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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Which Tools Help You Measure Engagement?

CMI: Which Tools Help You Measure Engagement?
Continuing on with the Content Marketing Institute series on engagement, next is More Than 20 Tools to Measure Content Engagement.

Previous posts included What Does Engaging Content Mean to You?, 10 Ways to Make Content More Engaging and How To Measure Engagement.

This week's post addresses What tools can content marketers use to measure engagement?  Certainly a valid question given the pressure to demonstrate ROI and how many tools have become available.

The following prominent content marketers contributed their perspectives on which tools they use to measure engagement:

Barbra Gago (@barbragago)
Doug Kessler (@dougkessler)
Sarah Mitchell (@globalcopywrite)
Elise Redlin-Cook (@redlincook)
Nate Riggs (@nateriggs)
Elizabeth Sosnow (@elizabethsosnow)
Stephanie Tilton (@stephanietilton)
CB Whittemore (@cbwhittemore) <---- me!
Keith Wiegold (@contentkeith)


Here is my response to the question: which tools I use to measure engagement:
Tools abound for monitoring and measuring engagement – some free, some not. As marvelous as many of the for-pay tools are, I consider it important to learn, explore and calibrate what you obtain meaning from using free tools. By the way, this also allows you to determine whether your business goals are realistic and appropriate for your content.

Two of my favorite tools for measuring blog and web engagement are Google alerts and Google Analytics. In Google alerts, I like to monitor my URL, my brand or blog name and my own name. Alerts let me know when conversations sparked by my content take place beyond my site.

In Google Analytics, I like to monitor traffic patterns to understand which content resonates the most with readers and which words they may have used to discover my content. By the way, those patterns may suggest ideas for new content. I also pay attention to how much time readers spend on-site as a result of specific content or whether they ‘bounce’ off.

On your website or blog, you may opt for a social sharing widget [e.g., AddThis], and even a Facebook Like button. Both offer feedback on engagement. For other digital platforms, such as Twitter, you may want to use a URL shortener to measure the engagement of links you share [i.e., Bitly or Owly or Supr]. YouTube, Facebook and Slideshare offer stats and counts, too, and blogging platforms will keep count on your comments.

What’s important, given how many options exist for measuring content engagement, is determining the purpose of your content so you end up measuring interaction relevant to your goals and don’t get so caught up with the data that you lose sight of the human aspects of engagement.

What's your take? Which tools do you consider most valuable for measuring engagement? Why? I'd love to hear.
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