As the Director of Content Marketing, I’ve seen firsthand the successes (and failures) of a content marketing campaign, and I’ve learned over time how to track if your content efforts are paying off — without getting too technical!
Companies are becoming wiser to the importance of effective content marketing: they realize it drives organic traffic, nurtures current and potential customers and establishes your company as an expert in your industry.
Awesome, right? Well not entirely. Clients still want to see the numbers behind their efforts. If your blog isn’t being read and received by your target audience, it’s just a diary at that point.
I’ve compiled some metrics that I use that’ll show you that your blogging efforts are paying off. It’s time to blog better.
Google Analytics, Your Go-To
At Bell Media, we use Google Analytics to track our digital footprint. It’ll be you go-to for all metrics I’ll walk you through.
Keep in mind that this guide assumes that you’re distributing your content — why wouldn’t you?
You can distribute in various ways, but the top three I’ve seen are:
- Posting to Facebook and boosting your post.
- Sending your post out through an email newsletter.
- Paying for its distribution on the Google Display network.
Once you’ve distributed, you can use Google Analytics to see how effective your distribution efforts were.
So how do we measure that?
1. Website Volume
One of the many cool insights Google Analytics shows you is how many website visits you receive during a set amount of time. You can tailor your search to reflect when you distributed your blog post. How did it affect distribution? Did you notice a spike in website visits while you’re blog was circulating your channels?
Oftentimes I’ve seen there is a significant increase in web traffic during the duration of your blog distribution.
A conversion in layman’s terms is anything that qualifies as an action that a user took when they visited your website.
These can be anything, from:
- Filling out a form
- Clicking more more than one page
- Purchasing something
- Entering their email for the newsletter
Conversions go beyond simple website visits; they showed that a user was engaged and took action when they went to your website — instead of simply clicking off your page when they were done.
Blog posts can be actionable, too! Including links to read more or to a contact page can be conversions as well. Conversions can be tailor-made to your unique business and blogging. If you don’t already have conversions set up for your company, you’re missing out on a potential goldmine of insight into your users and how they interact with your content.
So maybe a user read your blog but didn’t do anything. That’s not a loss; in fact, it could be a valuable gain!
Assisted conversions mean that even though your blog wasn’t a direct link to a conversion or action, it still was effective in deepening a connection with your user.
To illustrate this, let’s say:
- A user came to your site through a Google search.
- Saw your blog distributed on their Facebook and followed the blog to your site.
- Left again.
- Searched for a product you sold and saw your company again on a search.
- Went to your website and bought a product!
So although your blog was not a direct link to a product purchase, it was an important step in building the needed trust for that user to believe in your company and make a purchase.
Assisted conversions illustrates each path a unique user took to reach a conversion. To see this on Google Analytics, you’ll look for “Assisted Conversions” and specifically look for your blog to appear as a path to conversion.
How did your content rank against other pages? Usually, it should be the highest viewed page during the duration of its distribution. If not, you might need to implement new or amplified strategies for distribution.
- Amplify your distribution by increasing your paid budget.
- Consider multiple distribution opportunities if you’re only implementing one.
- Add prospects to your newsletter email listings.
If your blog is not in the top five viewed pages, it’s time to re-evaluate your user behavior and bolster your distribution efforts.
Quality VS Quantity
Although high numbers are a great benchmark for success, at some point you’ll want to understand the quality of your posts and how that affects the quantity of your users.
Particularly, what I mean is:
Is this blog topic more or less interesting than others? Is it more or less clickable? What about headlines: does it have a great headline or will it be background noise amongst other, more engaging content?
You wouldn’t expect to get a large reach writing content about swimming pools in November. It’s important to keep in mind your location, season, month, date and even hour you wrote a blog. All are important factors and can affect your content’s value. Do your research on how your content is affected by seasonality.
Trust Your Gut:
Sometimes all it takes is simply asking yourself why this blog is underperforming. Oftentimes your gut can lead you to the answer that Google Analytics can’t provide.
Think through the current political, geography, industry and all other news — could a major event be causing your users’ attention to be divided?
Hopefully these exercises will give you (and your boss) better insight into how well your content marketing is performing. It’s easy to say content marketing and blogging is valuable for your company’s ROI, but now you can see for yourself. The numbers don’t lie.