1. Have a clearly defined objective
Because all content does not have the same goal, it’s important to individually assign a primary objective to each piece of content to measure its specific success. In general, content objectives fall into one of three buckets:
- Interest: Designed to drive long term relationships (email subscribers, net new fans, followers, returning website visitors)
- Engagement: Designed to get your readers to share, comment on and fully digest the content
- Demand: Designed to drive user action, including form fills, petition sign-ups, link clicks, responses to calls to action, total clicks to the store, visits to delivery partners, e-commerce purchases
2. Have a direct tie to your brand
Creating a clear tie to your brand within posts/articles establishes credibility no matter the type of content.
- Name drop: Inject the brand and product names when relevant.
- No place like home: Employ geographical references when you can.
- Paint the picture: Choose visuals in accordance with your brand’s style.
- Be mindful of tone: Stay true to your brand’s voice.
3. Always avoid the “wall of text”
Designate “sections” of content to allow for structured reading experiences that lead to clearer understanding and engagement.
- Be clear: Use clear subheads and imagery to designate natural “sections.”
- Be consistent: For example, listicle items should always be separated by numbers or divided by section.
- Be visual: Use images to break up long stretches of text and to complement the surrounding content.
- Be bold: Help facilitate reading comprehension with bold segments and bulleted lists.
4. Have a clear distribution plan
If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. It is important to leverage your social channels to get the word out.
- Organic social promotion: Every article should be linked from your social channels; choose titles, descriptions and imagery that describe the content well.
- Content discovery: Measure the quality of article from your organic/unpaid distribution, and then use the best in targeted paid campaigns.
- Post more than once per article: For example, choose two or three listicle items within content and base the post on those items, rather than the listicle itself.
- Inclusion on the homepage: Make sure that your latest articles get prime coverage on the most visited page of your site.
- Inclusion in email: Email visitors are good visitors (they are opting in to hear from you!), so be sure that top content performers are included in your newsletter.
5. Continually measure success using data
It’s crucial to measure how each article performs (whether good or bad) to inform future content.
- Tracking and tagging: Confirm all tracking and tagging is in place before launch; ensure that forms capture submit counts and that calls to action capture visitor clicks.
- Campaign tagging: Correctly measure campaigns and social traffic; use UTM tags to measure source and medium performance across your posted articles.
- Apples to apples: Create a plan to review similar content for performance; find what works in one article and then apply it to another.
- Glamour metrics are poison: Focus on metrics that matter. (Ditch pageviews.)
Other great resources:
Kiss Metrics: Nine Ingredients that make great content
NewsCred: 2018’s 50 best content marketing brands