May 15, 2015
You create content for your product because research says you need it. So you might dutifully write blog entries, come up with social media posts, and otherwise create a body of content that meets the standards of the mysterious content demanders that tell you it is the only way to succeed.
But if you write all of this necessary content only to send it out into a dark void, what good does it do you?
It is actually better to have no content than unhelpful content because with no content, at least you are using your time to do other work. Pointless content simply wastes your time.
Four Ways to Dig In and Find Your Content’s Value in ROI
There are many ways to measure your content’s real return on investment, but for starters, here are four things that you really should be doing now.
1. Know How to Evaluate Analytics. In order to properly evaluate analytics, you have to know how to evaluate them. That might seem like common sense, but it is still a major concern.
Here is a short quiz for you:
- What is a bounce rate?
- How can you use Google Analytics to benchmark your content’s success?
- What is a funnel?
Do you know all of the answers? If not (or even if you do), you should be aware that this is just a small sampling of the analytic measures you might want to use to track your content’s success. Google Analytics offers a glossary of their terms to help you figure out what everything means.
To truly evaluate the ins and outs of ROI, you need to have some basic understanding of what analytics are and how to use them. There are many great tools you can use that not only help you learn what analytics are, but will help you to evaluate your specific data.
- Google Analytics. Google Analytics is probably the most popular of all these tools, and it is likely you have heard of it before. This tool allows you to track content across platforms, meaning both different accounts (e.g., Twitter and Google +) and different access devices (e.g., computers and smartphones). It helps you answer questions such as where customers are coming from (both from what site they were on when they found you and where in the world they were located) and how long they are staying once they get there.
- Clicky. This is a GA alternative that allows you to analyze what is working for you. It answers questions like how your efforts today compared to your efforts last week, what techniques are working best for you, and what pages grab the attention of your readers versus which ones are underperforming. It does all this in real time so you know the answers to your questions as they are occurring.
There are many other tools available to help you evaluate your analytics. Do some research and find the one that is right for you.
2. Know What Analytics to Evaluate. Now that you know how to use analytics, it is important to learn which ones are most important to you. This will partly depend on what your ultimate goal is (Is your main goal to build brand recognition? Fill out a form? Go to your site? Buy something?, etc.), but it will also partly be dictated by what each analysis means.
Say for example that your most recent Tweet resulted in the following analytics:
- Re-tweets: 50
- Favorites: 75
- Click Throughs: 0
It would be easy to convince yourself that because you are getting a lot of favorites and retweets, you are being successful; however, your more important goal should be to get people to your site to learn about your content or to otherwise create a form of engagement that will help you meet your content goals. So if all you look at is the first two, while ignoring the third, you might be operating in a vacuum without even realizing it.
Make sure that a big part of your focus is on how many people are actually going to your links, navigating your site, staying for a while, and coming back and how many customer conversions you are getting from those clicks. That is much more important than likes and re-tweets.
4. Use Customized Tracking Links. If you pay attention to links like I do, you might notice that a link you expect to be simple (such as joesdinner.com) is unexpectedly complicated (joesdinner.com/ref+a#pqures<doorehdsfhewoiryer – I just hit a bunch of random keys here, but I think you get the picture). What exactly are all those symbols and letters? It is likely the way the site is tracking links.
An important way to determine content success is to see where people are coming from when they come to you. Tracking links can help you evaluate if more users are coming from PPC ads, Google searches, Twitter, or bookmarks, to name a few.
There are many tools that can help you track links. I’ll let you know about my two favorites, but you can find others as well.
- Majestic-SEO. This tool not only allows you to track your own links with customized anchor tabs, it also allows you to track some statistics from competitors.
- Spredfast. This tool is great because it allows you to track your links, view analytics, and manage all of your social media accounts from one place.
4. Dust Yourself Off and Try Again (Or Rinse and Repeat). Now that you know how to analyze your ROI for content production, it is time to evaluate your success to date. Are your methods falling flat? Then maybe you should come up with a new action plan (i.e., dust yourself off and try again). If all of this analytics work has made you realize you are already doing a great job, congratulations! Now just keep doing it with all your new content (i.e., rinse and repeat.)
While there are many things you should be doing to accurately reflect your ROI for content production, using the above tips are great ways to start.
P.S. Here Are The Quiz Answers
- The bounce rate is the percentage of users who visit a site but do not click through (another important term) to other pages before leaving.
- Once you have a Google Analytics account, you can navigate to “your view,” select the reporting tag, and then click on audience > benchmarking.
- A funnel shows the path that a user took to reach a certain page. For example, a funnel might show that User A started on Twitter, clicked a link leading to your home page, then selected your blog, and finally picked a post on pet grooming.
Julia Spence-McCoy is the CEO of Express Writers, an online copywriting agency that began in 2011 with thousands of web content pages written to date and more than 50 talented writers on the team. Her passion is copywriting and all that pertains, including the ever-changing game of Google algorithm updates.