Metrics that Matter
Is it true that writers are allergic to math? I don’t think so. While research indicates that 40% of Americans hate math, the new content creator is a multi-talented machine. As HubSpot’s CMO Mike Volpe points out, “gone are the days of the CMO who is not fluent in metrics, analytics and spreadsheets.” He speaks the truth, but I believe that he’s also referring to the profession of marketing as a whole. The Internet has made it easier than ever to keep tabs on prospect and customer behavior, and apply these insights in real time. Besides, HubSpot makes tracking blog metrics as easy as simply signing in and checking out your homepage. We’ve highlighted the 5 most important metrics for content creators, what they mean, and how you can improve them:
Your aggregated blog traffic isn’t necessarily a reflection of your quality of content, but the two factors are undoubtedly correlated. If you write terrible content that’s thin and boring, people will leave and not return. If your content is so profoundly relevant they feel like you’re their best friend, they’ll share it on Facebook and subscribe to your feed. Here are the three types of blog traffic, and how you can affect each of the following:
- Organic Search Traffic: When a prospect types a search query into Google, like “how do I improve my inbound marketing strategy?” the results they ultimately click on count as organic search traffic. Developing a keyword strategy is critical, and writing content that Google wants to rank and your readers want to share on social media channels will also help you gain a crucial high ranking.
- Direct Traffic: When someone types your website domain directly into their search bar, it’s counted as direct traffic. Unless they saw your URL somewhere offline or heard about it via word of mouth, they’ve certainly been there before and loved your content.
- Referral Traffic: When a reader clicks a link on a social media network, or website that leads them to your website, it’s counted as referral traffic. Gaining social shares isn’t just critical for SEO—it will boost your referral traffic, too.
Even the most metrics-hating content creators can’t help but obsess a little over pageviews. It can be darn frustrating, too, to watch a piece of content you weren’t especially confident about rack up dozens of shares, while something you slaved over only gets a few dozen hits. The only surefire way to boost your blog views is to appeal to your buyer personas—deliver amazing, multimedia content and write fascinating stuff day in and day out. Easier said than done, so here are five tactics recommended by blogger and illustrator Sylvia Liuland:
- Boost Your Internal Linking Strategy: Take time to hyperlink to relevant blog content to improve your website’s “stickiness.”
- Actively Connect With Others in Your Niche: Make a goal to comment on five blogs daily, or become a regular on another blogger’s Facebook page. Gain exposure where your potential readers are already looking for you.
- Create a Content Calendar: Content creators are busy, and it’s true that content calendars take time. However, it’s one of the best ways to ensure you’re publishing a variety of content on a regular basis.
3. Search Keywords
If you take the time to keyword optimize your content by sprucing up your alt text, meta descriptions and meta data, there’s no guarantee you’ll rank well in Google. There’s about a million (or at least a dozen factors) that affect whether or not your content ultimately ranks well, and all you can do is write really good stuff and distribute it on the channels where your prospects are.
The keywords that prospects are using to find your site in the first place is a pretty important metric. You could discover they’re obsessed with what you have to say about how to use hashtags on Twitter, and much less interested in your thoughts on email marketing. That’s okay. Use this metric to discover the topics that are driving search and resonating among your prospects.
4. CTA Click-Throughs
The quality of your blog articles is only one factor in whether your readers click-through on your call-to-actions and download your offer. Your CTA design could affect that, too. However, having something really compelling to say about a topic, that’s followed by a well-designed CTA promising a relevant offer, certainly won’t harm your click-through rate.
Unfortunately, there’s really no shortcut to building a healthy blog subscriber list. It takes a whole lot of time, quality content, and showing up to distribute your articles on social media networks day after day. You could be one of the lucky ones who writes or publishes something that goes viral without much effort, but the rest of us have to keep creating content calendars and publishing. Here are some ways you can improve your blog’s exposure:
- Publish Thoughtful Blog Comments: For the love of all things good, don’t just say “Great content!” Your attempt to gain exposure and no-follow links is apparent. Take time to comment on something they did well, and engage in dialogue.
- Write Guest Blogs: Really hitting a homerun on someone else’s blog can dramatically open up your exposure to other readers. Do it right, and your subscribers will blossom.
- Make Friends with Other Bloggers: Once again, there’s no shortcut to building relationships online. Be persistent, be friendly, and share other people’s work on your social media channels as part of your content curation strategy. Keep your fingers crossed that they return the favor.
What do you think are the most critical blog marketing metrics to track and improve?
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