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Measuring Engagement in Content Marketing; what is engagement?

Measuring Engagement in Content Marketing; what is engagement?

When somebody tells me that measuring engagement is vital in content marketing I stop and ask them what they mean by engagement. This is not to be cute but to highlight to them that before they get too wrapped up in measuring something they need to know what that something is in the first place.


What is engagement referring to in content marketing?

There is no single definition of engagement when it comes to content marketing. That’s because so many different actions or outcomes as a result of content are examples of engagement.

When somebody clicks on a link to a piece of content they have engaged in it. When they read it, they’ve become engaged in that piece of content- regardless of whether they share or like it.

I really have to stress this point- lack of comments or social actions does not mean lack of engagement. Understanding this helps break down the most common obsessions content marketers seem to have; likes, comments and shares.

Understanding that engagement comes in different forms and is not a one dimensional entity allows you to move closer to being able to measure engagement.

Once you’ve identified the different forms of engagement your piece of content may potentially get you can then order them in terms of importance of outcomes. Which of the different types of engagement are the most important outcomes for your content marketing campaign?

As a fictional example if I were to publish a piece of online written content for Women’s Aid as part of their Domestic Violence Awareness week I would draw this list up as likely types of engagement that specific piece of content would get:

Social Shares
Spin Offs

After liasing with the Women’s Aid marketing team I would have this list ordered in terms of priority, which are the most valuable to that organisation for that specific piece of content.

So for way of example the list may subsequently look like this:

1. Spin Offs
2. References
3. Social Shares

This gives me focus as the content marketer. I know that the content I produce needs to be informative enough for mainstream news sources to report on (spin offs) whilst providing value to users of social media.

The list also ensures that measuring the success of this piece of content is also focussed. Rather than giving vague statistics like “the level of engagement was 76%” or “their was successful engagement” the post marketing team can give an evidence based report, such as:

Domestic Violence Continues To Kill The Women In Our Lives was a largely piece of content in that 6 of the leading UK newspapers wrote articles based around the content and a further 23 referenced the content in articles.

Identifying what engagement is, identifying the potential engagement types and then identifying their order of importance is key to measuring engagement in content marketing.

The picture in this article is the engagement ring I proposed to my fiancée with. I measured her level of engagement by the number of times she said yes when I popped the question!

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Yasin Aydin avatar 80x80 Measuring Engagement in Content Marketing; what is engagement?

Yasin Aydin

Founder at Total Insights
Marketing Manager. Specialising in Content Focused Marketing.   I love all things digital, social and written. I'm a seasoned blogger who has built sites that have had 90k+ unique readers per month and increased traffic to corporate websites by large margins, even up to over 7 thousand percent.   Rumours suggest that my grave stone has been pre-made stating my final words to be 'content, content, content'.