You’ve started your business blog, you’ve begun to tap into internal and external folks to help create content, and you may even have tapped into curation to help fuel your content engine. But how do you know if your blood, sweat, and tears are worth it?
More importantly, how can you demonstrate your blog’s impact to your vice president of marketing or your CMO to get continued support and secure more investment?
There’s no way around it. You need to measure the impact of your blog on audience engagement and, ultimately, on your pipeline. Your marketing operations team would refer to this as marketing performance measurement. Your metrics also should include indicators of the efficiency of your content supply chain.
Based upon our survey of more than 425 marketers, the majority of companies are using vanity metrics to measure the impact of their blogs. The most advanced content marketing teams (i.e., the 10K Club with 10,000+ blog page views per month) are leading the pack with more advanced marketing and sales pipeline metrics. (e.g., marketing leads, influence on sales).
A marketing performance measurement endeavor is never easy. Therefore, start small with your target metrics and expand from there.
These blog metrics and related targets should be tracked for three months to best gauge the success of your blog:
These metrics will help you manage your blog budget, as well as provide the foundation for return on investment analyses.
- Supply chain – number of posts planned, in process, ready to be published, etc.
- Posting frequency (In our survey 90% of the most successful bloggers post weekly or more often.)
- Time – average time from concept to publication of a post
- Writer-specific metrics – throughput and ultimate impact of individual writers should be considered as evaluation sophistication grows
- Cost – production, distribution, promotion
This data will provide a solid foundation for setting internal goals. Metrics should cover:
- Sharing – social media link shares, “likes,” retweets
- Consumption – page views, unique visitors, average time-on-site
- Engagement – session duration, page depth
- Retention – percent of visitors returning to your blog, bounce rate, number of visits, pages per visit (Google Analytics data)
To push beyond these so-called “vanity” metrics and better demonstrate the impact of content on the business, marketers are determining how their blogs affect the marketing and sales pipelines. These more advanced metrics, as detailed below, can be difficult to attain; however, a new category of marketing software, content marketing platforms, is emerging to fulfill this need.
Here are the metrics to monitor:
- Marketing pipeline – new leads generated (first, last, and multi-touch) and existing leads touched
- Sales pipeline – percent and dollar value of opportunities generated and touched, percent and dollar value of opportunities won
- Return on investment – blog impact percent equals dollar value of opportunities minus the total cost divided by the total cost
Start with the easier metrics to track, such as engagement and retention, then work to measure marketing and sales pipeline impact. Here’s a handy reference guide that breaks down the metrics by difficulty level to help your evaluation process.
These metrics will help quantify the worth of your blog and help you make better-informed decisions regarding what types of content to create. Find out what type of posts (format, topic, etc.) are generating the biggest impact on your pipelines and continue to create those types of posts.