On finding something to say

The throughline of the last twenty years of tech has been new ways to speak up and connect.

We’ve built platforms for email, video, writing, short fiction, daily updates, chat, discussion, classes…

But what if you don’t have anything to say?

It’s difficult to find a tech solution for this problem.

It might be that instead of spending more time looking for a louder platform, you could profit from digging in and doing the hard work of figuring out the change you seek to make. If you’re unable to influence one person in a face to face meeting, all the tech in the world isn’t going to help you change a million people.


Your Guide to Choosing Content KPIs

To measure content marketing effectiveness and evaluate the ROI of your content campaigns, you should use simple, relevant, and useful Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The ideal KPIs are content metrics that can measure performance over time and across all levels of the conversion funnel.

This post identifies sixteen of Portent’s favorite content KPIs, sorts the content metrics by the goals they’re best at measuring, and tells you how to start tracking your content marketing efforts.

How to Measure Content Performance: Establishing and Setting KPIs

A good KPI is quantitative, relevant, and easy to calculate.

To establish relevant KPIs, we recommend following Aleksey Savkin’s rule of thumb.

Savkin recommends:

“If you are not sure if you are dealing with a KPI or a simple metric, do a simple test: imagine that you can double the value of this indicator. If you expect the performance of the business to be increased significantly, then it’s a good KPI for your business context. If not, then it is a simple metric.”

If you’re trying to set KPIs for your content, find the numbers where you really want to move the needle and use those values as metrics that matter most.

What the Conversion Funnel Means for Content and KPIs

While establishing these metrics, it’s important to know where and when to use them. Visitors to your website are at different stages in their customer journey, and your content should speak to them in different ways depending on where they are on this journey.

When you’re planning your KPIs, keep the conversion funnel top of mind; you should be able to measure content performance during every step of the conversion funnel.

Customer Journey FunnelCustomer Journey Funnel

A Chart of Portent’s Favorite Content KPIs

It’s tricky to pair content metrics with a user’s specific path in the conversion funnel. To help you get started, here’s an illustration showing how Portent breaks down content KPIs according to the different stages of the customer journey and their overlap.

KPIs for ContentKPIs for Content

In our content marketing strategies, users are funneled through journeys that result in three goals:

  • Conversion
  • Reputation
  • Engagement

Each goal within these journeys has a few ideal KPIs. Some KPIs can be used to measure success across more than one goal.

Tracking your content marketing campaign performance is a tactical move that gives you ammunition to speak to stakeholders about the quantifiable value you’re creating. It also helps you learn to be a more user-focused, goal-oriented marketer.

If you want to learn more about measuring the long, messy game of content marketing, we’ve included descriptions of all the content KPIs and how they interact with each other.

Content Metrics: Conversion KPIs

Conversion KPIs for ContentConversion KPIs for Content


If you’re writing content that’s meant to generate leads, you should track how many leads you’re generating.

For example, if you’re debuting a new gated resource, you should measure how many new leads that resource brings in. Afterward, compare that number to the leads generated by other gated resources.

This analysis will answer some critical strategy questions:

  • What are your customers looking for?
  • Are your customers willing to give up their contact information to get your content?
  • What kind of content generates the most qualified leads?

Transactions & Revenue

For businesses focused on driving e-commerce revenue and transactions through their website, Google Analytics e-commerce tracking is highly recommended. Within those reports, add the secondary dimension of “landing page” to see how many people purchased after touching a piece of content you produced. This metric allows you to discover what copy has the highest transaction or revenue level.

If you use revenue as a KPI, your findings will vary according to how much a customer spends. If you’re just curious about how many people touched your content eventually converted, and you don’t care how much they wound up spending, use “transactions” instead of “revenue” as the guiding metric.

Goal Completions

If you don’t have enough transactions or revenue to see how those figures interact with your content, you can set goals inside Google Analytics that allow you to track conversions without a dollar value. You can see what URLs accomplished which goals you’ve set. A non-monetary goal might be filling out a form, making a phone call, or joining an email list.

Below is an example of what this looks like.

Content Goal Completions in Google AnalyticsContent Goal Completions in Google Analytics

Content Metrics: Reputation KPIs

Reputation KPIs for ContentReputation KPIs for Content

Influencer Mentions

Did key industry influencers mention your content? Even if they didn’t link back to you, mentions help your reputation. You can measure mentions with a tool like Sparktoro, or by creating a Google Alert for mentions of your brand or a particular content campaign. It’s also beneficial to track whether those mentions are positive or negative.

Keyword Ranking

If you build a content campaign around a targeted keyword, make sure you’re tracking your success. There are a lot of tools on the market for tracking your keyword rankings, such as Ahrefs and SEMrush. For most of our SEO and content campaigns, Portent uses STAT, a SERP-tracking tool out of Vancouver, Canada.

Here’s an example of what SERP position tracking looks like in STAT. We chose Portent’s ranking for the term, “choosing content KPIs.”

SERP Rank Tracking Through STATSERP Rank Tracking Through STAT

When you show up high in the SERPs, you’re building your reputation both with Google, its crawlers, and potential site visitors who are browsing search results. Even if they don’t click on your page, they’ll still see it in their query results, which improves awareness.

Share of Voice

Share of Voice Metrics DashboardShare of Voice Metrics Dashboard

Another useful metric that STAT offers is Share of Voice (SoV). This KPI measures how visible a keyword set is on Google.

STAT says the concept follows two principles:

Not all rankings are equal, and higher ranks give you more Share of Voice.

Not all keywords are equal, and earning a keyword with higher search volume gives you more Share of Voice.

You can use SoV to determine how your content is affecting brand exposure on SERPs. It’s a great KPI to monitor if you’re launching a brand-awareness campaign or implementing a content hub project.

Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment analysis is a complicated topic that’s usually relegated to social media, but major brands can leverage this AI technology to track the way people are talking about their content campaigns, too. Sentiment analysis measures reputation from your social media mentions. If you just launched a new educational center, for example, this metric is a useful way to keep your ear to the ground for relevant Twitter chatter.

For a deep and technical dive into sentiment analysis, we recommend this story on Yelp from Stack Overflow’s David Robinson. For something higher-level, Brandwatch is one of the oldest names in the business and offers a clear, accessible explanation.

Content Metrics: Engagement KPIs

Engagement KPIs for ContentEngagement KPIs for Content


Are people commenting on your blog post with valuable insights, questions, or feedback? If you write a blog post that gets through to people, they’ll often show it in the comments. Tracking this engagement KPI will help you learn what topics resonate with users and spark conversations.

For example, check out these comments on Ian Lurie’s blog post, The Digital Marketing Checklist: 48 Things You Should Be Doing But Probably Aren’t.

People read it, considered its points, and then responded thoughtfully:

Comments as a Content KPIComments as a Content KPI

As with any robust comments section, it’s important to meaningfully engage with users, too. This interaction helps build brand loyalty and further improves the value of comments as a KPI.

Scroll Depth

If you want an easy, fast way to tell whether or not people are reading your content, look at the scroll depth of the page.

Most heat mapping programs, such as Hotjar, will provide you with scroll depth tracking. After you’ve set up tracking on the page through Google Tag Manager and the heat mapping platform, take a look at your scroll depth maps. You can see where your readers are dropping off, and how fast. A rapid drop might mean your content needs to be reworked.

Scroll Depth Heat MapScroll Depth Heat Map

Time on Page

Time on page is a similar key performance indicator to scroll depth in that it shows you how long people typically spend reading your content. Instead of being measured in pixels, however, this KPI is measured in seconds.

If you’re creating a new content strategy for your blog, your goal might be to increase the average time on page for new blog posts. Generally, the longer someone spends on your page, the more they’re engaging with your content, which means you’ve successfully earned their attention.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that time spent is related to the content length. Don’t compare the content of different types and lengths for time on page. A 2,000-word guide will probably have a much longer time on page than a 300-word blog post, but 50 percent of readers might make it all the way through that blog post versus only 10 percent who read your whole guide.

Pages Per Session

You can swap out this KPI with bounce rate if you prefer — they both tell you if readers are leaving your site after viewing your content. But bounce rate only tells you the ratio of visitors who leave versus those who keep digging deeper; the average pages per session will tell you how many pages they visit.

What’s a good rate for average pages per session? This depends entirely on your business. Generally, a site that serves to generate leads will have fewer pages per session than an e-commerce site, where users often spend time browsing product pages. If your e-commerce site doesn’t see an average rate of pages per session of three or four, you need to retool your strategy. In comparison, if a blog post on the Portent site has a rate of pages per session more than two, it’s excelling at this KPI.

Content Metrics: Conversion & Reputation KPIs

Conversion and Reputation KPIs for ContentConversion and Reputation KPIs for Content

Return Customers

Returning customers are the intersection of reputation and conversion. They know your brand, they like it, and they want more.

It’s hard to measure the impact of content on return customers, but you can use Google Analytics to set tracking codes from the “thank you” page or log-in screen.

From here, you can see what kinds of content this group interacts with. Here are a few questions to consider when evaluating return customers:

  • Do your returning customers visit your blog?
  • Do they read your long form content?

If not, why not?

If so, which ones are popular?

Content Metrics: Reputation & Engagement KPIs

Engagement and Reputation KPIs for ContentEngagement and Reputation KPIs for Content

Likes & Shares

Social media is one of the best barometers for gauging the success of your content. The more likes and shares, the better the content is performing in terms of engagement, which affects your reputation.

Social media is sensitive to many factors. If you want to measure the impact of your content based on the content’s virtues alone, promote different content pieces with the same amount of money to lookalike audiences at the same time of day. If a piece does well, throw the rest of your promotional budget behind it. And then create more content like the winning article.


Backlinks are one of the most crucial KPIs for content — for many writers, they are the carrot on the other end of the stick. They are also a valuable barometer for assessing who respects or enjoys your content to the point they’re willing to recommend it to others.

As SEOs often say, every link is like a vote. When you receive unsolicited backlinks from authoritative sites, your readers are engaged, and your reputation is growing in the eyes of both readers and Google’s ranking algorithm.

Content Metrics: Engagement & Conversion KPIs

Conversion and Engagement KPIs for ContentConversion and Engagement KPIs for Content

Open and Click-Through Rates

These are the KPIs for measuring conversions and engagement with email marketing campaigns. Your site’s content extends to all owned channels, and that means email, too. If you aren’t setting KPIs for your email marketing campaigns, you’re squandering one of your few opportunities to speak right into a customer’s ear.

Content Metrics: Conversion & Reputation & Engagement KPIs

Conversion and Reputation KPIs for ContentConversion and Reputation KPIs for Content

Page Views

Without visitors, you’re not going to engage, convert, or build any kind of online reputation. The more people who view your site, the more people are engaging with your brand, and the more your reputation spreads. And the wider your reach, the more likely you’ll generate conversions.

Page views are the easiest way to measure the success of content. Unsurprisingly, they’re also the most popular. And some might even say the laziest.

Unless you’re combining page views with some other metric, you’re going to be missing a big part of the picture. What sets apart great marketers is their ability to layer a versatile yet surface-level metric like a page view with other KPIs to understand whether and how a piece of content connects with readers. A click-bait headline, for example, might generate a lot of page views, but if the content doesn’t address users’ needs, the time on page won’t be very long, the pages per session will be low, and you probably won’t get any backlinks. So use this KPI in conjunction with others.

Tying it All Together

So there you have it!

We’ve shared the 16 KPIs we look to monitor when evaluating the effectiveness of content.

As we have shown, evaluating the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts is like playing a game of chess — patience and careful planning go a long way toward success. There is not one right way to track the success of your content- it’s all about identifying your goals, setting KPIs, and then iterating to find what works well for you.

So go on! Test and try a handful of metrics to find the right mix of what works for you.

The post Your Guide to Choosing Content KPIs appeared first on Portent.

The Anatomy of A Forever Brand

New email subscribers receive articles first thing, with additional resources. In 1938, the son of the founder of a famous global organization that traded in raw materials met with a young man, a former schoolteacher. Harry Oppenheimer, the son of the founder of De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. asked the young man, Francis Wayland Ayer, to come up with a way to change people’s perspective on diamonds and make Americans fall in love with engagement rings. Ayer had founded an agency with his father and a $250 investment in 1869. He persuaded Oppenheimer to underwrite the cost to research people’s…

Restaurant Scheduling Apps: the Secret to Unlocking Your Restaurant’s Expenses

While it’s easy to believe that restaurant scheduling apps merely ease and quicken the process of creating excellent work schedules for employees, they actually do a lot more. There are several built in features that unlock the economic well-being of your restaurant. Read on to see how restaurant scheduling apps can provide you with the tools you need to understand how your restaurant is really faring. 


Manager Log Books

Now, all the key data can be presented to your managers in real time at a glance including labour costs, total sales, daily costs, and more. Restaurant scheduling software comes with out-of-the-box solutions, or you can customize it to track the data that matters most to your restaurant. The dashboard presents the current data against the previous day’s finances, so it’s easy to know how the day really went.  

The apps are designed to be intuitive and simple to use and understand, and because it’s cloud-based, managers can access the data from anywhere, without physically being in the restaurant. This also means these vital records can’t get lost.  

Whenever a log book is updated, other managers will get a notification on their phone right away, meaning there is no lag time — communicating vital data is simple and seamless. To see how it works, you can check out this guide to restaurant costs to get a full idea of how powerful these apps can really be. 


All Locations, Right Away

Restaurant scheduling apps let restaurants with multiple locations see the whole picture, so executives and investors have the information they need about each restaurant’s health and profitability. Track data like sales per labour hour, total sales, and see how these totals measure against projected costs. 

You can navigate this information easily, as well as measure other statistics that have important implications for your restaurant. This makes it easy to see how each location is really faring, so you know which restaurants are performing better than others.   


POS Integration

Most employee scheduling software integrates with all the Point of Sales systems commonly used in North America. This means that the systems in your restaurant are unified and streamlined. This reduces inefficiencies, as your staff will never have to toggle back and forth between two programs. 

This integration also means that you can project your future sales with as much as 95% accuracy! Beyond unlocking the stats that truly and fully reflect your restaurant’s finances, restaurant scheduling apps are able to reveal their economic health in advance.  

Restaurant scheduling apps reduce the amount of time it takes to create schedules all employees love by as much as 80%, but it also serves other very important functions. By empowering managers and executives to know how their restaurant or restaurants are truly performing, restaurant scheduling apps provide the invaluable knowledge needed for leaders to make informed decisions. In such a notoriously difficult industry, this software can be the difference between success and failure.  

The power (and risk) of charismatic ideas

Charisma is a magical power. It enables humans to hotwire connection and build bridges long before the facts on the ground are clear.

Charisma creates rock stars, powerful scientists and con men, too.

Misused, charisma is often the road to tragedy, because it causes us to suspend disbelief and follow a leader we should have been wary of. On the other hand, charisma in the right hands is the engine that can move us toward better, toward outcomes we might have never achieved if we’d allowed ourselves to be paralyzed by the status quo.

Consider for a moment the charismatic idea. An idea, disconnected from the person who might have conceived it, that spreads from person to person. An idea that’s not only sticky, but viral as well.

I wrote about ideaviruses twenty years ago, but didn’t talk enough there about the very nature of an idea itself. That some ideas, like some people, are more charismatic than others.

When those charismatic ideas contribute to the culture, they create a forward cycle that benefits all of us (I’ll nominate “don’t litter” as an example.) On the other hand, sticky negative ideas (like false fear about vaccination) persist longer than they should.

Our job as marketers is to do the hard work of finding and nurturing charismatic ideas we can be proud of.

One place to start is to look at the ideas you’re trying to spread. Consider whether they’re charismatic enough to earn the effort you’re putting into them–and if not, how to replace them with ideas that are.

HT to the Distance Plan


Rationalizing your project

“I followed the recipe exactly, and it failed.”

That’s how many reviews of online recipes begin. Then the poster explains that he replaced the sour cream with yogurt (it’s what he had in the fridge), that he replaced the wheat flour with rice flour (it’s gluten-free) and he used the toaster oven instead of a real oven…

Once you are deep into a project, it’s yours. It’s underway. You have heart and soul and pride invested in it.

In the face of helpful advice, it’s easy to say, “sure, that’s what I’m already doing,” and then torture your description of the current project to make it sort of, almost, sound like you’re following the suggested new approach.

But you’re not. You’re merely wasting time and effort pretending you’re embracing this new way of doing something.

What if, just for a week or even a day, you acted as if?

What if you re-did your plan, or your perceptions of the world or your approach in a totally new way, the way that respects and embraces the thing you just learned. What if you followed the recipe by following the recipe, simply to learn the technique…

After that, after you’ve seen what it can do, then go ahead and see what happens when you re-adopt the cruft that had you looking for a new recipe in the first place.

In the age of unlimited access to recipes, the hard part about getting good advice isn’t getting it. It’s following it. And then you might be able to turn the recipe into insight.


PS First priority deadline for the August session of the altMBA is this Friday. When you’re ready to level up, we’re ready for you.


Maximize the Results of your B2B Voice of the Customer Programme: The Ultimate Guide

VoC Programme in B2B

Well-run customer experience (CX) programs can help B2B companies grow the lifetime value of accounts, save them from churning, and generate warm referrals that drive new growth.

According to a McKinsey study, successful programmes lower customer churn by 10-15%, increase sales close rates by 20-40% and lower costs to serve by up to 50%.

In addition, B2B leads generated through warm referrals have on average a 4 times higher lead-to-deal conversion rate compared to sales prospecting or advertising.

"The Formula" Explains the Hidden Patterns that Separate the Best Seller from the Flop.

Mini book read. New email subscribers will receive it as part of the weekly digest. Failure has become a badge, a rite of passage on our way to success. But generally-speaking nobody like to fail, or even wants to think about it. We event every project and new venture with a sense of adventure. It’s easy to talk about failure from the gold medal podium. Western culture doesn’t look upon people who fail to succeed kindly. Unless you can draw a line from failing your way up to ladder to more money and bigger glory, we’re just not interested. Yet…

Anything you want

The paradox of choice is real, and it gets worse when the choices aren’t even multiple choice.

Confronted with the unlimited selection offered by any music streaming service, people choke. They pick an old favorite, a current hit or something banal. The same is true with the nooks and crannies of Amazon or most pieces of software–when people can have anything they want, suddenly what they want isn’t much at all.

People are good at “a, b or c?”. Not as good at “pick a card, any card.” And terrible at, “think of a number between one and a trillion.”

That’s one reason why writer’s block is far more common than roll-the-dice block.

If you’re on the offering side, it’s on you to be smart about the multiple choice options that can unfold new horizons for us. Curation can do better than “Shuffle”.

And if you’re on the choosing side, you can multiply your impact simply by embracing a method that pushes you toward new (and thus uncomfortable) options.


Lil Dicky’s Star-Studded "Earth" Music Video

Music artist Lil Dicky released a music video on Friday featuring Leonardo DiCaprio together with 30 music artists including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Halsey, Bad Bunny, PSY, Zac Brown, Miley Cyrus, Sia, Ed Sheeran, Snoop Dogg and more, all to send a message about saving the earth. It’s a remarkable effort at bringing young music fans together to support a cause, just in time for Earth Day tomorrow.