Blogs no longer get the same buzz as their newer social media cousins, Facebook and Twitter. That said, blogs are at the heart of social media, especially if you’re involved in content marketing. Chris Brogan refers to blogs as your social media outpost because blogs supply the content that drives social media conversations. In 2011, eMarketer projects that roughly two out of five companies will create a public-facing blog.
Despite needing to be accountable for other kinds of marketing campaigns, CMOs forget to use the techniques they rely on with other forms of marketing when it comes to blogs. Why? Surveys show that the top metric for measuring the effectiveness of a blog is reader comments.
Of course, comments are a sign of activity and reader engagement. But do most CMOs take the time to read a wide array of blogs and comment on them? I doubt it–like most of their audience, they probably lurk.
The reality is that like any other marketing strategy, blogs must be aligned with your corporate objectives. And in turn, your metrics need to be directly related to determine whether you’ve achieved these goals.
To this end, here are 21 blog metrics to assess your success relative to your marketing objectives. [Note: You may also want to check out this list of content related metrics.]
Count visits and unique visitors
- Where do your visitors come from?
- Where specifically do they go on your site?
Goal: Attract your target audience.
Don’t only look at how many pageviews your site has in general. Instead, look at specific pages and what readers do there:
- Which pages and categories attract your readers?
- Where do they click to and where do they leave your blog? (Hopefully, you’re sending them into specific product-related pages on your website.)
Goal: Track areas of reader interest and show contribution to purchase process.
Time on site
This metric shows how engaged readers are.
- What is the average time people spend on the site?
- How much time do people spend on specific pages?
Goal: Get customers to spend a lot of time engaged with your content and brand.
RSS feeds and email lists
Measure sign-ups for your RSS feeds and emails lists to determine if the blog is helping you build an online following.
Goal: Build an audience for your content.
This encompasses a broad spectrum of branding metrics such as brand recall, favorability, sentiment and intent to purchase. This is often tracked via surveys.
Goal: Show brand growth and/or change of perception.
Product information metrics
This includes a number of targeted promotion codes used and click-throughs to purchase or place in cart. Does assigning more information help readers make better and/or faster purchase decisions?
Goal: Increase sales (also expand cross-sell and upsell).
Call to action
Use a call-to-action and a unique promotional code to track results.
Goal: Support sales with appropriate content.
- Track sales related to blog content.
- Link to appropriate product pages on your website.
- Upsell on post-purchase support pages.
Goal: Increase revenue generation.
Is your blog content helping you improve your search rankings? Use keywords to create relevant content.
Goal: Be more findable and reduce search optimization expense.
How many sites are linking into your blog? How influential are they?
Goal: Improve your SEO efforts.
How many outbound links do you have?
Goal: Get attention of experts in your field.
Since links are an important element of showing what’s important, do you have links to other relevant areas of your site?
Goal: Support search optimization efforts across the organization.
Number of social media shares
Count social media shares and note which platforms readers use (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others like StumbleUpon).
Goal: Expand reach cost effectively and maximize earned media from social shares.
Video or other media downloads or views
Instead of relying only on text, liven things up with entertaining content such as video, audio, presentations and e-books.
Goal: Distribute content to broader audience and enhance your brand. Can also be used to provide product information and post-purchase support as well as to expand thought leadership.
See how many people download or read instructions for using product.
Goals: Reduce returns, encourage repeat purchases and reduce customer service inquiries.
Number of customer questions answered
Includes number of posts and number of customer questions. Answers to these inquiries can be sourced from across your organization. Are new questions being submitted? Do their comments need further clarification?
Goal: Reduce customer complaints and customer service expense.
Reader comments and/or votes
Bear in mind that most visitors will only lurk, take in your content and take no further action. It’s important to show that you’re responsive to readers by responding to customers’ comments. (Note: Often bloggers account for half of the comments on any given blog post.)
Goal: Expand community engagement.
Get prospects, customers and the public to share commentary, photographs and videos of your product in context.
Goal: Enhance your content and community engagement.
If you’re creating a positioning platform, one effective metric of success is how many media companies and bloggers link into your blog as a source of information.
Goal: Get additional executive exposure.
Number of posts
How much information are you generating? It’s useful to have an editorial calendar to keep yourself on track.
Goal: Have fresh content on a regular basis.
Track costs for your bloggers, editorial staff, technology support, design and other areas that may affect your blog.
Goal: Assess full cost of blog against other communications options.
Bear in mind that every blog doesn’t need to track each of these metrics. What’s important is to track the ones that are most important to accomplishing the business and marketing goals that your blog aims to achieve.
What blog metrics are you tracking and why? How do these relate to your marketing goals? Are there any other factors that should be added to this list? If so, please include them in the comments section below.