4 Ways to Use Analytics & Benchmarking to Optimize Your Content Marketing Strategy



May 30, 2013 (Updated: May 4, 2023)


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Have you ever struggled wondering what content you should write for your site?  Are you using data from your analytics program to help tailor the content you create?  Are you evaluating the effectiveness of that content to help guide your strategy?

Analytics and Content Marketing go hand in hand like the two wings of a bird. Without a strong understanding of analytics, you may be writing the wrong type of content. However, analyzing data without coming up with actionable conclusions is just as useless.

From knowing what content your target audience wants to tracking the effect of that content, analytics is a fundamental tool that provides the data you need to make decisions for your content marketing strategy.

Buyer Personas

Start by doing Persona Research and creating a template for each of your buyer personas.  Once you know who you are writing for, brainstorm the types of questions they would have based on their stage in the buying funnel. Are they at the top, middle, or bottom of the funnel?  The content you deliver for each persona at each stage of the buying funnel will be different.

Then, when you write each content piece, make a note in WordPress or create a tracking document.  Having a target audience in mind, you can then analyze your data to determine if the content you are delivering to that group is performing adequately.  You can create a custom report in Google Analytics and look at Landing Pages as the primary dimension.  Filter the data by time on site, pages visited; bounce rate, goals, and conversions. Compare these to each other so you can assess if the content you are delivering is having the desired effect.

Keyword Research

Keyword Research around your industry can help you find good opportunities for content development. Writing keyword focused articles can yield amazing results as articles get picked up for the keywords you are targeting.  For example, I wrote an article for TheNextWomen and, by researching her audience, discovered the keyword “Introduction to SEO”.  The article ranked quickly for that term, and has brought in over 45,000 reads.

After you choose the keyword, it’s important to keep an eye on the rankings for that keyword.  I use AuthorityLabs to track the performance of a set of keywords over time. Once you find that a keyword is ranking, you can check to see if you are getting the traffic you expected based on the data from the Google Adwords tool. You may find that one keyword brings in more traffic than expected, or only a fraction. You can then evaluate if you should create more content around that topic to push the set of pages higher in the rankings.

Data Benchmarking

Benchmarking is an essential component so you can keep a pulse on the progress of your content marketing efforts. I use Cyfe to create a dashboard to help me track metrics like visitors, leads, customers, social followers.

Here’s an example of my social dashboard for a new client. I can track the impact of my content against these quick benchmarking metrics.  How many retweets did I get for this article?  How many new followers as a result of daily blogging? How many visitors do we have, and are they converting into leads and ultimately customers?  And the best part – I can access data from a variety of social media sources, at a glance.

Cyfe is a one-stop shop for quite a variety of benchmarking metrics, so explore to find creative ways of benchmarking and tracking.  If, for example, you notice that one of your articles had a large number of +1’s and your number of Google friends increased, you can then create more content with a relevant strategy and target audience.

Social Analytics

Using Google Analytics Social Tracking, you can find out how your visitors from social media sites are reacting to your content.  By creating custom reports you can track various metrics for each social media channel, like purchases, bounce rate, and time on site. Segmenting by social channels can help you understand each unique target audience, and then develop more content specific to that demographic.  For example, if your Twitter visitors have a high goal conversion rate, write, target, and promote relevant content to your Twitter visitors.

You can delve much deeper into social media analytics. PinLeague, for example, is a Pinterest analytics tool that gives you insights about the type of pins people are liking and repinning. Pinterest’s Analytics offers information about the pins people are pinning from your site.  Understanding what motivates your audience to repin and like can give you fabulous insights!

If you aggregate the data available to you through the different analytics sources, you can create an impressive customer profile, understand much of the likes and dislikes of your target audience.  Armed with this information, your content marketing strategy can be highly relevant, improving engagement and ultimately, profits.    If you set up your tools properly, accessing the data you need should be available to you within a few clicks.  An hour of interpretation can give you insights worth gold!

Do you regularly use analytics to help guide your content marketing strategy? If so, what tools do you use?

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