Often when I start a content marketing project or campaign, I am asked to create plans that help build up interest in a new product, service or announcement. Things that the company really cares about.
Yet, for companies that lack a new product, service or announcement, they struggle with considering what a content marketing campaign is for. Should they talk about past successes, find features of old products that could use a social media push or just start a random Instagram push to show that the staff is still alive?
The answer isn’t so obvious, especially to communication teams that have been doing the same things for a long time and comfortable with staying busy with the work they’re doing. That’s why communicators need to look deep into their website statistics to find future inspiration.
As I often tell people, content marketing isn’t about telling people just what your company does, it’s about telling the right people why you’re the expert they should talk to. You’re offering a solution to their challenge, not just a product that you want to sell. And web stats are a treasure trove of activity that helps teams understand what their audience is seeking when they arrive.
Ugh, I know. If you’re a communicator (I’m a former PR person and journalist), stats sounds a bit overwhelming but it isn’t. It’s a way of understanding your audience with the mindset that you’re delivering more of what they want to read.
To set the bar, I recommend looking at least six months of data (multiple years if available). Even if you have a data analyst on your team already, you should work to get access to the raw data (if you’re allowed) that you can parse, build trends, see advantages, discover challenges and the most important thing – what content is your current and future customers reading?
Data, even from free services such as Google Analytics, can help give you an idea of where readers are coming from, where they’re coming from and when they’re leaving. For a site with a great deal of content, the stat for “pages viewed per session” is always one of the most interesting points for content marketers. It gives a basis for how long readers are within your site and getting to the stuff that they want. For a tight site with a focus on one or two pages, a low “pages per session” number can indicate that you’ve done a great job. But for a company with 10 or more products, an average of 1-2 pages per visit clearly indicates that there’s a problem.
This is where doing a deeper analysis on those statistics can show which pages they’re going to, the amount of time they stayed for and how often they left your site. Your goal is to examine your most valuable content, learn why it’s valuable and apply that learning to other parts of your site.
Sadly, there’s no easy button. Analysis takes time. Conclusions take more time. But the return on that investment can significantly increase your content marketing success as well as decrease the amount of time spent creating “just content.”
Regardless of where you are with your content marketing plan, Social Web Tactics’ team of experts offers services to assist in helping you better understand your company, deciphering how customers see you and building content marketing campaigns based on your company’s success.