Here’s a starting point for discussion, from Michael Weiss of CMI:
Traditional advertising is very hard to measure. Content marketing is totally measurable, but it takes time to get real data. Unless you are willing to launch a program for at least 6 months, there is no reason to do anything. You need time to gather data!
Take-away number one is not to expect overnight success. Do you really think your new video is going to go viral? Remember, you’re not just up against your competitors for the hallowed “gone viral” ground. Your up against, to pick a recent example, the song stylings of Robin Thicke, his deep blue eyes and the bodaciousness of three near-naked models. (If the reference isn’t familiary, Google “Blurred Lines video” but beware that most links will be NSFW.)
So, forget viral, and instead concentrate on building a solid body of work that holds up over time and paints an ever more comprehensive picture of your expertise and your offerings.
Second take away: implied in the idea that you need time to gather data is that you’re, well, actually gathering data!
Gathering data can be scary – it can point to things not working. The “brilliance” we may be so incredibly proud of may turn out to be a dud. Tough. Decide what your goals are and measure, regularly and rigorously, whether your content marketing is moving you closer to those goals.
The final point here is that it pays to be patient. Yes, you should measure. But don’t measure every hour and throw out your campaign twice a day because it’s not working yet. Maybe you measure daily and review the data on a weekly basis to monitor progress but agree not to make adjustments on anything less than a month’s worth of info. (Or even 6 months, depending on what you’re measuring and what else you have to compare it to.)
Always keep in mind that information (in the form of data) does not equal insights on its own. Rarely can insights be gleaned from isolated data points. Be sure that those who control your budget know that being in it for the long haul is the only way to accurately assess whether what you’re doing is working.