There’s a thrill inherent in Marco Polo that Hide & Seek can’t give you. In Marco Polo, you start completely blind and alone. Your targets are somewhere out there, but since you have no information about them, you may as well be floating alone in the middle of the ocean. But the moment you sound out your targets, you get a full picture. You’re moving through the dark, but you know exactly where your targets are.
Blogging is a bit like Marco Polo. You can generate content like mad, but there’s no way of knowing if the articles are hitting anywhere near your target audience. Do your posts help generate leads, or are you investing time and resources into a vain activity?
Google Analytics Isn’t the Answer
To measure a blog’s effectiveness, most people go to Google Analytics. They track metrics like visitors per month, bounce rate, return visits, and sources. But none of these metrics tells you whether or not your blog is generating leads.
You can get a fuller picture of your blog’s effectiveness, but you’ll need to set up a full array of web analytics to do it. Be prepared to invest a lot of time and effort into that.
But if you’ve got a Professional or Enterprise HubSpot account, there’s a simple way to tell which blog posts are generating leads.
HubSpot’s Blog Lead Generation report lets you see all the blog posts that were ever visited by a lead before the lead converted. So you can see every post that contributed to a conversion, not just the last page. And the best part is, the HubSpot Blog Lead Gen report is easy to run.
How to Make Your Blog More Effective
1. Get the data
Every month, run a Blog Lead Analysis Report in HubSpot. This is a prebuilt report that you can edit to your needs. I like to use these settings:
- List = All Contacts
- Conversion Type = Became a Lead Date
- Date range: Rolling date of 3 months
- Source = By URL > All Interactions
This shows me all the blog posts that were ever viewed by visitors who converted as a lead in the past three months.
One of the great things about this report is once it’s set up, you never have to configure it again. Next time, just click a button and view the results. I love it!
2. Analyze the data
In the HubSpot report, look at the top five and bottom five performing blog articles and do some analysis. You can view blog posts only if you filter by your blog URL in the Search box.
You want to understand what contributed to the differences between the best and worst performing posts. So look for commonalities among the top performers that aren’t there in the worst performers (and vice versa). Record your observations.
Here’s a sampling of the kinds of things to compare:
- Similar topics
- Similar title conventions
- Similar formats
- Number of words
- Landing page links & link locations
- Embedded media
- CTAs & CTA locations
3. Optimize your content
The first two steps are like sounding out your targets in Marco Polo. Now you know the lay of the land and you’ve got a good sense of what’s working, what’s not, and why. The final step is to make adjustments.
First, find opportunities to optimize your low performers. Tweak your titles or keywords, embed a video, or change the CTA. Keep your changes small, just one or two at a time, and track the results. Keep making adjustments each time you run the Blog Lead Generation report.
Second, identify opportunities for future posts. Since you know what’s worked well in the past (and what hasn’t!), you can use that as a guide for your upcoming blog articles.
Rinse and Repeat
Run the report every month so you can continue to make small tweaks throughout the quarter. Over time, you’ll see your conversion rates increasing, even among your lowest performers. Congratulations! You’ve become one killer Marco Polo player.