Is your content nailing it?
Not too long ago, I was frantically searching for articles over the Internet for inspiration. My objective was to write about the perfect, one-size-fits-all content marketing strategy that also gives concrete answers to slightly terrifying questions like how best to plan my content, is my content engaging enough — you get the idea.
I came across an interview with Rebecca Lieb, a content marketing strategist, and she had an interesting analogy to share, “I use a Thanksgiving analogy. You cook up this giant bird to serve up on one glorious occasion and then proceed to slice and dice this thing for weeks on end. If you are like most families you are going to be repurposing this bird as leftovers for quite some time creating everything from sandwiches, to soups, and more. Your content marketing strategy can be thought of in the same way.”
The reason that this particular example caught my eye was the simplicity of it. The narrative was relevant to what I was looking for, it was engaging to me at my level and while I sifted through a lot of articles, this was the one that stuck with me. She talked about a very mundane, run-of-the-mill idea of repurposing all the extra food after a festival and applying it to how you market your content.
A content marketing strategy is only as good as the content that is put across. To truly analyze and measure how well your content is doing, you need to be familiar with the key website engagement metrics required, learn how to track them like a pro and identify which of these key metrics are applicable to your own campaigns.
Let’s dive in!
Measuring how well your content is faring
What works like a charm for me, in anything that I do, is to have a goal in sight. And by that, I don’t mean an unattainable goal like losing 10 kilos in a month, but more like losing 3 kilos in a month. When you have been doing this long enough, you will realize that accomplishing doable goals, like reaching a decided number of followers on social media, or driving twice the amount of traffic to your website than normal within a time frame, are actually stepping stones to your final desired outcome.
The first thing that I ask myself once my content has been sent out into the world for a good amount of time, is whether it has been engaging enough.
Did the reader like my content?
The answer may be subjective from a layman’s perspective, but from my perspective i.e. a marketer’s point of view, there are a few solid ways of deciding the answer to this objectively.
There are some useful features that I keep going back to when I start tracking the performance of my content. While both LinkedIn and Twitter have in-depth page analytics as well as reporting tools to evaluate your overall business, I tend to lean on Google Analytics heavily for the bigger picture.
For starters, a high number of likes, shares and comments on the social media platforms can be an indicator of heavy engagement with your posts.
One absolute indicator provided by Google Analytics that I find comforting, is the Time on Page feature. This decides whether the reader took his time, savored your content and went through the whole page, or if he just as quickly, clicked and bailed.
Scroll depth tracking is another important way of checking till how far along your content has managed to engage your reader. Simply setting benchmarks for scroll-depth tracking will not work because not all pages are of the same length. Most people will scroll to the bottom of a short page than a long one, just for the sake of it. Instead ask yourself this — how many people are scrolling your website at all? And then, make use of scroll depth percentage to optimize your content.
If your scroll depth is good, you have to check if the bounce rate is high or low. Bounce rate gives you the percentage of users that felt the need to leave your page as soon as they got there. To assess the bounce rate, you must include a click-through that you can track. For instance, if it is a link that is a sign-up form, check for the number of subscriptions. A high bounce rate indicates that your readers are not interested in any of your links. Again, this may be subjective and is not an absolute indicator of conversions.
Pages per session is one such metric that is helpful in assessing how sticky and interesting your website is. If the average pages per session for your website is 4, this means that the average user visits 4 pages before pushing off. More the time spent on browsing the pages on your site means more the revenue being generated.
These are just the main metrics that I listed off the top of my head that need to be tracked. Tracking site engagement is vital to measuring how well your content is performing and keeping your strategy as personalized as possible fetches the best outcomes.
Is the distribution of content going in the expected direction?
Once you have a good amount of content on your website that has been going out consistently, engaging your readers and generating traffic, it is time to ask yourself whether the distribution of content is bringing in the expected traffic.
According to HubSpot, 80% of a website’s traffic starts with a search query, which is why search engine optimization is crucial. Any SEO strategy that you take up must lead towards the goal of being listed on page one of the search results.
Also, you cannot ignore the benefit of referral traffic through backlink campaigns and other methods. Quantity does not necessarily equal quality and one way to ensure that quality traffic is being directed your way, is to check the domain authority of the websites that you are reaching out to, on SEMrush. This may well influence the Google Search rankings of your website.
The analysis of bringing in the right traffic takes place at a later stage of your content marketing strategy but is an important enough analysis, nonetheless.
Is my content failing? How can I fix it?
At a much later stage, you will find yourself asking these very sad and very scary questions. While it has been a long-standing thorn in any content marketer’s side, I have yet to come up with an engaging enough answer to this, so you may want to watch this space.