5 Steps to Measure Your Content Strategy Goals - Converge Consulting

5 Steps to Measure Your Content Strategy Goals

Creating a cohesive content strategy requires multi-disciplinary theory and practice. From assembling the right team to defining performance metrics, it’s crucial to establish key baseline foundations that will set you up for success. With the right tools, defining what you want to achieve — and exactly how you’ll measure it — will provide value on ROI.

How do you determine what your strategies should be? How do you make sure the work your team is doing aligns with your strategies? How do you measure their effectiveness? Your content strategy must answer all of these questions, and more. Do this by embracing data and employing some basic planning. Here’s how.

5 Steps to Setting & Measuring Your Content Goals

 

1. CREATE A GOVERNANCE MODEL

Before deciding on a content strategy, assess resources. We work with higher education teams on a framework to be nimble and effective using a governance model.

 

 

A governance checklist is a planning tool that serves to:

  • Assemble a content team
  • Assign responsibility and accountability
  • Set expectations for strategic recommendations
  • Identify opportunities to scale cross-functionally

Think of this checklist as a way to take inventory (or an audit) of what you have, what you need and what you want before you even begin writing. Governance models are useful at the onset of every project and serve as a reference point later on to ensure you’re aligned on your goals.

 

2. MATCH CONTENT TYPES TO STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

A critical role in content strategy is aligning content types to each area of the marketing funnel. Ask what purpose each content piece serves before producing it. For example, if your objective is lead-generation, consider downloadable content like an ebook or infographic with a signup form for audiences to access information they need or care about. Or, if your objective is brand awareness, consider dynamic branded content through a contextually-relevant publication or news outlet.

Content can take shape in various forms to serve your goals. We worked with Indianapolis’ Butler University on strategic content marketing recommendations for their upcoming blog relaunch. Their objective: drive engagement among current students, alumni and prospects.

BUTLER UNIVERSITY CONTENT RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Downloadable Content (informative ebooks, infographics)
  • 300-word Profiles (students, alumni, faculty)
  • Q/A Interview (less than 500 words)
  • Photo Essay (3-5 hi-res images minimum)
  • Video Recaps (major events or campus activities)
  • 750-word Feature (with 1-2 photos)
  • Quiz (5-7 questions related to brand pillars)

Follow these tips to align content with your strategic objectives:

  • Specify messaging to audiences by platform/channel
    • Use persona motivations, demographic information and topics of interest to create preferred audience targeting and messaging
  • Develop content that can live across multiple channels such as landing pages, social media, email newsletters, view books or billboards.
  • Establish a connected content calendar, editorial process and social media strategy that leverages data to make more strategic marketing decisions

 

3. FOLLOW CONTENT TEMPLATES

Starting from scratch may be the most challenging part in content production. Leverage templates to organize content and replicate a process for publishing that can be adopted team-wide. Consider documenting these streamlined efforts in a creative brief as a starting point.

DOWNLOAD OUR CONTENT STRATEGY STARTER KIT.

Make sure to include these in your content to ensure an engaging user experience:

  • Hi-res “hero” image – utilize brand assets or relevant stock imagery.
  • Header text with personalized messaging – make an emotional connection with readers.
  • 500-word body copy – serve content your target audience cares about. Keep it short and sweet.
  • 1 call-to-action – determine one strong call-to-action. Prioritize the next step you want readers to take.
  • Social click-outs – include links to your social media pages to increase followers.
  • Branded hashtags – leverage unique hashtags that are relevant to your institution, brand or program and own conversation online.

 

University of Illinois 2015-16 undergraduate recruitment campaign featured unified, integrated content across print and digital strategies that yielded their largest and most diverse class to date.

4. IDENTIFY KPIs & SET BENCHMARKS

Once you have established a content calendar and production is under way, setup a basic dashboard in Google Analytics and begin analyzing content.

Start with these five content metrics:

  • # Total Sessions
    • Visitors, page views, impressions
  • Time Spent
    • On blog content
    • On prioritized website pages
  • # Click-Through-Rate
    • Attach UTM codes to a custom URL in order to track a source, medium, and campaign name
    • Google Analytics will tell you where searchers came from as well as what campaign directed them to you
  • # Pages Visited
    • Understand the reader journey and their behaviors on your website
  • # Marketing Qualified Leads
    • Visitors engaged with your content downloads (ebooks, infographics)

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey impacted southeast Texas. Texas A&M Foundation launched a dedicated page with interactive content to promote disaster relief efforts. The new page, housed under their News and Media blog, housed Harvey-specific content under their main domain. In addition, they set up related links to external sites to track click-through rates for fundraising efforts.

 

5. MEASURE, ITERATE, REPEAT

Once your dashboards are up and running, know how to interpret a report and identify takeaways. Work with your team to manage campaign reporting and management activities:

  • Create one dashboard to pull in multiple sources of data – from social media pages to email marketing platforms to digital advertising channels.
  • Upon initial launch of content campaigns, set up weekly or monthly meetings to review campaign traffic, lead generation, optimization and recommendations.
  • Take a comprehensive look at each content piece, its success, its comparison to previous months and other pieces.
  • Evolve tactics according to data, trends and feedback. We recommend A/B Testing headlines, calls-to-action and creative within your content.

We recently partnered with Eureka College on creating an internal data studio to unify tracking sources across their digital properties. Now the team has greater visibility into content analytics and how they connect to their overall digital marketing goals.

 

Want a deeper dive into content strategy?

Register for our upcoming Digital Storytelling workshop in Philadelphia. Now that you have these tools at your disposal, you’ll be armed to measure and report on the impact of your institution’s content strategy efforts.

 

Alisha Miranda
Alisha Miranda
September 21, 2017