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Measuring Content Success: The Role of Metrics & Analytics

Does your content suffer from a credibility crisis?

Do you as a marketer struggle to explain the value of content marketing in your organization?

Being able to measure the performance of your content is an important step in promoting accountability and gaining respect.

When it comes to content measurement, there are two things that you want to focus on:

  • What to measure
  • How to measure it

The Role of Metrics

Content Marketing should never exist for its own sake. It must be part of the overall goals of the business, whether that is to generate sales leads, to increase revenue or something else.

So when you think about measuring content, think business goals first, then work your way backwards to business objectives, then content goals, then content objectives, and finally to content metrics.

Example:

Business goal for ABC Corporation is to increase quarterly sales by 25%

Business objective (to realize that goal) is to land 3 new accounts each month

Content goal is to create white papers for the purpose of lead generation

Content objective is to publish 5 white papers per month that will yield at least  20 subscribers each

Content metric is the number of actual white paper subscribers per month

Your sales department will use this information to pursue likely business leads based on the personal information that was captured in exchange for the white paper download. Keep in mind that in the end, only a small portion of these subscribers or leads will end up spending money to buy your product.

So while the actual number of subscribers is an important metric in and of itself, the most important thing is how many of those subscribers opened up their wallets to spend money on your product. It’s also about how much money you had to spend in the first place, in order for them to spend money on you.

The Role of Analytics

Analytics measure the quality of user experience that visitors are getting from your web content.

They tell you how much time visitors are spending on your site, what kind of content they’re consuming, what they like and don’t like, and so on. Use this information to understand visitors, to discern their needs or preferences and to predict future trends.

A high bounce rate on your landing page for example tells you that visitors to your site aren’t getting any value from your content – it’s not relevant to them.

So the point of analytics is not to focus on how many visitors you’re getting on your site each month, but what these visitors are doing once they get there. In other words use analytics to evaluate how users engage with different pages, content types, blog posts and so on.

For example, instead of focusing on the fact that your site had 2000 unique visitors last week compared to 1200 the week before, ask yourself how much time and engagement they committed to your blog last week compared to the week before.

You’ll start to see interesting trends that will give you valuable insights about your visitors’ behavior. Use this information to create the kind of content that will attract new visitors and retain the old ones.

Remember, content marketing can bring real value and real benefits to your business. But like everything else, you need to keep track of your content’s performance to see if indeed it is contributing to your organizational goals. Even at this early stage in the content marketing revolution keep in mind that it’s what gets measured, that gets done!

Over to you: How do you measure the success of your content marketing efforts?

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  • http://www.franchise-info.ca michael_webster

    I think that you want to measure how a particular piece of content was seen by your audience.

    Here are the (3) things I look at for my clients, was it interesting, authoritative and did it work as a marketing piece?
    1. Interesting – look at page views, then average times, then and then source. Use a backlinks strategy to increase variation after publication.
    2. Authority – use Google’s top ten authorities to try to engage those people.
    3. Marketing – measure some call to action, something you want people to do after reading the article, if they want more.
    Here is a detailed example of how these measures work:
    http://www.franchise-info.ca/monetizing/2011/10/measure-content-marketing.html

    • Anonymous

      Hi Michael,

      First of all, let me apologize because I didn’t notice your comment until now. I usually get an email alert when a new comment pops up and for some reason I didn’t get one in your case.

      But I absolutely agree with everything that you say. Especially the point about averaging out page views from month to month and analyzing the source of traffic.

      I find that generally people are looking at daily stats and trying to establish a trend from that instead of month-to-month data. I really like the detail in your article. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.franchise-info.ca michael_webster

    I think that you want to measure how a particular piece of content was seen by your audience.

    Here are the (3) things I look at for my clients, was it interesting, authoritative and did it work as a marketing piece?
    1. Interesting – look at page views, then average times, then and then source. Use a backlinks strategy to increase variation after publication.
    2. Authority – use Google’s top ten authorities to try to engage those people.
    3. Marketing – measure some call to action, something you want people to do after reading the article, if they want more.
    Here is a detailed example of how these measures work:
    http://www.franchise-info.ca/monetizing/2011/10/measure-content-marketing.html

  • Anonymous

    Hi Michael,

    First of all, let me apologize because I didn’t notice your comment until now. I usually get an email alert when a new comment pops up and for some reason I didn’t get one in your case.

    But I absolutely agree with everything that you say. Especially the point about averaging out page views from month to month and analyzing the source of traffic.

    I find that generally people are looking at daily stats and trying to establish a trend from that instead of month-to-month data. I really like the detail in your article. Thanks for sharing.