Previously in this series:

Content pillars: The next evolution of impactful branded content strategy
If you’re looking to build audience, brand and a better case for digital content, you may want to adopt a strategy based on content pillars.
Using audience and algorithmic data to build content pillars
Content pillars make incorporating audience data manageable for long-term organic growth. Read on for how and where to find that data.

It's the end of January: your strategy is set, your pillars are solidly holding up your brand values, and your content is flowing into all the right channels regularly.

(If you're not there yet, don't worry: in my experience most corporate content operations don't get their content strategies rolling until Q2. January is for negotiating and signing contracts.)

Once content operations are rolling, it's time to measure. Many content folks freeze at the thought of measurement, perhaps because bad data science and unrealistic measurement expectations have burned them in the past. Please tell your bosses and stakeholders who still think great content can't be measured directly: Quality content measurement is not only possible; it's crucial for ongoing success.

Whether you're an independent or managing a content team, good measurement requires

  • Looking at your own data and measuring progress instead of comparing to other brands
  • Understanding what can be measured and how those dimensions impact your content goals
  • Building digital measurement systems to manage multiple pillars' worth of content
  • Executing a report that demonstrates the content's business value

You'll find multiple methods for measuring content out in the wild, so if my approach doesn't work, do your own exploring. But here's my framework, which I've spent the past decade building and tweaking.

What to measure in a sustainable content pillar strategy

What are you measuring? Understand different categories of digital measurements can clearly map content tactics to business success.

Web analytics tools like Google Analytics are built for ecommerce, not content analysis. Building content-focused dashboards requires sifting through a slew of ecommerce-first metrics and organizing them so they better measure your content.

If your content operation is driving brand affinity, you may want to focus most heavily on awareness and engagement. If you're looking for solid leads, conversion metrics will likely be your north star. And if your goal this year is to improve growth from search, visibility's going to be the ticket.

If we've ever worked together in a client-consultant relationship, I've likely explained my measurement framework, which helps content creators both optimize and drive revenue from their business content. Most often I build dashboards that measure all four of the below dimensions:

  • Visibility - Is your content seen in your target distribution channels? Algorithms directly impact visibility, so typically SEO and social content strategies have target metrics related to visibility.

    The most common visibility metrics are organic impressions and traffic. For email content, deliverability and even open rates can track visibility.

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