Two Easy & Effective Ways to Maximize your Digital Content Offering

Just about every organization distributes information intended to engage visitors, whether on their website, mobile app, via TV/ radio, print, etc. With so many available media sources, now more than ever, it is true – content is king – and there really is no substitute for great content that attracts visitors and makes them stick. But achieving maximum results is not just about great content, a variety of content types is also necessary in keeping users engaged and interested in your digital offering. 
But with so many types to integrate into your content schedule, what’s the best combination of content types with which your users actually interact? To understand which types are kings and which are the lowly serfs, you’ll need to set up reporting to understand the effectiveness of each type of content but it’s not as hard as you think. I will walk you through the two simple, yet effective steps you can take today...
#1 Undergo a Content Consumption Analysis
A Content Consumption Analysis is a thorough evaluation of your current content types and how they perform – you’re, no doubt, putting out content of some sort, even if you don’t realize that some of your efforts are actually content and can be analyzed & thus, maximized! So organizing your efforts can help you figure out what content types you are currently using, and of those, which ones are under-performing and which ones are actually working.
When we set up a Content Consumption Analysis for one of our clients, we tell them to start by brainstorming a list of business questions based on their content that they would like to answer. Whenever you do an analysis, it is always good to be realistic in what you would like answered so you only look at relevant data; no need to overwhelm yourself if you know exactly what you are looking to uncover. 
Here is an example list of the most common questions:
  • What types of content drive the most traffic?
  • What percentage of our content has very low viewership?
  • What is the distribution of visits to our various content types?
  • Are there benchmarks that we can compare ourselves to?
Below is sample analysis I did to answer a question about visit distribution across content types:
As you can see, there are some clear leaders based on raw visit count and you could easily make some assumptions and act off of those. But taking it a step further, you see the ranking changes a bit when it is averaged by individual pieces within each type. For this example, articles had more quantity, boosting up their total visits but it was actually the slideshows that had the most quality when it comes to visitor interaction. It’s important to question what is being presented; a proper analysis should include multiple viewpoints of the data.
Now that you have the data, you can dig in deeper to see which individual content pieces are garnering the most interest. For healthcare sites, it may depend on the season or the news cycle as articles about Ebola or the flu may drive visits to one type over another. Using the healthcare example, if you can determine that the flu is a popular topic, then you can look to see if users prefer to read articles, watch a video about prevention, or even download an infographic about symptoms. If you notice that visitors tend to avoid text-heavy articles, then you can either invest in more visual content types or change the layout of your articles. 
Content Consumption Analysis data – where do you start?
Using this data to understand your visitors’ preference can help you get started down the right path to serving the best content on your site. I would suggest looking at high-level data first to determine what types are even worth investigating. In the analysis above, news and radio produce little activity, so it may not be worth your time to dig into top content within those categories – or even to continue investing in those types. 
One of the main selling points of conducting a content analysis (especially if you need to sell it to your boss) is that you can determine which types drain the most money and time. If producing videos takes a lot of coordination and time, but that type has not produced many results in a year, then your efforts and budget are better spent elsewhere. 
It may not just be the cost of producing the content itself, but also paying users to get there. Paid search or ad campaigns may be bringing visitors to content they may not like. Viewing content from a traffic source perspective may also help you to identify places that your team could be spending money more efficiently.
#2 Set Benchmarks
First is first, what exactly is a benchmark? Benchmarks are standards computed based on historic data, usually annually, to which you can compare your current results for a specific effort. Benchmarks allow you to see if each content type is living up to its goals or even its previous performance. Setting benchmarks can help you quickly determine the health of each content type. 
To easily create benchmarks, you can pull data for each month of the previous year and average it to set a reasonable standard. I did this for a client and they were able to quickly identify any problem areas in their content investments.
In the table above, it is clear that the Category type is performing very poorly compared to the benchmark. Overall, however, the total viewership increased so by quickly glancing at the indicators, they can easily adjust their content mix and continue with the strategy that produces results.  
You can also set up benchmarks for your goals. If there are visit or page view goals you want to set for each type based on your efforts, then you can use the same indicator visual to get a quick sense of overall content performance. 
These are two easy & effective ways you can maximize your digital offering with little effort. From here, you can continue to take small, yet impactful steps to optimize your digital content. If you are looking for help on how to run a comprehensive content analysis or what you can do to improve your results, visit our Utilization page to learn more.
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By Victoria Sawtelle
About the Author:

Victoria Sawtelle is a Senior Analyst, Team Lead at Stratigent.

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