For over a century, content marketing has prevailed as the single-most effective method with which to generate major returns for companies of all shape and size. Consequently, company executives have traditionally been very open to investing in content. After all, it’s always been fairly easy to prove that nailing the cover of a major business magazine will conjure up a positive ROI.

Unfortunately, the dawn of digital has proven a huge blow to the notion that content marketing is always worth the money.

In this day and age, users are literally drowning in content. Newsfeeds are filled to the brim with new blog posts, the web is littered with infographics and there are more photo sharing platforms than people know what to do with. That creates a problem for digital marketers, because cash-strapped company bosses aren’t going to want to invest in content production unless they can be guaranteed a return.

With the help of metric-based performance indicators, you can make them that guarantee. A whole host of analytics platforms can now tell you how users consume content, how that content generates leads and, most importantly, how those leads turn into sales. By factoring all of these key pieces of data together, it should be fairly simply in order to prove your content is making a difference.

To help you get started, here are three of the easiest metrics to gauge your success:

  1. Measure consumption

Consumption metrics are by far the easiest way to demonstrate the value of your content marketing efforts. With the help of tools such as Google Analytics, marketers can prove when, where and how users are consuming the content they’ve produced. How? These platforms clearly spell out the total number of visits, unique visits and downloads content has generated. Better yet, consumption metrics will be able to tell you how much time users are spending on your page.

These tools are essential because they generate a clear map in order to illustrate how potential consumers are using your website.

  1. Measure shares

Nowadays, the Internet revolves around social media. Facebook alone boasts over 1.5 billion users – so in order to succeed, all businesses should be present on social media. That being said, some marketers may find it difficult to explain the value of this presence to bosses, when to the untrained eye, it looks like members of staff are simply playing on Twitter all day. In-built metrics systems are an easy way to prove social media generates tangible sales leads.

For example, Facebook’s Page Insights feature can tell you how many people are seeing your content, how many clicks your posts are receiving and where those users are from. By pairing these insights with the consumption metrics you’ve already got installed, you’ll instantly receive a clear picture of how social media users are interacting with your website.

  1. Measure Sales

At the end of the day, your company’s entire marketing strategy revolves on generating sales. In order to prove your content is actively working to produce these sales, it’s worth taking a look at your company’s sales close rates. So long as your business website has an effective customer relationship management system installed, you will be able to develop a map of how users are interacting with your company’s digital presence. In turn, you’ll be able to figure out whether your content is actually influencing direct sales.

Content marketing has been around for decades – but it’s constantly evolving. New social media trends and analytics platforms emerge every day. Bearing that in mind, it’s crucial to try and keep your company up to speed.