Tailoring Article Content & Length
An organization’s content marketing strategy is only as good as the data that informs it, which is why website analytics are so critical to maximize the ROI of your blogging efforts! As we discussed last week, there are various data points that shed valuable insight on the effectiveness of your current blog content, including referral traffic and device type.
In addition to refining publicity efforts and content type when it comes to your company blog, web analytics can also help you better tailor your blog content and the length of your posts. Let’s see how these additional insights can help you further improve your blogging strategy.
Average Session Duration: Modify Article Length
There’s a ton of conflicting information out there about the ideal length of blog posts—some experts say the shorter the better, and others advise long-form blog articles for increased engagement. Which is right? It depends—on your readers. The best way to determine the preferred length of your blog posts is to review the data from your current visitors—that’s where ‘average session duration’ comes in.
Average session duration refers to the average amount of time an individual user spends on a particular page on your site. Logic dictates that your visitors’ average session duration for blog posts should roughly correspond to the estimated reading time of your content (quickly calculate the average reading time of your blog post here). Estimated reading time is useful in its own right—and your readers may even find it helpful if it’s displayed next to each post on your blog (many CMS provide simple plugins for this). For example, this blog article has an estimated reading time of 5 minutes, not too shabby!
According to Medium, the optimal reading time for a blog post is 7 minutes. However, your visitors may prefer shorter or longer articles. Take the following scenario:
Scenario: Average session duration on your blog posts is 4 minutes
But your blog posts are typically 6-8 minute reads, oh no! Let’s get one thing straight: putting out content that takes longer to read than the average user spends on a single blog post is a waste of your time and theirs. So how do you fix it? Don’t do something drastic that you’ll regret later—like scrap a bunch of longer, informative articles already on your blog. Instead, consider the following tactics for refreshing your current content:
- Convert longer articles (that are 8-min reads or more) into 2- or 3-part posts. This cuts the reading time but still offers the valuable content—just in bite-sized chunks.
- Recycle older blog posts by condensing them (cut out filler words/phrases) and making them more skimmable—use multiple subheads, numbered lists and bullet points, images/videos, and white space to break up text.
- Turn a stat-heavy article into an infographic
- Re-purpose a how-to guide into a slideshow
Moving forward with your blogging strategy, consider devising a few different ongoing blog series that enable you to build upon a conversation with your readers. Think of it this way: instead of having one long-form article on creating effective Facebook ads (a pretty broad topic!), create a blog series in which each individual post hones in on a single aspect of Facebook ad creation. This not only maintains a dialogue with loyal readers, but it also encourages repeat visits from new visitors to your blog!
Keep in mind, though that it’s fine to vary the length of your blog posts. Visitors at different stages of the customer journey are looking for different types of content, so keep some of those longer guides/articles for buyers towards the middle of the sales funnel.
Tailoring your content strategy to accommodate the behavior of your users allows them to absorb all the points you’re trying to make, increasing the chances they’ll view your ideas and opinions as valuable. Since people tend to share content they consider valuable, letting average session length dictate (to some extent) the length of your content can increase the chances of social sharing, in turn boosting the traffic flow to your site.
Visitor Demographics: Tailor Your Content
Web analytics concerning the age and gender breakdown of visitors to your blog can help you tailor your content to capitalize on that audience—or shift your content to best reach the demographics of your intended market segment. Consider the examples below:
Scenario 1: Most of your blog traffic comes from users age 45 and up
If you discover that your primary audience base is older (and they constitute your ideal readership), you might consider tweaking your broader content strategy to emphasize the long-form content preferred by older generations. On the other hand, if you sell skateboard accessories, it may be worth adjusting your content strategy to more effectively reach the younger generations that are likely to purchase your products.
Scenario 2: You sell women’s handbags but your visitors are mainly male
Data regarding the gender breakdown of your audience can also help you make informed decisions in your content strategy. In this scenario, as a women’s handbag retailer, knowing that the majority of your traffic is coming from men may prompt you to adjust how you tailor your content. Instead of developing blogs that speak to a female buyer, you might shift your focus to content that addresses boyfriends and husbands shopping for their significant others.
The Power of an Informed Content Marketing Strategy
By now, it should be clear that web analytics can offer important insight into your content marketing strategy. These various data points can not only show you what you’re doing right, but more importantly, what you’re doing wrong. The best part is that they provide you with enough information to help you refine your blogging approach to make it more effective and deliver a better ROI overall. Happy blogging!
Getting the most out of your web analytics takes time, training, and experience. Don’t go it alone—Get in touch to learn how we can take your company to the next level with the power of analytics.