communications strategy

Evaluating performance against goals gives you a blog that earns its keep

Carolyn McMaster | March 26, 2015

Last month, we wrote about the promotional habits of highly effective blogs. But no matter how much you promote posts, blog content usually needs fine-tuning to deliver on goals. At some point you need to figure out if your blog is earning its keep—and plot a turnaround if it’s not.

To do that, you need data. The metrics you place the most weight on will vary depending on what you’re trying to achieve; before you start, choose a manageable number of relevant metrics and set baselines. Generally, we recommend evaluating blog performance in these categories:

Marketing goals. These are the easiest to measure. If you want to increase traffic to your website, build your email list or promote reports and other content, the signs of success are there to be counted: blog views, web traffic, list signups, conversions and others. Also look for popularity spikes when you cover a particular topic—these are clues to content strengths.

Branding goals. Do posts get referenced, lead to conference appearances or get republished? Do influential people share or comment on posts? Does the content support positions you want to stake out? (Popular posts that take you in an unwanted direction can’t be counted as a success. If all you want is traffic, I have two words: kitten videos.)

Execution goals. Are your most knowledgeable people posting? Does the quality (of both writing and ideas) reflect well on your brand? Is the content right for your business strategy and marketing goals? These factors are worth tracking as zealously as numerical metrics: if your blog isn’t delivering, chances are the problem lies somewhere in this area.

Evaluating progress systematically justifies resources and reveals problems that might not be obvious. What’s more, it provides a baseline for experimentation—who doesn’t want the freedom to play?

Get more strategies and tips in our Strategy>Shift report, 5 Steps to a High-Powered Blog.


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