Content marketing is a famously long process, it takes a fair amount of time for results to start coming in. Once you do finally start seeing movement towards your goals, it can also be difficult to find a way to quantify your success.
Needless to say, this is a less than ideal situation.
Today we are going to be taking a look at a reasonably simple but incredibly effective way for you to measure success while learning about the kind of content you should be creating more of (or avoiding entirely).
Let’s get started.
Goals. Goals. Goals.
If you’ve not read our guide on how to pick and set appropriate (and achievable) content marketing goals, then click here to have a quick read – you’ll need it for the process we’re about to explain.
Data Driven Decisions
At this point, we are assuming you know what your goal is and that you know the metrics you need to be tracking to assess how close you are to achieving it (again, read the post we linked above if this sounds confusing).
Open up a spreadsheet and write down the titles of all of the content you have published. In separate columns note down the metrics you’re tracking to evaluate your goals and the date the post was published.
Note: It’s worth mentioning here that we recommend you first start this analysis about 4 to 6 months into your campaign. The slow nature of content marketing means that before this point you won’t have enough data to make this evaluation process worth your while.
This seemingly simple spreadsheet can be used in two main ways to show you how your content marketing efforts are progressing.
The most basic form of analysis is to sort your content by date and look for any trends that show improvement over time. If your numbers are steadily improving, then you know you’re on the right track.
On the other hand, if you’re not improving that much then you need to keep monitoring the situation on a regular basis. It’s not an immediate cause for concern if you’ve only been producing content for a few months as there’s a snowball effect that takes place. Once you start nearing critical mass the benefits show up like a runaway train.
However, if you’ve been producing content for over 8 to 12 months and you’ve seen little improvement – then something is wrong. If you’re one of our clients then speak to your campaign manager immediately and we’ll look into what the problem is and suggest changes (however, at time of writing we’ve never had a client in this situation).
The other form of analysis that can be performed on this spreadsheet will tell you more about what kind of content is (and isn’t) working well for you.
Sort the spreadsheet via the metrics you’re tracking from best to worst and take note of any particularly good (or bad) performers.
Try and figure out a pattern between the good posts, if there is one – consider creating more content that follows it. Similarly, if there’s a pattern between the bad posts then try and avoid creating content of the same type in the future.
It’s simple, yet surprisingly effective analysis.
The Final Word
With these two basic analysis methods, you can find out a surprisingly large amount of information about your content, your campaign, and your progress.
Update the spreadsheet semi-regularly (once every 2 or 3 months) to further evaluate progress and to find any new winning or losing trends.