What’s the difference between a blog and a diary?
One of them you want people to read—the other you want to keep hidden.
So why are you still writing blog content like a diary entry?
- Personal motivation
- Lack of data metrics
- Haphazard strategy
Remember, creating and maintaining a blog isn’t for you; it’s to reach prospects, engage your audience, further your brand mission, and solidify your online presence. So how can you take your blog writing from a personal entry to a well-crafted strategy?
Leverage Google Analytics.
Let’s explore the power that Google Analytics can bring to your content strategy and the valuable insights you can apply to your next blog post.
First, Set Content Goals
Diving into Google Analytics without your content goals is like walking into a flooring store without a clue as to your ideal style, budget, and square footage—you risk wasting way too much time and money.
You need to establish a baseline so that you control the data—not the other way around. To do that, think through your short and long-term content goals.
- Do you want to drive more unique visitors to your website?
- Are you trying to keep people on the site longer?
- What action do you want your audience to take (and are they doing it)?
- Do you want your site to be the leading “hot spot” for new information and industry trends?
Your answers to these questions help you set a benchmark by which to evaluate your content. You don’t want to look at your site from an arbitrary lens. The more specific you can be with your goals, the sharper your eye for the content elements that matter most to you.
Your goals can also point to the proper data metrics within Google Analytics. For example, maybe you’re happy with your bounce rate (percentage of visitors who leave your site after one page), but you aren’t ranking for the keywords that help users find your site more readily. In that case, you can likely improve your content by creating a more robust keyword strategy.
Establishing a benchmark can help you compare data both now and in the future. For example, you can track how your site performs over the years and also determine which changes have worked and which haven’t.
Perhaps your ranking for more relevant keywords, but your audience isn’t spending nearly as much time on each blog. Then, you might evaluate the quality, style, tone, length, among other tactical elements, to see what’s changed.
It’s also essential to ingrain your content goals with existing marketing and sales techniques to promote cohesion.
Spend Time On The Most Valuable Metrics
Google analytics offers a deluge of data for your website and blog, but only some will be relevant to your goals. So before you get sucked into a data vortex, here are some of the tools that could be your content strategy’s MVP.
Use your content goals as a guide to determine which can offer the most enlightening insights.
If your primary goal is to boost website traffic, check out
- Number of new visitors and the percentage of traffic from new visitors
- Where your visitors come from/traffic channel (social media, email, organic, ads, etc.)
- Keyword rankings
For those honing in on more robust engagement, look for
- Bounce rate
- Most popular/trafficked site pages
- Average time on page/session duration
- How many pages visitors viewed
- Content Drilldown
For gleaning more tangible info on your top readers, turn your attention to
- Audience demographics
- Interests (yes, you can track this)!
- Device (desktop or mobile)
Our advice? Start simple. You can track so many elements but stick with the ones that can offer the most knowledge and long-term value. It’s also essential to prioritize data that can inform critical actionable insights. For example, if 60% of your audience finds your site via email—consider ramping up your newsletter and email campaigns.
Analyzing data isn’t a one-time event. You should check in on your site’s performance quarterly to give you more quality information. Quarterly check-ins provide you with time to see how a particular change has impacted your overall site and keeps you up to date.
Evaluate Your Top Performing Posts
The best way to create more engaging content consistently is to see what posts are at the top of your readers’ lists. What posts have performed the best and why? Break your most engaging posts down to their studs to see why they worked so well and how you can create more like them in the future.
Subject Matter and Goal
Let’s face it—some blogs are simply more interesting than others. You want to write about the things that keep your audience subscribed and coming back month to month. The first question you should ask yourself is,
What does my audience want to read?
Let’s say you’re an advisor who serves pre-retirees and your post on Social Security has significantly more engagement than the ones about estate planning.
That might tell you that your audience has questions about Social Security and could potentially lead you to discuss more retirement income planning-related topics instead of ones on estate planning. You might consider writing an in-depth Social Security blog series, hosting a webinar on the subject, compiling an e-course, etc.
Here are actionable ways to write about the subject matter your audience wants to read.
- Dedicate more space to explore popular topics.
- Update old content with new information and insights.
- Create a lead generation document that features key topics.
- Explore related topics/ideas.
Title + Subtitle
A blog can only be as good as its title. Why? Because if the title is a sleeper, no one will read it.
Think about it like this: if a blog takes (valuable) website space, but no one reads it, does it really do its job?
Titles are integral to your posts being successful, so take some time to figure out why your top posts inspired so many clicks.
- Do longer or shorter titles tend to draw more attention?
- Is your audience more interested in how-tos, questions, or lists?
- Does a statistic catch people’s eye?
- Were the tiles more positive or negative?
- What was the tone (funny, serious, lighthearted, etc.)?
Let’s look at an example. Which title would you click on:
- How To Write A Title
- How To Use A Title To Capture Your Audience and Attract High-Quality Leads
Most people would likely gravitate towards the second one. Both titles follow the “how-to” structure (the most popular blog format), so why does the second title work better?
- It’s more specific, so the reader knows what to expect from the article.
- It offers a clear value proposition for the reader. They will learn how to solve a specific problem.
Once you start to notice the title trends your readers enjoy, be sure to adopt more of them into your content.
Pro Tip: don’t write the title last. Your title should inform the content and help you structure the work to deliver on all perceived promises. You don’t want your title to over-promise and underdeliver because it could hurt your reputation and keep readers from returning to your site.
Keywords + Meta Description
Take a closer look at the keywords driving people to your website, and use them to your advantage. Then, write posts that fit with those keyword searches and do your research to find related keywords as well.
Understanding the words people use to engage with your brand can also help you meet your audience where they are and talk to them in their own words.
It’s also essential to include your desired keywords in your website’s back-end, like the meta description for each blog post. Doing so can help boost your on-page SEO score.
Blog Particulars—Style, Length, and Content
Lastly, take a look at the post itself to determine stylistic elements that kept readers hooked.
- Did you have a compelling introduction?
- Was the post easy to read?
- Did you make use of headlines and bullet points?
- Did you consult outside sources?
- Was the post more story or fact-focused?
- Do long or short posts perform better for your readers?
Take time to compare and contrast the above elements with posts that didn’t do as well to isolate some similarities, differences, and other trends.
You might find that your audience tends to stick around when you write about more technical topics or when your blogs are a bit shorter. Or maybe they love when you write about timely issues and don’t mind sticking around for a few thousand words if it’s a subject they care about.
Let Data Help Inform Your Future Content Strategy
According to Orbit Media, only 30% of bloggers consistently use analytics to check their blog’s performance, even though it’s proven that bloggers who use analytics see better results. And it’s not too hard to see why.
Analyzing your blog and website data can help you learn more about your audience’s engagement with your brand. The more you focus your blog on serving your audience’s needs, the more likely you will find success.
Google analytics can take your content strategy to the next level by providing measurable insights into your audience’s likes and dislikes. Analytics can’t replace a high-quality blog, but it can help content creators everywhere pen posts with purpose and intention.
Intentionally implementing analytics can equip you with the tools and knowledge to create a content strategy with your goals in mind.
Remember, a blog post isn’t another entry in your diary; it’s a vehicle for engaging your audience and solidifying your brand. Ready to see how analytics can help your content soar? Let’s talk about it together.
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