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:
- We want to write about things people are searching for and interested in
- We want to write about things people like to share (create some advocacy)
- We want to write something fresh
Market research you say? We already have that at more than a cursory level.
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.
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 Keeping in mind I don’t want to copy the wheel, maybe I have a take, or can update an outdated take.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:
- Am I writing a piece as an SEO landing page or more of a digital PR?
- What are the queries I can rank for? (Keyword research time!)
- Who is my audience? What do I know they like since I want them to be inspired to share?
- Is this a news or evergreen piece?
- What is the tone of the piece? Fun? Corporate?
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):
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.
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.
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.