Just because content is well-written and discusses intriguing topics doesn’t always mean it will perform well. You can increase your odds of creating high-performing content by first researching keywords and competing articles. But at the end of the day, you don’t know whether your words will fly or flop. Until you put your content out there, it’s difficult to predict how it might impact your company’s bottom line.
Luckily, there are ways to measure effectiveness once content is in front of an audience. Metrics like bounce and conversion rates can indicate whether specific posts are doing their jobs. Audits and customer testimonials might provide further insights into what topics resonate the most.
The information you already have at your fingertips can help guide your future strategies and creation efforts. You’ll sense whether your existing pages and the pieces you’re about to create will pull their weight. Here are some steps to determine if your digital content is doing just that.
Evaluate Topic Coverage Against Word Count
Say there’s a 1,000-word blog post about the dangerous side effects of excess sugar consumption. It gets a fair amount of organic traffic, but the post underperforms when it comes to conversions. On the other hand, there’s an 800-word blog post on the same site that consistently draws traffic and converts. The post goes more in-depth about sugar’s harmful effects and provides actionable advice on reducing intake.
In this case, content quality can probably explain the performance difference between the two blogs. Despite the longer word count, the first post may not give the audience enough information. The content certainly isn’t convincing or powerful enough to sway leads to take action. Persuasion is something the second blog post clearly has. The information meets the audience’s search intent and gives them enough “meat” with fewer words.
Regardless of common recommendations about content length, more words do not guarantee good performance. Extra content will do little for your audience if a piece has too much fluff or padding. When evaluating a piece, determine how well it covers the subject matter instead. Does the content give the audience unique insight or value? Some posts accomplish that with many words, but others will do it more concisely.
Prioritize the Company’s Objectives
You can measure and track various key performance indicators and metrics with online content. However, none of that will matter if you don’t know why you’re looking at the data. For instance, most of your blog posts might have high bounce rates. Yet that’s not necessarily an indicator of poor performance if the main goal of those posts is to create brand awareness.
Figuring out whether your content is pulling its weight begins with establishing what you need to measure. Knowing what you should track also means finalizing goals and priorities for each piece or web page. You might want a redesigned product page to increase online sales by 5% each quarter. However, the priority for an infographic might be to boost your annual email newsletter subscriptions by 3%.
While these are specific goals for each content piece, it also helps to establish an overarching strategy. Maybe you want to increase your content marketing’s ROI for the year. Another potential strategy could be to up the number of marketing-qualified leads. Whatever you decide, each piece should aim to accomplish its strategic and individual objectives.
Engage in Social Listening
Numbers can only tell one part of the story. Quantitative data might signal an uptick in visitors to your digital content. But these metrics don’t tell you why an increase in website visitors is happening. You need qualitative feedback to discover the reasons more people are reading and perhaps engaging with your content.
Audience surveys and testimonials are ways to gather that information. However, social listening can also give qualitative feedback about your content and brand. What people say about your content and brand on social media helps determine whether it’s relevant to your audience.
In 2021, more than 4 billion people were using social media. That number is expected to increase to 6 billion by 2027. Online forums, competitors’ social media pages, and your company’s pages are places to discover people’s reactions to your content. If you boost your content on social media platforms, categorize the comments or use sentiment analysis tools. See whether audiences find your content offerings useful or have suggestions for improving or expanding them.
Develop a Standardized Scoring System
Each piece of content can have individual objectives and corresponding key performance indicators. But when it’s time to evaluate pages or posts as a group, the task is challenging without a standard system. A scoring method helps you compare one piece to another and determine whether you need to make improvements.
Scoring systems also give qualitative results a numerical value or weight. Say your qualitative metrics are relevance, audience engagement, accurate information, and structure. A few pieces satisfy each point, while others only hit the mark in two or three categories. You can use points to quantify your data by adding the number of criteria each piece meets. A page that meets everything might score a five, while another piece gets a three.
For number-driven metrics, you can assign a point value to various ranges per KPI. For instance, pieces with conversion rates according to established ranges earn different point values. A conversion rate of 5% or under scores one point, while 21% or higher earns five points. Comparing content this way can reveal which posts or pages outperform others according to predetermined targets.
Content That Pulls Its Weight
Evaluating online content’s effectiveness can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. While many metrics exist, you’ve got to establish goals to know what to measure. Determining quality, setting priorities, listening for feedback, and creating a scoring system will reveal whether your content fulfills your intentions.