Skip to Content

There’s More to Content Efficiency Than Content Cost

6 min read

In the simplest terms, you really need to know your content efficiency. Most content marketers only consider the cost to produce the content without taking any performance results into account.

You need to know both how much content you create and how frequently it hits your goals.

If you published 100 articles last year and only 10 did well, you should know that. It’s going to significantly impact the true cost of content.

Let’s say you spent $500 an article last year and your efficiency rate is 10%. How much did your content actually cost in real effectiveness?

Your true content cost is $5,000 per piece!

That’s the effect that efficiency has on your cost. Content performance is the main number that, if you increase, will move the needle for your team. And it’s the job of your content strategist to increase it.

Sadly, most teams don’t factor performance into their calculation of content efficiency. Even worse, they don’t know how the content they choose to create actually leads to success. When I take content teams through this whole process, they go from 10% to 40% even 50% on these numbers. And you should always be striving to drive this number as well.

If you set a standard for building the best content every time, and you pick the right winners, it can be an overwhelmingly more impactful way of doing SEO.

What success metrics should you use when looking at content efficiency?

That’s the most common question I get when talking about this topic. The main one is that you should have a process to predict the desired outcomes, and use this whenever you’re building a content brief or proposing an article.

Take into account whether you expect this to provide temporal or recurring organic entrance value. Are you associating value with other channels, like social, paid, your natural distribution, or other things? So you want to have a breakdown of those elements. Typically, you’ll have non-organic contribution, organic entrances (if you believe they’re recurring), and then engagement data.

If it’s middle-of-the-funnel or late-funnel, then it’s second-click engagement data and conversions, depending on the type of page. So you have to know the type of page contribution from other channels. But the easiest one is recurring entrances from organic search. That’s the one you certainly can set your watch to. If you thought that the page was going to get recurring entrances from organic search, and then it does that’s enough for me to consider that a hit.

Is it a single or a grand slam?

That’s a different question. For that you’re going to have to set a bar. It could be 10 recurring entrances or maybe 100. You’ll probably want to set that at around your average. To get that average, you’ll need to conduct an audit of your current content efficiency so you know how often you’re hitting your goal. Fair warning, that audit can be a heart-breaking experience.

But sometimes you create content not expecting recurring entrances – it’s support content. So when you assess content, make sure to evaluate it at both the page and group level. One of the biggest mistakes is that marketers only consider the page level and neglect to look at the whole.

Let’s say you got all these pages about CRM – they’re going to move as a mass. It’s the all boats rise concept. One page may not be getting direct traffic, but the entire mass is moving. So you have to analyze page level as well as site section, or topic level.

That’s easy to do. Just build your list and that’s the way you can really check your work.

How many page views a month should you aim for?

My answer to the previous question inevitably leads to this one. My answer is that it depends on the business that I’m working with. I’m trying to get a vision match with them and understand their expectations. The decision of what to create or what to update will guide this.

So I want to know the content’s goal. Is it part of a cluster? I want the overall cluster to have this much traffic. This is just a piece player. But I don’t have a hard number for the number of entrances. Is this page getting any repeatable, recurring entrances?

That’s usually a good metric if it’s not a support page. That’s really the only thing that kind of is universal here.

Remember, your page will naturally build up rankings for what’s called the intent mismatches. You’ll start ranking and getting traffic from pages where the page doesn’t satisfy the intent.

You’ve got to move on that.

So you wrote this blog post and it’s about content briefs. But your article is “what is a content brief”, right? You start ranking for content brief templates, but your page has no templates. It’s just a definition. So you’ve got to go write an article that has a bunch of templates on it, and you’ve got to link to this main page.

It’s also about reacting to stuff the page ranks for as well. Either change that page or create something new to satisfy intent on both. So the reason why I say it that way is that the first page may have gotten some traffic that I actually would rather go to another page. And so when I’m assessing efficiency, I also want to see, did this page gather moss? Did this stone gather moss from stuff that it maybe shouldn’t have?

And what does that say about my site and about me? But you set the bar based on your current averages and your team will just get better and better. That’s really what I kind of shoot for.

What you should do now

When you’re ready… here are 3 ways we can help you publish better content, faster:

  1. Book time with MarketMuse Schedule a live demo with one of our strategists to see how MarketMuse can help your team reach their content goals.
  2. If you’d like to learn how to create better content faster, visit our blog. It’s full of resources to help scale content.
  3. If you know another marketer who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.
Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer at MarketMuse

Jeff is Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at MarketMuse. He is a cross-disciplined, data-driven inbound marketing executive with 18+ years of experience managing products and website networks; focused on helping companies grow. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.