Measuring Effective Content

Aug 28, 2013

Article ImageDigital Media has forever changed the way we manage and measure PR and marketing campaigns. I live and breathe social media and advocate leveraging easy to use platforms to engage, publish, and provide access between organizations and their key stakeholders, but at some point we need stop and think about the effectiveness of the content we push out. How does one know if their campaign is truly enhancing interactions or reaching key stakeholders? The key is to measure.

It may sound like a simple solution, but quantifying such data can prove challenging; there is no magic wand. Despite the proliferation of measurement tools aiming for standardized data-gathering, the challenge remains. What's needed is a measurement methodology rooted in best-practices, but flexible enough to bend with new advances. I've come up with some tips for measurement and the available tools. Whether quantifying the success of a one-time news announcement or an ongoing Twitter campaign, the following questions can help lay the groundwork for a sustainable measurement process.

What does success look like?

To ensure reporting clarity, come up with a team consensus as to what success of the program looks like. Invest time in discussing measurement questions and start developing big picture performance indicators. Some examples: Are the objectives digital or do they involve offline results? What is the time frame for this project?  Who are we trying to engage?

What are you measuring?

This is where you define your key performance indicators (KPIs). Closely analyze your overall objectives and apply specific values where appropriate. Campaign successes can be measured and reported by analyzing both quantitative and qualitative results on a regular basis, ranging from number of blog impressions to group discussion analysis and determining content sentiment.

Who is in charge?

Make sure that an appropriate and knowledgeable person is running the show, and clearly define all team members' roles. A reporting structure with open and honest communication is also key when measuring content effectiveness. Not all measurement is automated, so a strong team is paramount to pick up where the digital tools leave off.

What tools are you using?

There are many well-known data-gathering tools available. Some are built in to your platforms such as Google Analytics and Facebook. There are also some third party tools that are worth checking out such as Radian 6. Spend time researching to identify what's best for your program and budget. Be careful of information overload from systems that provide volumes of unnecessary data. Line up tools that best capture your previously defined KPI's, choose accordingly, and examine your data.

Whose desk is this landing on?

Find out who you are delivering your data to and tailor the report. Present your measurement findings with confidence in your established structure and refer to results that map back to KPI's. Provide insights and show examples, even insert images or statistics where effective.

Challenges may present themselves, resulting in a change of pace, but revisit the questions outlined here in order to ensure a unified approach when measuring effectiveness of PR or marketing campaign content.

Content creators must challenge themselves to vet the right format, question content and put in the leg-work to ensure they've created pieces of value to key audiences.  Then when reporting back on all the hard work, be prepared with something of substance.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)