Question: Our company (B2B) is just starting to blog. What are some recommended tools to measure our success?
It is always great to hear about companies that are realizing the power of blogging for building awareness, engagement and ultimately converting readers into customers.
One of the items that marketers have struggled with for some time is how to measure the success of these activities. Especially for B2B’s when traffic alone rarely correlates with revenue. For B2B’s the key is in connecting to the right audience and then subtly moving them through the sales cycle.
Measurement is important for all companies that blog. This is because like any marketing activity it is important to know what is working and what isn’t. This way marketers can apply focus to the right areas and avoid doing things that don’t pay off.
For B2B’s getting started with a blog, here are some basic tools for measuring activity.
- Site Traffic: As mentioned, traffic alone doesn’t mean as much to B2B’s as it may to some. However, traffic is a good indicator of how well received your content is. Building the right audience is driven a lot by promotion efforts, but generally speaking if your blogs are clear in their title and the reader can quickly grasp what is to be expected then your audience will naturally be tailored. For instance, the average reader won’t want to read about best practices for imaging hard drives, however IT professionals would. The more niche your content the more it will naturally filter your audience which is a good thing.
- Social Signals: Social Media itself doesn’t bring revenue, however, content that moves (shared frequently) ends up in front of more people. Make sure that your promotion focuses on using Social Media channels where your desired audience is located and then try to make the content friendly to share. For targeted businesses, instead of focusing just on the number of social shares, likes, pins etc… Focus on who is sharing the content. Is it being shared by industry thought leaders, supply chain partners, potential customers and so on? Small numbers can yield results. Also, while this isn’t directly a measurement tip. Make sure to respond to and engage with those that share your content. That is the key to community building which is important for all businesses.
- RSS Subscriptions: Every blog creates a feed. Many readers who like content from a certain brand or blogger will subscribe to their RSS feed. This allows the posts to be delivered right to their device (usually in their mail client) for consumption at their convenience. Subscribers are often more engaged with your brand and content as their commitment to receiving posts would indicate. Building up your subscriber base means more readers will see your content with less promotion. This is more a leading indicator than an immediate measuring stick, however it is important to watch.
- Email List (Lead Generation): First of all, it is never too early to give your readers a chance to join your email list. Having said that, it can be too early to have pop-ups and pushy requests for people to subscribe. I recommend a simple opt-in box at the end of each post with a call to action for readers to subscribe. Many businesses use some type of premium content or webinar or another hook to drive opt-in from their readers. For instance, at the bottom of this post I have an opt in that offers readers a free copy of my upcoming book. For B2B the leads generated through opt-in are usually the warmest and most measurable. However, I cannot emphasize enough that new blogs need to be subtle with their opt-in requests because people often find them pushy/spammy. After trust has been built with the audience it is easier to ask for them to opt-in. Much like in person selling, right?
As your blog matures and your audience grows you will find a plethora of tools to more acutely measure your activities. Having said that, in the B2B space, many of the overarching measurements will stay the same.
Good luck with your blog and keep on looking to measure what works as it will only make for greater payoff from your efforts.
So…What are you using to measure the success of your blogging efforts?
In this short video I discuss the basics of measurement for businesses new to blogging
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