The key to producing and publishing successful content is to be able to measure and understand the performance of your campaigns. It’s not enough to rely on intuition, but you need to grasp how the results measure against your goals and KPIs (key performance indicators), and then be able to use this information to develop and refine future campaigns.

When you’re first starting out, measurement and analysis of data can be intimidating. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to deliver more informed campaigns and actually accredit your results with the content, to hopefully deliver even more successful activity. Check out our short blog with our insights on how to get started with measuring your content marketing efforts.

1) Your foundation: SMART goals and KPIs

Every campaign should start with a focused overarching goal and associated KPIs, which will determine the course of your actions and the content that you create. The types of goals that you develop, will differ from brand to brand, and from brief to brief. You may want to focus on building a better reputation or focus on customer retention but you should be targeted in your approach. The goals should be routed in insights and based on some form of preliminary research, such as competitor or market research. If you have already run campaigns and have collected data, you could use this to assess what types and forms of content achieved the best result what the weaknesses were and the opportunities for future content. For example, what was the best performing content on your blog, or which email campaign delivered the best conversion rates?

Goals need to be SMART. This means they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Ultimately, they need to be quantifiable in one way or another, so you can determine if the content has been successful and has reached your initial expectations; this should form the basis for your KPIs. If you’re new to running and measuring campaigns, it may be useful to split your content marketing activity into three phases: reach phase, engagement phase and conversion phase, this way, things may seem less intimidating when analysing your data.

2) UTM Tracking

Depending on your goal, you may be looking to run various campaigns on different platforms. UTM (Urchin tracking module) tracking codes are bits of text that you can add to a link which tells Google Analytics, (as well as other analytics tools) a bit more about the performance of your content.

The results can be viewed in your Google Analytics account, and you can see which campaign it was and importantly you can determine the content that was published. One of the key reasons to set up campaigns, is to track individual links that are shared on different platforms, from social channels and email, to paid advertising. This means it will be easy to attribute visits or actions from a specific link and content that you share. It also is essential when running AB testing, as you may be utilising the same links for example. Having UTM codes in place when running this will mean that you can easily identify which campaign led to what results.

You can easily set up your own UTM codes with Google’s UTM builder here.

3) Tracking and measuring your goals

Once your campaigns are underway, it’s time to start reviewing the results. Typically the standard/free analytics tools will be sufficient for small to medium brands; for example Google Analytics, Facebook Business Manager and Twitter Analytics.

When starting out, limit the number of metrics you’re looking at, as this keeps things simple. These should align with your overall goal and KPIs that you identified in the initial setup of the campaign.

There are heaps of metrics out there and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and whilst some metrics, like followers and website traffic, are easy to track, they are rarely that insightful independent of other data. Keep in mind that it’s more important to focus on actionable metrics, that will help you refine your content marketing plan which then allows you to deliver increasingly engaging content to your audience, rather than irrelevant metrics which will not help you ultimately achieve your SMART goals and KPIs.

You may also want to think about how you can automate data collection with reports. Creating dashboards and customised views of the data can make it easier to assess performance and increase the efficiency of the process.

4) Develop and utilise your learnings

The final tip is to use your data. Utilise the data you collect to inform new campaigns and new goals. Don’t be afraid to experiment and AB test future campaigns. Once you get more accustomed to data analysis you’ll be able to determine which campaigns are working and which ones aren’t.

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