I’ve always loved mindless tasks. I remember the day a supervisor at my first job decided she’d reward me for good creative work by taking away all the mindless, entry-level tasks I’d been responsible for—reports, restocking paper, you name it. It was hard to hide my disappointment.
Because the thing is, when you’re in a role requiring both intense creativity and intense strategic thinking, there are days when you just need a quick, rote but productive, automaton-like task to rejuvenate you.
It’s on those days that I review my production analytics.
Production analytics are quantitative metrics associated with content development. They include things like how many assets a company creates in a given time frame, how quickly those assets were created, and the ratio of content produced for specific sales stages and buyer personas.
In other words, to gather your production analytics, you count up all the stuff your team did and how fast they did it. You hear that, brain? All you have to do is count.
And what you get in return is some really valuable data that can help you accomplish a few key things:
1. See If You’re Running a Balanced Content Program
Content programs should always be developed based on a) company goals and b) buyer personas and sales stages—awareness, credibility, interest, preference, selection, and loyalty. Ideally these are the foundation for your editorial calendar, but hey, sometimes things come up and you find your production looking a little different from your planning.
Production analytics can help you determine how balanced your program is. Did you address those company goals? Did you create enough content for each sales stage? Did you create enough different types of content to address the different ways people research (fat tail and long tail, long form and short form, visual and verbal)?
2. Establish a Baseline for Each Team Member’s Performance
Content production involves a multitude of moving parts, and as a manager, you have to know how efficiently each of them are operating.
Of course, no one wants their team to feel like they’re working in a nanny state, but keeping an eye on each employee’s productivity rate based on your production analytics can help you spot your productivity leaders and address potential bottlenecks, making the process less stressful for everyone in the future.
3. Put Some Data behind Your Due Dates
At some point, we’ve all experienced a marketing program whose eyes are bigger than its stomach. When your editorial calendar is too ambitious, it can be a stressful ride for everyone involved.
If you’re having trouble guessing how many projects to pack into a month, production analytics can be a big help. Take a look at how much content your team has successfully completed in prior months and use that to inform your deadlines.
So next time you’ve squeezed all the juice you can out of your mind grapes (any 30 Rock fans?), and all you want is a task that’s equal parts productivity and ease, now you can take an hour to sit down and work out your program’s production analytics.
You’re not procrastinating, you’re actually planning.