I’ve found the best way to select metrics isn’t to start with numbers, but rather to start with a plain-language statement about what a successful outcome would look like in human terms. In other words, how will people’s lives be improved if your efforts are successful?
When I’m working on a content strategy (high level) or a content brief (low level), I try to capture some essence of this by asking one of these two questions:
- What’s the impact for the reader/viewer of this content?
- What’s the takeaway – the thing they’ll learn, or be able to do, from the content?
Otherwise it’s too easy to get caught up in thinking about success as determined by our business, whether that’s quantitative or qualitative. That success is usually tied to things like revenue generated or leads captured or what have you, things that the reader/viewer is far less likely to care about.
To put it another way: As customers we judge the quality of a restaurant by the experience, which encompasses the food and the service and the ambiance. Good reviews and steady revenue isn’t (shouldn’t?) be the goal of the restauranteur – instead, those should be the byproduct of creating a great experience.
And so it goes for content, whether that’s a company blog or a YouTube channel or an in-person event series.