Content measurement begins with understanding your business and the role content plays in achieving business objectives. By gaining this knowledge, you can pinpoint with laser accuracy the right types of content that engages users, determine how to best distribute it, and identify the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure and optimize content performance.
This important process is at the core of developing a successful content strategy. And without a clear understanding of your organization’s content strategy—and what it’s designed to accomplish—it’s impossible to determine how to measure your content’s performance.
I’m going to let you in on a “secret” that I learned a long time ago regarding strategy and measurement—they are inextricably tied together. If, as an organization, you’re unsure if you’re measuring the right KPIs for content performance, the first place to look is your content strategy. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your content strategy clear to the organization?
- Is it closely tied to the key business objectives? What results will it produce?
- What are the success metrics that will show value to the organization?
- How does your strategy take into consideration your key audience personas, the “journey” of those audiences, the topics that are impactful to them, the types of content that they consume and the places where you should be engaging them?
- When audiences engage with your content, what is the “next step” that you want them to take?
When you can answer these questions, then you can select the right KPIs for tracking the success of your content.
These are the six key inputs for content measurement:
- Business objectives—does your content support lead generation, brand awareness or another of the six different objectives related to content?
- Content purposes—content can entertain, educate, inspire or convince. Understanding business objectives is necessary to determine the purpose(s) for your content.
- Content types—what types of content will engage your audience most effectively? You can get granular and define literally hundreds of content types, but for simplicity we boil them down into 10 categories, from videos to white papers to case studies. In most cases you’ll have a mix of content types, so you can choose more than one here. But for purposes of KPIs, they may differ depending on the types of content you are going to create.
- Channels—where do you want your content distributed? I would make the argument that you must be in all social and digital channels regardless of your audiences, but it’s important to look at each channel separately as each may have different KPIs or supporting metrics to track.
- Desired actions—when someone engages with your content, what is the next step you want them to take? It’s critical to select KPIs that measure each desired action.
- Need to monetize—first let’s be clear, we always want to monetize content performance. However, the capability to do so will be heavily influenced by factors that are usually out of your control (e.g., your company’s go-to-market strategy, data collection, etc.). My general rule of thumb is to always monetize where you have clear “line of sight” to the end transaction. If you don’t have a direct view of the end transaction, then determine if you can come up with agreed upon “proxies” to fill the gaps.
Once you have identified these six inputs, then you can select the right KPIs to track content performance. Keep in mind that over 3,000 different combinations can result from these inputs, so KPI selection is clearly not a one-size-fits-all approach. It must be tailored to the business, its objectives and strategy.
So you might be thinking, “Wait a minute, after we determine the inputs, how do we determine the actual KPIs to track?” Good question. MSPC has experts in both content and analytics that know how to synthesize these inputs, assess your situation and determine the right KPIs. After we take you through the process and help you understand how to select KPIs from these inputs, you’ll have the context you need to start doing it on your own. Contact us today to get started.
Read next: Content Marketing KPIs Dashboard: Measuring ROI with the King