Other Tools for Success
For the majority of this guide, the main tool I’ve been suggesting to measure and analyze your content campaign has been Google Analytics, but there are dozens of other potential choices, each of which offers an area of specialty, and some advantages and disadvantages that could make it a better option (or complementary addition) for your analysis.
Open Site Explorer
Our first stop here is Moz’s Open Site Explorer, which I made reference to earlier in this article. This tool specializes in evaluating your inbound link profile (and the profiles of your competitors, should you choose). Enter your domain and it will give you a breakdown of some key facts about your website, including your domain authority, page authority, and how many links you have pointing to your website.
There are two main takeaways here. First up is your domain authority, which is a proprietary, predictive measure of how well a site will rank in search engines. The quantity and quality of your inbound links are the factors that influence your domain authority, and this should increase over time as your website gains more (and better) inbound links. Second, you’ll use this tool to evaluate how successful your content is at generating inbound links. Input any page URL (including individual blog posts) to see what types of links it has—and from where. Combined with the knowledge you have about your content topics and promotion efforts, you should be able to draw some logical conclusions about the link-drawing power of not only your individual content, but also your campaign as a whole.
(Image Source: Moz)
- Free (mostly). If you’re only looking up information on one or two URLs, Open Site Explorer is free to use. If you want to expand beyond that, it’s reasonably priced.
- Evaluates authority. Google won’t tell you any measure of your “domain authority” or “page authority”, but this will; it’s just an estimate, granted, but it’s a solid and well-respected indicator of authority in the online marketing industry.
- Evaluates content power. When it comes to evaluating individual content in terms of its potential reach through shares and links, and allowing you to compare those metrics with those of your competitors, there aren’t any better tools.
- Allows off-site diversification. This tool can also help you probe for weak points in your off-site posting strategy by comparing your links with those of your competitors. Where are your competitors getting links that you aren’t? Can you replicate their successes? Are you relying on links from too many of the same sources? Have you diversified your efforts enough?
Sprout Social is a tool that caters to, as you might imagine, social media marketing. There’s a whole host of functions to play with here. One of its main goals is to facilitate the effective management of your social media campaign, scheduling posts in advance across a wide variety of different platforms, but where it really stands out is its ability to facilitate research and analysis.
The most important functions for your content analysis strategy are the social listening feature and the post performance feature. Through social listening, you’ll be able to put an ear to the ground and figure out what your followers are talking about—this is useful for seeing if your new topics have generated discussion, if your brand is increasing in visibility and reputation, or even just fishing for new topics in general. Social post analysis will help you learn how your syndicated pieces of content are performing on various channels.
(Image Source: Sprout Social)
- Allows social listening. Being able to tune into your audience’s conversations as they relate to your brand is a huge deal, whether you do it proactively or as a way of gauging your impact.
- Evaluates content performance. Though each platform offers analytic tools separately, here you can track your posts’ reach, click-throughs, and engagements all in one place.
ScoopIt is a platform for content curation and automation, designed to help make content marketers’ lives easier. In addition to supplying lines of research, preparation, and organization to help you execute your strategy effectively, ScoopIt also integrates with a number of platforms to help you gauge each of your pieces’ impacts on your audience. You’ll be able to look up both quantitative and qualitative factors, such as visits, shares, and even engagements and customer behaviors over time.
The platform is especially valuable because it attempts to save you that all-too-important step of taking meaningful data and turning it into something significant and actionable for your brand. It takes a look at all the different factors your content contains, how it performed, and makes suggestions for changes or future content pieces.
(Image Source: ScoopIt)
- Plan and measure a strategy in one place. Most content marketers end up scrapping together automation and efficiency services from dozens of different software platforms if for no other reason than so many platforms are available. ScoopIt helps you manage all these, plus measurement and analysis all in one place.
- Get actionable insights. It’s hard to take data and use it to form truly actionable conclusions. ScoopIt spares you the work.
- Adapt over time. ScoopIt also allows you a certain degree of customizability, giving you the freedom to adapt your strategy, approach, and analysis methods over time.
KissMetrics is another popular content analysis platform (and the brand has an amazing content strategy that’s worth checking out). Rather than focusing on the content side of things, with statistics based on reach and influence, KissMetrics differentiates itself by focusing more on your target audience. How are your audience members responding to your content? What are they doing once they get to your website? Are you addressing their needs sufficiently, or is there more you can be doing to satisfy them?
Truth be told, KissMetrics can be used for a variety of different online marketing functions, including conversion optimization and sales improvement. Its use as a content analysis tool taps only a portion of its potential, but it’s still highly valuable. With it, you’ll be able to see exactly who’s reading your content, what content they’re reading, and how they’re responding to it—in detail.
(Image Source: KissMetrics)
- Learn more about your audience. With KissMetrics, you’ll find out way more about your target audience than Google Analytics would be able to tell you. This is effective not only as an analytical tool, but as a research tool.
- Track customer behavior in detail. Furthermore, you’ll be able to learn more specifically how your customers interact with your content through features like heat maps.
Cyfe has become popular due to its universal utility; it claims to be an “all-in-one business dashboard,” collecting information from dozens of different areas to help you understand your marketing, branding, and overall online presence in one place. It offers infrastructural tools, such as time tracking and management, and plenty of widgets and customizable features so you can build out the platform to be whatever you need it to be.
From a content tracking perspective, this is advantageous mostly because you can use it to track as much or as little as you want it to. You won’t find any data points here that can’t be tracked elsewhere, and it doesn’t specialize in any one feature or function, but the convenience factor can’t be overlooked.
(Image Source: Cyfe)
- Cover anything. You can track almost any business metric you can think of using this platform, which is extraordinarily convenient.
- Customize to your liking. If you’re even moderately tech-savvy, you’ll be able to turn this platform into any kind of performance tool you need.
You’ve probably heard of Bit.ly before, but you most likely recognize it for its core functionality: serving as a link shortening tool. This feature is still as popular and as useful as ever—you can head to the site and, for free, enter any URL to get a shortened version you can then do anything you want with. It makes managing and sharing lengthy URLs much easier, and remains an important tool for content promotion and syndication.
However, most people don’t realize that Bit.ly also offers some surprisingly in-depth analytics about user behavior related to those URLs. Once you’ve created a custom URL for a page of your site, you can use that URL signature to trace things like traffic and audience type.
(Image Source: Bit.ly)
- Free (mostly). You can use Bit.ly to create shortened URLs for you, but if you want custom shortening or full access to their analytics platform, you’ll have to pay for it.
- Track custom links. The ability to create and track custom links is especially beneficial for content campaigns targeting different audience segments, or those running AB tests for visibility and growth.
The last analytics platform I’ll mention is Clicky. Clicky is a somewhat simple-looking dashboard that offers a ton of information about your website, your visitors, and your content performance. In addition to monitoring important factors like site uptime and audience composition, Clicky lets you monitor various user actions and interactions with your site, and can help you easily visualize the popularity and performance of your content.
Where Clicky specializes is the real-time projection of metrics. Google Analytics offers something similar, but Clicky can help you see how your site visitors are engaging with your material as they engage with it. It’s an especially impressive demonstration if you need to prove your campaign’s effectiveness to an outside party.
(Image Source: Clicky)
- View real-time metrics. The big unique benefit here is the ability to view site interactions in real-time.
- Use heat maps. Heat maps aren’t a default feature in most of the analytics apps I’ve mentioned so far, but they’re highly useful in evaluating user behavior and disposition.
- Monitor links. Clicky also helps you monitor your off-site content and link building campaigns, much like Open Site Explorer.
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