The purpose of this document is to give an overview of digital strategy in terms of platforms to be used, metrics to be analysed and a clear set of goals to measure effectiveness and future developments.
There are a number of platforms as part of a digital strategy, including;
- Corporate website
Where some of the platforms will be used as direct lead generation and to publish content, whilst others will be part of the bigger picture of digital strategy. In this article I will be looking at blogging, Facebook and YouTube.
Each platform has a number of unique metrics as well as those that cannot be compared with other similar platforms. There are also a number of areas where each individual platform cannot be directly compared or measured against another. That is why each unique platform must be given clear and unique goals and targets that can be measure and analysed with the appropriate metrics and used to develop future goals for that individual platform.
The goal of this strategy is return of income. ROI can come in a number of different forms, all of which should be taken into consideration, measured and analysed. Lead generation and income as a direct result of the efforts of the digital strategy can be quantified, although even this is not an exact science. Measuring brand perception, status and future benefits of the digital strategy are extremely hard to quantify, but in the same respect, must not be forgotten about.
Introduction to the platforms
Each platform will be analysed and broken down into a clear strategy to plan for future developments.
The blog will be used for a number of key areas of the digital strategy. Blogging has a number of benefits that make it an essential aspect of the digital strategy. The blog as a whole has an overall benefit of creating long tail content that appeals to the precise nature of search engine queries. This content, whilst ensuring that it is of excellent quality and accuracy, will grow your reputation as a company significantly and will increase the chance of other highly respected websites linking to your content, improving page rank organically along the way.
Creating blog posts and articles is a highly speculative process. The writer can never know for certain how the blog post will be received or how well it will do in terms of key metrics like page views, unique visits or exposure. Therefore, the only way to approach blogging is to create an extremely large amount of content and see what becomes popular though chance. Creating blog articles that are well written, thought provoking and offers clear value to the reader obviously has a much better chance of gaining popularity.
When writing each individual blog post it is important to set out clear goals that can be measurable after later review. For example, writing a blog post about a product that does not try and sell the product directly but does offer a call to action to visit a specific landing page where the user can take further action if they so wish. Measuring the click through rate of this page to the specific landing page is extremely important to measure the effectiveness, plan for future blog posts and to tweak the future of the digital strategy.
Articles to be published on the blog can be broken down into a number of categories.
Publishing thought provoking articles about key issues within the industry has the benefit of ensuring the company is looked upon as a thought leader amongst peers and potential clients, increasing incoming links and exposure to the website and the company.
Help articles have the benefit of answering hypothetical problems that users might face. By producing a high number of these help articles, where it is expected that only a small percentage will have mass success, will increase the page rank, following and overall benefit of the company blog considerably.
Without being a large news corporation within an industry it is extremely hard to break news without spending a large amount of time reporting and speculating. However it is possible to add value to other reports, by researching, analysing and adding value through opinions or linking key resources together.
Collection articles have the benefit of being an extremely sticky resource. Collection articles, such as, “Top 10…” are resources that gain high traction through other social media sites and are pages that users are highly likely to return to and spend a lot of time on. They also have the benefit of being ‘viral’ where users are likely to pass on good articles to friends. It is obviously beneficial therefore, to spend time producing these articles.
Creating a blogging strategy
Creating a blogging strategy is important to ensure that a good balance of articles are written and to ensure the blog is not over powered by one type of article or forgotten about entirely.
I would propose that a timetable for Thought Leadership, Help Articles and Collections to be produced in a month by month scheme. Planning too far into the future is impossible as it is impossible to predict what will be relevant in the future.
Writing articles about Industry news is a highly speculative process and should be planned on a weekly timetable.
Where content is speculative and so producing a large amount of high quality content is extremely important it is important to produce a timetable to ensure time spent is used effectively. In the same respect it is also important to not overwhelm your followers with information overload. I would propose creating one thought leadership article, one help article, one collection article per week as a minimum. Further articles in these categories should be created on a ad-hoc basis in terms of resources and time available. Industry news articles should be produced when and where relevant and where value can be added.
Analysing a company page on Facebook is made possible through their “Insights” section. This tracks the following data.
- Post quality (The Post Quality score measures how engaging your Posts have been to Facebook users over a rolling seven-day window.)
- Interactions per post
- Total interactions
- Wall posts
- Discussion posts
- New likes
- Page views
- Unique page views
- Audio plays
- Video plays
- Photo views
These metrics show clearly how followers of your page are interacting with your page in considerable detail. By tracking these statistics over a period of time it is possible to see what kind of content can increase or decrease engagement. Again the speculative nature of ‘popular content’ will never be an exact science.
The question of how this engagement through Facebook is really benefiting the bottom line of the digital strategy must be answered by looking at Facebook as part of the bigger picture. By analysing how people are clicking though to your landing pages or blog posts from Facebook can shed a wealth of detail. If people are following you on Facebook they are also more likely to engage with your content and spend more time on your website.
The strategy that I would propose for Facebook would be based upon engagement as these are the statistics that we can measure from Insights. In order to measure the effectiveness of Facebook however, it is important to measure the total incoming links from Facebook and track key metrics such as landing page hits, times spent on pages and how the end users are navigating around the website or blog.
Proposed strategy for Facebook is as follows;
- Pushing blog content through to Facebook - An automatic process to push links to the blog content that can be directly tracked.
- Increase engagement through activity in order to track the effect on incoming links to the blog and the website. For example, ask the question, do higher levels of engagement with people on Facebook produce more incoming links with more page views, more time spent on the website, more leads and a lower bounce rate?
Again as with other forms of ‘popular content’ it is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to predict the success of any individual piece of content. Therefore creating content and then reviewing it en masse is a better way of analysing. In the case of YouTube it would be better to create a whole host of videos and then review after a period of time, adjusting the future direction of the strategy based upon the results.
YouTube have a similar analytics program as Facebook in that they provide a detailed breakdown of user engagement and data.
Examples of key metrics to measure over the course of a period of time would be, video views, subscriptions, videos and channel views. For each period of time areas of data can be broken down further. Ranging from links to your video to subscription breakdowns to reveal location based viewers.
YouTube is an excellent platform for showcasing content, creating a following and improving the overall big picture of the digital strategy. The holy grail of creating a ‘viral’ video should not overwhelm you. Allow it to happen organically, or not at all if the case maybe.
Similar to Facebook in the respect of engagement, a YouTube strategy should be loosely defined but with a strict overall goal of improving the bottom line of the digital strategy. Creating content should be something that you do as part of a timetable, perhaps dictated by your available time and resources. Creating 1-2 videos of good quality material per month would be a good place to start.
Monitoring engagement with your content is of course extremely important. Tracking the underlying effect of creating that content is perhaps the real metric that you wish to record however. Many of the benefits of YouTube and Facebook etc are qualitative however, and therefore impossible to quantify in any great detail.