As the year draws to a close, many marketers are rightfully excited about 2016. They’re hoping to top all the new developments and exciting advancements that came this year with even more progress in the 12 months that follow. Others are more anxious, worrying that the arsenal of tools that worked in their content strategy this year may prove less effective in the face of changing algorithms and consumer expectations.
I believe that to start 2016 off on the right foot, you need to first take stock of which content worked best this year. To do this correctly, don’t just lean on your memories; go back and re-check the data for every piece you published. It may sound time-consuming (because it is), but it’s worth it.
What will you see when you start to look at the data? Obviously, some posts outperform others, often by huge margins. But just because your data-driven post on competitive pricing outperformed your photo roundup of a new product launch, doesn’t mean that you should nix any future image-heavy posts and only write about data.
Instead, categorize your content and find patterns through that. If you’ve been tagging your articles, that’s one way to start. You may also already have different series of topics you’ve addressed throughout the year that could help with this initial categorization.
Also, consider grouping across multiple dimensions such as “story type” and “story format.” You might have formats that include articles, videos, infographics, and podcasts as one dimension to measure, while at the same time breaking content into types of stories like “behind the scenes,” “data analysis” and “customer feedback”— or whatever makes sense for your particular business.
Embrace New Metrics
While it’s easiest to measure pageviews, visitors, and social shares, these are not necessarily the most telling metrics to truly understand your content’s impact. As we’ve been saying all year long, smart marketers are looking into new metrics—things like average finish, engaged time and brand lift.
We’re huge fans of brand lift, which consists of sub-metrics like purchase intent, brand favorability, and message recall. This way, you can see if your content strategy is actually making readers more apt to like your brand and want to do business with your company. After all, isn’t it better to have 100 people read your writing and want to buy your latest product than to have 200 people read an article just because they saw a cute GIF in it, and then immediately forget all about it?
While adopting new metrics may require a tad more effort than checking Google Analytics for the millionth time, the payoff is worth it. Read our previous article on how to get started, and you’ll have some killer data to kick off 2016. With a little work now, the next year is sure to be your most successful yet!