Write. Analyze. Refine. That’s the path to successful content marketing. Earlier this year, we offered tips on how to identify the best content marketing topics for your business as you get started; after you’ve got some good content in place, it’s important to take a step back, see what’s working well for you and refine your approach accordingly. Keep your content focused on topics that will give you the best results by following the tips below, and you should continue to attract robust website traffic that builds awareness and generates leads for your business.
Let past performance be your guide.
Take stock of the content you’ve published and see which topics are continuing to perform well and which aren’t. Track conversions of the key business goals that you’ve set for your content, and see where you are. With software that’s available to track content performance today, you can get a good deal of useful information without having to spend a lot of time on this. Using the Content tool in Google Analytics, for example, you can quickly see page views and time spent on pages, as well as compare performance to past dates and track which pages are most visited. More importantly, set up goals in Analytics to see what content is actually converting for you. HubSpot also delivers insights including page performance reports that you can sort by topic. Finally, your own content and knowledge base may also give you insights into what content is performing well. For example, our Answerbase Q&A software has built-in Content Insights specifically around customer question-and-answer activity to identify the most popular topics. You want to focus on your content that is most popular, solving the most problems and delivering the desired results. Identify these topics and let this be where you start.
Ask your employees about customers’ continued interests.
We’ve talked before about looping in sales, customer service representatives and others with direct customer contact as you’re developing content so you can get their input on what they’re hearing from customers. It’s just as important to check back with them regularly on this, and to ask specifically about pain points that customers and potential customers are currently experiencing. Consider creating a formal program for them to give you this feedback based on what customers are telling them – perhaps a weekly email asking for the top five concerns they’re hearing about. It’s worth the effort, because anytime the content in your blog, Q&A forum or other information source on your website successfully addresses an issue that’s of immediate concern to someone, you’ll see a payoff, whether it’s making a sale to a new customer or keeping a current customer happy. But first, you need to know what they’re concerned about at any given time, and that’s where your own people can be a huge help in keeping focused on the right topics.
Check what topics are “hot” and trending on the internet.
After you’ve identified some relevant topics for your audience using the above approaches, there are tools available to identify which of those topics are trending generally in search and social activity. If a topic that’s performing well on your website with your audience is also serving a large and growing audience in general, that’s where you want to focus your attention. First Stop is Google Trends, where you can see how content topics are performing in Google searches over time and if the topic is gaining or reducing in search popularity. For trends on social media, BuzzSumo identifies hot topics based on the number of total shares across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Use these tools to further refine the topics that you know are performing well on your site, and that will give you great guidance on where you should be focusing your time and efforts.
Always remember that the topics you chose when you started your content development efforts aren’t necessarily the topics people want to read about today and or that will continue to give results. Staying on top of what kind of information people find useful and informative is vital. It’s something that takes a constant effort – but that doesn’t mean it has to take a lot of time or resources, given the tools available to help you with it. Follow the tips above to make quick work of fine-tuning your content, keep it fresh and get the best business results.