Do you know how well your content is working for you? Although a growing number of marketers are turning to content marketing to increase their conversions, many have a hard time determining how well their efforts are paying off.
I recently interviewed Scott Armstrong, general manager of Brainrider, a Toronto B2B content marketing agency. Scott provided valuable advice about how to measure the results of your web content and optimize it to improve your conversion rates. According to Scott, there are three areas to look at when it comes to optimizing your content:
Findability is the ease with which your target audience can find your content. To learn how your website is performing in this area, check your Google Analytics data. Your page views and inbound page views will let you know if people are finding your content. You can also review which keywords people are using to find your site, which are bringing you the most visitors, and whether these keywords align with your marketing goals.
If you want to improve your findability, start by optimizing your meta title and meta description tags. Each of these tags should contain at least one strong keyword or phrase that your target audience uses to describe pain points.
When people optimize their meta descriptions, many focus on including keywords that will get picked up by the search engines. While keywords are important, you should also think about your meta description as the first 160 characters that will draw people into your content and motivate them to click your link. Use the meta description to explain why your content is relevant and why someone should read it.
Relevance is how well your content relates to your target audience’s key pains, needs, and interests. One way to check your website’s performance in this area is to look at your average time-on-site and average page-per-visit statistics. High bounce rates could mean that your content isn’t relevant to your visitors’ needs or that your keywords aren’t reflecting your marketing goals.
To make your content more relevant, you must think like your customers. Take a customer’s point of view when you read your content and ask whether it is answering his or her most important questions in an engaging manner. For example, if your customers need to buy a piece of software, don’t write a blog post or white paper about how great your software product is. Instead, write about the pitfalls of choosing the wrong type of software, or a piece that compares the different options that your customers might be considering.
Also consider the stage of your customers’ buying cycle, as this can influence the type of content they will find the most relevant.
• Early-stage leads are just beginning their research and will need practical, how-to advice that tells them how to solve their problems without trying to sell them a specific product.
• Mid-stage leads need content that will help them understand the landscape — such as what’s available, some product pros and cons, and time-frame considerations.
• When you develop content for late-stage leads who are ready to buy, then you can help them justify why they should purchase your solution.
In addition to creating relevant content, you also want to ensure that your target audience finds it valuable. One way to determine the value of your content is to learn how many people are opting in for it. If a lot of people are willing to trade their contact information for your content, it means that they find it (or at least its promise on your landing pages) valuable. Other positive signs include someone opting in for a piece of content and referring back to it multiple times or sharing it through social media.
If you want to make a piece of content more valuable, ask if your target audience members will find it useful — will they think or act differently once they read it? Remember, interesting is not necessarily useful; opinion is not necessarily useful; and abstract is not necessarily useful. A useful piece of content is usually more practical, such as:
• How-to guides
The most important thing to ask when you are creating any type of content — for your website or otherwise — is: “What do my customers want to know, and am I creating content that answers their questions?” A tool that can help you in this area is a content framework, or a template that outlines your customers’ needs, pains, and desired information. This will help you stay focused when you create content.
What about you? How do you measure and improve your content’s findability, relevance, and value? Feel free to share your thoughts below.