The goal of blogging is to attract prospects to your website by addressing their pain points. It can be difficult to start blogging at first, but once you find momentum, you’ll be able to identify your company’s voice and gain a general sense of what kind of topics work.
But after a while, a “general sense” of content is not going to cut it. No matter how much you blog, your lead generation won't reach its full potential until you begin addressing real prospect pain points. The best blogs pinpoint topics that your prospects care about most and will invest their time in reading.
So, how do you capture how prospects are feeling? Well, in the old days, you needed a whole research team equipped with surveys, interviews, etc. But the advantage of digital marketing is that your websites’ analytics can offer a lot of the information you need almost immediately.
Where To Pull Analytics From
Ideally, you want to pull analytics from your website platform if it has a built-in analytics package. Most platforms (e.g. Wordpress, Weebly, Squarespace, etc.) have some sort of built-in reporting function that will show you overall website performance. Platforms such as HubSpot drill down to the individual prospect level and show their activity on your site.
If your platform does not offer a reporting capability, don’t worry, you are not really at a disadvantage. You should just jump on over to Google Analytics and set up an account because the free service can monitor your account externally. The interface may seem clunky at first, but don’t let this slow you down. Google Analytics is optimized to provide as many different reporting options as possible, so you can display the wealth of information at your disposal.
If you want some extra training with analytics, Google even offers a certification program in Google Analytics that will help you to churn out in-depth reports like it’s your job…and it might be.
Metrics To Focus On
To make a strong start in understanding your blog’s performance, take a step back from your site and look at your marketing efforts from a very high level. Pageviews give you a nice indication of the most popular pages on your site, but today you’re interested in the most popular blog posts. Don’t be alarmed if you see a handful of posts with a large number of views and then the view count drops like a rock for the rest of your posts. That tends to be pretty normal if you’ve been blogging for a while on a variety of topics.
Average Time On Page
A large number of pageviews on a blog post is awesome but your smile will turn to a frown if the average time on page is only a few seconds. A low average of time spent on-page indicates that prospects aren’t actually reading your content. There can be many reasons why a prospect quickly leaves a post. Some of the reasons could be a misleading title, slow page load time, or even an intimidatingly long post.
There should be relevant calls to action (CTAs) on your blog posts if you’re following the best practices of inbound marketing. Not only are those CTA’s providing you with leads but they’re also a good indicator of blogs/topics that your prospects are interested in.
User On-Site Behavior
You’ll have to use Google Analytics for this one, but you can see what pages prospects navigate to the most after viewing individual blog posts. Keep an eye out for users jumping between blogs that are similar in nature. That type of behavior indicates an increased interest in that subject matter.
Last but certainly not least, you should pay attention to how many visitors reach your most popular blogs via organic reach vs. direct traffic. A large portion of visitors coming to your site “organically” means that people are actually searching for information on a certain topic. They’re not just navigating to your site because they know it exists and stumbling across your blogs. Organic traffic is rooted in a deliberate search for answers to pain points.
Putting It All Together
Take all of the metrics I just listed into consideration when you identify which blog topics your prospects gravitate towards the most. Only looking at one or two metrics can give you a distorted view of what’s actually going on. It also helps to have a larger sample of data to go off of when doing this type of analysis. The longer you’ve been blogging the better you’ll be at identifying which topics to focus on.