get X number of leads, which will translate to Y pipeline over this period of time. 

  • Here is what we know and these are the predictions and expectations.

  • We will keep reporting on it and see how we can qualify the content we produce to influence XYZ overtime. 

Use this structure as you build your marketing objectives and consider implementing this structure as a way to better report on content performance. Now, instead of talking about impressions and clicks, you can look at your content through the lens of driving growth.  

We have a tip here, so listen up. 

Demonstrate creativity with your content. 

You can deliver on your initiatives and likely blow your goals out of the water if you get creative. Don’t be afraid to try things that don’t have a predictable outcome. The initiative is there, you check your content against it, but that doesn’t mean your content is dry. 

There is also something to be said about balance. If you are writing content solely for the purpose of SEO for example, you are likely going to product content that isn’t appealing to your audience. We can apply this idea of balance across all content channels. Your objectives inform your strategy, but your content still has opportunities to demonstrate creativity. The best of both worlds is the best kind of content, and likely, the highest performing. 

To recap, the ingredients for strategic content:

  1. Goal.

  2. Creativity.

  3. Balance.

Now, there are a bunch of factors and formulas that influence content creation. Insights about CTA language and formatting to best capture attention; we won’t dive into those now. The main idea here is to rethink how you measure content effectiveness and consider the metrics you thread from your content to your larger business goals. They should be linked and working together to drive growth for your organization. 

Effective content that drives results

We discussed how to think about your content differently to measure success more effectively. We also gave a format for reporting on your content marketing. We talked about outcomes instead of output and gave you ideas on how to structure the way you review your initiatives. 

As you review, keep in mind the opportunity for endless iterations of your content. We put so much time and effort into developing new content, but optimizing existing content is just as valuable. Make adjustments as you monitor your initiatives and leverage your content to help drive successful outcomes.

71% of B2B marketers say content marketing is even more important in 2023 (CMI). The demand for content is no secret, and the interest in ensuring success is more relevant than ever. With a reframe on measuring content effectiveness, you can better implement adjustments and more confidently make changes to drive results. 

To learn more about the Marq platform that helps you deliver consistent content to your audience, you can schedule a 1:1 with someone from our team.

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