There was a time not too long ago when marketing, even in the digital age, was a black box. For example, Google Analytics, the most widely-used freemium app on the web to date, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. To put that into perspective, Mean Girls had just debuted on the big screen, YouTube had just been founded, and the iPhone was still just a twinkle in the eyes of Apple executives.
And while that may seem pretty far back in terms of digital marketing in the information age, it’s nothing compared to the grand scheme of marketing as a whole. So to say that measuring, analyzing, reporting on and genuinely understanding what content works vs. what content doesn’t is brand new as a business concept is an understatement. And that means everything when it comes to generating new content for your clients.
So first of all, why is content so important?
Developing Content for Humans, not Crawlers
Ever since the launch of Google Panda, the search engine giant has massively favored blogs, news articles, and industry insights in searches vs. company product pages and press releases. Why? In Google’s efforts to make the internet fair, they’ve created algorithms which ditch the efforts done by old-hat SEO marketers of 2003 (such as directories, website metatags and keyword rankings) and instead favors results users would actually want to see, i.e. comparison charts, product review sites and lists of top 10 products in any given industry.
“No one shares, engages, or links to products and services pages. The fact is, no one except for us cares. Instead of trying to jam those pages with links, create a piece of content that delivers what Google (and users) want,” said Stewart. “By creating value with your content, you open it up to earning social media shares and powerful links from relevant sites. If you want to compete against the big dogs for organic search real estate, content is your best option.”
Understand Your Data
It’s your most powerful tool at hand to understanding which content is doing overtime on your site, and which content is flat-lining. But if you’re new to the scene of big data, which info sets should you start with? Here’s a good few to start with in your Google Analytics setup:
- Bounce-rate vs. Avg. Session Duration: are visitors leaving 4 seconds after they arrive or are they hovering for a good few minutes? Careful, if they’re hovering for too long, then they’ve probably forgotten about the page and the data is, well, useless. But don’t be afraid to compare and contrast the bounce-rate and average session durations of multiple pages against each other.
- New Visitors vs. Returning Visitors: Depending on whether or not you’re B2B or B2C, your new visitors vs. returning visitors’ dataset will give you an idea of how fresh your content is – would people who don’t even use your product yet be excited about it, willing to download and submit their info, etc.
- Users Flow: this will give you a good understanding of how quickly you’re losing your visitors. Are you having them click-through to too many pages to get to the good stuff? Have you set up your site in a way that people can actually find the content you’re offering them?
Write What You Know
Now that you’re developing content for your audience, and you have an understanding of the data by which what content makes them the happiest, we’re at our third and possibly most important point: write what you know. You know your industry and audience the best, and if you’re writing about subjects that are unrelated to your industry, well, you might just be stretching yourself too thin.
Want to build trust within your audience? Stick to the topics you know – your audience will thank you for it and return for more.