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Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets managed.” And he was right.
When you have numbers and data, you study them; you wonder how you can make them better, especially if they involve sales. And in the world of content marketing, measuring blogging productivity has become a critical piece of any strategy that results in visits, return visits, lead generation, and, ultimately, conversion.
The marketing performance metrics—or tools you use to measure the value of the content you write—have become quite sophisticated. And you can use them to inform all of the decisions you make about the content on your blog.
This is exciting stuff to help you reach your goals and improve the content you’re already publishing. Let’s take a look!
You CoSchedule users are publishing content because you have big goals to reach. Figure out your general marketing goals first, something like:
Once you have your foundation—the understanding of what you want to achieve with your marketing—you can then look into the marketing performance metrics that will guide you toward actual data you will use to measure those goals. A super effective and easy way to define your goals is with the SMART goal setting process:
So, a format like this is what you’re looking for:
Beginning, January 1, 2016, we will increase our blog and website traffic to 1 million monthly page views by December 1, 2016, to help marketers plan better content while establishing ourselves as an authority in our niche.
The rest of this guide will walk you through choosing the marketing performance metrics you’ll use to measure your progress toward your goals.
Your content creator should be an expert in two things:
The basic metrics are all available through Google Analytics, a free tool that will provide huge amounts of data and deep insight into how your content is really doing.
These are all about quantity and can be used to tell a big story in the following ways:
All of these metrics give you important data that should tell you if your posts are doing the job or not. And Google Analytics does a great job of generating this kind of data for you, although some content marketers use other tools that may go a bit deeper, such as Whoopra or Clicky. The data should tell you specific things. Low traffic and low “staying power”—as seen through pageviews and bounce rate—means that your content may need a major facelift. Either you are not capturing visitors with your titles and first 100 words, or the content in the remainder of the post is not engaging them enough to stay, read, and, ultimately, share. On the other side, if traffic is good and there is high “staying power” and movement from a post to other pages, you have a winner. The content is good and is well suited to be repurposed and recycled.
These metrics are often called the “feel good” or “vanity” measurements. It’s nice to see good numbers of views and comments, because you feel like other awesome folks appreciate your content. Yay for us!
Find ways to build upon the popular blog posts you publish that generate tons of long views and comments, and engage your visitors. You could possibly:
Google Analytics does a fine job of generating vanity data, although some marketers prefer to use Mint, a tool that can also tell you from where your viewers are coming. A Word Of Caution: There is a growing group of content marketing experts who believe that bloggers spend too much time (and money) and give too much importance to vanity metrics analysis. Jason Amunwa is the director of products at Filament, who warns:
Vanity metrics do nothing for your actual website objectives, but make your marketing efforts look good. This is problematic, because oftentimes they siphon effort and focus away from the things that could really move the needle for you. Engagement metrics tell you what content is truly performing for you, what’s just “meh”, and what’s ripe for enrichment and optimization; in short, engagement metrics tell you where the real opportunities are for growth.
Consider your vanity audience metrics as a learning tool to understand what is popular to create better content. That said, if your main goal is to grow your customer base, let conversions be the metric that influences your content creation process the most.
This is the truly actionable part of your marketing performance metrics, because you will get invaluable information about how your blog is doing and what you specifically need to do to improve your blogging productivity. Check out three types of marketing performance metrics for your content—content life, content engagement, and content conversions.
Every post has a shelf life. You need to track this so you know how long each post continues to receive views. How many views do you get the first 6 hours, the first day, the first week, and the first month? And what times and days are are you getting the most views? With the right analytics, you can understand the longevity of individual posts and an average longevity of all of your posts combined. This kind of information can drive your decisions about what content ideas work well and how to flesh out your blog schedule and social media promotion:
You can use these Google Analytics reports to understand when you are getting the most pageviews, visits, and leads to help you publish and share content at the best times when your audience is most engaged.
Part of evaluating engagement, of course, includes some of the vanity metrics you just learned about. How many comments and shares are you getting? High numbers indicate that your viewers are actually taking the time to check out your entire post and are so engaged that they want to comment or to share that content with others.
Conversions are any action you want a viewer to take, whether that is a sale or an action that may funnel that conversion to an eventual sale. You need to know the percentage of visitors that take some action after having been on your blog—giving an email address signing up for a newsletter, taking a free trial, etc.
Google Goal Analytics can give you great data through conversion reports, and these are pretty critical, because, after all, marketing exists for one purpose—to sell. Create your goals in Google Analytics now:
You can request conversion rates per page on your entire site, which will include your blog, and then compare the percent of conversions for each page. And, if you dig deeper, you can get a report that shows the page that was the original view of that conversion. If you find that a healthy percentage of conversions begin with a view of a blog post, then these posts are paying off well. If you have lots of views, comments, and shares but not a good conversion rate, then all you have are vanity views. Analytics tools are sophisticated, rather amazing, and can really help you make some big decisions about your blog content. Turning your marketing performance metrics into actionable ways to improve your blog will help you create better content and focus that content on achieving your goals.
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