How do you gauge the impact of your B2B blog?

Our recent webinar on business-to-business blogging resulted in more questions than we had time to answer so Mark Schaefer agreed to provide a personal reply on our blog to each question.

Question #5 comes from Barbara:

How can you measure the impact of a blog?

B2B Blogging supports B2B MarketingLike any marketing initiative, measurement is important. As my teacher and mentor Peter Drucker used to tell his students, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” And blogging is no different.

The good news is that measurement is normally very easy on the web. In fact the real trick might be choosing the correct metrics.

There are hundreds of potential financial and non-financial indicators out there, but there is only one question you need to know to pick the right one: What behavior am I trying to drive?

This is a deceptively simple but powerful place to start. Here is a great example of this concept in action. Walgreen’s has been a stellar financial performer and much of that has been attributed to its focus on one metric: Net profit per customer visit. Behavior they are driving? Spend more money with Walgreens!

Think about the impact of that one metric — it would influence the store location and lay-out, product placement, product choices, advertising strategy, branding strategy, pricing decisions… literally every design, distribution, and marketing decision could be made to drive that single metric ever upwards.

So you can see how powerful and critically important choosing the correct metric can be, for your marketing effort, and your blog. I could literally fill several blog posts with ideas of possible metrics but a good place to start — after you define your goal, of course — is Google Analytics. This is a free tool available to every website and blog that can give you amazing insight about who is visiting your blog, when, from where, and how long they hang out there. But that’s just a start. There are probably as many measurement platforms as there are ways to measure!

You can also look at blog-specific metrics that might indicate engagement and reader interest such as blog visitors, subscriptions, tweets, comments, and results from blog polls. And while we’re at it, blogs can also have an impact on internal audiences too, so you might want to think about that.

But in any event, the answer to your question begins with the answer to another question: What behavior are you trying to influence?