A teammate sort post-it notes during a metrics prioritization workshop.

Conducting a Kick-Ass Metric Prioritization Workshop

While we love conducting a great content brainstorm or launching a great new campaign, one of my favorite client exercises is a metric prioritization workshop. We facilitate these as a means to help brands decide what to care about when it comes to their data, and (perhaps more importantly) what to ignore.

Step 1: Map high-level marketing and sales objectives.

Before we dig into the detail, we start by asking our client to map their goals for marketing as a whole. What does marketing really do for their organization? How does that map to what they’d like to do?

This can include:

  • Prioritizing objectives (increased sales revenue vs. brand activity vs. audience growth).
  • Ranking target audiences.
  • Either/or scenarios. For example, would we rather have some read blog content or share the content.

Step 2: Map all that is measurable.

In this phase, we typically stick to a bunch of post-its and we begin by just creating one for every potential metric that is conceivably measurable. Then we bucket those into three key types:


All metrics that may impact the potential of the brand’s audience — those who have chosen to receive some type of communication from the band. For example:

  • Email subscribers
  • Returning website visitors
  • Social media followers


All metrics that map the audience (paid and organic) interactions with digital brand activity.  For example:

  • Facebook engagement rate
  • On page content consumption
  • Shares, comments, likes
  • Email opens


All metrics that are tied to the bottom line. For example:

  • Website conversions
  • Form fills (B2B)
  • Website revenue

It’s likely that you’ll have some debate about which metrics belong where, but at this point you will probably notice that you have more than you expected. This is where we add in two more categories:


Metrics that you want to intentionally ignore, for now at least. What things can we put off until a later date? To start, this is where you can bucket all metrics that require increased tracking sophistication that’s not yet in place.


Metrics that you do not want to measure, either because they are imperfect, or because they don’t matter all that much to your brand.

Step 3: Rank, re-rank.

Now that you’ve got your initial list of metrics for each category, it’s time to start prioritizing.

  • Start by looking for the one metric you couldn’t live without. Move it to the top.
  • Now find one you don’t think is all that relevant. Move it to the bottom.
  • Repeat.

Along the way, you’ll likely find a number of metrics that are duplicatory. Use that as an opportunity to cull the list a bit by moving some into the “never” bucket. The end goal is to drastically reduce the number of metrics you’re going to value, and thus report on. We aim to reduce each category to 5-10 key metrics. Fewer is almost always better.

Step 4: Create a reporting plan.

Once you’ve determined what to report on, it is key to spend an equal amount of time creating a plan for how you’ll get this information, when it is most valuable, and who will use it.

  • Start by outlining your audiences (leadership vs. tacticians).
  • Now outline when the data would be most valuable to each (before the marketing all-hands, prior to the executive team retreat).
  • Then look to automate. This can be done on platform, or using a tool or tools (cough, MeetBrief).


An empty conference room.

Six questions to ask before you schedule that meeting

Meetings are the worst, am I right?

And open slots in our schedules become increasingly rare by the day. But the first step toward freeing up your own schedule is leading by example. Take the lead and quit scheduling meetings that don’t fit the below parameters.

Encourage your team to schedule fewer meetings, invite fewer people, and stick to video conferencing by default.

Before you schedule your next meeting, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have clearly defined goals for the meeting? (If not, come up with a plan before you schedule time with others.)
  2. Is this conversation necessary to progress work forward? In other words, does it need to happen in real-time? (If not, keep working until the next check-in.)
  3. To meet your goals, does there need to be a back-and-forth exchange? Are you making a decision, sharing information, or brainstorming? (If not, maybe you just really need some questions answered.)
  4. Must it be a verbal conversation? (If not, try email.)
  5. Does it require being face-to-face? (if not, try a quick conference call.)
  6. Will there be sandwiches?

If you’ve answered “yes” to all of the above, then sure, schedule that meeting.

(But you should probably get MeetBrief first.)


Other resources we dig:

Fast Company: Ask these questions before scheduling your next meeting

A lemon and mint beverage in a glass.

Clickbait headlines, and seven other easy ways to lose 10 pounds today

Part Art, Part Science

Since 80 to 90% of visitors exposed to your content will only scan your headline, creating a killer headline is easily the most important factor in determining the success of your content.

Creating the ideal headline for your content is one part art, one part science, and no one rule of thumb applies to all brands. Testing and measurement are key to understanding what resonates with your specific audience.

7 ideas to try:

  1. Start with a proven formula: Numbers + Adjective + Target Keyword + Rationale + Promise
  2. Listicles: The top 10 reasons they aren’t just for BuzzFeed
  3. Mention your target audience: Three tips CMOs need to know
  4. Tease a list item: PB&J and the six other best sandwiches ever created
  5. Play off negatives: Avoiding increases in bounce rate
  6. Mention the length up front: Understand UTM tags in 5 minutes or less or Long read: …
  7. Reference your experts: Three tools our CSO uses to keep his laptop secure


Other resources we like:

A laptop with a recipe on the screen sits on a kitchen counter.

Baby, you’ve got a stew going: a five-step recipe for highly consumable content

1. Have a clearly defined objective

Because all content does not have the same goal, it’s important to individually assign a primary objective to each piece of content to measure its specific success. In general, content objectives fall into one of three buckets:

  • Interest: Designed to drive long term relationships (email subscribers, net new fans, followers, returning website visitors)
  • Engagement: Designed to get your readers to share, comment on and fully digest the content
  • Demand: Designed to drive user action, including form fills, petition sign-ups, link clicks, responses to calls to action, total clicks to the store, visits to delivery partners, e-commerce purchases

2. Have a direct tie to your brand

Creating a clear tie to your brand within posts/articles establishes credibility no matter the type of content.

  • Name drop: Inject the brand and product names when relevant.
  • No place like home: Employ geographical references when you can.
  • Paint the picture: Choose visuals in accordance with your brand’s style.
  • Be mindful of tone: Stay true to your brand’s voice.

3. Always avoid the “wall of text”

Designate “sections” of content to allow for structured reading experiences that lead to clearer understanding and engagement.

  • Be clear: Use clear subheads and imagery to designate natural “sections.”
  • Be consistent: For example, listicle items should always be separated by numbers or divided by section.
  • Be visual: Use images to break up long stretches of text and to complement the surrounding content.
  • Be bold: Help facilitate reading comprehension with bold segments and bulleted lists.

4. Have a clear distribution plan

If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. It is important to leverage your social channels to get the word out.

  • Organic social promotion: Every article should be linked from your social channels; choose titles, descriptions and imagery that describe the content well.
  • Content discovery: Measure the quality of article from your organic/unpaid distribution, and then use the best in targeted paid campaigns.
  • Post more than once per article: For example, choose two or three listicle items within content and base the post on those items, rather than the listicle itself.
  • Inclusion on the homepage: Make sure that your latest articles get prime coverage on the most visited page of your site.
  • Inclusion in email: Email visitors are good visitors (they are opting in to hear from you!), so be sure that top content performers are included in your newsletter.

5. Continually measure success using data

It’s crucial to measure how each article performs (whether good or bad) to inform future content.

  • Tracking and tagging: Confirm all tracking and tagging is in place before launch; ensure that forms capture submit counts and that calls to action capture visitor clicks.
  • Campaign tagging: Correctly measure campaigns and social traffic; use UTM tags to measure source and medium performance across your posted articles.
  • Apples to apples: Create a plan to review similar content for performance; find what works in one article and then apply it to another.
  • Glamour metrics are poison: Focus on metrics that matter. (Ditch pageviews.)
A screen capture from the show Arrested Development.
Baby, you’ve got a stew going.


Other great resources:

Kiss Metrics: Nine Ingredients that make great content 

NewsCred: 2018’s 50 best content marketing brands


A hand holding an iPhone, with a Twitter log-in prompt on the screen.

Creating twitter cards: A (worthwhile) pain in the ass

We’ve long known that tweets which include images perform better, or receive greater engagement, than text-only tweets. In fact, research has shown that tweets with images are 150% more likely to get retweeted than tweets without images! So it’s pretty fair to say that if you’re not including images in most of your tweets, you’re leaving opportunities for engagement on the table.

But what if you could take that a step further and use images to actually help drive people to your website content? Well, you can. When a twitter user clicks on one of your tweeted photos, there are basically two options: the photo can either expand to become a larger image, or it can serve as a hyperlink that sends the user to desired content.

Here’s how to make that happen:

  • First things first: Log into your Twitter account, and go to the Home page.
  • Click on your Twitter profile photo/Profile & Settings in the top right corner to trigger the dropdown menu. Then select Twitter Ads.
  • At the top of the page (near the left), select the Creatives dropdown menu and then choose Cards.
  • Near the top right is a button with the words Create Card. Click that to trigger yet another dropdown menu and select Website Card.
  • When the ‘Create website card’ popup appears, under Media, choose Select image to insert the picture that you want to include in your tweet.
    • Use an image of 800 x 418 pixels for an aspect ratio of 1.9:1, or use an image of 800 x 800 pixels for an aspect ratio of 1:1 (max 3mb).
      Write a headline specific to your content or that page that is less than 70 characters, though we recommend 50 or fewer characters so that the title isn’t truncated.
  • Add the website URL for the content to which you want to send people.
  • Give the card a unique name. This is just for you to keep track of it; users won’t see it.
  • Click Preview (to do exactly that), and when you’re happy with the look, click Create.
  • Now that you’re back in the Cards library, hover over the image/card you want to share and select Tweet.
  • Type your message (256 characters or less), unselect the box that says Promoted Only, and then click Tweet.
  • Your tweet with the hyperlinked image is now shared!

For those who skipped reading to watch a screencast, here it is!