Write for readers, not for traffic

Published on
by Brafton Editorial
Metrics are great for guiding a content marketing strategy, but sometimes the words themselves are the most important factor.

Hi, Alex Butzbach here with this week’s Content & Coffee. Any good content marketer should be aware of certain metrics – traffic, bounce rate and other indications of how many people are visiting your website. Yet with all the data available to us, we still sometimes need to step back and think about what we’re writing. Otherwise, we tend to let the numbers dictate the stories. Click play to watch the full video, or read the transcript below. 

The American Journalism Review made an interesting discovery this month: Some websites don’t let their writers see how much traffic their articles are getting. And these aren’t just independent blogs or small news vendors – one of the leaders of this movement is The Verge, an influential tech and media site.

At first blush, this might seem like a huge mistake. How can editors and strategists let their writers fly blind? Well, there’s actually some method in their madness.

If you’re writing just for readership, traffic is one of the most important metrics to shoot for and study. And knowing how many people look at certain posts and stories will help you figure out what your best content is.

But it’s worth remembering that good content marketing campaigns aren’t all about getting the most hits or soliciting thousands of Likes. If none of the people looking at your website are going to make a purchase or get in touch for more information, were the extra pageviews worth it?

On the other hand, if you’re just trying to write the best possible content that sparks the most engagement – as The Verge seems to be doing – there’s a better chance that your traffic is being driven by qualified leads. These people are more interested in your company to begin with and could ultimately grow your business.

So what should you be doing? There’s no question you should be checking metrics and using them to drive your campaigns. But you also shouldn’t make them the single-minded focus of your entire web marketing strategy.

Got content marketing questions? Leave them in the comments section below or Tweet them @brafton.

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  • http://timothyhughesuk.wordpress.com/ Timothy Hughes

    Good article, had a debate recently with somebody about this. The article needs to be interesting and so people want more …..

  • Alex Butzbach

    Thanks, Timothy — it’s always fascinating to see how writing without thinking about metrics can actually improve the metrics. And you’re right: spurring conversation is always the best route to take.