Every year, I write a list of new personal goals – everything from the local museums I want to visit (I’m headed your way, Getty Villa!) to health, family, career and financial goals; when I intend to achieve them; and the steps required to mark each item off the list. It works! I’ve successfully taught myself to sew, I call my 90-year-old grandpa every month, and I’ve finally started meditating again.
The whole thing started with a popular Napoleon Hill quote I’ve always loved: “A dream is a goal with a deadline.” It just resonates with me. Dreams are these intangible, unachievable things that you just hope will happen. Add a deadline and chart a course, and that dream becomes possible.
Whether you’re talking about personal or business goals or content performance goals, success takes planning. So this week, I’ve opted to spotlight several articles from the past week that feature tools and concepts that can help you set goals for your content and select metrics to gauge your success:
- Benchmark content to measure and improve content performance: This piece by Eugene Woo at Venngage is one of my favorite things I read this week. It’s focused on blog benchmarks, but the insights translate easily to whatever content type you want to focus on. Venngage took a step back from simply churning out content to ask themselves some important questions: How are we defining success? What do we consider “good,” “average” and “bad?” And they realized they didn’t know the answers. So they identified the best-performing marketing-tech companies to conduct a benchmark study – a study they explain in detail and make available for anyone to use by simply plugging in a few important numbers. The reason they selected the best companies rather than the median performers? Because they’re not trying to beat the median. Their goal is to be the best.
- Send less email for greater engagement: There were several things that caught my attention in this Hubspot blog post about the drastic cuts they made last fall – unsubscribing 250,000 people (roughly half their list) from their emails. First, of course, it seems counterintuitive that you’ll engage more customers with fewer touches. But the logic was sound, and related traffic increased. Second, they were successful because they understood the goal and how to measure success. It’s a great lesson in why we must monitor our strategies and processes and ask whether they still make sense or if there’s room for improvement.
- Selecting the most impactful metrics: This EContent article cites Blaise Lucey, senior content strategist at Bitly: “Every content marketer in 2015 should be able to point to a piece of content and say, “This content generated this amount of value for the company.” And this is where most of us squirm at least a little bit. We know data-driven marketing is important, but we know the “M” word is coming: metrics. There’s no magic wand to make it simple, but the article includes a variety of tips on how to select the most important KPIs. Focus on measuring micro versus macro conversions – track collected leads and website visitors rather than share of sales. Measure qualified content leads and what they did next. The piece details how PR Newswire used advanced analytics to measure single-channel versus multichannel promotion of a white paper and apply what they learned across the board to replicate their results on a much larger scale. There are lots of expert perspectives, and the article wraps with expert tips on how to measure what’s most important.
Now that you’ve got metrics on your mind, it’s a great time to consider the tracking benefits of the latest interactive content formats. Be sure to register for Content4Demand’s webinar next Friday!