Is your blog working?

Jen HerbertSMEs, Startups

If you’re sceptical about the idea that your business could benefit from jumping on the blogging bandwagon, good. It’s an assumption worth challenging. If your business already has a blog, are you confident that it’s delivering a return on the time and effort you’re investing in it?

Here are some tips to help you evaluate how well your blog is doing.

Activity

An obvious starting point for measuring return on investment when it comes to any online content is metrics. Knowing how many visits your blog is receiving, and tracking your readers’ typical route around your site, will help you plan and modify your content strategy to make it more effective.

Outcomes

However, a popular blog isn’t necessarily a fruitful one. You need to be able to work out to what extent the activity on your blog is delivering the outcomes you’re looking for, whether that’s generating leads and sales, increasing awareness of your brand among your target audience, or consolidating existing customer and investor relationships. Some of these things can be measured fairly precisely; for example, you can easily see how many customer journeys ending in a sale included a visit to your blog at some point. However, metrics won’t provide all the answers.

Conversations

Some of the value a blog can deliver for a business is difficult to measure. It’s hard to put a figure on a relationship or quantify an emotional response. Not all sales will directly involve a blog post, but content has a huge role to play in shaping the feelings and motivations that drive a purchasing decision. So how do you measure that contribution?

One way to do this is simply by having conversations with your customers. Listen carefully to what they say about your business and how their impressions line up with the message you’ve been trying to get across. Does their description of your firm line up with the brand identity you’ve been trying to build? Set up a way for you and your staff to record and analyse customer feedback – and consider what it reveals about the effectiveness of your blog and other content marketing. Sometimes a throwaway remark will give you a valuable insight into your customers’ thinking.

The bigger picture

The right metrics for evaluating a blog’s return on investment will vary from business to business. Just as your overall marketing strategy should control the direction of your blog, the goals of that strategy should determine how you measure its effectiveness. Nonetheless, regularly reviewing the results of your blog can also help to steer your overall strategy. In many cases, the blog is the section of a business’s website that changes most frequently, and that means it can give you an up-to-date insight into what’s working, and what isn’t.

About the Author
Jen Herbert

Jen Herbert

Since arriving in the North East as a student more than a decade ago, Jen has acquired a BA and an MA in English Literature from Durham University, a professional qualification in magazine journalism, and several years' experience in business publishing as a writer, researcher and editor. In her spare time she likes to get outside as much as possible with her husband and their two small (but highly energetic) boys.