Content strategy is the GPS that guides your company to success in your marketing efforts. An effective strategy will lead you right to your revenue goals.
But if your content strategy is based on guesswork, that GPS won’t function properly. Just like when you’re wandering around in a canyon with the signals pinging off the cliffsides, when you try to function without data as your reference point you’ll experience confusion. You need data for your GPS to work.
Content strategy requires data to be effective. You need to know what your target audience’s interest is piqued by, what they engage with, and what triggers them to make a purchase. Otherwise, you’re going to stay stuck, wandering around in the canyon of wasted marketing, unable to reach your destination.
What data should you base your content strategy on? Here’s what we recommend.
Before you can use data to make smart decisions about your content strategy, you need to make sure your target audience is actually seeing your content. Consumption metrics will tell you if your content is getting found and if it’s attracting interest. They help inform your promotion strategy.
Most social platforms let you track how many people are seeing your posts. If you don’t have many views, there are several tactics you can use to improve those numbers, depending on the platform. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all allow you “sponsor” or “promote” posts and tweets, so more people in your target audience will see them in their feeds. Social platforms are continually releasing new features and options for promotion, and it’s worth exploring what’s available to you.
Google Analytics will show you how many people are viewing a particular piece of content in a session. The Unique Pageviews metric will tell you if a landing page is getting enough traffic. Pages that aren’t attracting visitors may need to be promoted or, if they’re already being promoted, may need stronger CTA design and copy. A/B test your content to see what draws viewers in.
Google Analytics will also tell you where people are finding your content: through online search, PPC or ad campaigns, websites that are linking to your page, social platforms (and which ones), etc. This metric can help you determine where you should focus your promotion and outreach efforts and will tell you if you need to work on your SEO strategy.
Email Open Rate
If your prospects don’t open your emails, they won’t see the great content you’re sharing in them. Open rate metrics let you know if your subject lines need improvement. Subject lines need to clearly communicate the benefit of taking the time to open and read your emails.
Consumption metrics are where everyone starts — and where many people stop. They form an essential foundation, but they’re only a beginning point. You need your audience to engage with your content for any action to take place.
Having your target audience see your content is great, but it’s not enough. Engagement metrics track how many people think your content is relevant enough to interact with. These metrics tell you if the subject matter of your content is providing value or if it needs to be changed.
How many people find your content interesting enough to like, share, and comment on? How many are engaged enough to follow you? If people on social media are interacting with your content, you can be confident that it’s relevant to them.
Average Time on Site
If website visitors are spending time on your site, reading blog posts, looking at infographics, viewing videos, checking out case studies, downloading white papers, etc., they’re engaged. Google Analytics will let you see how long people are spending on your site under its Engagement section.
Number of Pages Per Session
Also in the Engagement section of Google Analytics, you can see how many pages people are visiting in a session. The people who are checking out multiple pages and exploring your content, are likely highly interested in what you’re creating. This metric is another angle that can give you insight into engagement, and can show you if you’re doing a good job with promoting additional content within each content piece to encourage people to go further.
New vs. Returning
Google Analytics will also tell you how many of your visitors are new (first time on your site) and how many are returning for additional sessions. If a lot of people are new and you don’t have many returning, that can be a red flag that your promotion strategy is excellent but your content is thin or not delivering what prospects are expecting.
A link to your website is content marketing gold. Not only do links boost your SEO, they also are a strong indicator that people believe your content is valuable. You can track how many people are visiting your site via a link from another site in Google Analytics, in the All Traffic area of the Acquisition section.
Email Click Rate
Getting prospects to open your email is essential, but what happens after they read what you have to say? Are they clicking on links and CTAs or just closing out and moving on? Your email click rates will tell you if your email content is compelling enough to get prospects to take action and request your offer.
New Email Subscribers
If you’re not promoting email subscriptions to blog post notifications, e-courses, and other material delivered by email, you’re missing out on a primary way to promote your content. The new email subscribers metric will tell you if your content is strong enough for people to want it delivered directly to their inboxes.
The flipside of new subscribers is unsubscribes. You’ll see a high unsubscribe rate if your premium, gated content offers aren’t delivering the value that people expect. If people are subscribing, you know you’ve chosen topics that resonate, but if they’re then unsubscribing, you need to work on content quality.
Engagement metrics are the way you’ll know if your target audience is getting what they’re looking for in your content. Engagement is essential, because without it you won’t have the opportunity to nurture the leads you’re attracting. But your real goal is conversions, so you don’t want to neglect conversion metrics.
The mission of every company is to make sales, but many businesses forget conversion tracking. These metrics are the way you’ll know how many people who consume your content are actually becoming qualified leads and customers.
Google Analytics allows you to set up action-based goals and track how many times each of those actions is completed. You can track how many people are filling gated content forms, viewing bottom-of-the-funnel pages, requesting demos, completing shopping cart purchases, etc.
Email Offer Tracking
Also within Google Analytics’ Goal Completion section, you can track how many people who received an email completed the action you were calling for. This metric will tell you specifically if your email content is performing the way you want it to.
Social Media Offer Tracking
Similarly, you can see how many people who engaged with a social post completed the associated goal you set up in Google Analytics. This metric will help you tweak your social content strategy for optimal results.
These three groups of data will provide the essential information you need for a content strategy that guides you to your goals. When you base your strategy on these metrics, you’ll see more conversions, more customers, and more revenue.
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