A question to kick things off with: is the data-informed approach to looking at content performance something that’s exclusively accessible (and applicable) to the big publications that circulate tons of words across the web every day, or is it something that even company blogs can benefit from?
With a growing concern about how readers consume online content, it’s in everyone’s interest to know more about the way their audience behaves. So, the answer to the question would indeed be – no. Even the smallest publications should try to understand their audiences and benefit from getting to know them.
In previous months, we’ve looked at the many different ways people utilize Content Insights and its possibilities. Our Use Case stories looked at how some of the world’s most prominent news media organizations use content analytics in order to level up their business, but we also looked at how regional publishers use the power of data to hone their decisions. Now, it’s time for something different: a look at how company blogs can build a loyal and engaged audience by looking at the right set of metrics.
What makes company blogs different than news publishers is, of course, the fact that they often navigate the line between content marketing and journalism. While they both try to bring value to their readers, company blogs have to have the marketing of their brand in minds as well.
While some companies only use blogs to aid in their SEO efforts, some dedicate serious effort in creating quality content that resonates with their readers. One of the companies that have been investing a lot in their blog is the Serbian leader in the used car sales market, polovniautomobili.com. They use Content Insights to evaluate the impact and performance of their stories.
Publishing frequency is what makes them different from most Content Insights users since they only post a couple of times a week, but that doesn’t prevent them from making waves with their content – as well as demonstrating how judicious use of analytics can reap benefits, no matter the size or scope of your editorial team. Some of their stories generate tens of thousands of reads, and also – more importantly – their pieces tend to stay in the loop for a very long time.
We touched base with Branislav Grković, the person in charge of their blog, to see what kind of value Content Insights brings their organization, and here’s a quick overview.
- Content Performance Indicator (CPI) holds the answer to the question of how certain pieces of content have worked
- Content Insights is great for a quick evaluation of how articles performed on social media. CI makes the search for old content that’s meant to be republished across social media easier and helps users maximize the results
- Branislav finds Read Depth a very useful metric which he uses to optimize articles so they can get a larger number of ‘complete’ readers and fewer people that leave the article quickly
- Content Insights empowers them to identify which type of content attracts a quality audience (one that is loyal and engaged)
- A proper look at old content performance with Longtail section is crucial for company blogs that don’t have a high posting frequency
Polovniautomobili.com started using Content Insights in late November 2018. Now we’ve been working together for a number of months, we’ve been able to compare the data from their first months of use to that of the present time.
So, some findings:
The website’s traffic grew by 24 percent in June this year compared to November last year, when they started using CI. In addition, articles generated 35 percent more Social Actions in the same compared period. During these compared periods, the company continued to publish at the same rate and frequency, which shows just how much the blog grew.
Looking at the right set of metrics (CPI)
But what kind of metrics should you look at to make your blog grow, you might be asking. For Branislav, Content Performance Indicator is the place where he starts.
“I’ve been using Content Performance Indicator (CPI) for a long time, and for me, it’s a good indicator of whether something is performing well or badly.”
What is CPI?
CPI (Content Performance Indicator) is the heart and soul of Content Insights. It’s an algorithm that shows how well your content is performing in comparison to other published articles on your
platform. It also provides insights for Sections, Topics, Authors, and also a whole website.
CPI takes into consideration dozens of different content performance metrics and examines their relations. It also weighs them differently in accordance with three recognized behavioral models: exposure, engagement, and loyalty.
He finds the different behavior models we calculate CPI for useful and points out an example of the articles that usually don’t score high in exposure, but have very high values of Loyalty CPI.
Branislav mentions that they have articles about Oldtimers that usually don’t have a particularly wide audience, but have very high scores for loyalty. Knowing that loyalty for Content Insights doesn’t mean only returning readers, he finds these articles very important. They might not be bringing most people, but they are resonating well with their core audience.
“Not every article is made to become an exposure champion. I consider it very successful when articles get loyalty and engagement badges because it means they have found a quality audience.”
Knowing what works on Social Media
After scratching the surface with CPI, next Branislav looks at how content connects with readers on social media since polovniautomobili.com have big follower base on Facebook, and they use two pages to distribute their content.
“For that, I use the graph that lets me benchmark the number of Article Reads with the number of Social Actions over time.”
This is important to Branislav because he is not only posting fresh content on Social Media but is recirculating old content as well.
Discovering Read Depth and experimenting
In terms of metrics, he finds Read Depth very important. He says looking at Read Depth is way better than just evaluating the time people simply spent reading.
He puts it this succinctly: “I can’t see this in any other tool.”
They also use Read Depth when they want to experiment with different approaches to opening an article and looking at which kind of intro makes the audience stick with the content for the longest time.
What is Read Depth?
Read Depth is a complex metric that unveils how deeply a visitor has got into reading a piece of content. It takes into consideration true attention time, length of the text, scroll-depth, and the average time it takes for a reader to consume the content. It analyzes only the article content on the page, disregarding all other elements.
What everyone who is interested in their website’s traffic wants to know is where their readers come from, and how they arrive on site. Branislav is, of course, no exception. He finds our Referrer section interesting.
“It’s important to know if your audience comes from your homepage, and to see what people search for.”
Getting traffic to old stories
There’s hardly anything more important for people looking at the performance of company blogs than content continuance, which – in layman’s terms – is how long after publication articles are able to attract readers. Ideally, the initial effort in creating them should pay off over a long time.
With the help of Content Insights, Branislav is able to identify what types of content manages to hold readers’ attention over a long period of time, and that’s why he finds our Longtail section important.
“For me, it’s important to see how old articles perform as well, and mostly in terms of how many readers they attract.”
Branislav adds that they have recognized articles that feature tips for drivers tend to do well over the longer term. Used car tests are something their audience sticks to as well, so much so that they are able to publish the same kind of content in different formats.
“Headlines are crucial when it comes to driver tips, and that type of content definitely works well”.
Branislav also says that articles that tend to attract traffic for a very long time are the ones that bring the most value to their readers.
Rocking the blogosphere
With so much written about analytics at the big newsrooms, it might be easy to forget that other content creators out there might benefit from the same kinds of insights.
After all, the battle for attention is being fought everywhere. Eagle-eyed readers might remember SEO expert Nick Wilsdon talking about success with content a while back (and if you’re nodding along at this point, you get a gold star. Well done).
In that conversation, he talked about building trust through content. The good folk at Polovni automobili continue to show us that not only is great content important, but also that measuring it well ultimately pays dividends. Kudos, guys.
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