Editorial Director, Speaker, Host of 'Content Lab' Podcast
August 7th, 2020
Monthly content marketing ROI reporting metrics
Traffic growth (overall and by source)
Short- and long-term traffic growth for individual content pieces
Featured snippet and search ranking gains for high-value keywords
Top lead-generating pieces of content, broken out by blog articles, content offers, and pillar content (if there is a download option on your pillars)
Content ROI spotlight of how content helped a deal close, with total revenue gained
Day in and day out, you're busting your little booty to get revenue-generating content produced and published. As the days, weeks, and months roll by, you see the numbers tick up. You see the search ranking wins. You see how content is being used throughout the sales process to close deals.
You see that the right content can and does drive more traffic, leads, and sales for your company. That's a great feeling, isn't it? To know the work you're overseeing is driving actual results for your company.
Yet you struggle to get the rest of your team excited about your content efforts. They say see the "value" of it, in theory, but they still run from deadlines... if they're even willing to create content for you to begin with.
Bottom line, no matter what you do, content is your #1 priority, but it's somehow always dead last for everyone else. What's the real problem here? And how do you fix this?
You know what the content ROI wins are, but does the rest of your company?
Marcus Sheridan once said in a meeting that folks almost always say they "don't have time" for something they don't truly see the value in. Because, if something is truly valuable or beneficial (in their eyes), they will make the time for those activities.
That really stuck with me, because he's absolutely right.
Moreover, this is particularly true when it comes to rallying your troops around the battle cry of creating content as a means to move the needle for your company. So, ask yourself this:
You know content is driving the wins your company needs... but what about everyone else? If the answer is, "Crap, no. No, they don't," don't worry. You're in the right place. This is precisely what we're going to fix together in this very article.
An internal bold, in-your-face, visual, numbers-focused content wins newsletter.
Prerequisites and considerations for your company's content wins newsletter
Before I show you what goes into such a content wins newsletter — a newsletter I publish internally for IMPACT, so I know for a fact that it works — there are a few housekeeping items we need to review first.
First, you must have the right marketing and sales technology in place that connects the dots and shows what closed deal contacts are looking at on your website. At IMPACT, we have both the HubSpot Marketing and Sales Hub products. Because our marketing automation and our CRM are under the same digital roof, every deal closed also shows all of the marketing automation data (pages viewed, forms filled, subscriptions, and so on).
You need to have this kind of deep level of ROI reporting in HubSpot (or other platform). Otherwise you can't do what I'm about to show you.
Second, you need to dedicate as much time to data analysis, Google search ranking review, and reporting as you do to the movement and publication of your content strategy. I mean, you shouldn't just be doing this for the creation of this newsletter; you should be doing this all the time. How will you know your content is working, right?
For instance, I have a set time each week that I go cliff-diving into all of the numbers. But, since I'm a lunatic, I do some form of this task every day.
Finally, you need to determine how you will distribute your "content wins newsletter." I know the term "newsletter" immediately makes you think of email, but not so fast! While you certainly may want to go the email route, there are other options.
For example, at IMPACT, we use Basecamp for project management, as well as team- and company-wise communications. So, for our content wins newsletter, I opted to use the message board function for two key reasons:
I already struggle to get people to read emails to begin with. Why would I tempt fate by creating another email?
I often run into staging, formatting, and imagery limitations with email. And I like my content wins newsletter to look fun and visual.
On top of that, as a Basecamp message board publication, I create a single spot for people to virtually celebrate, react, and post encouraging messages:
With an email, you don't get this kind of out-in-the-open celebration and excitement on display. Yes, you might get a few replies, but it doesn't have the same effect. Additionally, a platform like Basecamp allows me to tag folks, so people are notified their work, specifically, has been featured in the content wins newsletter.
What should a content wins newsletter include?
Before we dive in, one quick thing. I am going to show you examples of what we include in our content wins newsletter, but I will be doing so in bits and pieces. Why? Well, understandably, it contains a lot of private internal data.
Every month, the story of our content wins evolves and changes. So, I may weight certain wins more heavily than others. That being said, every month, I recommend an overview of the following.
1. An explanation of what the newsletter is
Pretty simple, right? Remind everyone first what the newsletter is all about:
Do this even if they know it's coming. Even if they've seen it before, put some sort of reminder at the top of what the newsletter is all about. And, if it's your first one (like mine above), celebrate the fact that it's the first one and get people pumped about it! Set expectations around what it is and how often they will receive it.
2. Traffic growth or changes
If your traffic is growing, awesome! Celebrate it and then explain why. Are you experiencing organic growth? Did you have a couple of all-star email campaigns? Were there a few high-performing pieces of content that picked up the pace for you? All (or some) of the above? Share that with the team!
Keep in mind, however, that not everyone speaks your language. So, when necessary, provide context and education:
Remember, not everyone is a content marketer.
3. Short- and long-term traffic champs 🏆
I like to not only feature the most recent month ended, but also the previous three months as well. That's because we often don't see organic traffic growth really take root until after the first 30 days a piece is published.
"Wait, what are all those 'non-coronavirus' notes you have?"
Great question! In the month of April, I measured and tracked our extensive coronavirus-related insights and articles separately, since they were developed outside of our core strategy, to meet an in-the-moment need for our audience. I also didn't want their performance to eclipse the other gains we made.
4. Featured snippet and search ranking wins
This one is pretty self-explanatory. I show-off somewhere between five and 10 featured snippet and search ranking wins:
In addition to a screenshot of the snippet or rank, I'll tag the person and use lots of awesome, celebratory language.
5. Top lead-generating pieces of content
After traffic comes leads, right? In this area, I recommend breaking out your lead generation wins into the following categories:
Blog posts and articles
Form-gated content offers
Content pillars (if there is a download option)
6. Finally, a closed deal spotlight
Look, traffic and search ranking wins are all great and should be publicly applauded. But if your content isn't bringing home the revenue bacon, then what exactly are you doing with your content strategy, right?
With that in mind, I like to close the newsletter with a closed deal spotlight that showcases the exact content a contact consumed before the signed a deal with IMPACT:
In it, I give credit to the sales rockstar who closed the deal, how much revenue was brought in-house from that deal, how many pages of content were consumed in total, and then the exact pieces of content they reviewed before the deal was signed.
This is probably the most effective and powerful way to showcase how your content is not only helping you bring in traffic and leads, but also actually helping your company make money.
Your genuine excitement (or lack thereof) will make your break your content wins newsletter
Before you go off on your quest to write your very first content marketing ROI newsletter, I need you to understand one thing.
I used a lot of emojis, exclamation points, nicknames, and other excitement-rooted elements in the messaging, formatting, and positioning of our content wins newsletter, and this is by design.
If you don't demonstrate excitement for the wins, your people will not get excited either. Moreover, if you don't demonstrate a genuine thrill in seeing your coworkers' hard work pay off in traffic, leads, and sales, you won't create any warm and fuzzy feelings within them.
You don't need to copy my voice and tone exactly, as shown above, but you need to find your own way to show sincere enthusiasm for your wins and joy in the success of others.
Your numbers alone won't shift the culture of content within your company. How you position those wins are critical to the success of your newsletter and the overall increase in positive sentiment your coworkers feel about content.
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