The FIRE Framework for Measuring Content Marketing
The Growth Playbook to Measure and Optimize Content Marketing Operations
“Content is king” has long been an evergreen expression in marketing, even more so in the age of AI and ChatGPT. And that’s for a good reason. Content touches almost every marketing function. It articulates the company’s vision, messaging, and positioning in the broader market. Its narrative gets distributed on all marketing and sales channels. Its educational value helps sales close more deals driving adoption and revenue.
Despite its importance, content is where many companies still get it wrong. Creating and planning content can be chaotic. Also, content efforts usually have unclear success measures. After leading demand generation at top-tier companies such as Adobe, Amazon, Intuit, Legalzoom, Yahoo, and now Okta (via Auth0), I’ve gained a unique perspective on what it means to run a growth-oriented content marketing operation.
Especially at Auth0, content and community were the main contributors to our acquisition by Okta. Thanks to our strong content and community, we went from $37M to $200M in ARR organically, with little-to-no paid media spend. And then we were acquired for $6.5B!
So, how can you plan and track your content operations to ensure it drives actual results?
In this post, we’ll discuss the common pitfalls of managing and measuring content and share our step-by-step framework (and templates!) to set your content North Star, so you and your team can overcome them and steer your content efforts toward bottom-line impact.
In pt. 2 of this series, we’ll delve into how to use your content North Star to plan and experiment with content that drives growth!
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Common pitfalls of managing content
The two main pitfalls we’ve observed in running content ops are related to planning and measurement.
Let’s start by examining the content planning spectrum. On one hand, you optimize for quantity of content, and on the other, for quality. Needless to say, you need to strike a balance between the two. However, most teams land at one of the extremes.
Firehose approach. If you follow this approach, your focus is purely on quantity — to publish more and more content. This is typical of brands keen to stay top-of-mind by ensuring they’re always in your feed and inbox. However, this approach carries a high risk of desensitizing your audience and channels, diluting your brand’s narrative with more superficial content. Internally, the firehose approach can lead to gargantuan cross-functional operations and approvals, creating team burnout and making it hard to reconcile these efforts with impact.
Sprinkled approach. On the flip side, this strategy over-indexes on quality without maintaining a consistent cadence. While it’s beneficial to publish in-depth and well-researched evergreen reports, doing so sparingly won't build brand awareness or a pipeline. It also doesn’t provide your teams with fresh assets for distribution channels. Usually, this reveals a lack of overall marketing strategy, not just content. Every marketer knows content consistency is key; you must maintain a presence. Or else, you’ll be drowning in the sea of (AI-generated) content out there.
Something even more overlooked is content measurement.
Vanity metrics. I’ve seen many teams focusing on tracking metrics that boost their egos and political status internally but don’t influence the bottom line. Tracking just likes and followers might boost team morale in the short term, but it doesn’t equip your team with the right data to operate long-term. If you don’t design your content around business impact, you’ll optimize for close-to-zero ROI and brand equity dilution.
Drowning in metrics. On the flip side, some other teams track too many metrics without distinguishing the importance between reach, engagement, or pipeline. Over-tracking can lead to operational stretches, internal confusion, and a lack of a clear direction. Rings a bell?
How do you then balance content quality and quantity? And which metrics should you focus on to optimize for what matters, such as revenue and pipeline?
Start by setting your content North Star
Before getting into content planning, you need to focus on measurement. As one of our all-time favorite quotes says, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. And as with many other things in business, effective measurement starts with a North Star.
But again, don’t fall prey to the common pitfalls of setting just any North Star. An effective North Star metric enables your team to:
Set a baseline: measure your starting point to drive focus, traction, and progress
Optimize results: steer your team and inform the nature of your experiments and A/B tests
Track efficiency: close the loop with the bottom of the funnel (eg. revenue or pipeline, not just vanity metrics)
Like-for-like comparison: evaluate different channels, content types, and formats in a normalized and uniform way.
What does that mean in practice? Here’s our step-by-step approach.
1. Map your conversion points and your content grid
For example, at Auth0, our buyer’s journey spans awareness, consideration, and conversion. Each stage has various content touchpoints:
Awareness: LinkedIn, emails, webinars, SERP, free tools, podcasts, newsletters, etc.
Consideration: blog, landing pages, case studies, special reports, etc.
Conversion: tutorials, templates, code samples, guides, etc.
On the other hand, you should also map a grid of your content marketing efforts across three main components:
Content themes: what is your content talking about? This is usually worked back from your product marketing strategy, core messaging, and buyer’s persona.
Content types: how will you bring your themes to life? This comes down to format and will be linked heavily to the third component, the distribution channel.
Distribution channel: where is your content type going to be distributed? There are usually three macro categories here. Just remember SSE — site, social, and emails.
2. Estimate an expected value of each conversion point
Just like different funnel touches contribute differently to closing a deal, a “like” on a LinkedIn post, a blog page view, and a gated content download have different influences on the bottom line.
The goal of this exercise is not to be perfect but to estimate how each of your content touchpoints ties back to revenue. You can update the items in the equation quarterly to factor in new content types and formats and ensure the weights reflect your latest attribution data.
How to estimate the value of each touchpoint? Set realistic expectations. Again, the goal is not to be exact but to lock in a baseline, track progress, and channel your team’s momentum.
3. Assign weights to each touchpoint
Once you’ve estimated the value of each touchpoint, we’ll set up your North Star to optimize for FIRE. 🔥🔥🔥
The FIRE framework is a set of principles that factor in a mix of your content touchpoints — and their related revenue value — and ties them back to measurable metrics that matter based on your strategy.
Frequency: number of views to stay top-of-mind
Impact: influence your bottom line
Reach: to reach as many unique people in your TAM as possible
Engagement: to capture attention and drive action
Intuitively, impact metrics should have higher weights than frequency-related ones.
However, the logic can also be customized based on company goals, stages, and resources. For example, if you’re building a new market and category, you might want to optimize your North Star weights for awareness. If you’re operating in a crowded market, you might want to index more for engagement to ensure you’re capturing enough demand. In any case, keep a sensible chunk of your weight on impact to ensure you’re influencing the bottom line.
4. Roll up your FIRE score to uncover content insights
You can then unify all your FIRE components into a single FIRE score, the ultimate reflection of your content North Star. Now, you need to assign weights to each touchpoint based on their impact on the bottom line. You can use your attribution data to inform this exercise.
The North Star will empower your team with the focus to track progress from your baseline performance and drive the FIRE score most aligned with your company goals.
If your team is ready to set up your North Star and drive hyper growth through content, hit us up at HyperGrowth Partners. We’ll assemble a tailored team of VP-level content, demand gen, and SEO advisors to help you revamp your content ops.
If you bake all these core metrics into your North Star, you’ll not only have one measure of progress, but you’ll also be able to discern which content type, format, and channel drives which side of the equation. How? By breaking down your FIRE score by the content themes, types, and distribution channels that we’ve identified at the beginning of our exercise.
This additional analysis is paramount to unlock key insights about your content distribution channels and inform which content types/formats drive an overall growing FIRE score. For example, a LinkedIn post will have more reach and engagement but might contribute less to impact, whereas your templates might drive more leads but reach fewer eyeballs.
When you calculate your FIRE score across different channels, ensure you define engagement accordingly. Because different channels have different engagement behaviors and metrics, your FIRE score allows you to normalize these differences and make more educated apple-to-apple comparisons. For example:
Social (TOFU): likes, comments, shares, follows, CTR, % read
Email (MOFU): opens, clicks, subscribers, reads
Site (BOFU): reads, % read, leads, pipeline
Don’t need to implement all of this right off the bat. It’s key to start small, especially when tracking impact. Start by just tracking leads, then layer in qualified leads, pipeline, and revenue, as you gather more data and confidence and iterate your FIRE score.
By the end of the exercise, you can visualize your content performance as below. When you have these types of insights, the sky’s the limit!
Want to create these charts to measure your FIRE metrics yourself? Just make a copy of our template.
Taking all into account, the FIRE North Star is a practical framework that uncovers important blind spots and aha moments in your content production and distribution.
For example, one of our clients realized their blog wasn't contributing much to their FIRE score, making it clear they needed to focus on being more active on other channels, opening up new hypotheses for different experiments.
Given content's primary role in any broader marketing, we know how valuable this reporting framework can be!
If you want to start tracking your FIRE score, we can work together to implement this and many other frameworks we have to accelerate your company’s trajectory toward hypergrowth.
In this post, we’ve discussed how to measure your multi-theme, -format, and -channel content operations with a single measurement. But if you want to know how to take these insights and inform your content experiment roadmap to drive hyper-growth, then…
Stick around for the next post 🏒🏒🏒
Editor’s Note: This article was written in collaboration with, who assisted in bringing to life ’s experience and insights through his writing.