Content Typologies: Give Your Readers The Stories They Want

Brands often struggle to produce content that connects with readers in a consistently reliable manner. Your company may produce a hit story one day or two and then go through a drought of low-performing posts for the weeks that follow. This may average out to look like you’ve had a good-enough month, but your actual performance within that period was very spiky.

Spikes in analyticsAt the same time, editors and content strategists can struggle to assemble a calendar of interesting articles and stories, turning to rehashed ideas that they don’t always have confidence in. You may tell yourself that putting up any story is better than letting the blog go quiet for the day, but is another round of funny images really going to convince people of the merits of your brand?

Use Your Data

Instead of struggling with guesswork and haphazard performance, you should dig into the data you already have: your existing content. It’s going to take a little work, but by dividing your stories into a series of content typologies you may be able to divine clues as to which stories perform, and which don’t.

You may have already started doing this on one level with the tags you assign a story when it gets posted to your CMS. You can use that as a jumping off point, and try to combine like-minded tags into overarching story types. Have some tags about “new-store-opening”, “office-events”, and “factory-tour”? Group all those together into a category for “behind the scenes”. Overall, you want to find the broad patterns that make certain stories similar. Have a post about a sports star tweeting a photo of your latest product? Think about categorizing that as “photo” and “celebrity” but don’t get too specific about who that famous person was, or the sport the played, or whether it was originally posted to Twitter or Instagram.

Similarly, it’s important to analyze the types of media you’re using in various posts. Break down your plain text blog posts, versus your infographics, versus videos, etc.

Eventually, you should have a spreadsheet of all your stories, with the common variables that define them. You can then analyze, by a pivot table or a regression analysis of your choosing, which of your typologies’ patterns perform the strongest. Maybe you’ll notice that video posts consistently outperform infographics. Or celebrity endorsements crush “behind the scenes.” Now you can redeploy your resources to write more of the stories that people engage with.

Defining Success

That said, we left one question unanswered, and it’s a big one. What is the data that you’re using to define a “successful” post? Or, which are the numbers you’re comparing to see which stories work and which don’t?

In a simpler time, you could track pageviews or something that’s a proxy for that, such as social shares. If you’re B2B focused, you can maybe get away with tracking simple conversions / contacts captured. But for advanced B2C and even smarter B2B brands, that’s simply not enough.

As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re just counting pageviews, you’re missing the actual reaction that the people reading the content are having in response. We’re a big advocate of understanding which stories are actually driving brand-centric metrics like purchase intent and brand sentiment.

Once you know what content drives powerful metrics like that, you can create all the more of it, and produce stories that not only your audience wants to see, but makes them all the more likely to do business with your brand.