Quick: What’s the goal of your blog?
You can probably answer that pretty quickly. Maybe you want to build awareness, or establish thought leadership. Or maybe you want to generate leads or sales. Or use it as a customer service platform.
Now comes the stumper: How do you measure the success of your blogging strategy?
This is where most blogging companies trip up. They know WHAT they want to accomplish with their blog (more awareness! more leads!), but they don’t know how to measure if their efforts are successful.
And here’s the ‘bad’ news: It’s not always easy to determine if your blogging efforts are working, but it’s worth making the effort to try to figure it out.
Let’s take a very simple example, a company that’s blogging strategy is to use the blog to build its awareness. If you ask this company how it judges if its blog is ‘working’, it would probably say that it looks at the number of comments it is getting.
On the surface, this makes sense. If a blog is getting a lot of comments, a lot of people must be aware of it, right? But what happens if everyone comes to that blog, leaves a comment, and…..that’s it? So every new post has a lot of comments, but how will more comments alone raise the awareness of the blog? To a degree, it will. Because as people leave more comments, they will generate more visits, and more pageviews, etc.
But while the company wants people to leave comments, they would also love if these people would also share the post with their networks. Ah-ha….so now we have TWO ways to measure success: Number of comments, and number of times the post is shared. The sharing could be ReTweets, it could be Facebook Shares, Stumbles, etc.
Which then opens another can of worms, WHICH method of sharing is preferred? Let’s say your company isn’t really active on Facebook or StumbleUpon, but you are on Twitter. So for your company, you’d prefer RTs over Stumbles or Facebook Shares.
So now we have two ways to measure the success of our strategy to use our blog as an awareness-building tool: Number of comments, and number of ReTweets.
But wait a minute…you know, it’s great when people comment on your blog, and you love it when they RT your posts. But it almost seems like a waste to have them do that, and then leave your blog without taking something with them. What if you offered free white-papers for download? Those would benefit your readers, PLUS help establish your authority and thought leadership, which would prompt your readers to share the white-paper with their networks, which would boost your awareness!
So now we have THREE ways to measure the success of our strategy to use our blog to build awareness of our company:
1 – Number of comments
2 – Number of RTs
3 – Number of downloads of our white-papers
Now we’re getting somewhere! The next step is to prioritize these actions. If you could only have a visitor perform one of the above three actions, what would it be? You would probably say you’d want your readers to download your white-paper, followed by RT your post, then comment on your post.
So then the most important success indicator for your blog is number of white-paper downloads, followed by number of RTs, and number of comments. With these goals in mind, you then need to think about how you not only create content that moves readers toward performing these actions, but how you organize your blog as well. And your calls to action!
But that’s a post for another day, as I don’t want to bog you down with too much. The point is, when we started, the only way we knew to measure the success of our blogging strategy was to ‘get more comments’. Now we have THREE different metrics that we can measure, and we have those metrics prioritized. From this, we can continue to flesh out our measurement process and make it more effective.
So when the boss asks if the blog is working as an awareness-building tool for the company, which answer is better:
1 – “I think so, we get comments on almost every post!”
2 – “Absolutely! Comments are up 23% over the previous quarter, RTs on Twitter are up 37%. Additionally, we had 237 downloads of our white-paper last month on the blog, a 12% conversion rate!”
I know who I would be giving a raise to! When you are trying to measure the success of your blog, give some thought to the actions that you want readers to take on your blog, then find metrics that tie back to those actions, and measure them. That will also help you create content and an experience that encourages the type of behavior/actions that you want your readers to engage in.
But it all starts with rolling up your sleeves and putting some actual thought into what a successful blogging strategy is for your company. It will take a lot of work, a ton of trial and error, but it’s worth it.