How to Set Goals for your Blogging Program

October 12, 2010

At the computer

This is a part of a series that was cre­at­ed to help you get the prac­tice of corporate blogging built into your com­pany.  This series will walk through the process, nec­es­sary roles, in addi­tion to guides for each role to help your com­pany get started quickly.

Metrics are extremely helpful for accurately setting measurable goals of the effort as well as helping to track performance and gain insights that will help you improve your blogging efforts.

The metrics for blogging fall under four broad categories:

  1. Blogging activity metrics, which measure the inputs to your blogging efforts, such as:
    1. The number of bloggers that are meeting the blogging goal
    2. The number of blog postings that are created each period
    3. The number of important keywords that are in each blog
    4. The overall quality of the blogs
  2. Audience traffic metrics, which measure the amount of attention that your blogs are getting and where the traffic is coming from, such as:
    1. The number of visitors coming to your blogs each week
    2. The number of visitors that have subscribed to RSS feed
    3. The number of visitors from your key traffic sources and other marketing channels (e.g., search engines, social network sites, referral sites, e-mail newsletter)
  3. Audience engagement metrics, which help to demonstrate the level of engagement that your audience has with your blogs, such as:
    1. The average number of page views per visitor
    2. The time spent reading blog
    3. The number of comments you receive (good or bad)
  4. Audience conversion metrics, which help to demonstrate the level of conversion that you are getting with your blogs, such as:
    1. The number of visitors that click through to other sections of your website
    2. The number of visitors that opt-in to receive your e-mail newsletter
    3. The number of visitors that ultimately become sales leads, opportunities, and sales
    4. The amount of feedback you get from your target audience as they go through your sales process

Another way to gauge success involves looking at how you’re faring in terms of your industry/influence success. Are your targets looking to you for your expertise? Have you been offered opportunities to syndicate your blog, speaking engagements, etc.?

As the blogging effort is established, the performance of the effort should be measured more by the input metrics of making sure that the bloggers are blogging regularly and well. Over time, the audience traffic metrics will start picking up and be more valuable for determining success and making adjustments. As the audience traffic measures pick up, the audience engagement metrics will become more relevant, and as time goes on you should have enough audience conversion activity to start using these metrics to monitor the performance of your program and make adjustments to your conversion approaches.

Just to be clear, I am not suggesting what your goals or measures should be, as it is up to you to determine the goals of your corporate blogging effort and how to use the measures to both monitor progress and identify opportunities for improvement. For example, a blogging effort with little engagement and great conversion metrics might be considered a success if your goal is to build short-term sales leads. On the other hand, an effort with great audience engagement and few conversions might be considered a success if your goal is to build an engaged community of your target audience that you believe will have longer-term business benefits.

I have found, however, that there is nothing like increasing sales and reducing the sales cycle to stimulate employees and management to continue improving practices, so consider this as you set your goals and metrics.

Next week, I’ll cover the common challenges that may arise within a corporate blog.