Are you ready to perform the research to determine the most successful content on specific topics? If so, there are tools that can help. We’re going to look at the metrics you will want to use and tools that will help you get them quickly to find the best pieces of content in your industry.
First, let’s define the two types of metrics you can use to determine the success of any piece of content:
- Buzz metrics – The easiest to find, they are the social-sharing metrics of a piece of content.
- Impact metrics – These are a little harder to find, but tell how well the content is performing beyond social shares.
Now, let’s look at the specific metrics more closely and which ones are the most important when researching content.
Buzz metrics typically include the number of shares and “likes” on the top social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Tools like BuzzSumo can help you find these metrics easily.
If you’re interested in social visibility, finding the content in your industry that gets the most social shares may be the only thing you need. BuzzSumo lets you search by topic, domain, and even author to find the top content based on social shares.
You also can click on the View Backlinks button to find backlinks from other blog posts to a particular piece of content or the View Sharers button to see the people who have shared a particular piece of content on Twitter.
The problem with judging a piece of content’s success based on social sharing is that social shares can be easily acquired. Research has shown that people share content they haven’t read. Many people do it just to keep their social accounts active. They even automate the process using services like Hootsuite, Twitterfeed, Dlvr.it, and other social media services that allow you to automatically share anything published to an RSS feed.
Speaking of people who share content without reading it, you can buy social shares. There are services that will promote every piece of content you publish and guarantee a specific number of social shares. Through sites like Fiverr, you can buy bulk packages of shares, “likes,” comments, etc., from the top social networks.
There are networks where you can create a social-sharing group that manually or automatically shares the content published by each member of the group. There are those where you can buy “credits” to promote your content to the community members in hopes that they share it on their social networks in exchange for credits to promote their own content. There also are private blogger and marketer groups on Facebook, Skype, etc., where everyone in the group helps promote each other’s content.
And, of course, there are the valuable ways of paying for engagement, such as boosted posts on Facebook, promoted tweets on Twitter, sponsored updates on LinkedIn, and promoted pins on Pinterest.
In short, anyone can inflate the social-sharing numbers for a piece of content. With the right budget, your article can make the top of any social-sharing ranking tool. While not all content creators do this, looking at social media shares is not always a foolproof way of judging content success.
47 Essential Social Media Tools for Content Marketers
Impact metrics, unlike buzz metrics, are a little harder to manipulate, primarily because they combine several metrics beyond social shares. Tools like Impactana can help you go beyond social media metrics and into ones that help you determine how successful a piece of content really is.
Here are some metrics you can find using this tool, and why they are important to content marketing research.
First on the list of impact metrics are backlinks. Yes, you can definitely buy backlinks almost as easily as you can buy social shares. But most people will not buy backlinks for a piece of content as they would for a website home or product page.
When would backlinks not be a good metric to consider for content impact? When you are looking at domains that host content, such as YouTube, you automatically have a high impact based on the number of backlinks to the domain. The fact that YouTube has 11 billion links does not necessarily make each video on its network an impactful video.
Another great indicator of content popularity and true impact is the “views” metric. As we mentioned, you can obtain social shares from people who will never read your content. The problem with getting lots of social shares with no views is that you will not be able to achieve your primary content marketing goals (such as conversions) if people are not coming to your website to read your content.
Hence, the views metric is extremely important. You can use this metric to determine whether a piece of content is getting traffic from social shares and other referral sources.
When are views not a good metric to consider for content impact? When you are looking at content types such as YouTube videos. Because views are counted on the video page itself, some video owners turn to paid services to inflate their video views, similar to purchasing social shares.
Discussions on blogs and other types of content may not seem like a valuable metric, but they are an additional representation of content that receives traffic. People have to visit a piece of content to leave a comment on it, therefore, if you see a high number of comments, you know that people are making at least one visit (if not more) to that piece of content.