How best to manage and track success of best performing content Group of rulers/measuring sticks

“How best to manage and track success of best performing content?”

A marketer from asked how to track the success of content in a workshop. It’s one of the Top 100 Questions marketers ask about content marketing.

Why you need to measure

Content marketing measurement serves two primary purposes:

  1. To improve content marketing performance over time.
  2. To demonstrate business results to Sales and executives.

Both types of measurements will help you track the success of content marketing.

Who’s your chief data storyteller?

To wrangle your metrics, it’s crucial to assign a Chief Data Storyteller, the owner of your marketing measurement process. Stephanie Hooper, who plays this role at Infront Webworks, says:

“Knowing your page views and click-throughs isn’t enough. Isolated data is important, but it doesn’t tell you if you get good ROI from your marketing spend.

“You need metrics that tell a story and show a more detailed picture of your marketing efforts. Dig down into metrics to understand the customer journey and identify which content and channels are working better to contribute to profits.

“Data Storytelling can help you ‘see’ what the data means. Find data relationships. As you work with visualizations and analyze the data, you start to see behavior patterns, trends, and takeaways that transform data into valuable insights.”

call to action buttons in blue and green How best to manage and track success of best performing content
Data Storytelling can show you new ways to boost conversions.

“Data Storytelling also helps your C-level executives understand Marketing. Help them recognize how more website traffic increases online conversions or leads, which helps increase sales volume and profits.”

It’s smart to put one person, a Chief Data Storyteller, in charge of tracking the success of content marketing.

Robust Data Storytelling calls for all-in analytics – all the metrics that encompass measurable marketing activities, including those from other workgroups.

Why do you need many measurements

It takes an all-in analytics approach to track the success of content marketing. All-in analytics often includes sets of measures that are found in multiple departments, including Marketing, Communications, Sales, and Finance.

To make sure you’re collecting all the metrics that can provide insights into business results, use our all-in analytics checklist. Download our free All-In Analytics Worksheet to improve the comprehensiveness of your measurement program.

All-in Analytics Worksheet
Download our free All-in Analytics Worksheet here to help you track the success of your content marketing.

Here’s an example of what all-in analytics may encompass:

  • Opens
  • Clicks
  • Subscriptions
  • Unsubscribes
  • Organic Traffic
  • Direct Traffic
  • Referral Traffic
  • Organic Social Traffic
  • Paid Social Traffic
  • Speed of Page Load
  • Visitors
  • Repeat Visitors
  • Time on Page
  • Bounce Rate
  • Conversions
White Paper
  • Downloads
  • Registrations (Gated)
Social Media
  • Posts
  • Shares
  • Clicks
  • Likes
  • Followers
  • Comments
  • Usage
  • Downloads
News Media
  • Impressions
  • Message Delivery
  • Tone
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
  • Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
  • Sales Pipeline
  • Customers Gained
  • Revenue
  • Profits

Help your content community learn together

You may discover that different metrics are available at different frequencies (real-time, daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly). Choose a reporting cadence that you can sustain over the long haul – such as monthly or quarterly reports.

Give everyone who works on these deliverables a line of sight so they can track the success of content marketing. A robust measurement process includes 4 steps:

  1. Measure
  2. Learn
  3. Test
  4. Repeat

Meet regularly with your content community to review metrics, individually hypothesize on root causes, then formulate tests and experiments. Each test you run holds the potential to provide new insights.

Then you’ll repeat the process next month or next quarter.

Share salient results with each audience

Marketers should be able to see all these metrics. As they engage in regular measurement, you will hear ideas about why the numbers were as they were.

For example, competing hypotheses about a new product launch might include:

  • That email made all the difference!
  • Wait, maybe it wasn’t the email … look at all the news coverage we got.
  • We launched at an industry trade show; wasn’t that why the numbers spiked?

Yes, you’ve stumbled into the all-too-familiar problem of attribution. But since everyone’s engaged, you can sort this out by developing and testing hypotheses from team members.

Experiment content marketing
Great content marketing analytics enable you to experiment and learn even more.

Working for a brave CMO helps

Once my CMO boss in a Fortune 50 company was willing to take the risk of allowing media relations to announce a brand new product – while delaying advertising and direct marketing of the product for 2 weeks.

To everyone’s surprise, and to our delight, a successful launch through news media enabled us to hit the 2-month sales projection in 2 weeks! Then, when ads and direct mail kicked in, results soared.

That’s the kind of experiment you can conduct to find out what truly works when you track the success of content marketing — track revenue and profits.

If you want to really impress your executives, track marketing qualified leads (MQLs) all the way through the sales pipeline, to show sales qualified leads (SQLs), new customers, closed deals, revenue, and profit contribution.

When you can show the executives that you focus on growing customers, revenue and profits, Marketing can become a crucial ally to Sales.

How best to manage and track the success of best performing content? Use all-in analytics. Measure, learn, test, and repeat!

This is one of marketers’ Top 100 Questions about content marketing. Here are the answers.