Best Practices: Measuring Content Strategy Success


Best Practices: Measuring Content Strategy Success

April 27, 2014

Continuing our best practices discussion about key metrics to use as editorial performance incentives, let’s step back and look at some of the big picture methods for measuring your content strategy’s health. 

First, focus on the metrics that reflect engagement  - a more valuable measure than impressions or shares.  You want to consider:

  • Conversion rates
  • Subscription registrations
  • Downloads
  • Length of visits—look at and compare desktop and mobile
  • Number of visits—unique and return readership
  • Size of audience around specific types of content and writers

Understand the Journey

But, you also want to really understand the journey that results in the audience behavior you're seeking - conversions, registrations, or subscriptions, for example. Remember how we mentioned what is going on between the clicks?  The journey is what we are talking about. Understanding what your readers are doing to get from point A to point B really sheds light on the effectiveness of your strategy. Consider these factors:

  • What brought them to the site/how they got there
  • Where they bounce (if they do)
  • What page they were on prior to their final page
  • Where they lingered and engaged with your content

Sound familiar?  Yes, this behavior is absolutely related to individualization. Yes, it’s about a deeper understanding of your audience to create greater engagement.

Test It Out!

You don’t want to sit idly by either and just watch. You want to test things out. A/B testing allows you to really see how content type, presentation, design and subject matter perform.  You have all this capability to gather data—look back at historical performance and use that information to lead you to the most effective approaches.  Then, test them with different segments of your audience.

Surveys Measure Up

Don’t forget that email is still super effective and a great way to take the pulse of your readers. Survey them about their content preferences and be deliberate about it. Look at your data and come up with questions that help you hone in on very specific segments of readers and how they access your content, what they're reading and what they ignore. The more specific your data, the more pointed your questions can be and the better you will understand your reader’s needs.

Don’t Ignore Your Dashboard

Sure, that sounds sort of funny, because chances are, your publishing system (EPS) is central to your strategy—but have you looked at the level of engagement your content creators have with it?  Have you determined any pain points that might inhibit them from taking the steps to help you effectively execute your strategy?  If your EPS isn't intuituive with tools to support contextual associations and other enhancements, then you might be running into roadblocks before you even start driving.

Don’t forget that when you introduce new technology or initiatives to your team, they will naturally only pick up a few key things at the beginning.  Make sure you check in with them regularly and do ongoing training as well as updates, to keep your content creators engaged, savvy and invested.

Metrics are such a valuable tool and of course can really tell you how you’re doing—so it’s important to leverage key activities that will drive the most relevant metrics.