Meaningful Metrics For Measuring Content Success

One of the most important parts of any content strategy is the metrics. It is essential that every content strategy include a feedback system, something that gives you an idea of where you are at and where you need to be – from there you can make meaningful judgments about where to go with the content, and more. Having a feedback system in place that allows you to continuously measures success, ensures that you are steering in the direction of further success.

It is important to measure the right things.

Picking the metrics you want to measure is the tricky part. If your measuring stick is faulty, then all subsequent judgments made based on that measuring stick will end up faulty as well.

For this type of thing, brainstorming success metrics, I like to start simple:

What would define a successful content strategy?

One that improves traffic and conversions. If we see traffic go up, and conversions go up, then we can say that we were successful.

Well, that would be nice if that is all we needed – unfortunately, this doesn’t give us enough information, there’s no granularity. Of course, you will want to track and monitor the monthly visits and conversions, but it really does not help you steer the ‘content ship’. We need to go deeper. Just looking at the high-level numbers won’t give us the ability to see the impact of individual types of articles, and to find patterns and trends, etc. So, what’s a step lower? Instead of looking at the big picture, let’s look at each individual component of this content strategy — the posts!

I recommend focusing on the metrics you can track on a “Per Post” basis.

Looking at it from a ‘per article’ viewpoint —

what would define a successful article?

One that generates backlinks, referrals, and search engine impressions/clicks.

Why are backlinks important? Well, they could lead to greater search engine attention, and also have the potential to lead to referrals. If backlinks are going up, it means the other 2 will likely follow.

For every post, on a monthly basis, keep track of:

  • backlinks
  • referrals
  • search engine impressions/clicks.

You can track these using a combination of Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and Moz Open Site Explorer.

Additionally, you will want to keep track of some of the metadata regarding the post, things like the subject, the targeted persona, etc. These examples are the type of things you would find in an editorial calendar.

Merging the ‘per post success metrics’ into your content calendar can lead to the ability to easily see trends and patterns in your content, and to be able to focus in on creating more of the kinds of posts that are contributing most to your ongoing success.

At that point you have everything you need at your fingertips to be able to know authoritatively whether or not your content strategy is working, and also be able to identify signs of traction in the different areas of your content – such as specific personas/subjects, even authors. That’s what I call actionable analytics!

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