With online marketing and communications campaigns increasingly being set up by businesses of all shapes and sizes, there’s a plethora of online content now available. Some of it is good, a little bit is truly great but huge amounts of it is mediocre.
If you’re relatively new to producing online content, blogging, Tweeting or Facebook, publishing free Ebooks or sharing presentations on SlideShare, I hope you regularly stop to ask yourself whether or not your online content marketing is of value to people.
So how do you know if you’re adding value?
A very crude indicator of how you’re doing is whether your efforts are met with any kind of response. A worrying sign is a resounding silence!
My personal approach to figuring out whether my online content marketing adds any value comes partly from talking to people I trust â€“ friends, colleagues working with marketing and communications, valued customers.
Mostly, though, I trust data.
Data is Content Marketing’s Friend
Talking to people gives me an informal indication of how I’m doing. I can usually feel week to week how things are going. But because I invest considerable time and effort into online marketing with this blog and other work, I need to know what’s working and what’s not. And that means putting time, resources and effort into developing a system that enables me to assess the value of my online content marketing.
Without going into the specifics my approach is to gather all kind of data. I measure: visitor stats (in various permutations!), tweets, retweets, comments, bookings for speaking engagements, copywriting jobs, editing work, requests for quotes, and so on. All of it takes up several large Excel files.
Although I sometimes feel a bit snowed under with data, data enables me to make informed choices.
For example, I plan to continue blogging 5-6 times a week as I’ve done for the last three months compared to 2-3 times a week as I did during January – March 2009 because my efforts in 2010 have resulted in more business coming my way.
But it’s not just about the crude data of actual clients.
I can see that the number of unique visitors to my website between Jan 1 and March 25 have gone up 600% compared to the same period in 2009.
I can also see that the average time spent on my website by visitors has gone up from just over 1 minute to 2.34 minutes. An indicator that there’s some kind of value in what I’m producing in that people are hanging around longer.
Don’t Just Trust Your Gut Instinct
Anyone who runs a serious business is already be tracking data. Trust me. But if you’re just getting started with online content marketing, or not collecting data, I’d like to take today’s post to encourage you to put a system in place that tracks your efforts.
Ask yourself: â€œOne month / quarter / year from today, how will I know whether or not my online content marketing has been successful?â€
Only by collecting data on your efforts and tweaking your marketing accordingly, trying to get better and better results, will you get closer to achieving your goals and growing your business. I’m convinced of that.
What about you?
How do you check the value of your content marketing?
What data do you collect?
Or can businesses thrive without tracking data?