Benchmarking and Evaluating Success

With the ubiquity of measurement and analytics tools, there’s no question that marketers are increasingly pressured to be results-oriented. Gone are the Mad Men days of lofty brand awareness campaigns (and whiskey before lunch), as “Performance Marketers” usher in an era of marketing analytics and ROI. In this era, we can actually be more effective and purposeful with our content marketing by benchmarking against our overall goal while cutting our losses and iterating on successes to move in the right direction.

This post is part of the Content Coach series, a free crash course on content marketing.

Want to skip the course and put your content marketing on Cruise Control? With the Cruise Control plan, Scripted does the planning, writing, publishing, and tracking for you. It’s the all-in-one content marketing solution that takes care of everything, so you can focus on other important stuff – like where to take your next vacation.

If you’d rather do it yourself, continue through the crash course below.

Overall Benchmarking

Back in the first exercise of this series, we set our goal and determined which metrics to focus on to track progress. Here’s a reminder of the goals and metrics we laid out:

Goals & Metrics Table

We also stressed the importance of focusing on one of the above goals at a time. Whatever your singular goal is, let’s dig into the metrics and determine how you’ll iterate on this whole process.

Collect the metrics that coincide with your goal in the above table. Add the latest numbers to your metrics tracking spreadsheet from the previous Metrics Exercise. How have they changed? If there isn’t much of a change, don’t worry; this is just to continue benchmarking so we can draw the bigger picture of how these metrics are trending. Improvements from content marketing don’t happen overnight. But they do tend to compound, meaning improvements can be gradual at first, but once you hit a critical mass, they will accelerate and each post will garner a larger impact than before. How do you get there?

Winners and Losers Exercise

With so much competing content out there and so many keywords, we need to be ruthless about where we focus our time and efforts. That means cutting our losses when we find something isn’t working and doubling down when it is. Let’s apply this to your content marketing efforts thus far.

Add a new tab in your metrics tracking spreadsheet, or create a new spreadsheet altogether, to track the individual performance of your blog posts across the metrics that correlate with your goal. It should look something like this template, using only the relevant columns.

Pick five blog posts that you’ve published in the past few months, and record the results for the relevant metrics in your spreadsheet. Which performed the best? Which performed the worst? Any surprises or trends? Do you feel you need to give them a bit more time before making an evaluation?

Take the winners and try to replicate their success: target the same or similar keywords, hire the same writer to create content targeting other keywords, mirror the structure or post type, etc. Examine the losers to glean why they didn’t perform as well as expected so you can avoid those mistakes in the future.

Now that you’re a budding master of the domain, with proprietary content performance data and a solid foundation of skills and tools, take your learnings and begin again from the start by planning out a new and improved set of keywords!

If it’s not abundantly clear: content marketing is hard, but it’s worth the investment. Scripted can help with any stage of the process, but you can also go it alone! Either way, we earnestly want you to succeed. So keep producing great content and engaging prospects, and reach out if you have questions!

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