Content Marketing

How Benne Analytics improves your understanding of your content marketing performance

Introduction to a 4 part series on evaluating content performance.

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that I am a huge believer in content. It is a low cost marketing channel that continues to deliver results for months and years. With a well crafted content marketing strategy, you can see your blended Customer Acquisition Cost go down as your organic traffic keeps on increasing, increasing the overall health and long-term sustainability of your business.

A well crafted content marketing strategy. It is a combination of a lot of different things. Organized content plan, clearly defined targets, and most importantly, constant analysis of the results and making tweaks to your approach based on the findings of this analysis.

Great pieces of content add immeasurable value to a business’ target audience. The best pieces of content add value to both the audience and back to the business. No matter hoe interesting and well written your content is, it will always be judged by the value it generates for the business - whether in terms of revenue or other measurable metrics.

To make sure you know what your best pieces of content are, you need to keep an eye on the right metrics to focus on. You need to understand how your analytics data can help you understand what your audience wants, while at the same time, give you an overview of how much and if your business is benefitting from the content you create.

Yesterday, we talked about how you can generate ideas and topics for your content plan. That guide will help you create a content pipeline that will serve your content needs for weeks and months. So, now that “what content to create” isn’t a problem anymore, let’s move on to the next items.

Have clear goals, contextual to your business

We talked about setting up a goal framework a few days ago. Those same principles will be applicable here. There is a catch though.

We talked about the need for goals to be measurable, specific and realistic and achievable. But how do you create a realistic goal for a content that hasn’t even been produced yet?

Let’s say you are about to create a blog post with the aim of driving some traffic to your website. How do you know if you should be targeting a thousand visits or a hundred thousand visits? How do you estimate the right benchmarks?

Well, you can get started by doing a simple estimation:

  • How much traffic is being driven by your top-performing articles at the moment?
  • Where can you place your planned content on the search volume and keyword difficulty metrics for relevant keywords
  • What search queries can it relate to, and what do the search results look like for those queries?
  • What do your competing high raking articles for those queries look like?

When we talk about competing articles or content, it is often assumed that we are talking about a competitor’s content. It is understandable to be under that assumption, but that’s not accurate. When you create a piece of content, it is not competing against just your competitor - because you are not competing for the revenue dollars at the time. You are competing for the attention of your target audience in the context of the topic they are searching for, or the query they have. As such, your competition would not be with business similar to yours, rather with content that’s covering the same topic. Whether that content is from a competitor’s website, a personal blog, or even a forum discussion, they all become your competitors.

Ultimately, you would be able to come up with a plan that’s something like “Create a 2,000 word step-by-step instructional guide on how to define customer personas, with the goal of driving 1,000 organic visits and 50 free-trial signups in 6 weeks”.

Okay. So now, we know what we will be writing about, we know why we would be writing about it, and we also know how we would be deciding whether our objectives are being met or not at any point in time. Time to move on to the actual metrics and see how you can use your analytics platform to do a performance analysis. While, we will primarily deal with how this analysis is made simpler, faster and more streamlined if you are using Benne Analytics to measure your website data, we would also help you with the analysis process if you are using some other website analytics platform such as Google Analytics.

How to decide which metrics are important for your content’s performance analysis

You can evaluate your content’s performance and identify the key metrics needed to help you with said analysis by mapping the data your content generates with the value you want it to generate for your business.

Metrics like pageviews, breakup of new and returning visitors, bounce rate help you understand if your content is perceived of as valuable by your audience, as well as if the content is engaging enough for them to extract and retain the value imparted by it.

Social shares and conversations help you understand if you are earning brand authority and subject matter expertise to an extent that your visitors want to share the knowledge they gained from your content with their network.

Organic traffic and backlink traffic provide you with a measure of how effective and efficient your content hooks are (for example, the title/headline of your content).

Leads and conversions are an indicator of the content’s ability to garner enough interest for your visitors to want to check out the product.

Each of these metrics help you better understand how many people are interacting with your content, why they are interacting with it, and to what extent. All of which is taken into account when Google decides how to rank your content in search results in terms of context, relevancy, and quality.

What metrics would we be looking at here to understand their impact?

  1. Page views
  2. Visitor overview
  3. Average time on page
  4. Average session duration
  5. Bounce rate
  6. Pageviews per session
  7. Traffic sources
  8. Social shares and mentions
  9. Organic traffic breakdown
  10. Backlink traffic
  11. Goals
  12. Scroll depth
  13. Content’s performance over time

Some of these, such as page views, bounce rate etc are metrics you are already familiar with. But, we would be now looking at them with the context of evaluating content performance.

Other metrics such as content’s performance over time may come across as new, but they are a key component to riding the wave. The idea is to identify the leading horses, and ensure that they maintain their lead, and at the same time, help others get ahead in the game.

And then there are the tricky ones, such as social shares and mentions. They are tricky because they are from external websites, systems and platforms. As such, it becomes difficult to keep track of them without making whole process more complicated, and the involved system and code unnecessarily heavier. But, we can still evaluate them, and we will see how when we address the topic.

What metrics we wouldn’t look at in this series, but you could consider (Optional)

  1. Likes and shares
  2. Comments
  3. Keyword rankings
  4. Domain authority
  5. Content creation time

These metrics, have their own importance in the overall process, and whether you track them or not would be based on your business directives.

Out of these metrics, keyword rankings is the one that’s the most time consuming, and needs regular tracking. With every passing day, more and more content is being pushed out there, and you would be competing for the top ranks in search results with content both old and new. While as an incumbent you would have a leg up against the new competitors, you have to remember that at one time, even your content was a new contender, and by a well thought out strategy, you were able to unseat the leading players. It would be naive to assume you can’t fall prey to the same fate. But you can reduce the probability of said fate by constantly creating new, unique and valuable content for your audience that is able to keep them engaged and turning to your content instead of a competitor’s - either old or new.

Why is this analysis important?

In Marvel Comics, after the super-soldier serum successfully created Captain America, numerous scientists tried to reverse engineer the process so as to have super soldiers of their own. The Hulk was actually accidentally created by a variation of one such experiment.

The logic is the same. If you are able to identify the core components of the super-content serum - the ingredients that make your content perform great - you would be able to create better content in future. Content that will not just add value for your users, but also your business.

If you don’t do this analysis, every single piece of content you create will be you taking a shot in the dark. You may hit the target once or twice, but there would be no method to increase the odds of the shot hitting the target every time.

With that, let’s wrap it up and pick up the thread again tomorrow. We have already laid out what we would be talking about, so we would just dive in deep in the next part.

Would you like us to cover any other metric you may think important to your own content marketing performance? Let me know.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.

Cheers

Abhishek

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