Through the Spyglass


How to Set and Achieve Content Goals

If you’ve bought into the value of content, perhaps you have an editorial calendar in place and are pumping out content as fast as you possibly can. And perhaps you’re seeing an increase in traffic to your website and in your social media fan base. But maybe you’re not really sure what goals you should have in relation to your content. And even if you can conjure up some goals, you might not know how to verify that those goals are being achieved.

It’s crucial that you have goals for your content because, as with any business endeavor, you want to make sure your effort is worthwhile and ultimately generating revenue. So let’s talk about what kind of goals you might have for your content and how to make sure those goals are being met.

Performance Metrics for Content

There are different kinds of performance goals you can set for your content. Some goals are engagement related, others are focused on specific actions, and still more are directly tied with purchases or lead generation. We’ll look at three categories and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to each category.

Actions Completed 

If there are specific actions you want your audience to perform, then your goals should be related to those actions being completed. For instance, if you have a webinar coming up, your content could be focused on gaining more webinar registrations. Or if you want to boost your email contact list, then you could focus on gaining more subscribers. Maybe you’re launching a new e-book and you want people to download it. In these cases, the goals should be simple:

  1. Form completions: Are people filling out your form, whether a registration form, e-book download form, etc.?
  2. Bounce rate: If you’ve set a confirmation page to load after visitors register, then you need to pay attention to bounce rate. If you have a high bounce rate on your landing page or form page, it means people are not filling out your form at the rate you probably wish they would. If this is the case, then you should reevaluate your landing page content or the form itself.
  3. Time on page: If you have a simple download page, then visitors’ time on page should be minimal. If people are spending a long time on the page, then maybe they don’t understand it. You don’t want people spend a long time reading if the goal is to get them to fill out a form and move on.

Onsite Engagement

Onsite engagement is important to consider for a few reasons. Audiences that show engagement are more likely to become customers, be repeat customers, and encourage their network to become customers as well. Onsite engagement can indicate whether your information is resonating with your audience in general. So if you’re trying to increase your onsite engagement, some KPIs would be:

  1. Time on site: How long are visitors staying on your website? The longer they stay, the more likely they are to read more content and be more interested in what you have to offer.
  2. Pages per visit: The number of pages each visitor looks at can indicate whether they are moving through a funnel toward a purchase. Perhaps they are reading about your products and services looking for what’s best for them. If they just visit one or two pages, maybe they are not getting all the information they need or are not inspired by what you have to offer.
  3. Bounce rate: This metric can be tricky because if you have regular blog readership, your bounce rate could be high. Readers have already read your past content and they just want to read your most recent blog posts. However, if you are a business promoting a number of services and visitors are leaving after the first page, then you might want to reevaluate the information on that first page and adjust so that more readers will click through to view more.

Transactions or Leads Generated

If you are an e-commerce business, then the key for you is getting people to make a purchase. You want visitors to fill up their cart and check out. If your website is designed to generate leads for sales, then you want people to fill out a form or give you a call immediately. KPIs for these goals would be:

  1. Items purchased: How many items did someone purchase?
  2. Cart abandonment: Are people filling up their cart but then not checking out? If so, then you should look at your checkout process and see where you can optimize to increase checkouts and decrease abandonments. 
  3. Form fills: One simple way to gauge lead generation goals are form fills. Are people filling out your forms so that someone will contact them? 
  4. Upper funnel: Perhaps you have a few steps people might take before they fill out the contact form on your website and thus generate a lead. Maybe you have a tutorial visitors can click through to understand a product, and then they fill out the form to learn more. Each step of the tutorial can be turned into a goal. That way, you can track if people are bouncing more at one step versus another.
  5. Contact: If you use call tracking or designated emails for specific campaigns, then you can quickly gauge how effective that campaign is by just looking at the number of people who contacted you.

Now that we’ve reviewed various key performance indicators related to different campaign objectives, let’s get back to your projects specifically. Think about your business goals and the content you have been producing. Remember that it’s best to only assign one primary goal to any piece of content. That way all of your efforts and calls to action guide readers toward one thing. If you do this, it’ll also be easier to gauge whether a given piece of content is working how you want it to or whether you should adjust to make it more effective.