Blogging or now most commonly known as storytelling still remains a grey area for many brands. Are you actively blogging currently? Either for your brand or the company you work for? The value proposition aspect of storytelling still has a long way to come. Even though storytelling is no longer considered to be a new digital marketing strategy. Did you notice how I referred to blogging as storytelling?
Everyone has a story to tell. Brands and consumers equally. Majority of outcomes in different scenarios are predicated upon stories. Purchasing a product is contingent upon the story it carries behind it. Buying a service is contingent upon the story it upholds. As a consumer you are inclined upon taking an action on a product or service because of its story and significance to you.
In 2016 blogging is no more but instead storytelling triumphs. If you are still referring to this tactic as blogging than you might be running behind on the times. Relevance and significance will play a factorial role in 2016.
- How often should you story tell?
- What type of content should you publish?
- Is there a specific length that each of my articles should be?
- Are there any specific topics that I should be focusing on more heavily?
- How will I know if my content has merit?
All of the above questions are preconceived notions that marketers have implanted in their heads. Equally the same for companies who are still living in the Content 101 world.
Story Tell as Often as Needed
There is no predefined pattern for storytelling. Not one that dictates a particular frequency in composing content anyway. Think about it this way. If you have something meaningful and worthwhile to share with your target audience than most definitely consider composing a story behind it. Remove yourself from the mindset of thinking that there is a certain frequency intact that you should adhere to on regular basis. In the earlier days of content marketing and also in relation to SEO frequency posed some merit in storytelling endeavors.
From an SEO perspective the frequency of storytelling does indeed matter. Simply due to the recency of content generation and in the way that it coincides with SERPs. In other words, dynamic content is more favorable by search engine crawlers and can play a significant role on inbound traffic potential. Blogging as frequently as possible for SEO improvements might be a viable strategy for some brands. However, I would strongly recommend that you story tell as often as deemed necessary. The All Pages section under Behavior – Site Content located in Google Analytics can be a great resource for identification of specific content interest.
What Type of Content Should You Story Tell Around?
This is probably one of the most common dilemmas with brands these days. “Well, what are we going to BLOG about?”, “How will we know if anyone is even paying attention to our content?”. The saying, “If you build it, they will come” in some retrospect actually has some merit in this situation. If you push out content that is relevant to your target audience than it will most definitely catch their attention. It is important to keep in mind that maintaining user interest serves of critical importance in the success of your storytelling.
The ‘Behavior – Site Content – All Pages‘ section in Google Analytic can be extremely beneficial to you. Particular when in pursuit of identifying new content ideas to story tell around.
Why is this section helpful? Take a closer look of the screenshot above. In actuality it outlines the relative URLs of pages within my blog. Using such information from your website or blog can help you pinpoint the specific topics that your visitors are interested in. From a user engagement perspective it can help attribute to stronger user retention due to continued interest. If you continue to give your visitors the type of content they resonated with than they will most likely be making a return trip to your website.
Also, it is imperative to note that the substance of content serves of utmost importance. Focusing on substance or quality over quantity will most likely aways win. Put forth a valiant effort in the determination of your content substance prior to deployment in the stratosphere.
Debunking Articles Length and Span
In the earlier days of content marketing and storytelling many were led to believe that a certain prerequisite of article length was sufficient. For instance, writing a 300-500 word blog post article might have generated fairly decent exposure and interest for you in the past. That is no longer true though. Shorter articles simply won’t cut it anymore in the world of story telling. According to an independent study longer content tends to spark higher engagement and user interest. Especially since the launch of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm back in 2013.
Ever since the algorithm introduction it has been determined that longer stories tend to be far more interesting. They can also attribute to development of higher SEO rankings in the SERPs. Largely due to the fact that longer stories provide more value and insight to end users. Something that Google particularly pays strong attention to in ensuring that they meet the needs of its users.
Having said the above you can still establish a benchmark of story length if necessary to help you with future storytelling endeavors. Any article that boasts 600-800 or more words can be classified as a good piece of valuable insight. Now do keep in mind that pairing good story length with great substance yields major winning.
What Topics Should You Be Storytelling Around?
There are a lot of different ways you can identify specific topics and interests to storytell around. Obviously keep in mind the fact that these topics and interests should be in relation to your specific target audience. First, find out what your particular readers are more interested in. Second, explore resources such as Google Trends to identify the current trends and patterns around a specific topic. This is actually one of my favorite tools to perform broad research.
Google Analytics offers an alternative way to capture raw search queries. These are the terms and phrases and individuals have searched for including those that have generated the highest volume. You must have your Google Search Console connected to the Google Analytics account in order to extract these search queries. The Access Search Console Data in Google Analytics support article offers great insight on how to accomplish this endeavor.
Other resource tools such as Buzzsumo and Bottlenose are also quite beneficial in identifying new content potential. Paid tools always have a competitive advantage over the freebies. You can extract only so much information out of a freebie tool
Track, Measure, & Analyze Your Content
In order to gauge interest around your stories it is imperative to track, measure, and analyze it. There are a couple of different ways you can accomplish this. Typically with the assistance of Google Analytics of course as a handy helper. For instance, here is a hypothetical scenario to explore on how you can track the performance of your stories.
- After you have published your story, set a benchmark to measure against. Say, 14 days from the time it went live.
- Use the ‘Behavior – Site Content’ section inside Google Analytics to dig in deeper on performance of individual stories.
- Leverage the filter options by putting in the relative url to your story that you would like to track.
- Perform the last 2 steps over the course of a 14 day period.
Creating custom reports inside Google Analytics may also be beneficial to assist with your tracking endeavors. It is something I would strongly recommend especially if you are looking to get serious with your storytelling initiatives.
Do you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions for this article? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.