As we enter the dog days of summer, it can be easy to sit back, relax and go into autopilot for a bit. We’re halfway through the year, we know our projects like the back of our hand and our gut tells us to be pretty dang impressed by how we are performing on the year so far. But sadly, relying on gut instinct is not always a reliable metric in the world of content marketing. You may think you’re performing well on the year, but how can you be sure?
Luckily, July presents the ideal opportunity to spend some time on measurement love. You’ve got six more months to go, and you better be progressing well on your goals. If not, it may be too late to make up ground. And if you are, it’s certainly not an excuse to rest on your laurels the rest of the year. Figure out what has worked and what hasn’t and re-evaluate your strategy from the ground up.
Here are two ways you can figure out if you’re hitting your marks or not:
Compare your 6-month results to a past year. A critical component to any measurement program is comparing results over time. The most basic thing you can do as a mid-year measurement check-in is to compare your results from January through June of the current year to the results from the same six-month period the year before. This, of course, will only work if your goals for the current year are similar to your goals from the year prior. For most people, a common goal is to see increases year-over-year - whether that be sales or consumer inquiries or media placements. Find out if you are beating last year’s benchmarks and make sure you are diving deep. Your numbers may look impressive on the surface, but what if your goal is to reach consumers in a specific region or city? Your overall results may be higher, but your results in those specific areas may look dismal.
Compare your 6-month results to your competitors. This measure takes a little more time, but the one thing better than comparing your results to yourself is comparing it to your competitors. There may be factors in the market that will make your goals much harder to accomplish this year than they were last year. So just looking at your own data might not paint a great story. But if you compare your results to your competitors - who are facing the same challenges in the market - and you show that you are doing much better than they are in the current climate, that is super impressive to the C-suite. Sometimes a bulk of data and a huge increase in results doesn’t tell as good of a story as simply knocking it out of the park when comparing yourself to your competition.
I know what you are thinking - how am I supposed to have the time to do this? Trust me, you’re not alone. But this is why measurement throughout the year is so important. If you haven’t kept track of your results all year and suddenly decide to try to do it all in July, you will face a near-impossible task. However, if you’ve been good and analyzed your results as the year has progressed, then the above should be a pretty simple task.
The word analyzed is key here. Even if you’ve got a list of all your results, or they’re sitting in a spreadsheet, they’re still just numbers that don’t really tell you anything. You need to make it a point to put your results into context as often as you can. It’ll help tell your story in real time, instead of forcing you to go back and remember what led to spikes in results or sales or inquiries. I can’t even remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, let alone what exactly I did in March that led to a big jump in results.
By completing a mid-year measurement check-in, you can flex your muscle as a content marketing professional. In the past, our field has been saddled with obscure results, which makes creating any kind of informed strategy really hard to do. With proper measurement technique throughout the year, you can adjust strategy in real-time and make goal accomplishment that much easier.