Monitoring Your Content9
How do you know your content is working for a client? Unless you have access to their analytics you are pretty much in the dark when it comes to judging the raw performance of your work on their site. You don’t know what their site performance numbers were before you started and in order to have a good idea what effect your content is having, you have to be proactive from the beginning of the job.
In fact, before even beginning a job for someone it’s probably a good idea to do some legwork and put together a few statistics before you ever deliver your first chunk of text. There are several good reasons for this, but as a content provider you should be concerned with keeping track mainly because your purposes and those of your client are not the same and at times can be at odds with each other. For instance, if they don’t feel your content is performing to expectations and want to renegotiate rates while you’re certain it’s more than adequate, how will you settle the dispute?
Why track content on a clients’ site?
One reason for monitoring your content on a clients’ site is the simple fact that you want your content to be effective for your clients. As I mentioned in a guest post over at Rick LaPoint’s Internet Marketing blog, “A great product will make a customer feel good about their purchase. Excellent service will make them feel confident in it as well and willing to buy more, even if there was a minor setback at the beginning”.
If you want your customers to use your services on a repeated basis, your content is going to have to produce. Tracking how well your content performs for a customer allows you to not only hone your content writing skills, it allows you to put together some solid performance data you can use as part of your personal arsenal of marketing tools.
Educating clients with real data
An added plus is the ability to show customers who are not so well versed in the art of creating content just how much benefit they are receiving. Some of the biggest problems encountered by content writers are the unreasonable or naïve expectations their clients have. They read somewhere about keywords, relevancy, uniqueness and how content can propel them up through the search engine rankings, then hire a writer and expect miracles overnight. Having some real world data can help you to manage these unrealistic expectations and educate clients as to how good content really works.
So how do you track the performance of your content? It’s difficult enough doing this on your own site, so how do you keep track when the content is appearing somewhere else? The answers, fortunately, are similar whether it is your own sites’ performance or that of a clients.
Set up a performance file for every client
Along with all your other client files, create one specifically for logging performance data. Put everything you find and compile into it, then when the job is finished, use this data to put together a single cohesive record of how well your content performed for the client. This can be page rankings, keyword performance, Alexa ranking, SERPs, and anything else that indicates how the content affected the site.
Test their keywords
Before you begin creating content, your keyword research, if necessary, should include some time spent checking how well the client currently ranks for their keywords. Most of us when performing keyword research are only interested in finding the best keywords to use. With commercial copy this is often a moot point as the client already has a set of keywords in mind.
However, by taking note of how well a client is currently using their keywords, you will be able to record whether or not your work exceeds their previous efforts. Regardless of whether you are using long established keywords the client has targeted or new ones they are supplying, how well your application of them performs is critical and will be a big part of determining whether your content fails or sails.
Check their page rank
Although there is a lot of controversy over whether or not page rank is important, the general attitude is to give it a lot of consideration. Page rank is difficult to utilize from a content providers perspective because it is affected by so many factors besides content, and Google is notorious for irregular page rank updates. However, if your client projects are long term, it can be a useful way to get some sense of whether your content is providing any of the boost a client is looking for. Even for short term projects, occasionally checking on the page rank of past work may help you to improve the effectiveness of your content.
Do a back link check
Good content attracts links from other sites. While commercial copy might not inspire a lot of back-links, blog posts, articles, about pages, reviews, and even some product descriptions can attract a lot of link love when written well. You can be pretty confident that when a clients’ site receives back-links because of your content, they are going to be very pleased with your efforts. Even better, with back-links being such an important part of how a site’s authority is measured, if you can demonstrate an ability to build back-links with your content, then you have greatly improved the value of your services. A before and after picture of the back-links your clients site has generated can be a very powerful way to not only impress the client, but attract new ones as well.
Every little bit helps
These are just a few of my own ideas of how to independantly monitor the performance of your content. While they are not mandatory or even a commonplace practice among many content writers, it’s my opinion they can only help. There’s nothing to lose and you just might surprise yourself with just how effective and valuable your content is. Aside from your own site, how do you judge the effectiveness of your content?