How to Measure the Success of Your Blogging Strategy

by Mack Collier

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!”

or….

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.

{ 11 comments }

TrafficColeman July 13, 2011 at 8:48 am

You must see where you are and where you want to be to see if your on the right track.

“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

profkrg July 13, 2011 at 8:56 am

Mack, What if your blog isn’t reaching your goals? I’m seeing regular growth, but my blog still isn’t where I want it to be. I keep reminding myself that most bloggers quit right when they should hang on. But how long do you hang on when your blog is eating away at your life and not fully accomplishing your goals?

MackCollier July 13, 2011 at 9:26 am

@profkrg What are your goals? You say the blog isn’t where you want it to be, what do you think SHOULD be happening?

MackCollier July 13, 2011 at 11:06 am

@maidoesimple Thanks for the Stumble!

annedreshfield July 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Great post, Mack. At the moment the only blog I’m managing is my personal one, and I’ve got a very relaxed strategy (one might say I have NO strategy for it, heh) for that. At my last internship, though, I was the EIC for the company’s blog, and I had posts running out daily. I’m not sure what my strategy was, other than to push out good content at a reliable right. In hindsight, I could have done so much more, though I’m not sure I had the knowledge or experience to make a meaningful, successful strategy. Ah, well, hindsight is always 20/20. :)

MackCollier July 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm

@annedreshfield Thank you Anne!

annedreshfield July 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm

@MackCollier Sure, great post!

MackCollier July 13, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Hey Anne ;) Yes I think a lot of bloggers have the ‘if I build it, they will come’ strategy or assume that if they create great content, the rest will take of itself. You still have to figure out ‘the rest’ and what works for you. For the first couple of years that I blogged, I got a lot of visitors, a lot of links, and a lot of comments. Finally I realized ‘ok at some people I need to get some money from this, or find a real job!’ So that forced me to put some more thought into what I was trying to accomplish with my blog, and it continues to evolve to this day.

But ‘if you build it, they will come’ is NOT a viable strategy for your blog ;)

MrRyanConnors July 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm

But if you don’t build it, they will NOT come ;)

Priscilla Taylor September 4, 2011 at 12:36 am

Would that mean that if people aren’t leaving comments on your blog your blogging strategy isn’t working? Traffic to my blog has doubled but it’s not’s getting a lot of comments or shared on Facebook and Twitter. Should I rethink my strategy?

Priscilla Taylor September 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm

@MackCollier Would that mean that if people aren’t leaving comments on your blog your blogging strategy isn’t working? Traffic to my blog has doubled but it’s not’s getting a lot of comments or shared on Facebook and Twitter. Should I rethink my strategy?

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