Rickety Roo COHORT WEEK 11 – Measuring results

Episode Summary.

In this episode, Erika Varangouli starts the classes with lessons from the previous class on content promotion.


She mainly shares insights on setting goals, and KPIs and measuring success in content marketing. She also discusses practical challenges in calculating content marketing ROI and discusses the timing and approach for setting goals and KPIs during the discovery phase with a client.


She talks about;

  • What is the difference between goals and KPIs
  • When is the best time to set goals and KPIs?
  • How many KPIs should you have? and more!


FCDC Cohort Sponsor.

A massive thank you to Rickety Roo for sponsoring our content Marketing cohort.

Rickety Roo is a digital marketing agency helping small to medium-sized businesses get better visibility online.

They understand what it takes to drive eyeballs, clicks, and ultimately customers for your business leveraging Google.


They provide the following services:

  • Local SEO
  • PPC Advertising
  • Web Design

Launch your customer growth with Rickety Roo


Teacher’s Profile.




✍🏾Name:Erika Varangouli

✍🏾What Erika Does: Head of SEO Branding at Semrush

✍🏾 Company: Semrush

✍🏾Noteworthy:  Erika is also a public speaker, regular webinar host, and awards judge. 




Connect with Erika;




Key Insights.


💡The difference Between Goals and KPIs.


Erika discusses the differences between goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). She clarifies that goals represent what one aims to achieve, while KPIs signify how success will be measured.


She warns against interchangeably using these terms and stresses the necessity of setting them during the discovery phase. Erika believes that aligning goals and KPIs from the outset informs the content strategy effectively and prevents misunderstandings later in the process.


💡The importance of having one main goal

Erika suggests focusing on one main goal whenever possible when developing a content strategy. This approach helps to streamline efforts and ensures clear direction for content creation. While secondary goals may exist, prioritizing one main goal allows for better focus and more effective decision-making.


💡Setting primary and secondary KPIs Insight


Erika recommends determining one main KPI aligned with the primary goal, along with secondary KPIs that support it. This approach allows for a more nuanced understanding of performance and helps track progress towards the overarching goal. Secondary KPIs act as proxies or indicators of success when the main KPI may not provide immediate insights.


💡 Avoiding the trap of measuring too many KPIs

Erika warns against measuring too many KPIs, which can lead to confusion and loss of focus. She advises content marketers to prioritize metrics that directly align with business objectives and to avoid vanity metrics that do not provide meaningful insights. Simplifying KPI measurement ensures clarity and effectiveness in reporting.


💡 Challenges in Calculating Content Marketing ROI 

Erika discusses the complexities involved in calculating return on investment (ROI) for content marketing efforts. She highlights issues such as attribution models, tracking conversions over time, and the difficulty in tracing conversions back to content exposure. Despite these challenges, she suggests treating ROI as a metric tracked over time rather than a precise measurement.



Presentation slides


Episode Transcriptions.


Erika Varangouli 0:06

All right, so two things. Last week, I had the deck about like two topics that are very close to each other. I said I was going to record the other one I didn’t. And this week, we thank you very much. I think it was Peris and festus mainly sharing questions about the reporting session and what you would like to know more about in this session, which helped me as well. reshuffle, a couple of things that I had originally put there. So that was very helpful. Thank you both very much.


I am going to attempt to do both of them together. As you know, for me, the big part. And I’m not saying that, you know, the last two classes do not count for me that the last two lessons we’re going to have are the ones I look forward to the most. But I mean, the big deliverable for me during this course, was that everyone would be able to attempt at least a content audit, and a content strategy.


So the things we’re talking about now, are things that come with doing a content strategy or content plan, it doesn’t mean you will get a chance to do every time when you do a content marketing strategy. There are many dependencies there. But I still feel that within a content marketing cohort, we need to discuss them. They’re not very long in terms of slides or discussion.


So I’m going to attempt to do them now. If it’s okay, we’re not going to do a stand up this time. I’m just also because I think the only thing I would expect from a stand up is mainly to to see if someone is still lagging behind with some of the deliverables. But I’d rather save this time to actually talk about the things we we should talk about today. So if there are no like, vague or urgent questions, I’m happy to get started. But let me know if you have any questions before we start about something. So this is where we started last week.


And we talked about everything about the content plan, right? We did discuss the content plan, and I showed you then also the the spreadsheet with example. The second part of that was the promotion strategy, which I think we didn’t talk about. So let’s try and do this. So the promotion strategy. First of all, let me go back on slide. The promotion strategy, many times is not up to the person doing the content strategy. Okay. It depends on either resources available or not available.


Many times you have different experts working on the promotion side of things, it involves also multiple teams, probably my experience says that if the promotion approach even it may not be a finalised plan, and I’ll explain more. But if the planting the seed of promotion comes in the strategy, it works better, because many times you’ll work with clients or in businesses where everything ends, as soon as the content is published. All right, and then it’s like, Okay, let’s see now what it does for us, and many times it will not do much on its own.


So promotion is a big part of content success. However, because of the different channels at different people involve different budgets, there may be multiple reasons that result in the content marketer not being involved in that happening. And I think our industry should change around this content. Marketers should have a bigger say in this. However, it is a very collaborative part of a content strategy, and its development. So there are three factors that I think should shape your promotion strategy. One is the campaign type.


Okay, so is it a creative or informative type of campaign? Is it a one off content campaign? Or is it an evergreen content campaign? So let’s say publishing guides, or how to guides content that is evergreen is going to stay there doesn’t expire in a way is it more visual or more written content?


Then from your earlier research, you have seen like similar types of content, which channels does does it perform well, and then what tactics of your competitors or other brands with similar content adopted and how they work for them? These are all the things you have already found in the early stages of your research, right and here they come into play again.


Erika Varangouli 4:55

The other main factor is the resources. So what is your budget like? We can talk about promotion for ages. But if the budget is like, no budget, then you’re you’re limiting some of your options, right? There’s no point in discussing a digital PR campaign to promote something. Do you have internal specialised teams? Or will you have to find external resources for that?


And is a company already performing well, and some channels, I put it under Resources? Technically, it’s not. But this is something to take into consideration. So if you’re working with a company, for example, that has 10,000 email subscribers, right? That is a channel that they own, and you can leverage to promote your content.


But if for example, the company you work with, doesn’t have newsletters doesn’t have subscribers, but they have a YouTube channel. With some subscribers or followership, these are things you need to factor in because usually, and the lower the budget, or the more urgent, the need for results, which is always urgent, you need to look at, like what do you already have in place to work with? And then of course, the third main factor is the goals. What are the goals of the overall campaign, and how each promotional activity is going to contribute towards those goals? Many times with promotions, you can add additional benefits or KPIs.


Right. But they also need to be visible, how do they connect to the main goal? One thing I see very often is people going crazy on like, okay, we can do all of these posts here and all of these posts there, when in reality, what maybe the main goal of a campaign is not going to benefit so much from this, and you could benefit much more.


If, for example, part of the promotion strategy was for that brand to partner with another one and promote it on a different newsletter. So sometimes during the promotion, planning stage, things come into play, either because they’re too easy, or because it’s the first thing that people think about, and they just stick with it. Or because it doesn’t call, so why not? But my urge to you is to always question why to promote something in a certain way versus another way. Okay.


And even if you’re not the ones doing it, is to be discussing it with the people who do it. So these are the top three factors that should shape how you approach promotional activity around what you do. And then what it should include. Right. So whenever I build like a strategy around promoting content, the things you always have to be to have there is the channels you’ll use, right?


What will the activity be on each channel, at this stage as well, it can be top level, so not a full breakdown, you don’t have to have Okay, Facebook will have three posts. The first one will be this the second one this but you can say, will utilise Facebook and Twitter, but not Instagram, right, because x we have those followers here or this campaign will not resonate with our audience on that platform.


And then what each of those channels will bring to the campaign. So why essentially, that is where you justify why it can be because you have a very relevant audience there. Or because you’re partnering with someone that has a very relevant audience or a big audience shape, or because like this, for example, if you want to utilise YouTube, we’re gonna make a video about these guides because we also see similar content on YouTube Ranking really well. And we think the format is great as well.


Then the goals per promotional activity or channel and overall goal and projection. So for every promotional activity you propose, what what makes the difference between just coming across as I like this channel, or I’ve used it a lot or everyone uses it is attaching goals to each one of them and that justifies the why as well.


Right? So we are going to promote here and here. And we expect to receive 5000 visits from referral traffic, or we expect to receive to get 100 more leads from that 100 more downloads of this ebook, if we promote it in this way. So attach more specific projections around what results you expect. You need to to list your resources so what you will need that is budget that is internal teams and time estimate. So if you will need let’s say, videographer, part of the design team and the email team working on this someone to send the Nelson set them up, these are all parts of the resources, you’ll need to promote it.


And at this point, you have to have a clear idea of what it will cost in terms of time and budget, including external resources. So if you’re working with someone who doesn’t have an internal team, and you know, they’re going to need an external resource to make it happen, you should listed here at this stage. With promotion, you also need to specify duration, right?


Either per channel and activity or overall or both. Maybe you say, Okay, we have a campaign, we have a content that can perform well, for that whole quarter, let’s say it’s in the travel industry. And either you have a client like that, and maybe they have also seasonality, like peeking around specific quarters or times of the year. So maybe you say, Okay, for this type of content, the overall promotion will last three months.


But the first month, the promotional activity will include only these channels, the second month, we’re going to go to that conference and promoted there, because we’re going to have a talk are we’re going to have a stand. And the third month, we’re just sending out our newsletter to people again, we have sent it in the first month, and we’re going to send a reminder in the third month.


So it is a breakdown of how long will this content be promoted for? Then the stakeholders, so who’s the project owner, that may very well not be you, again, I’m reminding. So it might be an internal project manager, it might be a head of content or head of PR, it can be someone else from the business side, but that is essentially the person who needs to be responsible for organising and seeing through all the activities that ended up being in that promotional plan. Who are the members involved, it may be a writer videographer, again, like everyone you have listed as a resource is also involved.


Plus, potentially like their managers or other business stakeholders who need to be involved in this. And then in the end is just people who need to be informed, but not necessarily actively participating. Many times these are, for example, a smaller business might be the business owner might be the general manager. If, for example, you’re working with a designer from the design team, maybe the head of design needs to be aware but not actively do something. So these are all stakeholders.


And then you need a Project Tracker, right? So you have to have like a document a Google Sheets, again, something that works for you, I’ve put a template, but it’s again, only a template. But where you will track the process for that project. So the core deadlines, the project breakdown. And then sometimes you have a Gantt chart, or project board if you’re using Monday or Asana or something else. Again, all these for me come from the project owner. These are the things that the project owner manages.


But here is assuming you’re responsible for building all of that this is also part of a promotional strategy and plan in the end. And then I just wanted to remind you about this about analysing top performing content. Remember, I’m sorry if it’s too tiring, but because I know there have been a few lessons between now and then I just wanted to remind you that when you’re looking at promotional tactics or activities and what works, remember to use the tools that you have.


So for example right now, for what you’re doing, you have some rush, right? So you can go on to organic research or domain overview and check the top performing pages on the website. You can go to backlinks, backlink analytics and check where they get their backlinks from. Right so where this is a screenshot, I can show you on the platform if you haven’t used it before as well. But you can go there you can put the domain you can see the top pages by backlinks. You can see where the backlinks come from.


So you can see okay, this content, it attracted many backlinks, it comes at the top, What type is it? Maybe it’s like a data study or maybe it’s just a list post that has top stats they found from various sources. And it has gotten links from publications in the industry, from experts from blogs from anywhere. So these are all indications for you as to not just what type of content works, but also how you could promote like there’s many times that I’ve found opportunities to connect with other webmasters and publications.


means by analysing what my competitors are doing and earning backlinks for. From then with brand mentioned, you can discover mentions of accounts or topics. So these are just some tools. It’s not on SEMrush. Brian mentioned as well included. So I just mentioned it here a thing. It’s free. But I need to follow up on that. I also tried to include some things here. So there is tweet binder that you can use to just check what is shared on Twitter only. There is Buzzsumo, which is paid for now, I think you’re probably don’t have a free version anymore.


But depending on your client, they may already have tools that they have to sort of check what’s online, what’s working well, what’s not working well. So remember, to go back to the research you did initially, to check what’s the top performing content. In terms of backlinks, for example, specifically, this is an avenue you’re looking into, to see what works.


And then you build your promo plan, right. This is where the details come through. It’s like the content plan, you have your strategy, and then you break it down into specific actions to be taken. So that was here, I put everything in one document last for last week’s class. So because I was going to do it in one, go, but essentially, we discussed the editorial calendar. And next to it, I put the promotional plan.


So what you see here is, is my view of this right is more like if you want to have an overview of your whole strategy. So I have these blog posts, these guides, I also have this landing pages I have maybe some videos I create, I call them like asset one, this is what I’m going to promote as a campaign, I’m going to treat it as a promotion campaign. What is the URL, the content type, there’s only very few things repeated from the calendar.


Then I list my channels for promotion. So what am I going to use, and I’ve just added a few as ideas for you. But just to show you how many different avenues you have to to promote content, right, there’s way more than this, by the way, as well. Number of promo assets. So for example, here is okay, if I’m promoting this on social, okay, Facebook, I will do a run five posts around it.


Then if I’m sending emails, or my newsletter totally in total, I will send to newsletters influencers, I want to have 10 of them, for example posting about this. And then I specify my date range, right. So maybe Facebook, all my posts about the campaign will be in January, or it can be like January to March throughout three months, I’m going to post five times about this email from here to them.


The owner of each task, okay, if you have one project owner, it’s obviously going to be the same name. But say for example, your work with an external email agency specifically for emails, then they are the owners of this, your budget for things. So an example is that maybe here because all of these are covered by an internal team, you don’t want to add additional budget. This is just your headcount budget.


But in terms of influencers, you want to do a paid promo with them. So you put your budget down if like, Okay, we need to spend 5k to have, let’s say 10 influencers post about it, or paid social, we will allocate a budget of the link to strategy. So where you have explained what the content is, and what will be written, linked to final and the assets you might need. So maybe for Facebook, you have specific images created or infographics or something. So usually these are saved in a folder. So this is where you link to them.


What’s the status, like it’s in production, it’s gone live editing, whatever the stage is, in terms of getting it over the line. What are the goals so get them from the strategy document you have. So for Facebook, I want to achieve 100 engagements here I want 20 mentions, whatever the goals might be, or a KPI is actually I should call it the target audience.


So maybe like all of this campaign is for small business owners or solo travellers if we’re talking about a campaign about a specific thing, so it may well be the same here as well but in may be also a bit different. So you can use it or leave it if it doesn’t work. And any additional stakeholder. So apart from the owner, who else is involved in this, so maybe for influencers, it’s you as the influencer manager or for email, it’s you and the email manager. And that gives you a top level idea of how you will promote each thing, when how, if you look here, this is where I took the screenshot for the deck from this is a bit more specific. So going a bit more into just social media.


Again, disclaimer, I use hub spots, initial templates, I changed them a bit because like, yeah, for me, they don’t work exactly as they are. But the initial templates are a good basis as well. So I’ve changed them to how I use them, we can take them further. But these templates here are specifically for social media promotions. So I put the exact date and time the platform in maybe Facebook acts something else.


The content for the post, right, so ready made content to be scheduled or published, the URL that I want to include in the post, and maybe, okay, I didn’t include it here. But take into account sometimes with campaigns you want to have, have a way to track results from this channel, right. So you may be needing to use UTM along the URL. So usually, for me, if I put a URL here, it will also include the UTM, I need to be tracking the UTM for the campaign.


Any hashtags you want to use in the post images and assets. The total character count, I included because if more people are involved in the may not be very familiar, for example, with Twitter, or where’s the character count. It’s just something to keep track of that it does fit, which campaign this belongs to. So this comes from the promotion plan as well. And then the link to the live post once it’s live. This is just for calendar, social media calendar, but in a calendar view, right.


So this is what we have not the post content or anything else. But this gives you an overview of okay, what are we posting on our socials. So maybe you spot okay, that week, we have nothing. And this week, we have like three different things. And they’re all about similar things. So you can balance things a bit better. So that’s, so this template is already in the folder from last week. And you can see, but I wanted to explain what you’re looking at.


And then next steps, you know, you have your all data and strategy, you can give Claude a clear idea of one, each piece of content should be published and promoted. Now, I didn’t put deadlines here, or how many you know, the ground rules, I’m not going to repeat them. But for me, if you have time to do it, it’s a good exercise. So you have created your content strategy. You have defined everything that needs to happen, you have your content added. So if you want to have a go at putting this into a plan,


Erika Varangouli 23:25

do not go overboard and put everything like a thing, if just to go through the steps of planning, like two, three things can help you as well get a bit more familiar with it. And if you also want to have a think or do the analysis of what worked well, for competitors, you can go back to the research you had done, and also have a go at okay, what kind of promotional strategy would I propose?


This is not something I think I will review in the end because then we’re starting to go much more beyond things that you would collaborate with many different people. Setting goals is not necessarily so straightforward at this point. But for you, I think if you want to have a go, you have the template, you have the logic, I’m more than happy if you share with me and have some time to have a look and let you know at least like what I think of this. So. So that’s like the content and promotion plan.


Because I know we also had questions last time about link building and stuff like that, which because we didn’t go into this part of the lesson we didn’t address. But for me, I want to encourage you all two things based on this one is planning content planning. If you can work with your clients on your managers to do that, right.


Many times you just give the strategy to someone or the list of things to write and then it goes to a writer who just tries to do everything. And there is no overview what happened in the end, many times I’ve seen, okay. Other things came up, another team asked him to write something, the manager asked him to write something else.


And then that strategy ends up being implemented somehow, at some point, no clear visibility on what it did or how it happened. So I would encourage you to go towards content planning as well with your strategy, once you have it, and agree with with the business on on how to implement it. Because otherwise, a strategy is a great thing, but it’s not a real thing. Like it’s, it’s not anywhere live. The other thing is promotion strategy. Each one of you, I think, has different skill set and experiences.


I’m very sceptical when I see content marketers who who say they do everything. So from creating the content, the content, strategy, promotion, link building, social media, all of that. I’m not saying it cannot be done. But many times. And nowadays, it’s it’s a bit more challenging than it was like, five years ago, or 10 years ago. So the expertise of dedicated people is important.


So I would encourage you all as content marketers to be more involved and to trigger the conversations around promotion, be very realistic and educate clients and businesses that you know, writing content and publishing it is one step. Many times it will not get you very far. You need to have that idea of how do you promote it.


And it is not just about the resources like clients, users potential clients are part of a, of an ecosystem, and they have a cycle around how they they interact with your brand with your products. Just putting something out there and inspecting everything will happen, simply doesn’t work like that. So So you need to trigger the discussions about what are we doing is this content that we should be promoting? Invite the people whose job this is or if this is something you can do as well, for sure, do it.


And then collaborate with people. Promotion, for me is a much more collaborative part of content marketing than let’s say, building the content strategy. And that’s where I want to leave that part. So before we move to the next one, and your heads explode with two things in one day, do you have any questions? We’re going to do questions for like five minutes. We have time. So Sandra pressed like before, so I know Sandra is around.


Chitra Iyer 27:38


Erika Varangouli 27:38

Okay. Thank you Chitra Okay.

sandra Tabansi 27:42


Erika Varangouli 27:43

Are you on mute? Sandra, go.

sandra Tabansi 27:49

I just wanted to mention that, concerning what you were saying that one person like a content marketer cant… it’s probably not the best idea for a content marketer or to one person to do everything, rightn that we’ve probably learnt. So in, in an ideal case, let’s say you want to build a team, right?


To do every single thing that we’ve learnt in this cohort, whoo will be part of your team? Like, will it be a content marketer? a content strategist? Like who are the kind of people that you will put in the team to execute everything that we’ve just we’ve done so far, in this work?


Erika Varangouli 28:46

So everything we’ve done so far, currently is a content marketer. And a big part of what we’re discussing now is otherwise I wouldn’t be talking about it. Okay. But what I mean, is that to, to create an implement, execute an email marketing campaign, you need a specific skill set, which is perfectly acceptable. If a content marketer doesn’t have, like from using, I don’t know, from Marketo, to email automation programmes, right to conducting experiments with emails depends on the size of the business as well, I realise that not every business can do that.


But what I mean is that very often, because many things boil down to content, right? Email has content in there. Social media, have content in the posts. Influencers write content, so So businesses tend to think, Okay, we have a person who writes our blog posts, who also does our social media, who also sends emails out. And that I think, has led to many to a lot of pressure on people in our profession. And secondly, to to poor results, because not everyone can be I’m not an expert in email marketing. I work with email marketers and teams to create email campaigns.


But I have no idea how to set one up myself. Okay, so I can advise on the strategy, I can advise on the actual content, I also take input from them that like, Okay, this format didn’t work well, these times. So or with this audience, we’re testing this format, like these are things I would never be able to come up on my own. Right? Influencer Marketing, this is a whole different skill set.


So to bring people in to promote your content, or to do, I don’t want to say link building, it’s ended up being a bad word. But to build links to your content to acquire to earn links, this is a very different skill set to someone who may have started off as a writer. So what I’m flagging is not I’m not the one to tell you, you can do that you can not do that.


If anything, I will always push you to learn more. Because like, for me, Curiosity is the biggest skill set you can have. But do not feel the pressure that because you’re a content person, you have to do everything. That’s not the case. Okay. So I, from my experience, I can tell you that I collaborate with many different people. And I’m not just talking about sem rush, right, even previous jobs.


So like, it would be a different, sometimes a different person for email, different people for digital PR, or for earning links, or for influencer marketing, it would be different people for social media, many times like the social media person is different. You could have a dedicated events person, right, so a person who specifically looks after how they organise or participate in events to promote the brand.


So there are a lot of different spaces in this wider thing that that content taps into. i That’s why I’m saying that the content marketer is probably one of the best people in the business to trigger this conversations, and to bring the right people together. But also, another thing I want you to think about and sort of conquer is the ability to say no, I’m not an expert in that.


I can tell you need it, I can help you run it. But we will need someone who knows what on earth are doing. Because it’s a different thing. No one would ask you, for example, Sandra, to build a website, right? You’re not going into some of the things Okay, Sandra is a writer and a content marketer. Maybe she could build a website for us as well. Right? Am I correct? Has anyone ever asked you that?

sandra Tabansi 32:45
No, no, build a website? No, no, no, no, no.

Erika Varangouli 32:48

Okay. So so this happens before because it is extremely obvious that to build a website, you need to be a developer, you need to understand different languages built in different languages, you know, it’s a different skill set, no one asks you to do an operation on someone who’s deal with things around content, because everyone understands kind they can read. So they feel it’s more accessible. And it is, to a degree, I feel it led to the expectations going wild, around what content marketers should be experts in.


So my distinction is, it’s perfectly okay to not be an expert in all of this. Don’t pretend you’re an expert, but be a good content marketer and say, these are all necessary. I’m not an expert in this and that, but I can tell you based on my analysis that if you do this, these are the results I foresee you getting. So let’s find an expert to help us do it. And in the strategy part, when you say okay, these are the KPIs around it, like if we promote her this channel, I see an opportunity to achieve that much. That is a good starter. Like because otherwise someone may be okay.


It would be nice, but we don’t know anyone. And it calls so why do it. So always forecasting and attaching goals? Helps you also understand like sometimes I need that myself first to understand is this a good channel or not? Because my instinct may tell me, Oh, I’d love to do that there. And then when I sit down and I look at my resources, and the results I foresee getting, I have to start trimming through and say, Okay, I’m not going to go for that channel. It would be nice, but I don’t have that much money. And that channel is not going to bring that much.


So, so yeah, all I’m saying is do the right thing for you and for the businesses as well that you work with. Okay, so let me now take you to reporting, which is definitely not one of my favourite things, but some necessary evil. Let me check here. So measuring results, you’re all just too nice.


So please shout whenever I’m doing something stupid on my screen. So measuring the results before we even do that. So how often in your career so far have you had to report on your content success? Can you just say like, yes, no. So we can’t, or just how many of you have never had to do it? Can you? Can you see? I’ve never had to do it. How many do we have?


Roshni Shaikh 35:29

No, we had to, we had to, like, I had to measure the performance of my content. By seeing the ranks on the SERPs, the position on the SERPs traffic that it is bringing overall, for the entire campaign. I measured the bounce rate. And on those particular files of pages, I mean, the blogs and what else? The traffic and click through rate, for example, people had booked demo calls, with the help of the call to action that was underneath do BoFu blog. So that is how I had measured the success of my campaigns. Okay,


Erika Varangouli 36:19

thanks very much. Is there anyone in the class that has never had to report on content?


Chitra Iyer 36:24

Yeah, Erica, I have not had to, I’ve been asked by new prospect clients, like, can you tell us about the results of your content? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because of the content I create. It’s more in long form. And it’s more sometimes thought leadership kind of stuff, trying to express ideas of the CEO or some CXO to articulate a white paper.


So I don’t know, for whatever reason my clients have never asked me to, or the number of clicks and stuff. And it’s never been over the search optimised. Like, you know, like they have some basic us, but it’s the goal. I guess the goal of any of the content I’ve written has not been to get on to.


So maybe that’s why I haven’t been asked, I don’t know. But all I tell my prospects is you can check out the testimonials that my clients have given me and the fact that they keep repeating work with me, I guess, they’re achieving whatever goals that they set, because, you know, otherwise, why would they come back?


Mae Josémaria O. 37:27

Thank you, I have Chitra, Peris, and Emanuella I never had to do it, which is also like, quite standard as well in the industry.

Erika Varangouli 37:35

I didnt have to do it to, Erika. That’s because I have only worked with agencies, okay, so they have like a delegate. Okay. So this, this is very typical, right? There’s a dedicated analytics team, or a manager, maybe it’s an SEO manager, and you’re doing content as part of SEO or as part of another channel. So they measure overall, and they take this in as part of what to do.


And this is absolutely fine. I am also very, very sceptical when a content marketer even more a content writer, so someone who’s been given something to write and haven’t necessarily informed the whole thing, and they’re asked to report on success, it sometimes gets me a bit mad. So yes, okay, let’s, let’s talk. So let’s talk about reporting.


So, first, I wanted to show you what other content marketers say about goals, right? So you can download the report, it’s free. We did it for the last time it was this year earlier this year. I don’t know if we’re going to do it again. This year. We’re repeated usually every year, but I’m not sure. So it’s the state of content marketing.


And we serve like a few 1000s. I’ve mentioned it in a previous lesson as well. We serve a content marketers about specific parts of the roles, the industry where it’s going, the trends and all of that. And in this particular case, like the thing I’ve screenshot is like, what are your key content marketing goals for 2023 and these are the ones at the top like attract more traffic to our website, increase brand awareness, generate leads, generate sales and revenue, let’s keep those so things I get from that no one to flag with you.


It’s okay from generating awareness to converting users or even like making them become ambassadors in a way. Content is used to target people at different stages of the funnel, which is great like this is how we started many weeks ago. It’s like it’s a channel for every part of the notice anything interesting here for me is like this is an indication that content typically has more than one goals attached to it.


Like if you add all the percentages up that don’t add up to 100 which means that the goals attached to your content programme let’s call it is not one On goal, maybe the same strategy or the same piece of content, I don’t know, each one of them has a different scale of how they do content marketing has more goals attached to it. It’s not necessarily problematic.


I have seen cases where that is problematic because like, maybe the goal is okay. We want this content to attract traffic, generate awareness, bring sales and also make unicorns fly. So at that point, someone needs to stop people and say, Okay, it’s not going to happen. This is not the right goal to set for this kind of thing. So, yes, I haven’t been asked about unicorns yet.


But I expect any day now, then, let’s see how content marketers said they measure success. So they said we calculate revenue coming from leads conversions generated by content marketing, we calculate revenue generated from organic traffic would calculate how much we managed to save on advertising. These are the top three, we calculate revenue coming from non paid channels. I’m not sure other anything interesting here, I’m just going to ask you all, if you think something is interesting in these results,


Roshni Shaikh 41:16

I like to third point how much we managed to save on advertising, it’s a huge thing. Because I have seen websites, they start running paid ads, even without having proper web copy, or even have any kind of content on their website, there is no offer, but with a clunky website, they just start running ads, just because somebody suggested them, you know, okay, you should be running paid ads to generate leads. So the whole point of running ads is so that you can educate your leads about your brand. And if you don’t do that, then it’s a problem.


Erika Varangouli 41:55

Now I didn’t want to write it down, because then everyone would say before you had a chance to answer something. For me, the only thing I think is closer to the truth is the I’m not sure answer, which is like 5%. There is a problem with each one of these as answers to measure content marketing. And I would almost be 100% confident to guarantee you very close to 100% that anyone measuring leads will leads maybe not so much, but like conversions, revenue, how much traffic we save, roughly, I get your input.


On the other hand, sometimes how much you save on advertising has to do? Are the prices going up or down in the industry? Are your competitors removing themselves also from the competition?


Or the spending less? are you deciding to cut your budget anyway? Or are you reducing your budget because you’re not investing that much? They’re not directly related? Totally,


Roshni Shaikh 42:55

I agree. But it’s also, when you’re mapping out. When you are the budget that you saved from last year, if parameters are the same, you know, your investment is the same.


But if your organic content has managed to double or triple overtime, and you know, because of that because of the organic traffic that you’re generating, if you have managed to decrease your paid ad budget, and still be able to generate the kind of leads, you have been able to generate them that says, I have


Erika Varangouli 43:23

some thoughts on that. But it’s not important for this. But is this a very particular example? Because the advertising, but like, there are many reasons why yes, it may be a success for for some tickets.


So let’s let’s leave it there. Okay. But I’m sharing all this to say this, first of all, what is the difference between goals and KPIs? Goal is what you want to achieve.


Okay? KPI is how you will know you have achieved it. So many times we use them interchangeably and it’s wrong. And I’ll show you why. When’s the best time to set your goals and KPIs? So again, let’s vote.


Please see the options. And tell me just shout. When do you think is the best time to set your goals and KPIs? Is it during the Discovery sessions with a client while you’re creating the content strategy right after finishing it? Or when it’s time to start reporting? Someone shout?


Peris muthinja 44:24

A discovery call?

Roshni Shaikh 44:27

Before you create the content strategy. But after you have done the audit so it falls in between.

Erika Varangouli 44:37


Chitra Iyer 44:39

Yeah. And while creating the content strategy.

sandra Tabansi 44:42

Yeah, I think during a little bit during the early Discovery sessions just to get ideas and then when creating the content strategy

Peris muthinja 44:57

during discovery call?

Festus Eze 45:00

After finishing the content strategy

Erika Varangouli 45:02

sorry, what did you say festus? Emmanuella, thank you got it in chat.

Festus Eze 45:06

Right after finishing the content strategy, when you’re running the plan.

Erika Varangouli 45:10

Okay. Okay. I love that we have different opinions. I’ll tell you when I set the goals and KPIs, I set them during the discovery phase. So, and I think festus that was also one of your questions in the chat is like, how do we get buy in? Or how do we get the business to align the goals with the business, those should be there from the start.


Those are things that inform the kind of strategy you build, there is no way to build a strategy for anything, unless that taps into the goals that are aligned with the business. So in reality, you need to know what your goals are. And you need to set your KPIs. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to say how much you don’t need to forecast at that stage.


But you need to agree on the goals and KPIs at that stage. Otherwise, if I’m building a content strategy to generate leads, and the business owner is expecting something that will generate awareness.


Maybe they will like the strategy because it looks great. Maybe your strategy will work amazingly well. And then there’ll be like, but we’re not getting any more traffic.


Or you’ll say I’m generating so much awareness with his content, we’re getting 10,000 more visitors every month because of this. And they’re like, Yeah, but none of them is, is buying anything. The only time to agree on goals and KPIs. For me, I’m not saying like it happens everywhere, always should happen everywhere. But the only time that I do it, and it works well, is during the discovery session.


So and if it’s not a discovery session with a new client, it might be with your manager or with a business, when you’re discussing that we need to do something with our content, right?


That’s when I set them up every single time forecasting what I will achieve what they will bring comes, of course, while creating the strategy doing the content audit, and then I can get a clearer idea of okay, by doing all of this, we need to hit here. Also many times, you may get people telling you, I want to increase my double my traffic in a year.


That’s already like the goal and the KPI and the forecast together, not a forecast. But like It’s like they’re telling you so tell me what I need to do to double my traffic. So then you have to see if the pieces fit in.


But anything after Discovery sessions to agree on goals and KPIs for me is too late. Now, how many goals should you have? And that’s why I distinguished it early on, I opt for one goal as much as possible, right?


I want when I’m building a strategy, that may have five pieces of content, one big campaign or 100 pieces of content, I want to have one main purpose for doing that. Very rarely, I can see two goals working together. And still, I would probably see one as my main goal. And the other one is a nice to have kind of goal. And then if I’m doing a specific kind of content strategy, so say, I’m creating the strategy for the blog, right?


For the blog, I want to have one goal, I want to focus myself, my team everyone on creating the content that will lead traffic awareness, okay, or that will drive conversions or that will drive something else for us.


But I want to have one goal because that helps me filter out pieces of content with content, you can have 1000s of legitimate things to write or create content about how do you filter through how do you prioritise unless you know what your main goal is, a suggestion may be great and it may be great to drive even conversions, right.


But it may not be part of the strategy you need to build. If your goal doesn’t align with the results of that page creation will bring so that’s why I tried to keep it very clean with my goals with KPIs are gonna go much further.


So you can have more than one or two. I also prefer to determine main KPI and then secondary KPIs to the degree this is possible. So what I mean by that I can have like one main KPI so if I want to increase brand awareness, right, let’s say brand awareness is not a metric necessarily.


How am I going to measure it maybe I will measure it with with how many organic clicks I get or how many branded searches happen like they they they just grow exponentially. So I understand that people are looking for my brand more. Okay, so The secondary KPIs are either things to, to show that my content brings additional value to that.


So maybe for example, having how many social shares I have for this content connects with my goal of awareness, right, because more people share more people see, okay, I cannot necessarily track all of them or how they come to me afterwards, but they are connected those two things, or I call them proxies.


So sometimes, with with the main goal and KPI you have, it’s going to take a while to understand what results it brings. In the meantime, you can use proxies.


So one thing is, if I’m interested in revenue, right, I want to see how many conversions my content brings. But I know my life cycle and users conversions may come like with a product I’m selling may also come like three months later, or six months later, like the the journey is quite long.


In the meantime, if I track scroll depth on those pages, I can get an idea if people are engaging with it throughout, okay, or I can track how many clicks on get on my CTAs. And I can see that there are 50% more than what they used to be from the old content. So these are what are called proxies.


They’re not necessarily on their own showing anything valuable for the business, like most of the businesses would not care about scroll depth, or they shouldn’t. But you as a content marketer you do because it’s an indication for you that this content engages people or it works for what you want to see achieving until you see it. And the other thing I’d say about KPIs is don’t overdo it.


Too many KPIs, and you and the business or your client lose sight of what’s important. So many times we call this vanity metrics in the industry, we call it nothing. But there’s like 1000, metrics, people track around content just because it can, like let’s be honest, many of those happen, because people can we had Google Analytics now GA four. But okay, we’ll track time on page, average time on page, Bounce rate. That’s called engagement or whatever.


Erika Varangouli 52:13

We’ll track pages, on average, will track everything about content. And all I want to do is just shake you and say, Stop. Why? Why do you want to see all that? And if you’re reporting to a client, and you show it to them, we have agreed on your goal and you say, okay, and we have this bounce rate. And we have this new users this return users this that this? How does the client know which one is important?


Or how do you know that if we don’t talk about all this, you may say, Okay, we had amazing results for this and that metric, but bounce rate went up. And then I can assure you, the only thing your client hears his bounce rate went up something is wrong. Is it really important to have that metric there, like as a business.


So I really want to tell people do not feel the stress of having 1000 metrics, it doesn’t make your strategy more legitimate. It doesn’t make results better. Measure the things that matter, measure the things that matter to the business. And to the degree that you can also associate them with your content. Like if you if your strategy is about blog content, and the blog design is broken, and the blog content doesn’t work. And there are no links that you can place internally push back and say, well, we can track it.


But you have problems here. And here. And this is one of my main issues as well with just seeing reporting from content purely as content reporting. Because the dependencies there on other things, promotion, design, development, technical SEO, are so many. And I’ve seen it so many times ending up being the content marketers fault that the content is not performing.


Granted, many times it was, but also some other times, you’re delivering the content now, and it’s been published three months later. And it’s like, okay, but we haven’t seen any results. But you published three months later. So please be aware of all of these things. Because I think reporting is a very tricky part in content. You’ll see it in the deck. I don’t want to because we’re already two minutes over.


But the way I set KPIs differ sometimes depending on the campaign or content or client. But these are some approaches to setting KPIs. You can do this, for example, by funnel stage right if you’ve have your plan, and you’ve separated your content by funnel, these are some proposals for things you can track as KPIs I’m not saying you should, or you should track all of them or these are the only ones you should use just some ideas. You can also this is from Content Marketing Institute, you can do by content type.


So based on the content type did you include in your strategy Do some metrics are a bit more relevant to specific content types. So this is also another approach you can get. And then Festus I know, you also asked about content marketing ROI. So here we go. Here’s the formula, like this is from our blog. So it’s like the return minus the investment divided by the investment multiplied by 100.


This is simple math, right? And everyone who has like, Okay, I got $500 in revenue from these pages, minus I invested $400. So I did this, then I divide by 400, and multiply by 100. I think we’re shooting ourselves in the foot with content marketing ROI. Whenever this discussion comes up and has come up. In my experience, I only know one case, where things were calculated and handled in the way that I agree with. And this is what I’m saying. Here, I’m explaining why return, it’s extremely hard to calculate even remotely accurate, accurately, right?


Especially with analytics platforms, or attribution models that rely on last click. But it’s not just the last click attribution models, there’s more investment, are you including overheads on top of your content spend, are you including in house staff resources and salaries, for example, or not return compounds over time, especially in organic content. So Rojas unpaid is, is quite a bit more straightforward.


Again, it’s not like 100%, but more straightforward. But ROI for content, especially for organic purposes, when do you calculate it, if I calculate something now versus six months from now, versus 12 months from now, it’s going to be very different, what I see. Also returning content, often, the models are based on assigned values in analytics platforms, right. So I don’t have a value for an email signup, it’s a conversion that I’ve named, okay, this is a conversion. And it is the equivalent of someone giving me $10.


It’s calculated based on, you know, I’ve seen that out of the people that sign up X percent converts. So if I get them, this is kind of like the lifetime value, I don’t want to tell you the math part. But in my experience is very rarely get benchmark correctly, reviewed or updated. Because things change all the time as well in terms of the value of conversions and the value of users and all of that. And another reason tracing conversions back to exposure to content on channels, like let’s say social media, after a while, it’s just not a thing.


Or you went to an event, right, and people saw you there, and they Googled your brand. And they came to your website, on a blog page. And then they went away three months later, they came back for something else, like it’s untraceable in so many ways. Okay, we all accept that there’s a big part of it that we’re missing. But when you’re reporting on marketing outcomes and marketing ROI, essentially, you’re saying someone 40%, that’s it.


It’s not even close to the truth in my experience. So does that mean we shouldn’t calculate ROI, I’ve put this, I like this guy a lot. Because he shoots he doesn’t give up. But he just keeps shooting balls at a basketball for no reason why you’re getting worse and worse. But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be calculating it. But it needs definitely to be an educating piece between you and your clients about what it means how much to read into it.


I treated more like a metric I track over time with very set parameters, let’s say just because if I track a content plans, let’s say implementation, ROI over a period of 12 months, and then the next 12 months, I look more into the trend, does it go up or down as my performance from this content going up or down? I’m not even necessarily looking at the actual number.


Okay. It depends massively on the analytic setup you have in a client or business and if this is not up to standard if analytics is not set up properly, if it’s not a the right model used or you know, events, conversion setup, I wouldn’t even bother to be honest, I haven’t bothered most of my time. And that’s it like this. This is my two cents on reporting.


I tried to address most of the questions you had there. Festus, Peris you had one about the blog and how to convince a client about a blog? I think this is outside of the reporting session. And it has to do with other things. I’m happy to, to chat if you want. Um, but okay, we’re seven minutes over. Can we have three minutes? Because see, Rpshni, do you have a question?


Roshni Shaikh 1:00:15

Yes, Erica. So when you said, you set the goals and KPIs in the discovery call phase? I mean, yes. Or, you know, we can talk about what is your big broad goal for looking for somebody like me, and so, you know, just to increase your brand awareness or increase you know, the intention of content on the website or whatever. But how do you like, exactly set the exact KPIs on a discovery call, when you haven’t studied the brand, in as much detail as it isn’t necessary to go and set the KPI


Erika Varangouli 1:00:53

That’s a good question. So when I talk about the goal, at that stage, I mean, a bit more than just brand awareness. Brand awareness is not a goal. Brand awareness is something that happens with pretty much nine out of 10 things we do anyway. So I want to understand how this client or company perceives brand awareness, what is important for them? Is it like people, you want more people to recommend you on social?


Do you want more people to come to your site? Do you want more organic traffic, like there’s very often you’ll see that brand awareness is just an easy word people say, but they don’t know what exactly they mean. And that’s why you need to specify early on as well, because in content, you’ll probably hear brand awareness most of the time. And you’ll get to a stage where you and the client realise that.


Actually, that’s not what I mean, with brand awareness, I don’t care about that All I care is about revenue for my business. At the end of the day, it’s marketing, it’s its budget, going into an activity, of course, every business will expect to make money from that. How direct that association is, is a piece of education is a piece also for you to educate yourself, because I think we, as content marketers have gone on for a long time in the past, without feeling accountable. For results for business, it’s like, okay, we generated awareness.


What does that mean? Like, okay, so it goes both ways. So with goals, I think it’s, it’s the right time, so you can just cause like, you can throw ideas. So like, Okay, would you is important for you is more important for you to have more followers on Facebook? Or is it more important for you to have more people coming to your blog from from search.


And in terms of KPIs, maybe, maybe this is a good I don’t know, like, for me, as soon as we have a goal. And to go into the discovery session was someone I have also looked at their website, right, I don’t go into a discovery session without having checked anything, ever. So maybe I haven’t done like the full analysis, but I definitely have an idea of what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and and maybe even like how they perform.


Usually, this come after having received the brief from them, right discovery calls can happen at the start just to speak with them. And then once you have the brief to talk about their business more before you start building your strategy. So at that point, I already have an idea of okay, I see areas like here and there that I’m probably going to work on.


If it ties into the goal, I know that if my goal is for example, organic visibility, I’m probably going to have our end up measuring like some rankings or organic clicks or stuff like that system metrics, if someone says, oh, I care about my community on social are probably going to have to to measure social metrics as well. So you don’t necessarily log the KPIs. I think you log the goals. Depending on the goal, some KPIs are quite straightforward around it.


Roshni Shaikh 1:03:57

That makes sense. Also, on that note, Erica, so if you’re doing such a different types of, you know, client interactions, initial client interactions, like a sales call, a discovery call, or get to know call and things like that, and some people even charge to get on a discovery call. Is that the business model you follow? Or how does it work for you?

Erika Varangouli 1:04:18

Yeah, I absolutely would always charge for things.

Roshni Shaikh 1:04:21

That’s the reason you know, you’re setting KPIs and goals in your discovery call phase, but it doesn’t happen like that with you know, people like me, I don’t charge for a discovery call, I get to know them, and then go back, do an audit and then set the goals. So I guess it’s….


Erika Varangouli 1:04:39

look, you say people like me as if I’m like someone who deserves but no haha. Look, if you’re doing a proper discovery call with a client like someone’s sending you an email, emailing them back, jumping on a quick call to say Hi, this is who I am, we’ll be great. Okay, of course, you can have The discussion. But if you do a discovery call of like, okay, here’s all my questions. Here’s my, they’ve given you your brief, here’s the budget, like this is probably a good couple of hours of your time, right?


Even if you don’t charge for it separately, this is working time. So. So if you’re in the initial chats, you specify this as part of the process, right? This is part of the process of building a content strategy. Someone hiring you as an expert to do a content strategy is also hiring you as an expert to need to have this before you deliver the content strategies is part of your research. That’s all I’m saying. It’s not a Oh, I’m so precious that I’m charging for it. But Roshni, you’re not. So you shouldn’t. It’s like, No, this is part of building a strategy.


Roshni Shaikh 1:05:52

But it should also be that you should have enough authority for clients to approach you and be able to pay you even before they see your face on a video call.


Erika Varangouli 1:06:04

So yes, I understand that. And please look at me, like I haven’t. I haven’t advice in a few years now. But with the agencies, for example, it’s a it’s also part of, of the research process of the agency. So agencies have a similar project problem, they have to spend a lot of time to pitch for new businesses, which they are not paid for. Right. So so that is also time that is kind of burned for agencies, but it pays off when it comes to you. Okay, winning that client during the discovery session.


So they built the right strategy. So there’s always some burned resource in there. Okay. I’m not living with unicorns yet. So I understand. But I for sure, I have always done it, even if it’s like on a quick call initially, of like, okay, what do you want to do? We need content. Okay. Why? What do you want to achieve? That answer tells you your goal? Doesn’t tell you your goal. They’re answering it wrong.


Roshni Shaikh 1:07:08

Do you have like a specific set of questions, real quick questions that you send? Before you get on a discovery call? Is there a standard set of questions or?


Erika Varangouli 1:07:15

No, I think I had shared in one of the first lessons, there were a few things about discovery calls on the things you need to know. So there were some there, but it depends on the client, it depends on the kind of project you’re wanting to do. So yeah, I’m sorry, I really have to go. We’re 15 minutes over, but I feel bad. Like chitra. I know you had raised your hand and you lowered it. Please, please, please message me on Slack. Anyone? If you have any questions, and I will answer there. Okay. All right. Okay.


Thank you all so much for today. And I’ll see you next week. And I’ll send you on the phone. I forgot. Next Wednesday. I am at a another part of the UK to do a talk. Can we please move this class to maybe Thursday or Friday? I don’t want to skip it, right? Because I really believe that the next two classes should be about you presenting what you’ve done.


So I commit to messaging you all about okay, I would like to see like X and Y person talk about what they’ve done so far and present this, but please let me know which day we can move it to and what time because I know that we have some huge differences in a couple of cases and timezone. So please let me know.


Okay. only other option I see is if we don’t manage next week, we have a long, long session, like two together for more people to present in a longer session the week after, okay, I don’t want to do that. But just so you know, we have options. We’re not out of options. All right. And I’m really sorry, I don’t control when people organise events. I’m so sorry. All right. Okay. All right. Well, thank you all. I’ll get back to all of you. Please keep the communication on Slack. If you need anything from today and with potential hours and we’ll see if they work for everyone. Okay.