Marketers, Measure Content Performance
For marketers, conversations about content measurement usually boil down to simple demonstrations of ROI. But there’s an even better reason to measure content performance: to empower content strategists with the tools they need to evaluate results and make data-driven content improvements.
Empowering Content Teams to Measure Performance
There’s nothing wrong with demonstrating ROI. But when content measurement focuses exclusively on quantifying ROI, marketers can lose sight of the larger benefits that performance tracking offers content teams.
Here’s what I mean: Content teams are typically tasked with developing high-quality marketing content to achieve specific outcomes, but they rarely see the impact of the work they create. After articles, blog posts and whitepapers are approved, strategists and copy specialists move on to the next project.
If content teams aren’t connected to the outcomes of their work, it’s unreasonable to ask them to make improvements that result in better marketing performance – let alone larger financial returns. At a minimum, content strategists and specialists need to participate in:
- Monitoring views and conversions for specific pieces of content
- Analyzing the performance of content-rich campaigns at key intervals
- Evaluating trends in the distribution and promotion of various types of content
When the content function becomes more integrally involved with performance tracking, strategists and specialists are incentivized to monitor the impact of the work they create and make changes that result in across-the-board content improvements.
Tips for Measuring Content Performance
The development of a content performance measurement program is more of a journey than a destination. If you’re doing it right, you will constantly find new opportunities to adapt content measurement tools and routines to reveal deeper insights for strategists, creators and specialists.
- Give Content Teams Ownership of the Process. Ownership of content performance measurement tools needs to begin and end with the content team. Why? Because at the end of the day, performance tracking primarily benefits content team members by increasing their visibility to the outcomes of the content they develop.
- Start With Conversion-based Content. Measuring content shares is okay. But the real value comes when we measure conversion-based assets – whitepapers, data studies, visual storytelling and other pieces of content that motivate audiences to take specific actions for increased lead generation. Because these types of content generate the most benefits for clients, they are a natural starting point for content teams to target for improvement.
- Encourage Experimentation and Testing. By regularly monitoring the performance of key content assets, teams gain the information they need to make informed, data-driven improvements in the development, creation and distribution of content. Encourage content strategists to use captured insights to experiment and perform structured content testing.
- Schedule Periodic Reviews. Measurement and tracking are only valuable if outcomes are reviewed and discussed at regular intervals. Ideally, tracked performance will catalyze important conversations with marketing team members and lead to more effective collaboration with other teams in the organization.
- Create Awareness Among Other Teams. Although content teams maintain ownership of content measurement tools and strategies, it’s important for other teams to understand how content performance is being tracked and evaluated. In many cases, content team members need marketers’ help to capture views and conversion data.
In my experience, content professionals are just as interested in data-based improvements as marketing professionals. By encouraging content teams to develop tools and processes for measuring the performance of their work, you can help them do their jobs more effectively – and keep your organization ahead of the curve in content development and distribution.
Related story: Why Content Is Not Actually King
As vice president of editorial content for Walker Sands, Tim Morral brings nearly two decades of editorial and content marketing experience to the team.
From nuanced brand storytelling to the development of attention-grabbing owned media assets, Tim guides teams and clients in the creation of content that drives revenue and delivers measurable business improvement. A firm believer that great content generates real value, Tim helps B2B firms achieve clarity and amplify the volume of key messages in crowded markets.
Tim currently resides in Rochester, NY. He holds a bachelors in economics from Dickinson College and a doctorate in transformative leadership from Colgate-Rochester Crozer.