Content marketing serves many business purposes outside of driving conversions. Great
content marketing that is laser-focused on your audience can also increase brand awareness. If you’re able to measure the effect that your content is having on brand
awareness, you are one step closer to creating converting content.
If people aren’t aware of your content, they’re not able to talk about it. If they’re not talking
about it, chances are it won’t move the needle. But if you can prove that people are talking
about your brand more after your latest content push, that’s a solid result that shows your
work is having a positive effect.
There are marketers who say that brand awareness is just a vanity metric unless you can
prove that extra awareness converts into sales. Yet if this were the case, why would major
brands spend millions every year buying sports sponsorships?
If you see a logo on a football uniform or in a stadium, that’s not going to make you to go
out and buy something immediately just because you saw it. But it does make an
impression. Brands that are seen regularly stick in the mind. The hope is that when the
time comes to buy, your brand will bubble to the top of their mind because they’ve seen
you in the past. Similarly, if your content can get people to talk about your brand more
often, then it raises the likelihood of people thinking of you when they want your product of
This doesn’t mean you should forego measuring conversions through your content. But
you can get a much better picture of how much your content is helping your brand by
adding in brand awareness metrics. There’s a big difference between a piece of content
that doesn’t convert but gets people talking about you and one that doesn’t do anything.
The usual way to measure brand awareness is through customer surveys where they ask
questions like “How did you find out about our brand” and so forth. And while these are
useful they’re not very relevant for content marketing. True, you could ask “how many
articles published by us have you read in the past six months”, but that’s not a question
you see often. Given how much information we all consume, we probably couldn’t keep
Thankfully, as digital marketers we have additional tools at our disposal to measure brand
An easy first step is to look at your website traffic. If you have Google Analytics, take a
look at the number of hits to your website in the direct category. This is a measure of how
many people linked to your site through typing it into the URL bar, used a bookmark, or
used some sort of off-line method like a link in a document to reach your website.
If this number is going up over time then people are remembering your brand instead of
searching for it. However, while this metric can show brand awareness it may not be
related to your content. You can drill down into Google Analytics to see the direct hits on
your content pages and track those for change over time for more refinement.
Another simple tool you can use to check for an increase in brand awareness is the
Google Adwords Keyword Planner. While this tool is most often used for PPC planning, it
does offer a convenient way to check the volume of searches for your brand name. If the
numbers are increasing, that shows more people are searching for you. Google Trends
can also help you measure search volumes over time, but you have to have enough
search volume to get detected by the tool.
This works best if you’re already running PPC for your brand because you’ll get more
accurate data. Otherwise, the numbers will be approximate. Also, if your brand name has
generic words in it then this will be an unreliable metric without extra work to filter out
It can be worth it to run a low-cost PPC ad campaign just to get access to this data.
Branded search terms are inexpensive and the value of getting accurate counts for people
searching your brand directly could be worth it.
Most of the conversation about a brand happens on social media channels. All the major
platforms have ways for you to measure how your pages are doing and how often you get
mentioned in different ways. But this may just be the tip of the iceberg.
A strong metric that your articles are generating brand attention is to measure the social
media reach of each piece. Tools like Get Social and Shared Count will crawl the web to
measure social shares. CONCURED also has a section that measures engagements with
content on major social media platforms.
Another tool that can help is, aptly named, Mention. This tool crawls through forums,
blogs, and websites for more brand mentions that are beyond the reach of social media
measurements. They do also measure social media.
There are also tools that perform “social listening”, which detects when people are talking
about your brand online and gives you the details of what they are saying. This goes
beyond mere mentions and helps you discover exactly how your brand and content are
perceived. An example of this kind of tool is Brandwatch.
Brand awareness cannot be measured in a vacuum. Even if you’re doing better month-to-
month, you could still be losing ground relative to your competitors. You have to find ways
to measure how much awareness your competition is generating as well.
This is fairly simple to do. Just determine the proportion of how many conversations in
your industry are talking about you versus all the ones going on in your niche. This will
determine the share of voice.
CONCURED can help with this. For each keyword you track, we generate a share of voice
metric to see just how much your content is driving the conversation about a topic. If you
are a CONCURED user, this is a powerful tool to see how much you’re persuading your
audience to consider you as an authority on a particular keyword.
If your metrics aren’t looking too good, what can you do to improve your brand
awareness? The metrics you’ve gathered will help point the way. The first thing is to
determine whether people aren’t finding you or whether they are and they’re not
This is why we recommended looking at search metrics as part of your brand awareness.
If search volumes and direct hits are low it’s time to start a promotion campaign. Content
marketing can be a part of that. A solid white paper or article can be used as promotional
bait to generate interest.
It’s unrealistic to think that people will be talking about your content or brand all the time,
but if there was interest in the past but now it’s lowering then something is stealing brand
awareness away and it’s time to dig into why. There could be any number of reasons.
There may be a new competitor getting attention, or the audience may not like your latest
content for some reason. It could just be a slow part of the year, too.
Double check your sharing buttons if you’re not seeing a lot of traction on social media
with your content. A technical glitch could be what’s keeping your content from going viral.
More rarely, there could also be an algorithm change that is keeping your content out of
sight compared to your competitors.
Without solid brand awareness metrics, it is difficult to prove whether or not your content
marketing is helping or hindering this part of your company’s marketing. If you can prove
it’s helping, then even if your content isn’t converting customers directly you can show that
you’re generating interest in the brand that can indirectly cause conversions. And if you
can do that, you just might get your content marketing budget renewed for next year!
Learn more about Content Marketing, Content Intelligence, Content Marketing Artificial Intelligence on our blog.
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