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Most of us (or our teams) spend a lot of time creating a piece of content. We put thought into what to create, writing, editing, creating images to go with the piece, distributing it etc.. A single piece is an investment of time and money. What steps do you take *before* you hit publish to limit the risk of a flop?

  • SS

    Scott Stuart

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Nick,

    Any "big" content, I would run a VERY cheap PPC campaign (like $5-10) on and see if people are actually clicking on it.

    Usually just the headline with a nice image & heading to website home page or even a 404 page.

    Not about getting people on the content - it's about seeing if people are even interested in it in the first place.

    Cheers,

    Scott

    • NJ

      Nick Julia

      over 3 years ago #

      Thanks Scott!

      I've recently started doing this - with good results.

      I've been split testing article ideas that I think are promising.

      Typically I'll setup 2 ads per blog idea.
      And I'll test one headline against another.
      Because I've found that just the headline can have a dramatic effect on clicks.

      Anyhow...
      For me it's been a good indicator of an article's potential success or failure.

      Do you run any other tests?
      Or any tips on running this style of cheap ppc campaign?

  • TM

    Tomi Mester

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Guys,

    I partly agree with Scott. Fake door testing is a good approach, if you are starting from zero and if you want to discover, which topic might be a fit for you audience - as well as which audience might be fit for your topic.

    However, don't forget that content marketing is a long-time investment! So you will have a hard-time, when you want to measure the success with quick and dirty tests, because you won't see the long-term effects of the articles on SEO, on your brand-awareness, on recommendations, etc.

    If you have a lot of articles already and want to go in the quantitative way, I suggest to use Medium's method and measure the success of the articles with Total Time Reading: https://medium.com/data-lab/mediums-metric-that-matters-total-time-reading-86c4970837d5
    If you make a top list from your articles by TTR, you will see, which ones were the greatest successes and you can continue in that direction.

    But. What I'd really use here instead of the quantitative methods (or maybe combine with them) are more like the qualitative methods. Eg. you can add a quick NPS-forms at the end of the articles or just a yes/no form (did you find the article useful?). It's very easy to set up with Hotjar or anything.
    Also try to collect some more detailed feed-backs from the users. Eg. if you have a weekly Newsletter where you are promoting your contents, just write it at the end of the e-mail, that you are looking forward to hear their opinion about your article and ask them answer the email.

    If you will have these kind of feed-backs you can iterate always on your content and will understand much more your audience. Also it's interactive, also it's free. :-)

    It's not a one-night solution, probably you need to spend a few months to understand your audience and fine-tune the perfect articles for them, but it's definitely worth it!

    Cheers,
    Tomi

    ps. and don't get me wrong, if you look on my profile, you will see, that I'm really into data analysis and I suggest to use surveys in very few cases - but in this case these qualitative methods are better.

  • MB

    Marco Burgin

    over 3 years ago #

    Great content is great for the inbound, but we must be careful to create them, we must have our goal well traced and our persona well defined.

    There are four key things about big content ...

    It's a lot of work (but so is everything that's worth doing).
    It takes a ton of creativity (but there's always places to get inspired).
    It does not have to be technically "big" (but it should be evergreen).
    It's not a risk, but it's an investment.

    And remember

    A good headline sparks interest and invites readers. Consider these great statistics from Copyblogger:

    80% of people will read your headlines.
    But only 20% of those people will read the rest of your content!

    And that is why the headline is as important as the article or post itself.

    Be Accurate in Your Reporting and Sourcing of Information

    Think about this: you write an article for your company's blog, thousands of people read it, and some of what you wrote turns out to be inaccurate. Can you imagine what damage this can do to your company and your personal reputation? Keep in mind, your blog is a reflection of your company. If there are any issues with the blog, it impacts how people view your product.

    It's important that any statistic you state can be verified. Many blog posts will link to the right statistic and the source.

    Leave readers with questions. This does not mean to have an incomplete post, but rather to include questions that make readers reflect on how they can implement the knowledge you provided.
    Have an important and promising introduction. Ever wondered how quickly people make judgments about blog posts? Most people probably decide within the first few sentences if the post is worth reading. Tell users why they should care and what you'll be discussing in the blog post. Make them want to read it.

    People love stories. You can use an anecdote in your introduction or have a story woven into your blog post. Stories can also help clarify a point. Where possible, add a story to your blog post. It will make it more engaging and may also help the reader learn.

    Do not treat a blog post or any other sort of content site lightly. It's difficult, and good ones take time to research and write. Proper title, grammar, and organization are a must. When you reread your post, ask yourself:

    Are there any words I can take out?
    Have I given the readers the best information I possibly can?
    Is it complete?

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