Measuring the value of successful content

When developing a content strategy for a website, you need to match the site’s business objectives against the user needs. That’s taken as read.

 Measuring the value of successful content

But how often do you create some indicators to measure how well the content strategy performs? It should happen on every project.

Defining what success looks like

Key performance indicators (KPIs) feel as if they belong at the end of the project. They’re something which kick in after launch. But you need to think about the day after launch at the beginning of any content project.

Content governance should be built into any effective content strategy. And defining content KPIs should be a big part of effective content governance. They help to:

  • focus minds at the start of any project on what content is actually meant to achieve
  • put down a marker reminding stakeholders that they have to maintain content after site launch
  • provide the evidence which makes the case for the value of content
  • improve the performance of the content after launch

Choosing the right stats to monitor

So, what do you need to do once you have defined some content KPIs? You need to come up with the appropriate tracking tools or metrics to make sure the KPIs deliver information which is actionable and useful.

You might, for example, have KPIs tied to quite hard metrics such as percentage of returning visitors, average number of page views per visitor or average time spent on the site by an average visitor. In that case, you’d need to talk to the technical people to ensure these stats are reported in the website analytics.

Putting in place soft metrics

Hard metrics indicate that content is visible and worth sharing. You might also want to put in place some softer metrics which help to measure the qualitative value of content.

Here are 3 good examples:

  1. Key-phrase mentions: Build on the key phrases that are most effective. When you identify high-bouncing keywords, try surveying those users on exit or placing calls to action directly on the page to ask for feedback. Tools such as Kampyle can help.
  2.  Inbound link generation: Check for traffic volumes from referring websites and how those users (segmented by referring domain) bounce and click through the site – are their needs being met? From an seo perspective you should review the number and quality of links that your content generates using backlink benchmarking software. Open Site Explorer is a good place to start.
  3. Customer satisfaction ratings: You can get overall customer ratings of your content with customer feedback software such as 4Q and Kampyle. 4Q is particularly useful since it shows you what people were looking for against whether they were successful and how satisfied.

Once you’ve agreed on the right metrics, you need to slot them into a workflow around content governance. Sounds a bit technical. But all that really means is that you analyse the data and the feedback at regular intervals. Given that you’ve made sure your KPIs generate actionable information, then it should be relatively straightforward to improve the site’s content as a result.