As a PR agency account director or VP, you’re no doubt familiar with the smorgasbord of external content metrics your bosses or clients want you to track. Not to be the guy to give you more work, but in the push for mastering external content metrics, many folks skip the internal content metrics that tell the story of how content moves within your organization. 


This internal navigation of content matters for efficient content management, so you know where pieces are in the pipeline and can identify and solve content problems before they escalate. Imagine that: Not sweating it when your partners ask how content writing is going with your team. Sounds nice, yeah?


But more metrics to manage can feel overwhelming, so where should you start?


Let’s keep it simple with three internal content production metrics I’ve tracked that helped me transform agency content workflows before.


  1. Time to Delivery (TTD)

This metric measures how much time your team takes at various stages of the content delivery pipeline, providing valuable insights into your content production process. Measuring and using TTD means you should: 


Set Benchmarks

Start by measuring the time a content piece takes:

  • From a topic idea to an outline
  • From conducting an interview with a subject matter expert to creating the first draft
  • From the first draft to the approval of the final draft


Collect these data points for at least 30 days to establish a baseline (if you haven’t already). What’s a “good” benchmark? It depends on your client’s industry, size, contact involvement, and other factors. But anything from a few days to 2 weeks between stops on the pipeline is okay.


Leverage Project Management Tools

Use tools like Monday or Asana to systematically track these timelines — this will help you build your structured approach to content management. Measure these numbers on a per-client and aggregate basis.


Monitor Variations

Keep an eye on fluctuations from your benchmarks, as they’ll tell you where content production is going sideways. For instance: 

  • Excessive time from topic to outline might indicate too much time is spent in research and development. 
  • A prolonged period from interview to first draft could signal writing overwhelm
  • A delay from first draft to final draft might suggest inefficiencies in the approval or revision processes between your team and client.


  1. Revision Rate

This metric evaluates how many revisions a content piece undergoes before your client approves it for publication.


Track Draft Acceptance

Acceptance rate gets tracked on a per-piece basis. Implement a draft counter for each piece using your project management system (PMS). I still recommend a system like Monday or Asana, but even a spreadsheet is better than nothing.


Benchmarking Over Time 

Ideally, over time, drafts should be accepted sooner, preferably in the first or second round of revisions. You’ll see fluctuations depending on your client and how many levels of review they have (i.e. if you need multiple executives, marketing, and legal to sign off before publishing). Track per client and know what’s normal for each.


Identifying Bottlenecks 

If one draft drags on, that’s usually a miscommunication on that particular piece. But if drafts consistently drag on, this usually indicates a process problem. Chat with your writers, account leads, and client contacts to pinpoint where the bottlenecks are occurring. Common failure points I’ve seen include:

  • Disagreement on messaging/content goals (which is why outlines and content briefs are great ideas)
  • Too many cooks in the kitchen (who don’t agree on which changes to make and why)
  • Unclear brand voice and tone (so writers don’t know what to sound like — brand style guides can help here)
  • Loss of the sense of urgency (which is why stakeholders are cool with letting pieces sit for weeks or months)


  1. Client Satisfaction

Clients should generally like the pieces they receive. However, a lot of account teams never actually get around to asking clients if they like their content. Or they’re worried they’ll get a negative answer and look dumb in front of their bosses. To avoid that problem and get solid, actionable client feedback, try the following:


Implement Feedback Systems

You can use sophisticated methods like Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) to numerically track client satisfaction. It’s also fine to just ask your client contacts during your regular check-ins. Whatever you choose, do something consistently at least monthly.


Cultivate Transparency 

Tracking and discussing client feedback should be a regular part of your account team meetings. This openness reinforces accountability and forges stronger client relations. And people will feel less nervous about client satisfaction if leaders bring it out in the open.


Other Keys to Internal Content Metrics Success

As you arm yourself with these three internal content metrics, remember:


Systematic Tracking

You can’t fix what you don’t track. At the very least, maintain a Google Sheets or Excel spreadsheet for these metrics.


Consistent Monitoring 

It’s easy to overlook these numbers if you don’t prioritize them. Assign someone (or yourself) to check on these numbers at the end of each workweek. Include discussions about them during your regular account team meetings.


Client Collaboration 

Bring clients into the conversation, both positive results and less so. Don’t hesitate to discuss lagging numbers with them and share a strategy to resolve those challenges. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


By integrating these measurements into your operational ethos, you don’t just troubleshoot; you evolve. Use these metrics to guide your journey toward better content production and management.

Internal content metrics are part of building a solid content department for your agency. Learn more about what goes into it and how content consulting can set you on the right path.