“How best to manage and track success of best performing content?”
A marketer from Parker.com asked how to track 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:
- To improve content marketing performance over time.
- To demonstrate business results to Sales and executives.
Both types of measurements will help you track 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 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.”
“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 success of content marketing.
Robust Data Storytelling calls for all-in analytics – all the metrics that encompass measurable marketing activities, including those from other work groups.
Why you need many measurements
It takes an all-in analytics approach to track 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 to business results, use our all-in analytics checklist. Download our free All-In Analytics Worksheet to improve the comprehensiveness of your measurement program.
Here’s an example of what all-in analytics may encompass:
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 success of content marketing. A robust measurement process includes 4 steps:
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.
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 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 success of best performing content? Use all-in analytics. Measure, learn, test, and repeat!