How do you know if your content is working?
When you clearly define and communicate success metrics, you can help everyone work towards a common goal, ensure that content goals support your larger strategic objectives, and feel confident that your content will continue to evolve towards being a significant and impactful asset for your company.
Content can seem like a tricky thing to measure, but there are actually several meaningful ways to do so. We recommend measuring content across the following four areas:
- Content success
- User experience
- Content quality
- Content governance
The most obvious way to measure your content is to check whether it gets your audiences to do what you want them to do. Once you have your business and content goals outlined, set up specific goals for each of your channels.
Set up Google analytics. Google provides several free online courses to help you set analytics up on your site, track activity, and create reports. Define and measure conversions based on your company’s content goals.
Try tools like DoubleClick for ad tracking.
Set up insights on the platforms you use and look at activity over time. There are a lot of great posts out there about which metrics you should be measuring and it can be overwhelming.
Remember to start with your business and goals. Then choose specific metrics that align with them. Within that context, look for patterns and changes to those patterns, both within one platform, and across multiple platforms.
Check dates and content to determine why some posts are more successful than others. For more detailed findings, try to extract seasonal patterns from the data. Are changes cyclical?
Determining whether print content is successful is tricky. Distribution numbers are unreliable because there’s no way to know if print products sent out are being used by the expected audiences. There’s even less to support the notion that print products result in conversions.
We recommend using A/B testing. Send print content to half the people in one target audience and measuring the commensurate online traffic.
Make sure you measure content from your audience’s perspective. How? Ask them! Regularly test the usability of your content channels and the experience your audience has when using those channels.
What Users Do has useful resources on user experience, and the Nielson Norman Group shares articles on their user testing research results. Test whether your content is useful, easy to read, findable, and/or interesting, depending on your business and content goals.
Set metrics and evaluation processes to ensure that content your team develops has minimal editorial errors and aligns to defined standards. Use a content scorecard for a big picture look at content quality, or perform a full content quality audit for a closer look at each page.
Content governance refers to the people doing content work, and the systems in place to support that work. Defining and measuring the success of content governance will help you refine your content team’s systems and processes. Success measurements might include:
- Staff satisfaction
- Time to publication
- Consistency of standards
- Content accuracy
Some items can be measured with surveys or scorecards, while others can be tracked with audits. Define a content governance measurement process and schedule as part of your metrics discussion.
Include measurement as a process in your content lifecycle to make sure your content is successfully supporting your business goals. Once you have data to determine which content activities are most successful, content decisions will become easier, and all phases of the lifecycle will become more efficient.