Content Accountability: A Framework for Measuring Performance

Brian Honigman

Many big brands see lackluster results from content marketing because they aren’t monitoring their progress effectively to truly learn from their successes and failures.

Marketing is an iterative process that requires ongoing experimentation to determine what works to drive a particular audience to action, especially when creating and publishing content.

Here’s a straightforward measurement framework any organization can implement to grasp how their content is performing on a regular basis.

1. Select Meaningful Goals

From the onset, declare what you’re looking to achieve with a particular content campaign.

Your marketing efforts likely have a few overarching goals to direct what you’re doing, but it’s important to clarify any secondary objectives that are specific to each initiative.

For example, a company might sponsor a series of articles in a leading industry publication with the goal of increasing brand awareness and driving traffic to your website.

Choose two to three goals per campaign by prioritizing the objectives that will have the most impact on the company’s growth.

With goals in mind, it’ll be easier to determine which efforts with content were successes or not.

2. Define Your Audience

The people you’re trying to get to read, watch, listen to or view your content impact the topics you’re choosing to cover and where this content will be distributed.

These variables impact how you’ll measure the performance of content because trying to reach an audience of millennial parents is very different than your approach for reaching retirees.

To figure out who you’re trying to reach, it might require referring to your existing analytics to understand audience demographics, conducting a survey or focus group or listening to conversations about your brand on social media.

At the beginning of any content campaign, clarify who your audience is and what their distinct interests, preferences, challenges and behaviors are.

3. Choose the Right Content Types

Next, select the formats of content best suited to reach your audience.

Decide whether sharing blog posts, video, podcasts, images or a combination is the best use of your time spent connecting with potential customers over content.

This is a trial-and-error process as there’s no way to predict what type of content is best for your brand without testing to see what works.

Make your decision to invest in one type of content versus another by leveraging any available data you’ve gathered on your audience’s activity and using your intuition as an expert about your business.

The types of content your organization chooses to focus on inform how you’ll exactly measure success.

4. Match Metrics with Your Goals

It’s time to decide which metrics make sense for both illustrating progress in reaching your goals and aligning with the content types being used.

A metric is a standard unit of measurement that increases or decreases to demonstrate whether you’ve achieved a goal, like developing more market share or landing additional customers.

Pair two to three metrics per goal and monitor them to understand the progress of an article, podcast episode, video or other content asset.

For instance, the goal of spurring engagement could be measured with the following metrics: number of comments, social shares, time on site or click-to-open rate.

Meanwhile, focusing on the goal of getting more conversions can be paired with any of these metrics: email sign-ups, downloads, contact requests or sales.

The metrics chosen must coincide with the content types being used, like using views to measure awareness of a YouTube video or traffic to understand the reach of an article.

To learn more about this topic, my course on content marketing ROI covers the different types of metrics to consider and the best methods for pairing them with the right goals.

5. Setup a Streamlined Reporting System

With what you’re looking to measure in mind, simplify this process by selecting the right tools capable of monitoring those particular goals and metrics.

A measurement tool should automate aspects of the process to deliver reporting to your team and help visualize your progress.

It’s important to assemble a toolkit comprised of a few different measurement tools as no single tool is equipped to provide a company with the full picture regarding marketing.

Choose measurement tools based on the goals you’re after to measure the behaviors of consumers and awareness of a content campaign through monitoring media mentions.

The use of the right tools helps an organization spend less time collecting and analyzing data and more time making informed decisions about where to invest further with content.

These tools need to offer reliable reporting capabilities to quickly and easily analyze, share and present the results of your content campaigns.

Develop a reporting cadence that differs for each stakeholder to ensure they receive reports catered to the specific demands and priorities of their role.

A marketing manager may want to receive a granular report of the daily interactions on your blog posts as compared to an executive who wants to review the quarterly progress of the blog.

Follow these steps to properly attribute the impact content has on your company’s business objectives and direct how your strategy will adapt to drive more results.

Brian Honigman is a content marketing consultant, speaker, adjunct professor at NYU and the CEO of Honigman Media. He writes regularly for Forbes, Entrepreneur and the Next Web.



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