As you publish more blog posts and content throughout social media on a wide variety of subjects that are relevant to your business, how do you know which content is performing better or worse? How can you take that engagement data and feed it back into your publishing infrastructure to create more or less content about what types of content that are relevant to your company, and in doing so generating higher and higher ROI for whatever metric you are tracking?
In this episode I introduce a quarterly content audit which I just started doing which gives you specific instructions of how to do this with your own content using my own blog as a case study. You'll learn about the concept of content buckets that I introduced back in 2013 in my Maximize Your Social book and how to apply that in PDCA style with a data-driven approach which allows you to further optimize your marketing with every (quarterly) iteration!
Episodes mentioned in the show:
137: How To Optimize Your Blog Posts For Higher Search Rankings And Stay Ahead Of The Competition
[01:06] The Notion of Regular
[04:20] Why You Need to Categorize Your Content
[05:58] My Process of Categorizing and Analyzing the Performance of My Content
[08:34] Guest Blogger Application
[09:03] The Process of Audit
[12:08] Performing Keyword Search
[15:17] Google Analytics
[15:42] My Formula of Analyzing My Content Performance
[16:10] The Metrics I Am Looking At When Auditing
[21:00] How the Process of Audit Helped Me
Reference Links for Neal Schaffer:
My Website: https://nealschaffer.com/
Learn more about this podcast: https://nealschaffer.com/maximize-your-social-influence-podcast/
The Age of Influence Free Preview: https://nealschaffer.com/age-of-influence-preview
How do you know? What content? In what format? On what social network? Should you be publishing less or more of what content gets more or less engagement? Stay tuned, because for the first time ever, I'm going to introduce to you my system. Hey, everybody, Neal Schaffer, welcome to the maximize your social influence podcast. Hope you're having an awesome day. This is my first solo upset of q4, I'm really happy to finally get some closure, not to say that I'm done with the book, because I'm still talking a lot about the age of influence. And if you haven't bought it, you owe it to yourself to purchase a copy. As soon as you finish listening, oh, you know what, just put a pause on the podcast and buy a copy. I'm just joking. But anyway, as they move on to my next book, and really, you know, sharing content with you, not just about influencer marketing, obviously. But this concept of Digital Influence and how it applies to everything you do in digital and social media marketing. So today, I'm going to be talking about and I mentioned this briefly, I think, in previous podcast, of the notion of a regular audit, or process. And before I do this, and it's going to be about content, I think you're going to get a lot out of this because I I shared this on someone else's podcast today. And I think it feedback was good. I think it has a lot of value. So before we get to that, for those of you that don't know me, every once in a while, I'd like to introduce myself, because with every episode, I seem to get some new users. So my name is Neal Schaffer. I am a digital and social media marketing, author, consultant, college educator, I teach executives at two universities. And I work with a lot of companies as primarily as a consultant. And in fact, I'd say since Coronavirus, I've been working with more and more companies as a fractional CMO or outsource CMO or, you know, fractional marketing resource. And what this means is that companies big and small, that want to tap into my expertise bring me in house, where I work together with their team. This is all done virtually now with Coronavirus. And it helped them with a variety of marketing initiatives, whether they're a startup, whether they want to start a new channel, whether they want to completely revamp what they're doing, maybe they want to get a separate set of eyes. Maybe they want their employees to be trained, whatever it is, I help from a one to eight hour a week basis. And I just want to let you know, I know a lot of you listen and may be thinking Hmm, how can y'all help our business? That is what I do. And if that is something where you think you want a little bit of extra help, you want to bring in an extra pair of hands, and you want to tap into my expertise, I would love to hear from you. Like I said one eight hours a week, my minimum contract term is three months. But I think even for one hour a week for three months, we can get a lot done for not a lot of investment. Alright, that's my pitch for today. Let's move on to the content. Now, let me first talk about what prompted me to create the system that I'm going to talk about now. Now my situation is very, very unique. But I publish a lot of content, right? I have podcast episodes, I have blog content, I have social media content, I probably publish I don't know 10 or 20 times on Twitter alone. So and that's per day, obviously. So my needs might be a little bit different than your needs. But this is specifically in reference to my blog. So my blog, I talk about categorizing content, I think if you can put your content into different content buckets, a concept I talked about way back in 2013, and maximize your social. But really, the notion of having an Instagram grid, and defining every nine posts or every six posts or every three posts or every other post, what the design is gonna look like what the subject matter is going to be. It's the same as blog categories. It's the same as having different category cues in your buffer, or Agora Pulse or whatever, Hootsuite whatever social media tool you use. But it really comes down to no matter what business you are, you have various products or services, you have various demographics, various needs various solutions. And you can organize your content into these different buckets, these different categories of content. For some it might be based on your product, others demographics, whatever it is, there is way to categorize your content, and use that as a way to stay consistent. So the example I give, and I teach this at Rutgers business school, we have this whole sort of workshop based around this where we take a 15 minute break and I have all the students go through the exercise, you know, I am a landscape company. And right now, half of my sales come from residential, right for people that actually hire my company to do landscape work. Or maybe they buy, you know, landscape equipment or maybe they buy trees for me, and the other half is commercial. So these are like office buildings industrial complexes. So right now sales are half and half my marketing strategy that was dictating that consumer demand is booming, we get higher, higher average value per order, even though the or higher profit per order whatever, right? For whatever reason, the marketing strategy dictates that over the next year, we want to double our residential sales. And we want to keep our commercial sales and we want to increase them. But we want to have a double of residential sales of our landscaping services. What this means now is a year from now, if things go right, if we have $100, or $100 million of sales into that residential and 100, and commercial, but we want to do is we want to have a $300 million company where 200 million is residential, 100 million is commercial, and there for two thirds of our content should be geared towards residential and 1/3. towards commercial, the content should be aligned with your marketing strategy with your products and services. And then within the residential. I mean, there's obviously a lot of different topics we can talk about. There's soft scape, there's hard scape, within the soft scape, there's trees, there's flowers, there's evergreens is perennials and you get the point, you can slice and dice this until you have this very intricate collection of content buckets, which then defines how frequently you publish what type of content. And what happens when you begin with this process is over the course of time, if you go back, you're going to realize that some categories performed better on some networks than others. On Instagram, it's probably going to be all about the residential, maybe on LinkedIn, it's the Commercial Content, that 1/3 of commercial content that generates 90% of the traffic right on the blog, it's hard to say go either way. But when you have that data, you now begin to have a data driven content strategy, because you can base your future editorial calendar off of those content categories that are converting well for whatever KPI you use to determine if it's web traffic is an inquiry as an actual sale, we can now begin to see what content is driving what traffic which leads to what business, right. So this is part of a process, and I'm going to be begin doing on a quarterly basis. And right now, it's the beginning of q4, which is why I bring this up. So let me tell you what I did. Just to give you an idea of the thought process. Now this is my formula. You don't have to, you know, copy it. But I'm hoping that by doing this, it's going to give you some ideas, this is especially applicable. If you have a lot of blog posts under your belt. I have more than 400 blog posts. I at one point on Neal schaffer.com had like 1600 blog posts, right. And I already talked about I'm forgetting the episode number. I'm going to talk about that. I'll put it in the show notes. But I already did an episode where I went through why I weeded out and started pruning that content on my website. And I will urge you if you're interested in that process, to listen to that podcast episode. But basically, on my website, I have maybe 19 content categories. Now, the content as you can imagine, it covers social and digital and social media marketing. But the content, I'd say I have 11 main categories. These are things like blogging, content marketing, email marketing, and then things like, you know, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter. So for each one of these, what I did first was and what prompted me to do this, not just the fact that I want to do a quarterly audit, I want to be able to do my own experimentation to see if I double the frequency at which I publish on LinkedIn. Will that double the traffic? Will that triple the traffic? Or will there be no gain in traffic? Right? I want to be able to manipulate my own content publication, just like I want to drink my own medicine because this is what I'm recommending my clients. So it all began with a guest blogger application. Now I take guest bloggers on Neal schaffer.com. And several years ago when I had the website, maximize social business, a lot of just organic bloggers and thought leaders reached out to me, and they wanted to blog. I had Jen Herman, who is one of the world's leading Instagram experts, iPad, Fitzpatrick, another obvious, you know, Instagram Pinterest visual marketing expert, Mark trap Hagen, who at the time might have been the premier expert on Google Plus, he's still, you know, one of the handful of top SEO experts in the country in the world, I should say. So I've had a number of amazing Rebekah Radice a number of amazing thought leaders to blog for me. But you know, more and more recently, there's a lot of people who are in a blog as part of the influencer marketing aspect of trying to get a backlink back to their blog, and a lot of people who aren't really experts, but will get money if they can get a link back to their clients website for my blog. And I think if you know what I'm talking about, you're nodding your head. This is actually the subject of another podcast episode, which I know I've been promising you all about backlink creation, and that's we're going to talk about that later. But I'm glad to bring it up in this episode. So I had someone else reach out to me and he said, Neal, I want to blog in your site. I'll do I'm going to follow all your recommendations. I know it's not a one night stand. I will commit to blogging every other month for a year, which is the requirement I have. And I also asked what do you An expert in and show me the links that show that you're an expert in that subject. Right? So it's like I want to do content marketing. Now, a lot of these people that I don't really know, but their content is decent 10 To request to be in that content marketing category. And what I've realized is that my own blog, I have been strategically, you know, my own contents, my strategic content, my own content allows me to, obviously sculpt the balance between content on my website, which then hopefully, scopes my authority with Google by showing that I'm expert, obviously, in the subjects that I tend to blog a lot about. That's Google's like, Okay, now you have a lot more about influencer marketing, you're now on our radar as an expert in influencer marketing, because of all the content you've published in the subject. And obviously, my blog started off as primarily LinkedIn. So that's changed over time. But what's interesting is that even though I've been pruning my site, and I now put I do that as part of a monthly process, when you listen to an episode that I'm gonna share with you, in the show notes, when I looked at my ratio today, I realized that the number one category of published content, more than any other category was content marketing, right? And when I looked at the number of bloggers I have that cover that now I have bloggers that cover things like blogging, Instagram marketing, influencer, marketing, etc, etc. But no one. I don't have nearly as many bloggers as I do that cover this general concept of content marketing, seven different bloggers, you can imagine over time, that's a lot of content. And, you know, even though I'm trying to obviously push my influencer marketing content, I'm blogging every week on it, there's still way more content about content marketing, right? Now, what's also interesting is every content category is also going to be very, very different in terms of its competition. There are a lot, a lot of websites that blog about content and content marketing, they are content, marketing experts, they are content marketing agencies, there are content marketing, tools, companies, right. So the first thing I looked at was okay, I have a lot of people who blog about content marketing. When I go into you know that I use sem rush, they are my preferred tool, but you should use a ranking tool to see where you rank on Google for those keywords that are strategic to your company. And every blog post has a target keyword that I put in Yoast SEO, and that determines, you know, the keyword based on keyword research in SEM rush, target keyword in Yoast SEO, optimized around that keyword. And then I put that keyword as part of a monthly task. I go into all the past month blog posts, and I put that keyword in SEM rush. And so okay, we targeted this keyword, we created SEO optimized content around this keyword, how are we performing? So stick with me? Okay, so now, I go in on my sem rush, I'm tagging each of these keywords according to the category content on my blog. So in SEM rush, I have for the keywords, I basically have them tagged the same category. So I go into the content marketing category and go, Okay, I want to rank in the top 100 For every keyword on every blog post. That is my goal. Guess what, I'm almost halfway there, actually. So out of you know, 400 plus blog posts, I'm getting better and better, I've hopefully I'm building more authority, but there's a heck of a lot of competition. And I talk about, you know, on a podcast on YouTube, it's a lot easier for content creators to compete with brands, because so few brands, get it and do it. But a blog is something that brands can become more influential, they just have more resources to pour into buying content, buying SEO services, and what have you. I'm digressing a little bit here. But of those blog posts that I have in content marketing, I noticed that of those keywords, I'm targeting very few rank in the top 100. Now I have I'd say that maybe 20% of those keywords ranking the top meaning it's the 8020 rule working against the 80% Don't even rank, I look at other categories, where two thirds of the keywords for that category rank in the top 100 That to me is really good. So I'm already getting a feeling that you know, for some reason, content marketing isn't working a lot of competition. Maybe the content is I know that I have some excellent writers on my my website, but for whatever reason, it's not generating the engagement. It's not generating the views. All of my content shared equally in social media. But for whatever reason, Google is not taking a liking to it. I think it's it's competition is a lot of it. So then I look into not only how many keywords in the top 100 But SEMrush gives me a visibility KPI So if every one of those keywords for that category ranked number one on Google, I would get a 100% KPI or or or visibility index ranking. If I don't rank on any of them I'd get 0% for content marketing It was the way it wasn't the lowest, okay, it was under 1%, were my highest category, I am over 4%. And if you have branded content, like you know name of your company name your product, you're probably going to be between 50 and 100%. Right? So it's okay, having a low percentage, it's on par with a lot of my competitors. So then what I did was I went into Google Analytics. And whenever I create a URL, I include the target keyword as part of the URL, which allows me to go in. And if I use Google Tag Manager, I can do the same thing. But it allows me to go into Google Analytics, and look at all my traffic from over the course of a year, and do a search by those keywords by the category names, and see how much traffic I generate from each of those categories. So that is sort of my background work that I did number of posts per category, number of posts in that category that ranked in the top 100. According to sem rush, according to Google, my visibility index ratio, which is automatically calculated in SEM, Rush per category, and then the amount of traffic that that category has sent, or has delivered or has brought over the course of the year. So then I take it one step further. So now I said, Okay, what is the percentage of posts that rank in the top 100. So as I said, for content marketing, it was 21.6%, it was by far the lowest, my highest was 93%, which is awesome, right? And I want to get to 100%, obviously. So that's very low. I then obviously, that visibility index becomes another metric. That's metric number two. Metric number three was okay, out of the entire website traffic, what percent Am I getting from each one of these categories? My highest category, which actually, I published, the second least number of posts came from a highest second, the category where I publish, the second least number post actually generated the most traffic over other categories that I published 234 5x times on. So that's another metric. And even though I published the most on content marketing, it was not in my top five, or even six, I think I got a let me see here, I got a number eight ranking out of 11, in terms of how much traffic generated then I took it one step further. And I looked at how much traffic per post year to date, did a single blog posts from a single category generate. So now I have four metrics for KPIs right, beginning with percentage of content appearing in the top 100 search results, this gives me an indication that I'm going to continue to get long term traffic from search engines, not as the number one source of traffic for my site as this for many sites, I then get that visibility index of the visibility index is going up, it means that over time, I should continue to get a lot of traffic, if it's very low, it's going to be harder to work my way up to get more traffic, I then looked at well, those are search engine KPIs, then I looked at actual KPIs in terms of the percentage of traffic, so it's comparing to other categories, and then the traffic per post per category, I then took these four metrics, I rank each of these from one to 11. And lo and behold, I had eight categories that performed decent, well, from really great to average. And I had three really underperforming categories. Now two of these underperforming categories, one is very strategic, so I'm going to keep doing it. And I'm going to revise posts, and revise their datestamp. And over there strategically important that I want to keep doing them. So that doesn't faze me, another one. I never had a lot of content and category. And I currently don't have a lot, I currently don't have a blog or the blogs about it. And it's not something I blog a lot about either. So I can accept that. But the other one was content marketing. So this led me to go back to my website to my blogger application page, and say, I am no longer interested in people blogging about content marketing, I have enough, let's have other content categories have the same amount of content and content as content marketing has. And let's see how they perform. And for some of these high performing categories, boy, Google's telling me that I have a lot of authority in them, I got to create more content around them. So this is where we bring this all together. And imagine this is my first quarter doing this. I'm going to do this every quarter from now on and this is going to dictate my content strategy for the following quarter. Now, this is just my blog. So this is going in for me the content that I should be creating more out of especially because, you know, my strategic focus last six months, as you know, has been influencer marketing with the age of influence. But at a certain point in time, I'm going to have all the library of content that I need for that category. Sure, I'll be spending more time revising. But when I want to look at another category to conquer, I'm going to use these KPIs to give me guidance. And I think that's going to add to increase website traffic over time for every new blog post that I publish. So that's how we use the process the audit the data driven approach to our content strategy now, I only looked at website traffic. If you are ecommerce or if you track leads coming from your website, you can absolutely use a different KPI you can add I mean website traffic is one KPI. You can add conversion amount, you could add average average sale per order, you can add average inquiry proposed average email subscription proposed for me right now, it's just website traffic, because my business is mainly b2b, not b2c. And it's about quality, not quantity. But I want to expose my content to as many people as I can, and therefore, traffic for you, it might be different. So whatever metric it is, I believe that's a system that will give you a really, really good feel. I was trying to enunciate that, that I wasn't like dying here. My throat is still here. But it gives you a really, really good feel as to what content you should be publishing more of less of how you should pivot, you only get here until you have a minimum number of content. You know, if you only have five blog posts published, you don't have enough data to support this. So I know it may not be appropriate to everybody. But hopefully the next piece of advice will be appropriate to everybody. Because now we can replicate this in any given social network. And now I have someone doing this for my Twitter, right? So if I publish, how do we, how do we approach social media with the same concept? Well, last 90 days, if I publish, say, 20 tweets a day, that's 600 tweets a month, that's 1800 tweets over the last 90 days. So I'm going to go to Twitter analytics, I'm going to download that sheet. Usually I categorize content, I share on Twitter, by hashtag. So all the hashtag for blogging for email marketing, I also have my podcast episodes, some have hashtag, some don't, I have, you know, my age of Influence Graphics that I publish to, you know, keep the word out about my book. So the categories here, some might be podcast, some might be book, but the others are going to be based on this same nomenclature of categories. I can be doing the same thing here. Just to make it easier from a data perspective, I might take the top 50 And the bottom 50. Right, or, you know, the top 100, bottom 100, or maybe those that got no likes or clicks? Is there a trend in them? If I do a breakdown by category? What do I see? Is there one category that is laying the biggest, you know, goose eggs or zeros? For any one of those metrics? I'm tracking? What categories are those coming from? On the other hand? Where am I getting successes, what are the categories, where I get the highest, you know, link clicks per hour, per tweet, or what have you. And if I was to do this for all 1800 tweets, it would be more statistically accurate. But if you don't want to go that far into the into the woods, or you know, into the weeds, you don't need to, we can start with just the top 50, bottom 50, top 10, you know, however many you want to do, the more you do, the more statistically accurate is going to be but this should then give you a feel, as to hmm, you know, I'm publishing more on this category than any others. It's just not performing. Maybe I should just not share anything from this category anymore. Maybe I should tweet less. Maybe I should tweet more. If all of my tweets are getting a one, at least one link, click, that's amazing. Why don't I try to tweet more? And see if I can, if I tweeted 25% More in q4, is that going to generate 25% more website traffic or less, and how's it going to affect the different categories. So when you have that mindset, when you have the process when you do the audit, and obviously you have to have the content and be active on social media for this to work, you can begin to craft a really, really great data driven system to optimize your content for whatever metrics you want to follow. And, you know, I didn't read about this somewhere. This is just something that to me, just made a lot of sense. I sometimes I'll read blog posts, and listen to podcasts. It's like why, why does no one ever mentioned this stuff. So if this is the first time you're hearing to join joining the club, but I wanted to share with you, you know, part of this podcast is as you know, this is where I share my best content. This is where before I blog, or even speak, it comes out in this weekly podcast. So I always want to give you something special that hopefully you can't find anywhere else. I want you to come along with me on my journey. I want to help you become a better marketer become a better business person, become a better entrepreneur. So I hope you enjoyed this episode of the maximize your social influence podcast. Once again, if you just need a helping hand, you don't have a lot of budget, but you'd love to tap into my expertise. I'd love to help you feel free to reach out to me. All my contact information will be in the show notes. i As always really appreciate all those subscriptions, and all those reviews that you might have left for me on Apple podcasts or wherever you might be listening to this podcast. And I really hope that you'll subscribe because next week is going to be a great interview with a gentleman named Philip Van Dusen who is going to talk all about the power of networking and mastermind, especially during the Coronavirus. He is a branding guru, also an amazing content creator. He he has it all. He has the trifecta, the blog, the YouTube, the podcasts he started, I believe he'll tell talk about it, but he's achieved his biggest influence on YouTube. I think you're really going to enjoy that episode. So make sure that you hit that subscribe button. And once again, if you did enjoy the podcast, I'd be honored by your review. Wherever you listen to it, it really does count. It really does matter. It really does help expose this podcast to other people. So that's it for another episode of maximize your social influence podcast, wherever you are in the world. Make it a great virtual social day everybody. Bye bye. And saya nada.