Have you ever wondered how your social media and content marketing efforts are performing? More importantly, have you ever wanted to know the specific factors that improve or hinder your progress so that you can make comprehensive changes to attain optimum results?

These questions and many more can be answered with The Content Marketing Index™ (CMI). This groundbreaking technology is an objective and transparent assessment of a franchise/franchisee’s entire content marketing and social media marketing activity. The Index is able to gauge an organization’s social media and content marketing activity by extracting vast amounts of online data that identifies a franchise’s social networks/blogs and content/engagement etc. for each channel. In turn, a personalized report, the franchise 360™, is generated with a scorecard like profile of the franchise’s complete digital fingerprint with actionable, measurable and attainable recommendations for improvement.

The reports that are generated from the Content Marketing Index are closely tied to Cadence9®’s 7 Step Content Marketing Lifecycle(CML). The lifecycle concepts are aligned with the best practices in content marketing as it relates to goal setting, planning/strategy, editorial calendar, content production, publishing, engagement, and metric analysis. From this derives four key Content Marketing Lifecycle (CML) steps that are broken into sections within the report – Planning/Editorial Calendar, Production, Publishing and Engagement. Each of these sections includes different measurements (variables) that relate to one of the four key CML steps.

Planning and Editorial Calendar

Planning and the editorial calendar are the first of the four steps analyzed in the report.

As it relates to the CML, creating a plan/strategy determines the who, what, when and where factors for the content you want to produce. It starts by defining your target audience/s (the who) and their so-called buyers’ journey by understanding what they like to read, see and hear. What are their primary interests and questions? When and where do your customers go to consume content? These are the questions you should ask when creating a social media and content marketing strategy.

This information should then be the basis to formulate the topics and content that is placed within the editorial calendar to provide relevant/engaging information for your audience. The editorial calendar is the tactical framework that is based on the franchise’s goals/strategy and serves as a guide to the execution of content production and publication.

Measurement Variables of Planning and Editorial Calendar

The CML step that focusses on planning and the editorial calendar in the CMI franchise 360™report is composed of two measurement variables – average posts per channel and post frequency. These two variables provide evidence on whether a franchise has taken the time to plan out and insert their content into a structured editorial calendar – not a trivial task.

Average Posts per Channel -This is the first part of the report that gives franchises an idea of how their content marketing and social media efforts are performing. It can show if the franchise or franchisees are fully utilizing all of their social media channels to distribute content. This variable gathers information on every active and inactive (or dormant) channel. Dormant channels are channels that exist but are not being posted to, which can lower the percentage of the average post per channel. If a social media channel has been created, it’s important to keep it updated with fresh and relevant content that sticks to your strategy.

Post Frequency – Consistency is the key component for this variable. Moreover, it is important to be consistent over a continuous period of time. A company might claim that they are good about frequently posting since they spread 20 posts across all of their social media channels each week. However, they might do that for a short period of time and then completely stop for a few days. Customers and audiences come to expect a franchise’s online presence and can quickly becoming apprehensive of the franchise’s stability if they post only infrequently or fall of the map.

It is important to schedule a target number of posts based on the type of platforms being used as well as the number of future publishing days that will be planned in the calendar. It’s understandable that channels like YouTube are harder to frequently post to. With this in consideration, the target number of posts will be different for each platform. Facebook and Twitter can both have a higher post frequency than SlideShare and YouTube, but these channels should still not become dormant. Target at least two posts per day while switching off between the channels you post to.

The Content Marketing Index’s database is continuously growing and evolving from the ever-increasing amount of information that is being gathered, measured and analyzed by Cadence9® as we assess more and more franchise organizations. As it grows, the CMI is able to take into account more variables and discern between different aspects of content marketing and social media so that recommendations for improvement can be made from real time data. The CMI franchise 360™ reports dispose of all the mystery and give franchises/franchisees the ability to truly understand how effective their content marketing and social media presence is for driving new business.