Success. This word means different things to everyone, and in the world of team project management, those small differences can add up to one big problem! If you, your team members and your client are not all onboard with the same definition from the beginning, frustration and conflict are inevitable. Defining a clear vision for success from the beginning ensures that when the project is completed, all stakeholders involved walk away satisfied.
Sure, delivering a project on schedule and on budget can be one clear success indicator. But in the world of content marketing, success metrics are a bit more difficult. There’s not always an immediate, clear line between content, engagement and ROI. Prevent confusion and missed expectations by establishing (and defining) clear metrics in advance.
#1: Be clear about expectations. The initial project proposal likely covered the scope of your project and deliverables. If this is an ongoing project (e.g., a content marketing plan for the next six months), be clear about what will happen at each stage in the process. Solicit feedback and then include a finalized timeline in the project agreement. For example, in addition to specific content deliverables, this may include a monthly report assessing user engagement with your content.
#2: Mind your metrics. Consumption metrics, engagement metrics, behavior metrics… these all measure different things and, depending on your client’s end goal, could be extremely beneficial or just a collection of numbers. When determining which metrics to include in your status reports, refer back to the project’s end goals. If the goal is to raise brand awareness, then engagement metrics like shares, tweets, and downloads are important, as are the number of unique and returning visitors and how far the visitors get when reading a piece of content. If the goal is to drive sales with an email marketing campaign, click-through rates and lead completion forms are a good starting point.
#3: Establish a clear baseline for success. Regardless of which metrics you track, remind your client that metrics are not necessarily meaningful on their own. You’ll need information about your client’s baseline starting point in order to bring context and meaning to your metrics. For example, telling your client that a white paper you created on their behalf was download 400 times in the last month may elicit a response along the lines of “that’s nice”. However, if your client knew their last white paper from a competitor agency was only downloaded 100 times in a similar 30-day period, then you’ve just quadrupled their exposure. Boom!
#4: Focus on depth, not breadth. Engagement is one of those frustrating words that can be difficult to define, but seems to get tossed around an awful lot in the world of content marketing. If you’re promising clients increased engagement, you need to define exactly what this increased engagement will look like. Broadly speaking, increased engagement translates into strong relationships between your client’s brand and consumers. Rather than obsessing over topline metrics like visitors per page, work with your client to track visitors and the end result: conversions that boost your client’s bottom line. Now that’s a success metric!
Erin M is a freelance writer available for projects at WriterAccess.