This piece started as a typical year-end “best of” listacle to close out another great year of NewsCred content marketing. But we published an impressive (if we do say so ourselves) 132 original articles this year on Insights, and each one met NewsCred’s exceptional quality checklist — so what’s the best metric for determining our best content of 2018?
Pageviews? Immediately rejected. We don’t put paid distribution behind all of our content, and some pieces from earlier in the year have had more chances to grow traffic. The engagement rate in NewsCred’s CMP analytics gives a more comparable metric, but engagement alone doesn’t demonstrate business results.
So in the (holiday) spirit of performance content marketing, I present to you our best-performing content of 2018 and what we learned from each piece.
Most leads generated
The Ultimate SEO Checklist for Content Marketers was our highest-converting content piece of 2018. Why? It’s a highly SEO optimized longread (from the URL to the subheads) with an accompanying gated download. We call this the “hybrid gating model” and it performs extremely well when done correctly. Notice that we placed the download CTA in the upper half of the piece, based on our content’s average scroll depth. Almost 20 percent of this piece’s traffic comes from organic search.
Key learning: There’s a lot of business value in this type of hybrid (SEO and gated) content format — we’ll definitely continue this strategy in 2019.
Most email signups
It’s no surprise that our interactive piece about the Top 50 Content Marketing Brands of 2018 was one of our most-engaging and visited pages of the year. It was also our highest receiver of organic traffic for the year: 61 percent of its views are from search. More important than traffic metrics, though, NewsCred analytics also show me this project significantly drove two high-value conversions: newsletter signups and visits to our NewsCred.com solutions page. This was also a big rock project, so we broke the findings into multiple content formats that also drove results: webinars, short-form posts, and print collateral.
Key learning: It’s not enough to create a beautiful interactive piece; when you’re investing in high-value content, make sure it’s optimized for a key action like email signups or lead capture.
Most “Visit NewsCred Solutions Page” conversions
The NewsCred Insights hub covers education, inspiration, and thought leadership for content marketers and integrated marketing organizations. Once upon a time, we didn’t talk much about our technology and solutions in our content marketing — we’ve evolved! There’s a right time and strategy to bring your brand into the conversation, without losing the educational or thought leadership value of the content. This article about 4 Common Content Marketing Problems was created in partnership with our product marketing team, and it was optimized to drive traffic directly to our Content NewsCred form.
Key learning: Content marketing should not completely avoid your brand or solutions; build a content mix where the distribution, CTA, and measurement strategies align with funnel stage and audience journeys.
Most revenue influenced
How to Create a Documented Content Strategy technically should not be closing out this best-of 2018 list. Here’s our secret: with foundational content like this, we refresh the articles and downloads every year and update the date. That way, we’re repurposing existing content and continuing to grow its organic traffic relevance. This piece ties really strongly to the core NewsCred offering, which is why it plays a clear role in revenue generation. The NewsCred analytics platform uses our integration with Marketo and Salesforce to calculate revenue influenced for our content based on closed won opportunities.
Key learning: Continue to optimize and refresh valuable pieces. This builds efficiency for your content marketing program and drives business value. Win-win!
Jesse Feldman is the Content Marketing Lead for NewsCred. Special thanks to Heather Eng for her many contributions to our best content of 2018.