This article originally appeared on SEMrush.
Content marketing is nothing new. The first commercial website started back in 1993, so we’ve had nearly a quarter of a century to refine its application. That’s why it’s so surprising that of the 86 percent of marketers using content marketing, only 32 percent find it effective.
Part of the problem is the output. The occasional blog post won’t even begin to make a splash in the sea of online content. And without any consistency, it’s difficult to gain enough traction to engage consumers.
There’s also the issue of readers. Many marketers don’t take the time to define their audiences beyond the basic demographics. Just because someone falls within a certain age range, makes a certain amount of money, and lives within a certain community doesn’t mean you can make the assumption that he or she wants anything to do with your content — or product, for that matter.
For content to be effective, you need to know who you’re talking to.
You need to know what type of content your readers want at each stage of the buying process and create an experience that seamlessly supplies them with credible content. You must develop a plan for creating and pushing out a content experience that will truly engage them.
Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Plenty of tools out there exist to help you not only develop the right content, but also tee-up that content up to be found. The following four tools can help you focus your time and cover the bases for launching a successful content strategy.
Sometimes, focusing on rankings as a primary goal can feel like a futile effort to get to the first page of search results.
In the end, it all comes down to the quality of the user experience. Qualaroo takes out some of the guesswork by giving a voice to those who visit your site. As people leave a specific product page, make a purchase, or even abandon a shopping cart, the software issues an exit survey, and the responses provide insights into why consumers behave a certain way on your site.
The software allows you to ask the right question at the right time to get to the heart of the issue. Understand the audience and influencers around your site with:
- Exit surveys — By utilizing these surveys, you can determine what users feel your site may be missing and make sure you’ve got them covered the next time around.
- Content requests — Churning out new, dynamic content on a consistent basis can be tough when the creative well dries up. So ask your users directly what they’d like to see you discuss next.
- Conversion optimization — Once you know why a user dislikes a particular product page and what kept him or her from making a purchase, you can remedy it. Could a coupon code or alternative offer sweeten the deal? Does the checkout process require usability enhancements? Offer it in direct response to customer feedback.
- Live chat — When customer issues are too complicated for an easy fix, you can hop on the line and chat directly.
It’s all about understanding your ideal customers and identifying their wants and needs. Qualaroo helps uncover the root of the problem so you can improve the user experience, provide better content, and grow your business.
Don’t you wish you could know firsthand which content attracts attention from your customers and which content they completely ignore? Every online business should know what types of content are most wanted and consumed.
Monitoring site performance will help. But as you sift through the data and tweak your content, it sometimes feels more like trial and error than anything else. You’re left wondering whether the new content is relevant to your target audience and whether it’s what they really want to read. Is it useful enough to generate likes and shares — not to mention a backlink or two?
BuzzSumo allows you to analyze what content performs best. Simply enter the keyword or topic into the search bar, and be as specific and refined as you can.
The sidebar allows for filtering by date, language, country, domains, and content types and can even filter down to only the most in-depth content.
The results show off the popularity of your topic on any given platform — as well as that of the hot-shot competition. This can help you see the strongest contenders as well as which types of content perform better on Twitter vs. Facebook or other social channels.
With this information, you understand what topics are trending and where to focus your energy with your content strategy. You can see what’s caught the attention of readers before crafting a title of your own. You know how in-depth to make a post and what day to publish it to have the biggest impact on readers.
Like Qualaroo, the ultimate goal of this platform is to provide actionable insights to improve your website and content. When content resonates with users, you encourage greater engagement, making it that much easier to turn consumers into customers.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console provides a clearer picture of how many people visit your online business. The tool will showcase organic traffic changes over time based on search queries, landing pages, and more.
Using Google Search Console is pretty self-explanatory. If you want to learn more about your visitors, click on the “Search Traffic” tab and choose “Search Analytics.”
It’ll bring you to a page where you can find a series of data categories and metrics, including:
- Queries — This option allows you to see how one keyword or phrase compares with others for bringing visitors to your site. Which terms give you the most impressions? Which of them give you the most clicks in search?
- Pages — This allows you to review the pages of your site that are driving impressions and clicks. Which pages have the highest click-through-rates? Where are you getting the most traction?
- Clicks — This metric is the number of clicks from a Google search result that brought visitors to your site. Which keyword is getting the most clicks?
- Impressions — With this metric, you get an idea of how many times your site listing was ranked on Google search results — even if the link wasn’t scrolled into view. But if your link is on Page 2, it isn’t counted until that user goes to that page.
- CTR — The click-through rate is the number of clicks divided by the impression count. If the data has no impressions, the CTR would be a dash. Zero impressions equals zero CTR, after all.
- Position — Position tells you the average position of the topmost results from your site. If, for example, your site has three results at 2, 4, and 6, the position reported would be 2. It’s the topmost position. But when a second query returns a result of 3, 5, and 9, you now have an average of the top two: 2 + 3 / 2 = 2.5.
Although you always want to add fresh content to your site, you still want to work on optimizing what you already have. By using the Google Search Console data with analytics, you’ll be able to identify the low-hanging fruit.
Let’s say a few of your pages have below-average CTRs. Review them for SEO, and determine which keywords and semantically related topics you’ve optimized for the page, its title, and its metadescription.
Review the copy itself. Is it written in a conversational style? Is it organized in a logical format? Are you tapping into users’ emotions? Are you targeting the right keywords and topics in both the titles and the copy? You want to put the reader into the content, pose a problem, and provide a solution. You also need to break up the copy into scannable segments with subheads, bullet points, and bolded text.
As always, the content must be following Google’s EAT methodology: expert, authoritative, and trustworthy. Use data to back up any claims, provide quotes when necessary, and make sure the content is relevant and useful. You have to earn readers’ trust.
Simply put, Google Analytics helps you analyze visitor traffic. It paints a complete picture of your audience, tracking the routes people take to reach you and the devices they use to get there.
It also gives you an idea of their needs. With the In-Page Analytics function, you learn what people are looking for and what they like so you can tailor your marketing message and site content for maximum impact.
While visit duration, bounce rate, and other analytics are all important, delving into a specific strategy to look at the scroll tracking of your content will help provide more practical insight into your site, including:
- Drop-off — Where are people more apt to drop off of your site? Is the content too long? Is it too short?
- Engagement — Is your choice of topics engaging to visitors? Does the subject matter encourage people to read more?
- Call to action — Is your call to action impactful enough? Do visitors actually see the CTA at the end of the page?
To help identify the strength and engagement of your content, you can setup a custom scroll-tracking plug-in to monitor how far users are scrolling down on each page of your site. Once set up, the Events reports in Google Analytics will allow you to monitor the baseline (top of the page), 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent, and 100 percent scroll points on a page.
By looking at these data points, you can determine whether people make it through the entirety of the content on a page.
Is there a point where you lose readers? Maybe the title isn’t catchy enough. Maybe a large block of content makes it difficult to keep readers’ attention. Did he or she scroll down far enough to see the CTA? If so, is it enough to encourage a click?
With this information in mind, go back to the page and optimize the content. Make changes to those areas where you saw the largest drop-off. Add a subhead or two. Help those “skimmers” by setting off any takeaways with bullets.
You want your content to be as easily readable as possible. Otherwise, you could miss out on an opportunity to engage and encourage the average consumer to become a loyal customer.
Obviously, these are only a few of the tools available to improve your content and have a stronger impact on consumers. They cover the bases you need to realistically launch a high-quality content strategy. But whatever you end up using, give them time to collect data. Follow a systematic process, and keep testing.