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:

Interest

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

Engagement

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

Demand

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:

Later

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.

Never

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).

 

Three hands working on a laptop.

Don’t forget to spelchek: A readability checklist for your content

We get it — you’ve spent a lot of time putting together your work, and you can’t wait to get it out in the world. Avoid potential missteps and check off the items below before you click “publish” with this handy downloadable .pdf!

Content Readability Checklist
 




 

An iPad featuring a form sits on a desk, surrounding by accessories.

You’re not collecting leads because your form sucks

One of the most common questions we get is “how do we drive more leads?” (demand/sales, whatever). Brands spend months and thousands of dollars creating downloads, webinars,  and sales to drive new leads. But we find much less thought is put into the biggest point of friction: the actual form.

Here are three of the biggest reasons a form will fail to convert:

1. You are asking for too much.

  • Avoid optional fields. Stick with the fields you need (and only the fields you need) in order to simply meet your goal.
  • Limit required fields. Visitors can (and will) make up information for fields that are required and may be uncomfortable filling out. Or worse, just leave.
  • Do not ask for billing information (especially for a free trial) or equally invasive information.
  • Do not be too picky about the format of the submitted content (for example, May 22, 2018 is the same as 05/22/18 or 5.22.18, etc.).

2. Your form is not worth filling out.

  • Is there a clear value proposition/motivating reason for user to fill out the form?
  • Add a thank-you page or pop-up message upon completion of the form.
  • Reassure users that you will not spam them or disclose their personal information.
  • Make your call to action text clear when they send you their info (not just a submit button, but something like “sign me up”, “download”, “start”, “register”).

Studies show that using SUBMIT reduces conversion by 3% (Source: Unbounce).

3. Your form is not user-friendly

  • Add real-time validation to the form. If there is an error in a form field, have the form alert the user as they’re filling it out, not after they’ve hit the ‘submit’ button.
  • Make it mobile-friendly. For example, leave enough room between fields so that someone using a touchscreen can easily select one field without accidentally activating another.
  • Use social media lead forms that pre-populate info when a user is logged into the platform.

 




Other resources we dig:

Hands holding an iPad with analytics on the screen.

Three glamour metrics we hate and what to use instead

Actionable metrics are the only ones that matter to your business. Endless spreadsheets and glamour metrics will turn off stakeholders before they give your reporting a chance.

At MeetBrief, we’ve created a number of custom metrics that inform our Demand, Interest and Engagement scores to help us keep things crisp.

But when we need to dive into the weeds for a client, there are a few easy wins:

Instead of Pageviews: Engaged time

Pageviews. Do not report on them. Ever. It’s a terrible metric that should die. Instead, use something like engaged time (we use a plug-in for Google Analytics called Riveted) to give a better idea of how much time visitors are spending with your site and its content.

Instead of Open Rate: Click-Through Rate

Gauging the number of people who have opened your email is okay, but 99% of the time brands are hoping to drive some type of action or click on a specific piece of that email. Use the number of click-throughs as a better indicator of how successful your email campaigns are. Most would rather have 500 opens with 250 click-throughs than 1000 opens with only 220 click-throughs.

Instead of Social Followers: Engaged Users

As each social network gets more complicated with how their algorithm decides to serve your organic audience, fan and follower numbers become less important. Pages with 50,000 fans may only reach 500 engaged fans through a given post. Engaged users is a vastly superior metric to gauge long-term growth.

 




Other Great Resources:

Kissmetrics: 8 conversion metrics to track

A woman at a desk holding a cell phone, with a laptop, some notebooks, and a coffee.

Q: Who should use a quiz for content marketing?

A. You.
B. Your competitors.
C. Your clients.
D. All of the above!

Online quizzes are popular for a reason.

  • They’re a great way to turn otherwise static content into an interactive experience.
  • They increase on-page engagement.
  • They increase the chance that visitors will share your content.

When creating a quiz, tie it to your brand’s value to your customer:

  • If you’re offering technology… Quiz: How secure is your organization?
  • If you’re offering ice cream… Quiz: What flavor are you?
  • If you’re offering SEO… Quiz: Is your site fully optimized for search?

Make the payoff worthwhile:

  • Give a real result. Nothing is worse than taking the time to fill out a quiz and then getting results back that are clearly not based on your answers.
  • Make it shareable. Be sure users get a result that is share-worthy.

Tips to create a great quiz:

  • Link product names and images. How does this quiz tie to your brand? Link products directly in the quiz (and don’t forget to open in a new window with target=”_blank”).
  • Present feedback after each question. Provide the user with relevant facts and make the quiz experience interactive and fun.
  • Always present a single clear action after the completion of any quiz. Be sure to include a share button, a form fill, a link to another quiz or post, etc.

 




 

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:

Man working at a desk with laptop, notebook, and pen.

Four tips for breaking through writer’s block (in order to blog)

If you think blogging is just for for angsty teens, think again.

It’s a great way for you to bring exposure to your organization’s brand, while also helping to build your own credibility and reputation in your field. And if done through LinkedIn, blogging can be a relatively easy way to get your expertise and opinions out to a community of half a billion users.
Research has shown that brand messages reach 561 percent further when shared by employees versus the same messages shared through official brand social channels. And they’re shared 24 times more frequently when they come from employees versus the brand.

Bottom line? Blogging has an effect on just that — the bottom line. On average, companies with blogs produce 67 percent more leads per month. It stands to reason that individuals who blog about professional subject matter should see an uptick in leads or improved outreach.

Okay, so now you’re convinced and ready to blog. Get going… Wait! You don’t know what to write about?

We’ve got some advice to help you break through the writer’s block:

  1. Write about what you know. What does your team come to you for answers about? What do others look to you as an expert?
  2. Write about something you want to know more of so that you’re learning AND educating at the same time.
  3. Use conversations with your clients or colleagues as inspiration. If you’re regularly discussing an issue, chances are you’re not the only one. Someone else could probably benefit from the additional insights and discussion.
  4. Look to your organization for content that you can put your own spin on when you summarize or react to it. Odds are your only semi-original message will get more traction than the one distributed by your organization. Employee advocacy for the win.

 




 

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

 

Four sets of hands, each holding a device (tablet, phone, etc.).

Annoying but necessary: a UTM story

In case you don’t already know, UTMs (Urchin Tracking Modules) are parameters that you can add to your campaign URLs; they provide additional insights on your campaign’s performance. Setting them up can be a bit of work, but it’s worth it.

Here’s why you should always add UTM tags

  • Find your best sources of traffic combined with the highest-performing content for those sources.
  • Tagging links with campaign parameters allows you to segment and analyze your traffic based on social channel, visitor type, or individual campaigns.
  • By default, all social network traffic is treated the same. Tagging links lets you differentiate social traffic from paid social traffic.
  • This segmentation allows you to optimize media spend and placement based on the quality of visit, rather than the quantity of clicks.
  • With tags, visitors can be segmented into “buckets” to differentiate between types, to ultimately find your best source of traffic.