Why have you been investing (or thinking of investing) in content marketing? I’m sure creating content for the sake of creating content is not your intent. Every business invests in content marketing for some specific reasons.
Content marketing requires enough resources that it is often a big investment for SME. What's more, it takes few years to see a significant return on investment. There can be a healthy return but it takes time and it needs to be done right. To do it right, one of the first things you need to do is identifying your objectives, key indicators, and key results to measure.
Identifying your business objectives
What are the business objectives you desire to achieve by investing in content marketing? Business objectives are different from the "reasons" that motivated you to invest. For example, the fact that all your major competitors are doing content marketing might have motivated you to seriously consider investing in content marketing. This can be one of the reasons but it is not and should not be the business objective.
Clear business objectives of investing in content marketing can be something like:
We want to increase the number of inbound leads (I.e. the people contact you to inquire about or purchase your product/service offerings).
We want to improve our conversion rate on our website (I.e. more of the website visitors will take the actions you want them to take whether that is to sign up for a free trial or contact you or register for a webinar
Identifying key indicators and key results
Let’s use one of the examples above. Let’s say your number one business objective for investing in content marketing is to increase the number of inbound leads. The key result you’d measure is the specific number of leads you generate. You may have a yearly target (ex. 100 leads for the entire fiscal year) or have monthly/quarterly targets along with the yearly target. The key indicators you’d measure can be something like:
The number of blog posts published
The number of website visitors
These are the indicators of whether you are on track to achieve your objectives. The key indicators can be the activities you have to perform to be able to have a chance to achieve your objective (the number of blog posts published) and the outcome you need to generate to eventually achieve the key results.