The Content Strategist

Too Many Content Marketers Are Making This Metrics Mistake

This story is part of Contently’s Accountable Content Series, a collection of articles, webinars, case studies, and events we’ve designed to help marketers deliver measurable brand impact and business outcomes with content. To see more content in this series, click here.

The more time you spend on production, the higher the costs. That’s just basic economics. Marketers, however, seem to ignore this simple rule.

According to a new Contently survey, 69 percent of senior marketers are not tracking metrics related to the speed and efficiency of content creation. 1

CEOs and CFOs shouldn’t take this lightly. If your team takes two months to publish a 1,000-word blog post, it’s going to be really difficult to generate a return on your investment. Every day a piece of content spends in production hurts your ROI. Because every hour a team wastes with an inefficient production processes is an hour they could be doing something else to improve the business.

Marketers are the first to admit they’re not very efficient. Seventy percent of senior marketers say their content process is “middling” or worse. And those are just the ones who admit it. As anyone who took a statistics class in college knows, respondents asked to self-report tend to overrate their abilities.

If marketers aren’t tracking production metrics, they’re not getting a full picture of their content ROI. More importantly, without data, you’re not going to be more efficient. Perhaps you have an intuition that projects are getting stuck at a certain stage, but you need numbers to justify that opinion. If you implement a change based on intuition that turns out to be wrong, it could just make the problem worse.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that marketers tracking production metrics report better content efficiency. About half of respondents who track production metrics reported that their organization is “efficient” or better, compared to just 21 percent of respondents who don’t. And only 8 percent of respondents who track production metrics say their process is “inefficient” or worse.

Every day a piece of content spends in production hurts your ROI.

They’re damning statistics, but there’s reason to believe they could improve over the next few years. Tracking production efficiency has always been possible, but traditionally it’s a complex, manual process only done by large organizations. Technology is changing this paradigm.

At Contently, we now have a command center in our software platform that automatically tracks production, identifies bottlenecks, and offers historical data to help us optimize our creative process.

For example, we can quickly identify who tends to miss deadlines on articles:

As you can see, I’m one of the worst offenders, which affects how our managing editor maintains the edit calendar (sorry, Jordan). The platform even shows us that we’ve gotten better at cutting down production delays, and we can even compare our stats to similar companies in our industry. Plus, the “Message” button makes it easy for Jordan to tell me I’m messing up our workflow (again, so sorry).

There are other platforms out there dedicated to improving productivity. Production calendars and workflows are practically a necessity at this point, and media companies such as Vox and The Washington Post have invested in software to improve the speed of their newsrooms.

They’re doing it because they understand that improving production speeds means improving revenue. For marketers, whose whole job is to improve revenue, failing to track and improve production metrics shouldn’t be acceptable.

  1. The survey consisted of 596 marketers who identified as either managers, directors, executives, or C suite.