How to identify evergreen content [and reuse it to gain new leads]
by Anna Kaine on 16 October 2019
There’s far more to content than just setting it live and hoping it draws leads to your business. It needs to be monitored over time, analysed and reported on. Lessons need to be learnt from what is working and what isn’t, so you don’t make the same mistakes in the future.
For many marketers, it’s surprising to learn that 20% of your time should be spent crafting helpful, educational and remarkable content, while the other 80% of your time should go on promoting, reviewing, analysing, reporting and refreshing it.
We spoke to HubSpot’s Partner Acquisition Marketing Manager, David Murray, who gave us some of his best tips for making the most of your content over time, identifying evergreen content to continue promoting.
To understand if your content is working as effectively as it could be, David recommends making sure you’re comparing the same content types – blog posts vs blog posts, and landing pages vs landing pages. If you start mixing up every piece of content inside your HubSpot portal, you’re going to get highly inaccurate and ineffective data thrown up:
“If you’re looking for impactful, evergreen content, make sure you’re focused on the same kinds of assets. It sounds obvious, but blog posts won’t have any conversions because they don’t usually have forms on them; there will be text and image CTAs that drive you to a landing page, so you can’t measure blog posts directly for conversions. Whereas landing pages will all have forms on them, so you can compare like with like in terms of submissions on those pages.”
If you start looking for patterns between for example, your landing pages – and even break it down further into landing pages for ebooks, checklists, and templates, or for different campaign topics – you’re going to get far more useful information. You might find out, for example, that far more visitors submit a form on landing pages for ebooks than for checklists, or that a huge percentage of visitors submit a form on content to do with protein powder, but not about muscle-growth exercises.
These insights are powerful, helping you not only decide which topics and formats to use when creating future content, but when deciding the kind of forms and lead conversion opportunities to put on your pages. If one type is outperforming another, it’s a sign you need to use more of that in your content.
So how do you get this information out of HubSpot in the first place? If you haven’t already, there’s a way to get information out of each piece of content you’ve created, and export it into a Google sheet, where it’s much easier to format, and play around with different settings and formulas.
You can do this by going to Reports > Analytics Tools > Traffic Analytics > Pages > and then tweaking your Date range, Frequency and Page types, according to what you want to review:
When you have selected your required settings, you can click the 'Export' button which will instantly send this data to your email address in the form of a Google sheet. You can then decide which information is obsolete and which columns you want to focus on – some manual work is required here, but the Google sheet format makes this really easy and personalised to your marketing needs.
You can now see all of your information in one place where you can hide and expand columns, reorder content according to date, percentage of submissions, percentage of views, when it was last updated, and beyond. David recommends using conditional formatting for visual aid:
“Conditional formatting helps me see what’s going on. You can rank all content from largest to smallest in terms of submission rate, so you get a very clear, granular picture of the submission rate across all your landing pages – it might be thousands of pages – but you get a very apparent, quick view of how they’re each performing.”
You can use filtering to look at comparisons such as:
By exporting the data to Google sheets, you’ll have it in a simple format which is easy to share with your team and line managers. It means you’ll all be working from one master copy and can easily update and use it to inform future campaigns.
David points out that it's not as effective just blindly reviewing everything: set yourself a threshold by which to focus on the highest performing content in your portal. If you only focus on content that is over a certain bar of views, you’ll make worthwhile considerations when choosing what to change:
“Think of a threshold under which the numbers are too small for you to make a decision about – for example, set your page views from largest to smallest and ignore anything under 1000 views. Views is a good metric to focus on rather than submissions, as submissions is a higher indicator of engagement so typically has a lower volume.”
You’ll need to set up some columns with calculated fields to help you work out, for example, submissions divided by views will give you a percentage which is your submission rate.
Some information has to be manually inputted to your Google sheet, for example if the landing page is for an ebook or checklist, or the campaign they belong to. You might also want to discard any ‘landing pages’ which are web pages built in the landing page editor in HubSpot but which don’t serve that function, such as thank you pages, interactive tools and pillar pages.
So how do you decide on a submission rate which is worth refreshing and updating? How do you decide that cutoff number? David says that for HubSpot, he won’t typically look at anything that isn’t getting at least 1000 submissions, but different businesses will work in different numbers. You can do this through conditional formatting:
When reviewing content, there is a sweet spot: the high views to high submissions pieces. These are the "holy grail" of content, the performance we’d like every piece of content to meet in an ideal world.
If content is receiving high views, as well as high submissions, it means the content isn’t just attracting a lot of attention in the first place (through email marketing, PPC, social marketing, organic search etc.) but once people consume it, they actually want to know more and give you their details, moving through the buyer’s journey:
Focus on views and submissions to work out where in this chart your content falls, and fix the problem accordingly. In particular, David recommends keeping an eye on your new contact rate vs submissions. You can do this in your Google sheet by separating your existing contacts and new ones, then taking a closer look at conversion rates on different types of content. Once you do this, David explains it’s time to act:
“If you do come across a piece of content which is getting really high submissions or views, especially if it’s on a broad topic, that’s an indication that you need to be creating more content around that subject. You’ve clearly really understood your persona, their challenges and what they’re looking for.”
Depending on where your content falls in this grid, you'll want to take different action:
High Views/Low Submissions: Optimise your page for submissions – either you don't have a form on this page, or your form isn't performing well enough. Ask yourself:
Low Views/Low Submissions: Either you're using the incorrect format, or incorrect content topic. Whatever it is, people just aren't interested in your content from the start. Ask yourself:
High Submissions/Low Views: The problem with this content is that not enough people are seeing it – when they do, they love it – but unless more traffic is driven to these pages, it won't be profitable. Ask yourself:
High Views/High Submissions (Evergreen): The ideal content that gains both high views and high submissions, shouldn't just be celebrated and forgotten about. Ask yourself:
Make sure you have two particular columns on your exported Google sheet: one which notes the date you first published the landing page, and one which records when that page was last updated. As a landing page best practice, it’s advised you revisit and update them regularly (guided by data from the page).
David says colour coding landing pages helps you to see what has been updated in the past year compared to landing pages which haven’t been revisited for longer periods of time:
“Apply conditional formatting to the publish date. If it’s before a year ago, colour code it red, and if it’s anything in the last 12 months, colour it green – there’s no point updating those. It very quickly allows you to see just how many landing pages are old and need revisiting. If they’re old but still have a high submission rate, you’ll want to re-promote them and get a new audience seeing them, as the content is clearly still valuable to visitors.”
David suggests performing these checkups on your landing pages once a year. After each review, make sure you report and present the data back to your team so they can plan which actions to take as a result of the findings. Organise your data from the start through conditional formatting, into all the different categories that will be helpful to your business. Once you’ve done that, you can start to think about what your benchmarks for key performance indicators are.
This is a chance for you to update some of the bigger content offers you have, and optimise them, by reviewing the copy or conversion points. If they’re still doing well, how and when can you promote them? Plan ahead for the next 3-6 months to see where you can fit them into your promotional calendar and make sure this content keeps working for your business – it's far more effective to do this than to keep churning out new content for the sake of it.