A large audience can open up numerous doors for bloggers – be it the joy of engaging with people who have similar interests, advertising revenue, brand sponsorships, or potential customers for a product or service.
However, as site analytics continue to offer additional (and arguably, more informative) insight into how audiences interact with digital platforms, tracking the number of views your blog posts, videos, tweets, etc. receive is not enough.
Obsessing solely on this one metric makes it very easy to lose sight (pun intended) of your blog’s bigger picture.
A more holistic approach to measuring website and social media performance will help you not only identify opportunities for improvement, but also prove your worth to potential advertisers, content sponsors and customers.
On our sister blog Beyond PR, Victoria Harres, PR Newswire’s vice president of strategic communications and content, outlines 18 metrics that matter for successful content.
While Metrics That Inform vs. Metrics That Prove is primarily directed towards brand marketers, many of the data points she highlights hold value for independent and niche content publishers.
Start with these five from her list to grow your understanding of your blog’s influence.
Bounce Rate: Because it’s not enough to just bring in views, your website’s bounce rate can be very revealing. Unless part of your content strategy is to direct readers to another domain (like a store hosted offsite), your bounce rate can help tell you whether the eyes you’re attracting are staying put. If many visitors are clicking into but quickly navigating away from your content, your content and the messages you’re using to promote it are not aligned with what your audience wants.
Comments and Mentions: When content motivates someone to comment on your blog, it shows you’ve created a strong personal connection. Similarly, mentions of your content on a reader’s own channels (be it social media or their own blog) not only demonstrate impact, they also can help you reach new audiences. On a qualitative level, what is being said can be beneficial in understanding whether your content is being positively or negatively received, as well as what exactly is provoking a reaction.
Clicks: Providing audiences with an opportunity to take action on your content can help convert the occasional reader into a dedicated one. Track clicks to the links and calls to action throughout your blog to determine how audiences are following through on your content. The number of times visitors click on other articles, advertisements, sponsors’ sites, subscription forms, product pages, giveaway entries, etc. can also be useful information when showing potential partners that your audience engages with your content.
Subscriptions: Persuading a reader to hand over their contact information requires a level of trust and commitment that goes beyond reading your articles or following you on social media. Subscribers are invested in what you have to say and find your content relevant enough to want to receive it regularly in their inbox. If you adjust your editorial focus, monitor your subscription rate to make sure you’re still growing at consistent or even greater rates.
Unsubscribes: Of course, the number of subscribers you have doesn’t tell the full story. Just as you should with blog post views, look beyond the number and see how subscribers are engaging with your subscription emails and content. Unsubscribes are a great place to start. Track how many people decide to stop receiving alerts about your content. If you find unsubscribes are trending high, then evaluate what is causing drop out. Email open rates, shares and clickthroughs can also help determine your success with subscribers.
It’s tempting to get caught up in cranking out blog post after blog post, checking items off a to-do list. However, if you don’t step back and regularly take a look at how you’re doing, you may wake up one day and realize you just wasted a lot of time on content that has failed to connect.
Check out Metrics That Inform vs. Metrics That Prove for the complete list.
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Author Amanda Hicken is PR Newswire’s senior manager of strategic content and managing editor of Beyond PR. Follow her on Twitter @ADHicken for tweets about marketing, the media, Cleveland, and comic books.