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Dear Bill, re: metrics you care about

Updated: May 27, 2018

Dear Bill,

It seems funny to be talking about metrics so recently after our trip to the U.K. Once I realized you weren't talking about the metric system, I was able to apologize to Her Majesty's Royal Yeoman and we all had a good laugh.

It's an honest question though. Which metrics actually matter when measuring your content marketing?

Everyone loves metrics. They sound good. They make for snappy reports. They're also extremely easy to manipulate.

The Scam Metrics

Say, for example, your first 5 blog posts all got 20 views each after sharing them on your various outlets. Then, someone publishes a 6th post and decides to spend 10 dollars promoting it on facebook. That's probably going to lead to a significant jump in the number of views. So all of a sudden, your analyst or marketer is telling you that they created a 600% increase in blog views through their great work.

Nothing has significantly changed, because 600% increase from 20 is just 140 views. Not only that, because they were paid views, chances are good that there will not be any significant interaction or potential from those temporary viewers.

But if you're in a meeting and your marketer declares success in the content marketing efforts with the 600% thing, everyone is impressed and thinks the strategy must be working, and moves on.

Trouble is, you're tossing money at something that could be working -- but until you measure the statistics that actually matter to your bottom line, you'll never know if it's a waste of time and capital or not.

The Real Metrics

Here are metrics that you can measure and that matter.

Sales Converted Leads

Bill, a billion unique visitors doesn't mean anything if they're not converting. That's why being able to measure how people interact with your site is way more important than how many people actually use it.

To get to a sales converted lead, you have to know what your business goals are and which small conversion metrics you need to get to the big conversion.

Voice Share (How many people are talking about you?)

If you're making an attack, SEO or otherwise, on a longer-established company, you've got to outfox them. There's a good chance they're not using content marketing, and that's a great place to slip in. Here's why:

- Online buzz drives success. Content marketing creates content that people find funny, useful, or are otherwise compelled to consume.

- Content marketing is pretty much the same thing as SEO in 2018. Everybody needs keywords, but they have to be organic.

How much do people like you?

Nobody likes filling out stupid surveys, or surveys at all. So it's good news to hear that you don't need to make annoying pop-up survey requests just to find out how people feel about your brand.

Use a text analyzer to scan all the comments and social media feedback that you receive. It will determine the prevailing mood and tone that consumers have towards your product and provide valuable data not only for your product, but also for your content marketing.

Bring the team onboard (including the CEO)

Bill, people like vanity stats. They're an easy trap for you and I to fall in, and we've even been shown the light. It's important to get your marketing team on board, but even moreso to get the C-level to understand why real metrics matter. Show them this letter if you need to, or have them give me a call.

Once they're onboard, the whole company will be soon after.

Bill, don't skip over the vanity stats all the time. They're a nice morale boost. Just don't rely on them all the time, either.

Reel 'em in,


"We have 100% more soup cans than last week."
Content marketing is a lot like an old soup can on a fence post -- it's all about the data.

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