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Let Google Analytics Tell You What To Write About

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Bloggers and content marketers get writer’s block.  Unfortunately, we’re only human.

Luckily, if you mine Google Analytics, inspiration is right around the corner.

We know a few things.  These are cornerstones of writing for an audience:

  1. We want to write about things people are searching for and interested in
  2. We want to write about things people like to share (create some advocacy)
  3. We want to write something fresh

Market research you say?  We already have that at more than a cursory level.

Keyword Reports

This is the obvious one.  Pull up your search keyword reports (ignore and grit your teeth at the [not provided]), and look for keywords that may have brought some long-tail traffic.

differences between google and bing

According to this, one of the engines think I already have some relevance for “the difference between Google and Bing”.  Now I’m inspired.  I don’t really have an article like this, so maybe I can spend some time thinking about what my fresh take on this would be.  Let me look around the web and read a few articles that already exist for inspiration.  Keeping in mind I don’t want to copy the wheel, maybe I have a take, or can update an outdated take.

Some questions I may ask myself:

  1. Am I writing a piece as an SEO landing page or more of a digital PR?
  2. What are the queries I can rank for?  (Keyword research time!)
  3. Who is my audience?  What do I know they like since I want them to be inspired to share?
  4. Is this a news or evergreen piece?
  5. What is the tone of the piece?  Fun?  Corporate?

Social  Referrals

In May I blogged about Google Analytics new social reporting features.  If you haven’t gotten into these reports, check them out (or read my post).  I find myself in here a lot. How do you know what people are interested in?  They’ll tell you by sharing and clicking.

Below is a snapshot of Twitter visits (click to enlarge):

twitter traffic

I did a blog post about about lessons learned through unfollowing people on Twitter. SEOmoz picked it up in their Top 10 and drove a ton of traffic, which is a sign right there that people seem to be interested in Twitter topics.  On days where the SEOmoz influence wasn’t directly present, I was able to click around in this report to see that it was tweeted 40 times since its posting.  More inspiration that people liked the topic, right?  Well, maybe – though Twitter sent it 187 visits, it had a low Average Visit Duration.  I dont know about you, but I can’t read an article in 36 seconds.  Something about this article didn’t appeal to most of the people who read it through a Twitter link.

However, a more recent article called Search Marketing Content vs Digital PR didn’t get the share-heat that the Twitter article did, but it’s average visit time was over 3 minutes. I’m inspired – I have some more perspectives on search content writing.

Bonus: Other great tools outside of GA include Social Crawlytics, or see what notable influencers like at Topsy.

Time On Site

Mentioned above, I use time on site as an indicator that someone is actually reading my stuff.  As a writer, that’s my goal (as well as funneling them through conversions).  By clicking Content > Site Content > All Pages, you can sort by visits and duration.

Time On Site

This is based on all traffic.  With this view there’s a little more redemption for my Twitter article.  The Average Time On Page is up.  I don’t segment my different digital channels, but if I did and wrote for one channel only, this would be useful.  Audiences of different channels have different habits based on the medium they used to find you – it’s always fascinating to me, especially how different it can be in eCommerce.

That’s All Folks

Nice and easy, and tends to give me enough inspiration to kick off a brainstorming session and fill my editorial calendar (which I do hope you’re using).   I leave mine in Google Drive or Evernote so I can quickly pull it up, jot a couple of ideas down, and save for when I’m ready to write an actual post.