As a digital marketer and inbound marketing aficionado, I have written more than a few blogs in my life. And I must say, there is nothing more frustrating than working really hard on a blog post only to see it's gotten two likes on Facebook and a handful of views on your site. Before I really started to understand inbound marketing, I would've considered that blog post a failure. We live in a world where we are surrounded by Buzzfeed and Upworthy and we have come to expect that our content isn't good unless it is being consumed by the masses and shared by thousands. Secretly (or not so secretly), we all want to be the next company that has a piece of content go viral.
Well I'm here to tell you that, 9 times out of 10, in the world of inbound marketing, you don't want to want to be creating this type of content.
I repeat, you do not want to be creating content like this.
I know this may seem counterintuitive. As business owners and marketers, everything we know and love about content is its ability to easily be shared and consumed in order to place your brand at the forefront of potential customers. After all, that’s why we spend our valuable time and money on blogs, social media, and inbound marketing.
Think of it like this. The point of Buzzfeed and Upworthy content is to get likes, share, follows, etc. This ultimately drives traffic to their site, which is digital marketing 101. We all want our website to be highly trafficked. But this method works for Buzzfeed for one reason and one reason only. Their revenue model is based off of selling ads on their site. Now put your inbound marketing hat on. Sure, we love increased traffic... but why? To increase sales.
Don’t be a Slave to the Click
This past May I attended the Authority 2014 conference put on by the folks at Copyblogger. One of the panelists, Tom Martin, spoke about how we have become a “slave to the click”. As content creators we have become so obsessed with getting our traffic numbers higher, with increasing our followers, with getting more likes, that we have forgotten about the click that actually matters—the one that gets us a sale. If your main focus is to getting your content to go viral or to provide entertainment for those at work, you’re probably not writing the type of useful content that truly helps people in their decision making process. Trust me, I love a good gif as much as anyone, but gifs don't increase your revenue.
Often times we see people ranking the success of their blog post off of the number of views it got or its social traction. Don't get me wrong, we look at those metrics too. They can give you great insight into what types of content your consumers are interested in. However, there are additional metrics that you can and should be looking at.
Other Metrics to Look At
When I'm evaluating blog posts, there are a couple key metrics that I look at in HubSpot (our marketing tool of choice) find to be paticularily helpful in determining that specific posts performance:
CTA Click Through Rate
Inbound marketing best practices calls for including a CTA for an offer at the bottom of every blog posts so that your site visitors have a quick an easy way to get to a conversion point. Looking at the percentage of traffic that went on to click a CTA can be a great way to tell at a high level if your blog posts are helping getting visitors moved into your online sales funnel.
In HubSpot there's a nifty little tool in the reports section that allows you to see which of your website pages and blogs have actually been viewed by visitors that eventually turned into leads. For example, you might be able to see that a certain blog post was the last page that 20 of your leads visited before converting. Metrics like this are very powerful. A piece of content that has directly contributed to 20 conversions has much more siginicance than a post that has lead to 0 conversions but has 1000 views.
When it's all said and done, we really do love views, likes, shares and tweets as much as the next person. We just love seeing that conversion rate going up even more.