Too many businesses are not utilising their blog the way that they should be. Blog posts can be one of the most effective ways of gaining traffic, links, a social following and a expert reputation in your field.
Follow our 4 practical ways to write more engaging blog posts to find out which of your blog posts are the most engaging and most successful in order to learn from your successes and mistakes.
The best place to start is : what’s working well – Which of your blog posts are already engaging?
Finding out what you are already doing well will allow you to analyse your successes and recognise trends in them too. This will help you to recreate that success and test new ideas to see how they perform.
How do I find out which posts are best so I can write more engaging blog posts?
First you need to decide what you mean by ‘engaging’. You may have a specific goal – to particularly become more prevalent on Twitter or Facebook, or maybe your aims are more broad. If you aims are broader, which I see no harm in at all, in fact I would recommend this, then you may find analysing the following attributes helpful:
1: Your most shared content (Social Media)
My favourite tool for this is BuzzSumo (don’t worry, it’s free!). Just enter your domain and ‘Go!’. Here you can organise by total shares or the following social networks:
As a basic guide to using BuzzSumo for this purpose, the following steps below will lead you in the right direction:
– Enter your domain and ‘Go!’
– In the right hand options change your date to ‘Past 6 months’
– Now click ‘Total shares’
Here you’ll have a list of your blog posts that are, on the whole, the most successful. I’ve used B2B Marketing as an example.
The top five we have are as follows:
Rather embarrassingly, you can see I have double checked the fifth post to make sure it’s the one I was included in when I was named one of B2B Marketing’s Rising Stars of 2014. Let’s move on.
Of the 45 listed articles or posts found, these are the top five for overall shares. Of course, I would recommend looking through more of your top five but for brevity this will do. From these five we can some popular themes that have worked well for them:
– Social-orientated content – Social Media Landscape, LinkedIn
– Awards (Rising Stars)
– Ten best/reasons/ways… (looking through the list, this is a reoccurring format)
We can also sort by specific social networks. For example the top five performing posts on LinkedIn were:
By doing this you can compare your success on different platforms and target your content accordingly. For example, above you can see, rather unsurprisingly, that interesting content focused on LinkedIn out-performed every other piece of content on that platform. This does not necessarily transfer across platforms, however, as ‘Ten reasons why people follow brands on Twitter’ was the 12th most popular post in terms of Twitter engagement but with 8th for total engagement. In fact, if you dig a little deeper the ‘Ten reasons why people follow brands on Twitter’ performed the worst on Twitter with a higher number of shares on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+.
2: Your most read blog posts (Traffic)
Understanding how your blog posts perform socially is one thing but it cannot measure how many people are actually visiting your website and reading your content. To gain a bit more of an understanding of this log into your Google Analytics account. If you’re comparing with BuzzSumo, it may be beneficial to also set your date range to 6 months.
Here you will be able to view your most visited content. It’s important to remember that this will be from all sources, but it will give you a rough idea of what content is working for you traffic-wise. If you click through to a specific post you can add a second dimension of Source (in Acquisition) to find where your traffic is coming from for each of these posts, or play around in your Acquisition area. It is important to remember that referral data is not always as accurate as we would like it to be, just take a look at Groupon’s Experiment.
3: Your most clicked content (Email Marketing)
To find your most engaging blog posts you could also take a look at your email marketing. If you regularly send around a newsletter with your latest blog posts in, why not find which posts are performing well?
Your email marketing software should be able to give you the number of clicks of each link in a campaign. Work through some of your most recent newsletters – which topics are consistently performing well and which are consistently the least clicked. This will help you to tailor your content to your audience.
The behaviour of your newsletter readers is likely to differ from your Twitter Followers. I am not suggesting that you multiply your content efforts by five to reach each of your audiences with optimum content, as for most this would be unattainable. I am recommending understanding your audience, if you have a certain story or event that you particularly want to reach your newsletter readers then you will be better equipped to appeal to them and make sure that they do click through. If your newsletter readers are your priority then you should potentially change your content to appeal to them more, if Facebook isn’t a priority for you but all of your posts are performing better on Facebook than anywhere else then, again, you may need to change your strategy. Find what is working well in the places you want it to and take it on board and work on making your content appeal to the right people in the right places.
4: Your most referenced blog posts (Links)
Lastly, we can take a look at your best performing blog posts in terms of links. Links to your blog posts are a clear sign that they are useful and being used. Links are great for exposure, reputation, gaining traffic and of course links from high quality and relevant places will help build the authority of your website in the eyes of the search engines.
We will take a quick visit back to B2B Marketing for this.
To find your best performing pages or blog posts in terms of links, make your way to Open Site Explorer (again, this is free too) – you get 3 opportunities to use this per day for free, so use them wisely!
– Enter your domain
– Navigate to the ‘Top Pages’ section
– Sort by “Linking Root Domains” – You may have to be able to export to CSV to be able to do this.
You will now have a list of your most linked-to pages. For B2B Marketing, for example the following blog posts and resources are the top 5 linked-to resources are:
Social Media Benchmarking Report 2013 (March & April)
25 Stats Marketers should know about video
Demand Generation: The Consumerism of B2B Marketing
B2B Leaders Report
Customer Insight: Customer Experience Management
These are very different to the shared content. A lot more long-form content, more in-depth reports which show expert insight. Long-form content can be valuable, as we can see above, to learn more about what it is and why you may need it, check out one of my previous blog posts about long-form content. Again, you will want a mixture of different types of content to appeal to these different goals. By prioritising you can focus on creating great content for a particular goal first. These actionable tips can help you understand what you are doing well and what you can improve upon – most importantly, they can give you a place to start when thinking of your next blog post!
Last little tip: Try all of these (apart from Analytics) for your competitors too!
How do you analyse what blog posts are working for you? Let us know in the comments below!