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How to Tell Whether Your Content Is Working

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You’ve already got a content marketing program in place. You may have been at it for a week, a year, or even longer, but you’re not sure whether or not your content is performing effectively. You may not even be sure how to tell whether your content is performing effectively.

That’s where this article will come in handy. There are actually several ways to define the “effectiveness” of content, depending on your goals—including whether the content is effective at getting people’s attention, at building your authority, or at increasing your page ranks—and all these types of effectiveness can be objectively measured using a handful of data-based insights.

Social Signals

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The easiest line of insight you can get into the effectiveness of your content is how your followers react to it on social media. If you aren’t currently syndicating your content through social media, your first step is to get started with it.

There are several signals to look for, and each is important. Look for user comments on your pieces, user “likes” or “favorites,” and perhaps most importantly—the number of times users have shared your content. Shared content is the highest compliment you can receive, so if you aren’t receiving any shares, you may have to reevaluate your content strategy. Also take some time to look at your “social” visits in Google Analytics—how many people are visiting your site after clicking the link to your content? If the number is high, you’re doing great. If not, you’ll have to take a look at your efforts.

Comments

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Onsite comments can give you fantastic clues into the effectiveness of your content. At a glance, the quantity of comments you receive on your blog posts can illustrate how impactful your content is. Is it stirring up conversation or sitting stagnant on your page?

The type of comments you get is also important. Do you notice other industry influencers getting involved, asking critical questions about your work? If so, you’ve managed to make yourself an authority. Are several different people engaging in conversation over your work? If so, you’ve managed to get significant attention through your choice of topic. If you have few comments or if your comments don’t show that your visitors are engaged in your material, it could be a symptom of weak or uninteresting content.

Repeat Visits

Repeat visits are a great indication of the strength of your content. If your content can attract lots of new visitors to your brand, that’s a good sign that your work is immediately appealing, but if those visitors come back for more, it means you’ve truly delivered some great work. If that recurring traffic is retained, that means you’re continuously doing a great job of satisfying your users’ needs and expectations.

To see your recurring traffic, check out Google Analytics. Generally, your direct visitors (the ones who click directly into your site rather than searching for it) are already familiar with your brand, needing no external prompts to stumble upon your content. You can also measure your recurring traffic more accurately by counting the number of people who have subscribed to your blog or signed up for your newsletter.

User Behavior

To determine your content’s effectiveness in its onsite context, take a look at the Behavior section of Google Analytics. Here, you’ll be able to analyze the actions of your inbound traffic and track to see how they act after reading your material.

For example, you may find that once a visitor finds his/her way to your blog, the bounce rate goes up. If that’s the case, it means your content is ineffective at keeping users venturing deeper in your site. However, if you find that your content leads people to other blog posts and other pages of your site, you can consider your content effective at getting people to stay.

Organic Traffic Growth

From an SEO standpoint, you can track your progress relatively easily. In Google Analytics, take a look at the Acquisition tab and look at your Organic traffic. This number reflects the total number of people who found your site through search engines, and if you’re publishing content regularly, you should see this number steadily increasing, month over month.

If you notice little to no growth in your Organic visits, it could be an indication that your content is underperforming as an element of your SEO campaign. This could be due to low or inconsistent posting frequency, poor relevance to your niche, or low quality writing.

Conversions

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Finally, you can take a look at how well your content is at getting people to convert. If you have a conversion field on your blog pages, you can easily extract this information and determine your conversion ratio for blog traffic. Otherwise, you can map out your users’ behavior flows and determine whether your blog readers eventually find your conversion page and convert. If you find your conversion ratios are low or nonexistent, you’ll have to tailor your content to enable more conversions.

What to Do About Poorly Performing Content

Just because your content is underperforming doesn’t mean it’s useless. In fact, the data you gathered to determine your content’s performance is the perfect ammunition to use in remolding it. Take this information, along with your user feedback, and use it to make up for your content’s core weaknesses. Reiterate this process several times, making improvements each time, and eventually you’ll perfect your content marketing approach.

Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.

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Samuel Edwards

In his 4+ years as a digital marketing specialist, Sam has learned the ins and outs of online marketing. Additionally, he has worked with countless local businesses as well as enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including: NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP, and human rights organization Amnesty International. Today he continues to work with and establish SEO, PPC and SEM campaigns.

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