Planning a blog and then spending both time and effort on creating and developing it is all well and good but, as a business, we are looking to see results which warrant this outlay.
Effectively, we have a business and marketing tool which has a focus, a target audience and a business aim it also has costs attached to it, often principally in terms of time, which need to be justified. Like all marketing activity, we are looking for a return on our investment and to calculate this, we need to measure how successful our blog has been for us.
This is turn raises the question of what criteria we should be using to determine this. There are a number of people who have written on the subject, perhaps the most prominent of which is Charlene Li at Forrester with their report at the start of the year but here we are probably looking above and beyond the methods generally available to most organisations. There are also a number of intangibles that could be considered such as branding and profile development, but they are perhaps less relevant to a small business and even harder to measure effectively.
However, that doesn’t mean that there is no way of identifying the results of a blog. On the contrary. However, first we need to decide what we are going to measure – here the criteria should reflect the main objectives that we set out for the blog.
Some of the potential methods to evaluate these are:
- Visitors: you might consider that it is the number of new or repeat visitors to your blog because this displays the attractiveness of the blog in terms of content and will develop the community element;
- Comments: it could be the number of comments that you receive on your posts because you are looking to achieve a certain level of interaction with readers and develop more 2 way conversations;
- Subscribers: the number of subscribers to your RSS feed may be important because you feel this best shows active interest from your readers and allows you to start to tacitly market to them;
- Links: the number of blogs and websites which link to your blog or refer to your articles via trackbacks because the interest levels of other bloggers is important from a viral marketing perspective ;
- Sign-ups: the number of sign ups to a newsletter which you may have as your main marketing call to action on the blog and which will allow you to develop in terms of a subscriber list;
- Prospects: the number of new potential customers who get in contact through the contact form on your Blog (or special links) because you are looking for new client introductions;
- Clients and Sales: while not a direct sales tool, the blog’s end goal is often to generate additional business, either as a direct or as an indirect result of our efforts. So measure it where possible;
- Reduced Marketing Spend: the reduction in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) spend because of the search engine benefits that a blog brings.
As you can see, there are a number of different methods we can use and so it is a case of deciding which is the most appropriate according to the aims we had for the blog. This is likely to be a mix of a number of the ones mentioned above but a suitable combination will give an appropriate idea of the level of results that the blog has achieved.
Tags: Blog Marketing, Blog results, Business Blog, Corporate blog, Measuring a Blog, Planning a Blog