Sometimes we can’t explain why a piece of content took off. And sometimes we can’t even tell that a post took off because its impact can’t be truly measured.
And that’s OK! Seriously. We don’t have to overanalyze everything. But it’s OK to review metrics and continue to figure out new ways of measuring impact and influence.
I’m a huge advocate of measuring content performance and engagement. It can help us figure out what content the majority of our community (aka audience) reads.
But it doesn’t measure true impact. We can have one reader and the blog post or other piece of content had a life-changing impact (let’s hope it was positive) on them. Publishing the post was totally worth it.
Other posts might have a huge amount of page views but all visitors were just fly-by readers who barely scanned the opening paragraph. But, yay, we got a gazillion views.
I use metrics to see trends.
- Is traffic continuing to go up over time?
- Is the number of email subscribers growing?
- What social media networks send the most traffic? Do I need to engage more on one or the other?
- What are the most popular posts? Do I see a trend?
Looking for trends with most popular posts is super helpful. I look at them as their own pieces but also take them as a group to see what stands out.
For this blog, for example, I found that posts with personal stories tied to authentic storytelling are the most popular.
Other popular posts are ones where I offer an opinion that’s not necessarily mainstream but close enough that many can identify with it as common sense.
Since I know those things I try to shape content around those two areas whenever possible. When it’s not possible, I won’t necessarily let that stop me from publishing a new post.
And then there are offline metrics: People tell me offline how they appreciated one post or another. Sometimes those posts didn’t drive in the top traffic numbers.
That’s OK. I use metrics to guide what pieces of my stories to share. Sometimes the results are immediately measurable and sometimes they aren’t.
Either way, I’ll continue sharing stories that I hope are relevant to my readers.