A Beginner's Guide to Measuring Content Success

A Guide for Overwhelmed Bloggers and Entrepreneurs to Track and Improve Their Content Performance

Welcome to our beginner's guide to measuring content success with project management techniques. In this post, we'll dive into the importance of measuring content success, the challenges overwhelmed content creators face, and how incorporating project management techniques can make all the difference in tracking and improving your content performance. Let's get started!

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The Challenges Faced by Overwhelmed Bloggers and Entrepreneurs

Girl stressed and screaming, head explosion of colour

We know that juggling content creation, marketing, and everything else that comes with running a blog or business can be overwhelming; it feels like there is not enough time in the day. Finding the time and energy to create and evaluate content consistently can be challenging, especially when faced with a never-ending to-do list. Furthermore, with so many metrics and tools available, it can be tough to know which ones are most relevant to your content success and how to make sense of the data.

You need to know where to focus your precious energy and time.

By implementing a few of these principles into your content strategy, you can streamline your processes, better organize your efforts, and ultimately measure and improve your content's success more effectively.

That sounds great Erika, but HOW do I do that?

You have to measure content success: How is your content doing?

Measuring content success is a crucial part of growing any blog or business. Whether crafting an engaging blog post, designing an eye-catching graphic, or producing a compelling podcast, your content serves as the bridge between you and your audience. However, it's not enough to simply create content; you need to know if it's achieving its purpose.

First, measuring content success helps you understand what resonates with your audience, so you can tailor it to meet their needs and interests. This, in turn, helps grow your audience and keep them returning for more.

Second, tracking content performance lets you identify what's working (and what's not), so you can focus your efforts on the most effective tactics.

Finally, for those of us who are lucky to have a team or are expanding, measuring content success can help you demonstrate the Return on Investment (ROI) of your efforts, which is crucial when securing buy-in from stakeholders or justifying your budget.

When you are starting out, a spreadsheet will be your best friend, and as you get better at tracking everything, you can look at tools that help you manage your workload. Project Management is simple and yet vast. With the best will in the world, I cannot cover everything you need to know in one blog post. So if you see something and want to know more about it, let me know! I've either written about it already, or I'm planning to.

But right now, what do you measure, and how do you make it work for you?

Setting clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Start by identifying your content objectives (e.g., increase website traffic, generate leads) and defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will help you measure success (e.g., page views, conversion rates).

Choosing the right KPIs is like picking the perfect playlist for your road trip – it sets the tone for your journey and helps you stay on course. Here are some tips to help you select relevant KPIs for your content goals:

  1. Align with objectives: Make sure your KPIs directly relate to your content goals. If you aim to increase website traffic, a KPI like “page views” would be relevant, while “email open rate” might not be as helpful.
  2. Keep it simple: Focus on key metrics that truly matter for your goals rather than trying to track everything under the sun. This will help you stay focused and avoid analysis paralysis.
  3. Make them measurable: Choose KPIs that can be quantified, so you can track progress over time and see how your content is performing.

Examples

Now that you know what KPIs are and how to choose them, let's take a look at some common content KPIs that you might consider for your blog or business. If you have been following Sadie's PIPS path, you will see that she recommends you install Google Analytics Console.

  1. Page views: This metric shows the total number of times a specific content has been viewed. It's a good indicator of your content's popularity and reach.
  2. Sessions: A session refers to the duration in which a user engages with your website or app
  3. Session Duration: This metric tells you how long, on average, visitors are spending on a particular page. A higher time on the page suggests that your content is engaging and holds your readers' attention.
  4. Engagement Rate: This refers to the proportion of active sessions on your website or mobile app. Previously known as the ‘Bounce Rate', the engagement rate is essentially its inverse. While the engagement rate measures the percentage of sessions that are active, the bounce rate represents the percentage of sessions that lacked engagement.

*NB In Google Analytics, “pageviews” denote the instances when a user views a specific web page, irrespective of how often they exit and return. On the other hand, a “session” captures the entire duration a user spends on the website, potentially encompassing numerous pageviews.

KPI Action

Align with objectives

It's time to do some work!

Open a spreadsheet (I use Google Sheets). Start writing the KPIs that will help you measure content success and define what is important to you.

Name the spreadsheet “Content Success” or something. Are you still stuck? Use ChatGBT to help brainstorm some ideas, but don't do anything too complicated.

First comes the habit, and then comes the experience.

Setting SMART Goals for Measuring Content Success

Next step! You may have seen the word SMART Principles thrown about occasionally. They work for anything you wish to achieve, whether writing a blog post, moving countries or buying a new car! It's not enough to say I want that Mercedes S Class (I don't know cars, but this one sounds pretty).

The SMART goal framework is popular for setting clear, actionable, achievable objectives. SMART is an acronym that stands for

  1. Specific: Clearly define what you want to accomplish.
  2. Measurable: Ensure your goal can be tracked and measured.
  3. Achievable: Set goals that are realistic and attainable.
  4. Relevant: Align your goals with your overall content strategy and objectives.
  5. Time-bound: Establish a deadline or time frame for achieving your goal.

Setting SMART goals gives you a roadmap to success that's easy to follow and helps you stay focused on what matters.

How to Set SMART Goals for Measuring Content Success

Now that you know what SMART goals are, remember that spreadsheet you just created? Open it up again, and you will write some SMART goals (they are different to KPIs). Let's look at how to set them for your content performance:

  1. Identify your content objectives: Start by outlining your overall content goals, such as increasing website traffic, boosting engagement, or generating leads.
  2. Break down objectives into specific goals: Take your broader objectives and break them down into smaller, more specific goals. For example, if your objective is to increase website traffic, a specific goal might be to “increase organic search traffic by 20% in the next 3 months.”
  3. Ensure goals are measurable and achievable: Choose goals that can be tracked using relevant KPIs, and ensure they're realistic, given your resources and constraints.
  4. Align goals with your content strategy: Your SMART goals should be relevant to your overall content strategy and contribute to your long-term objectives.
  5. Set deadlines: Establish a time frame for achieving your goals to help you stay accountable and motivated.

Examples

Specific: Increase monthly organic search traffic by 20%.

Measurable: Track progress using Google Analytics.

Achievable: Implement SEO best practices and optimize existing content.

Relevant: Contributes to the overall objective of increasing website traffic.

Time-bound: Achieve this goal within the next 3 months.

Specific: Boost average time on page by 15%.

Measurable: Monitor progress using Google Analytics or other analytics tools.

Achievable: Improve content quality and readability, and add engaging visuals.

Relevant: Supports the goal of increasing reader engagement.

Time-bound: Accomplish this goal within the next 6 months.

Specific: Grow email subscribers by 10%.

Measurable: Track subscriber growth using your email marketing platform.

Achievable: Offer a valuable lead magnet and optimize opt-in forms.

Relevant: Contributes to the objective of growing your audience and generating leads.

Time-bound: Achieve this goal within the next 2 months.

SMART

Keep it simple

It's time to do some work!

Try to think of some SMART deliverables that match what you want to achieve. Which KPIs match those goals?

Write them down. If you are stuck ask ChatGBT for some ideas.

There is still more work to do so now we look at how you can make informed decisions on the data you have been tracking.

Your audience is speaking to you!

So now you have your spreadsheet set up, how in the world do you make sense of it?

The job of tracking performance metrics is tedious. I hate doing it, but at the same time, I love the results! If you have the same issue as me, there are two very easy ways to make your life and the task of metrics/analytics bearable. Once again, Google comes to the rescue…

Analytics Tools for measuring content success

For those of us who are scared of the tech or technically challenged. I get it. To be honest, the world is changing so fast with the introduction of AI that it is hard to keep up with all the changes. But they help make sense of the data; you need to leverage it to improve, extend your reach, and help you achieve your goals. Remember, the key is to find the right combination of tools and techniques that work for your specific needs and objectives. So buckle up; you can do this! Here are some of the ones I use to get the best out of my website:

Google Analytics

If you follow Sadie's Blogging 101 course, you will already have this as a plug-in on your website. Google Analytics is a free, widely-used analytics tool that tracks user behaviour on your website. It provides a wealth of data on metrics like page views, bounce rate, and time on page, helping you measure your content's effectiveness and understand how visitors interact with your site.

If you don't have it – you need it. Whatever you feel about Google, put it aside because this is essential information.

Rank Math SEO

Rank Math is the SEO plugin I've been using. It's like your personal SEO-checker; scanning your website, pulling data straight from Google Search Console, and keeping an eye on where your keywords rank and how many views they're getting.

My favourite bit? It's like having a friend reading over your shoulder while you write. It nudges you where you need to up your game, helping you inch closer to that green score we all chase.

If you're serious about your online presence, you might want to check out the premium version. The analytics are more in-depth, and it's easier to see what's clicking and missing the mark with your SEO.

Give Rank Math a shot – the free version's a good starting point.

Bottom line – Rank Math is a solid tool for upping your SEO game. Try it out and see the difference yourself.

Yoast

Yoast is the nicer, more polite version of Rank Math, and I like it for different reasons. The free training is brilliant. Like Rank Math, it has a light system, where you try hard to get the green light on your content. Unlike Rank Math, it is forever cheering me on (I feel). It has some brilliant features, like the HTML Q&A block. It also shows you precisely the part of the content you need to improve.

It also has a paid version and works with SEMrush (below) on keyword metrics.

SEMrush

SEMrush is a comprehensive digital marketing suite that includes tools for SEO, content marketing, and social media. With SEMrush, you can track your content's performance in search results, conduct keyword research, and analyze your competitors' strategies. The platform also offers content audit and optimisation tools to help you improve your content's visibility and engagement.

Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio is a free, user-friendly tool that allows you to create custom dashboards using data from various sources, like Google Analytics, Google Sheets, and more. With its drag-and-drop interface, you can easily build visualizations to track your content KPIs and share your dashboards with anyone you want!

Chat GBT

Simply ask Chat GBT to analyse the results for you. More often than not, it will indicate what the metrics mean and how to focus on the right content creation.

Some truly powerful, excellent tools are out there, but you don't need them when you are small and starting out. The basic tools can provide valuable insights into your content's performance, helping you identify areas for improvement and optimize your strategy.

There are a million others on the market. It's hard to choose! If you have a favourite, let me know what it is and why you love it!

Content Success Performance Reviews

So you have your KPIs, you have your SMART objectives. You have your Analytics tools. Now what?

It's time to review it and analyse the performance of your site. You need to decide how often to do this. Don't do this as an ad-hoc thing; you will forget where you are!

I do this every 2 weeks because I have integrated an Agile Project Methodology into my routine.

Regular content performance reviews are like a routine check-up for your content strategy. They help you assess whether you're on track to achieve your goals, identify any issues or areas for improvement, and fine-tune your approach based on data-driven insights.

I cannot tell you what to look for; it depends on what KPIs and SMART deliverables you have created.

Here are the main steps when looking at the data you have gathered:

Analyze your data

Review your KPIs, analytics reports, and any other data you've collected to identify trends and patterns in your content's performance.

Identify areas for Improvement.

Look for opportunities to optimize your content based on the insights you've gained. This could include updating underperforming content, tweaking your content promotion tactics, or adjusting your content mix to better align with your audience's interests.

Implement changes

Put your insights into action by making the necessary adjustments to your content strategy. This might involve updating your content calendar, reallocating resources, or setting new SMART goals based on your revised objectives.

Measuring Content Success

Continuously track your content's performance to gauge the impact of the changes you've made. This will help you fine-tune your approach and ensure your content strategy remains effective and aligned with your goals.

Review

Make them measurable

It's time to do some work!

You need to sit down and review all the information you have gathered. The first time you do it, it will take a while, but I promise, you will get faster at it.

Look at the information and ask yourself:

“What's working well?”, “What could be improved?”, and “What changes should I make based on the data I've gathered?”

Project Manage-MINT: A Refreshing Way to Measuring Content Success

Okay, so let's recap, I've given you 3 actions you can implement today for your blog or business. These actions are regularly used in Project Management to assess whether what you are doing works.

  1. Work out your KPIs – don't go overboard; keep it simple but ensure they align with your blog objectives.
  2. Make them SMART – it's not enough to make your KPIs and goals; you must break them down into manageable goals with a timeline/deadline. Put the dates in your diary & commit.
  3. Review regularly – You don't have to do this every day. Once every two weeks or even once a month is fine when starting. Use tools to help you decipher what your audience is telling you!

So, what are you waiting for? It's time to start measuring your content success with the help of project management techniques. Embrace these strategies, tools, and methodologies to elevate your content performance and watch your blogging or business journey thrive. With dedication, adaptability, and a data-driven approach, there's no limit to what you can achieve!

Celebrate your success! Head over to my Facebook group and let me know what worked for you (and what didn't) 😉

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