So you’ve started blogging, and that’s fantastic. It’s a great way to get your message out to the masses—whether it be how fantastic your services are, the latest in industry developments, or preferably, a well-balanced mix of both. But just like everything else in your business, it’s important to track your return on investment so you know just how much time you should be devoting to researching, writing, and responding.
Now, there’s a ton of super nifty analytics tools worth looking into—Google Analytics for one—that can track everything from how many unique visitors view your blog every day to how much time a given visitor spends poring over your great resources. But today, let’s start out with a few critical metrics that you can track all on your own. Here are four:
1. Posting Frequency
This one is about as simple as it gets: how many blog posts are you generating each week, month, and year? The answer will help you determine a baseline for how frequently you’re communicating with your audience and how this impacts each of the next metrics on our list. Playing around with posting frequency can help you maximize your return on investment. More blog posts can equal more engagement and thus more revenue. However, if your expenses per blog make increasing your posting frequency unwieldy, that’s good to know, too. And if you’re posting just for the sake of posting without really having anything to say, that can decrease the credibility of your blog and your results. According to Heidi Cohen, author of “21 Real Blog Metrics Your Company Needs to Track,” the ultimate goal of measuring your posting frequency is to ensure that you “have fresh content on a regular basis.”
2. Blog-Related Revenue
In other words, how many patients are you generating from your blog? While this can be a tricky one to nail down definitively, a great way to start is by asking all new patients how they heard about you. By doing so, you’ll be able to see who came to see you as a direct result of reading your posts and seeing your thought leadership first-hand. From there, try asking some more probing questions about which article they came across first and why it caught their eye. This type of direct feedback about the things on your blog that are working—and those that aren’t—can help you make real-time improvements as well as teach you which topics are most heavily read. Just be careful: one person’s opinion may not be representative of your entire readership, so don’t react rashly.
3. Blog-Related Expenses
How much money and time are you spending on your blog? That includes any fees you’re paying for web hosting services and contributed blog posts as well as the time that you’re spending blogging and not doing something directly billable—like treating a patient. This number compared to your blog-related revenue will help you determine the net worth of blogging for your clinic. Just remember, it’s not all about the Benjamins. Even if you’re not generating any direct blog-related profit just yet, that’s okay. Blogging is still a great way to increase brand awareness as well as educate the community on the importance of physical therapy. You may be reaching other leaders in the industry—and that might serve your clinic well in the end, too.
4. Community Engagement
Essentially, this metric measures how much your audience is participating on your blog. How many questions are they asking? How many questions have you answered? Has that sparked a conversation or additional dialogue? If you ask a question, are your readers responding? You can measure this by blog post, by week, by month, or by year—whatever interval provides you with the most insight. This will also help you identify themes or topics that generated the most engagement within the community. That intel can not only help you in your decision of what topics to write on again, but also can help reveal what your potential patients are looking for. Perhaps you could expand on those particular topics through webinars, a special class, or additional services.
Those are the metrics we suggest starting with, but there are certainly plenty more out there. Before you decide which ones are right for your clinic, identify your goal. Why are you writing? Is it to provide content, to make money, or to build a community? Understanding your motivation for blogging will help you to select the best methods for tracking your performance and measuring success. Want more information on matching metrics to your goal? Check out this article written by social media and content strategist Jay Baer.