With marketers creating more content than ever before, it would be easy to assume that engagement rates are through the roof. In reality, however, marketers simply have more competition and noise with which to contend. This makes it more important than ever for marketers to set benchmarks and make sure they are hitting those goals in order to generate maximum return from the investments they make in content marketing.

First and foremost, it’s important to make sure you understand the different types of metrics. Not all content is the same, and appropriate metrics should be used to gauge the success of different types of content. The metrics you should be measuring include consumption metrics, sharing metrics, lead generation metrics, and sales metrics. Consumption metrics, including content views, bounce rate, and time on page, are effective for gauging web traffic and brand awareness. Sharing metrics are beneficial for gauging the effectiveness of social media content, particularly in terms of awareness, reach, engagement, and resonance.

Once you understand the metrics you should be using, the next step is to create a plan and timeframe for measuring. Many people shy away from this type of benchmark planning because they fear they do not have enough time in an already packed schedule to view metrics. Keep in mind that not all metrics need to be viewed on a daily basis. Some metrics, such as site visits, could benefit from daily checks, but other metrics can be viewed on a weekly or even monthly basis. When you start your measurement timeline, make a point of viewing where you stand on day one. Doing so will give you a better opportunity to evaluate performance on whatever timeline you decide upon, whether it is daily, weekly, monthly or even a quarterly basis.

One of the most common mistakes many marketers make when setting benchmarks is reporting on performance simply for the sake of doing it. While it is true that you should establish and analyze benchmarks, your efforts will be for naught if you do not take advantage of the information you obtain from the benchmarks you set. Put the data you receive to work to determine what changes your content marketing needs.

Whether it is a blog, social media, or even SMS marketing, setting benchmarks is critical to the success of any content marketing campaign.