When you launch a content marketing pilot, it’s a test. Your goal is to learn what works, and whether it works for your organization. So how will you know if you pass the test? You must set goals based upon specific metrics at the outset, and then measure yourself against them.

If you don’t set goals and determine how you will keep score, you’re running a fool’s errand. You’re setting yourself up to be standing in front of the CEO in six months saying “it felt like it worked.” Don’t ever ever put yourself in that position. (And if that’s good enough for your CEO, consider changing jobs; the company could be in trouble.)

[Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of posts on designing a content marketing pilot program. Read the basics in our first post, here, details of how to create persona profiles in this post, how to set your objective here, and our most recent post on determining what you can get done.]

So, how do you select which metrics you should score yourself against?

How will you measure whether or not you’ll succeed?

As Jay Baer has written, there are four types of content marketing metrics you should consider:

  • Consumption metrics
  • Sharing metrics
  • Lead generation metrics
  • Sales metrics

Consumption metrics are obvious – it’s a measure of how many people are reading or viewing your content, judged by page views, downloads, etc. However, it’s important that your measurement goes beyond these indicators. We’d also group brand awareness-oriented metrics here, which could be determined by a survey of the marketplace before and after the pilot.

Sharing metrics are also fairly straightforward – how many times your content is shared across social media. They are a good indication of how you’re influencing the industry conversation. This is also a great area in which to determine what strikes a chord with your audience. If a certain post generates a lot of chatter, you should be able to learn something from that.

Lead generation metrics are where you’ll start to get the CEO’s attention. This is, as Baer writes, “where we start determining whether the content marketing effort is making financial sense.” A typical goal would be to secure 100 new leads in the six-month pilot. This can be accomplished by “gating” some of your content so that people need to give you some contact information before downloading it, or through tracking codes.

Sales metrics are likely aggressive for a six-month content marketing pilot, depending upon what type of business you’re in and what your sales cycle is. But this is where you’re tracking the hand-off from marketing to sales, and moving prospects from marketing automation software into your CRM. Over time, you’ll want to get a picture of how often content consumers turn into customers, and what types of content help to push them over the tipping point.

It’s important to determine which specific metrics you will track at the outset of the pilot. It’s the only way to create a fair assessment of whether the pilot was a success.

If you want to speak to Scribewise about designing a content marketing pilot program, please contact us.