One of the great rewards of being a marketer today is that we can measure so much of what we attempt and accomplish.
But all the potential and promise of measurement can quickly become a pain if we struggle to make sense of the myriad metrics.
Maybe that’s why it was standing room only this week inside a convention center conference room in Columbus, OH. The overflow crowd was furiously scribbling and typing notes based on a presentation by Jay Baer, CEO of Convince & Convert, a social media and content consultancy.
Despite the hyperbolic (or more likely, tongue-in-cheek) title of his presentation, “The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing Metrics,” @jaybaer delivered one of the more takeaway-filled seminars during Content Marketing World 2012. Apparently BtoB magazine agreed, having led one of its daily e-newsletter dispatches from #cmworld with a synopsis of Baer’s remarks.
See if this handful of takeaways helps bring clarity and focus to how your organization approaches content measurement:
Mind your business. While it’s great to “think like a publisher” in order to get yourself in a content marketing mode and mindset, “You’re not really in the publishing business,” Baer cautioned. “You’re in the action business.” In other words, you’re looking to generate meaningful results for your business and brand.
Focus on a quartet of categories. Baer suggests organizing content measurement around four metrics categories. Category labels and broad definitions he suggests include:
- Consumption. How many people viewed, downloaded or listened to your content assets? Consumption is a top-of-the-sales-funnel metrics category. So if you’re looking to expand and fill the pipeline, ungate your content. “Forms are the enemy of spread,” Baer said.
- Sharing. How resonant is this content, and how often is it shared with others? Here’s where you’re tracking likes, tweets, retweets, and don’t forget e-mail forwards. Key to growing sharing metrics? First and foremost, said Baer, create great content. Beyond that, make sure sharing buttons are readily available in and around your online content.
- Lead generation and nurturing. Now you’re moving deeper in the funnel, getting into registrations for gated content assets. Opt-in e-mail subscriptions. Blog subscriptions. Even blog and social media comments can be “soft leads,” Baer said. Here’s where conversion rates start to become meaningful: The ratio between consumption metrics and leads generated.
- Sales. The end game. For e-commerce firms, it’s about online transactions. For companies with a more complex and largely offline sales cycle, you’ll need a process to capture offline sales activity and outcomes in order to truly measure success.
Don’t quit at consumption. B2B published this quote from Baer: “Consumption alone doesn’t matter. You want to look at whether prospects engage in other, more desirable behaviors as a result of your content, such as returning to your site in greater ratios than others. If you don’t know these things, you are lying to yourself about content effectiveness.”
Don’t forget: Do something trackable. Closing by returning to his original point, Bear reminded attendees to embed content with plenty of opportunities and offers to take action, in order to have something by which to measure content effectiveness.
This post, originally published on Hanley Wood Marketing’s Content Is Marketing blog, is cross-posted here for subscribers to Touch Point City. For more marketing ideas and insights from my colleagues at HWM, subscribe to Content Is Marketing.