As the publishing industry becomes ever more digital, content marketing has become a top priority for businesses across all industries. Within this trend, there’s an increasing focus on content performance: how readers engage with and share your content.
But tracking these factors is no simple task. There are countless measures to track, from social sharing to email open rates to in-page analytics that show how pages are performing. The good news is that by investing some time into measuring your content performance, you can optimize your content performance, ultimately helping you generate more leads and sell more products or services.
While there are many different metrics you should be tracking when it comes to your own website’s analysis of performance, here are 8 quick tips that can help you identify the areas of your content marketing strategy where you’re doing a great job and where you may need to make some adjustments.
What is content performance and why should you care?
Content performance refers to how well your content is performing on a variety of platforms and other channels. Successful content performs well from the moment it’s published, all the way through to when it’s shared and viewed across different devices, social media platforms and within news feeds.
What are some examples of content performance?
A few examples of common measures of content performance include traffic/visitors to your website (i.e., specific pages or blog posts), inbound links, conversion rates, page views per session, bounce rates and time spent on site. You may also want to track metrics that show how much attention readers are paying to your website or whether they’re experiencing any challenges while viewing your online content. All of this is a great way to measure content performance.
How do you need to adjust your strategy?
Analyzing how readers engage with and ultimately share your content can shed some light on the areas of your publishing strategy that are working well and where you may need to make adjustments. Here’s how:
Look for anomalies in website traffic patterns over time
Sometimes, it just comes down to basic math: different people have different preferences when it comes to which articles or blog posts they like most and what times of day they prefer reading them. By looking at the number of visitors (or page views) that each piece of content has received, you will be able to see whether there are any outliers or trends that you may not have thought of before. This can help you adjust the timing of your content publishing, as well as how and where you share new blog posts or other types of online content.
Track specific keywords
You need to track keywords to see how readers engage with different topics and categories. Keywords are one of the best ways to gauge the performance of your site’s content. By including specific keyword phrases in URLs on all pages, for example, you will be able to track how particular keywords are performing over time (Figure 2). You may also want to analyze what kinds of searches users are making along with their visits to your website and then optimize future content accordingly. You might even want to employ a social listening tool like Mention , which shows you how often a certain keyword is being used across different social media platforms. This will help you get more insight into which keywords, topics and categories are most popular with readers and the kinds of content that your audience prefers to consume.
Analyze Different Metrics
Analyze various metrics to determine whether your website traffic or usage patterns have changed over time . Are there any obvious trends between important blog posts, SEO activity or other traffic drivers? If so, try incorporating some new elements into your marketing strategy such as creating video case studies with attractive visual elements (Figure 3). Or look at interactions through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to see if users respond better to short, pithy messages vs. longer-form content for example. Use this information to refine your content-creation strategy.
Compare & Contrast Online Channels
Compare how well your various online channels are performing against each other. You might want to use a tool like Google Analytics that shows you how much traffic is coming from different sources.
Monitor social media activity
Are people sharing or commenting on individual posts? Or are links to certain articles being tweeted out frequently, resulting in greater visibility and traffic from other social media platforms? You may want to look at which types of articles perform best in different formats, such as infographics , photos , graphics , videos , etc. You can then incorporate those kinds of visuals more often into your content creation efforts, as people are responding better to them and sharing them with others online.
Check click-through rates for links
Do certain links get clicked on more regularly than others? If so, you may want to think about giving some of these pages a higher priority in your overall content publishing strategy moving forward. You might also find it helpful to look at which types of headlines work best and see what kind of copy converts the most readers into email subscribers or buyers . This information can be used not only to promote new blog posts, but also put together a standard format for future emails that include calls-to-action asking to be subscribed to any mailing lists.
Determine which of your competitors are doing well
You might also want to look at what types of content performs better on other sites and how often it is updated. Some blogs publish a new piece several times per week, while others share valuable information only once per month or less frequently. Which strategy seems more effective, based on the data you have collected? By looking at the performance metrics from similar sites, you can work toward generating a similarly high degree of engagement and traffic yourself over time.
Content KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
How many times has the article been viewed? How frequently are people coming back to the same page they visited previously?
You can track how many individual, unique visitors have come to your site and read that piece of content. This is very similar to the previous metric, but it gives you more insight into who exactly was reading each particular article on your site. You may also want to look at which pieces of content are receiving the most shares on social media, which can help provide you with a better sense of each piece’s overall popularity.
You can also look at how well specific pieces of content are doing in terms of generating traffic from other platforms. Some sites allow you to enter your Facebook page or Twitter username and generate an automatic feed of all the shares that have been done under those accounts. You can then see what kinds of articles are being shared more frequently than others, helping you get an idea for which types may be worth focusing on in the future.
How often are people leaving their thoughts directly on your site? This could just be as simple as typing their feedback directly into the comment box below each specific article. Or it could be done on a separate, dedicated page for discussions between readers and site owners. You may find that certain types of posts elicit a greater number of comments from your audience, while other pieces receive hardly any at all.
Some sites allow you to post comments using prerecorded video responses . The more likes or hearts this content receives, the more popular it is among your viewers. (Not all social media platforms offer this functionality; Instagram is one example.)
Many social networks now allow users to click on embedded links within a post to share that piece with their friends and followers. As more people share your articles, the higher they will rank in their own feed and on other users’ timelines. This could help bring in new readers who otherwise may never have found your site otherwise.
Are you publishing content that is attracting people to subscribe to an RSS feed? Some platforms allow you to see how many individuals are receiving each published post via this method, which can be useful if you want to get at the specific habits of those following along. By looking at the number of RSS subscribers overall, as well as their retention rate over time, you can figure out what types of posts resonate best with your audience and drive them toward further involvement with your site.
Social media followers
Do you have a lot of followers on Facebook, Instagram or other social accounts? You can analyze the performance of your page by looking at how many people are engaging with that content and how many users it takes to generate a certain number of “likes.” If one piece garners 50 likes after just one day but another receives only 20 despite being posted weeks later, then the first article is certainly more popular right now. The sooner you can learn which pieces are generating more buzz among your audience, the faster you can get those pieces up higher in your site’s overall rankings .
Why it’s important to track your KPIs on a regular basis
The metrics listed above are useful for measuring your digital content’s performance over time, but they can be even more beneficial if you’re tracking them regularly . If you publish a post and then come back two weeks later to look at how it did, that may not give you much insight into how well the piece is currently performing. But if you see the results immediately after they happen , you get an idea of what types of posts perform best on certain days or around specific events (such as holidays or other big news stories). This gives you crucial information that can be used to help plan future posts or overall content strategies with more clarity.
For example, let’s say one particular article receives a huge amount of traffic following a celebrity death. people might flock to the site after learning about the famous person’s passing, and a post about him or her is one of your most popular pieces during that time. You can use that information when publishing similar content in the future, knowing that you may need to make changes if you’re not generating as much buzz around it this time.
How to optimize your content strategy with KPIs
If you see certain types of posts taking off while others are flat-lining, there’s no reason to force yourself into posting about things you aren’t passionate about just because they seem more likely to receive more attention. Instead , figure out what type of article makes you truly excited to write every week so that it shows in all your work . This will help ensure that you spend time on topics that truly matter to your business, such as what kind of content is most likely to bring in clients or encourage repeat visits from loyal fans.