Analytics Tip: Don't Ask 'How Are We Doing?' — Ask This Question Instead (Part One)

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While many marketers turn to their content analytics to answer the oft-asked "How are we doing?" there are other, more specific questions to ask that can better help you to find opportunities and next steps in your reader data.

What follows is the first in a series of posts in which I will dig into these important analytics questions one at a time — why they matter, and how they might support business growth within your firm.

The next time you log in to measure the impact of your thought leadership and identify next steps, consider asking:

Which industries are we reaching?

Last quarter, you published a collection of posts on Opportunity Zones for the real estate sector. Or analysis of financial regulations for the emerging cannabis industry. Or ______________________

Were you read by people in that space? Or, do you find that your thought leadership gained significant, yet unexpected traction among an entirely different group of readers?

1. Asking and answering this question enables you, among other things, to consider and refine your overarching content strategy.

If you are not engaging your ideal audience, how might you reframe your publications to earn the attention of those readers? What are professionals in this target sector actually interested in right now?

Data can answer this for you. Compare your series of posts to a report of the most well-read content in that target industry and you will learn:

  • which topics readers in that space care about most right now, and
  • how writers successfully framed their insights (titles and analysis) in order to earn that larger readership.

Why does this matter?

When a practice group leader next asks "How are we doing?" your answer, driven by data, can be proactive and helpful, informing next steps. ("We're gaining traction but if you compare our titles and topics with content that is doing best in this sector right now, you will see that we need to consider...")

2. Asking and answering this question enables you, among other things, to identify cross-selling opportunities.

In recent presentations on reader data and business development, my colleague Adrian Lurssen tells the story of a marketer whose firm did, in fact, write a series of posts on Opportunity Zones for the real estate markteplace, per my above example.

She found that the thought leadership did very well with readers in the Telcom space. Instead of seeing this as a failure, the marketer saw opportunity (pun very much intended).

The firm in question served a number of regional telecommunications companies and so, informed by reader data, they began a campaign — direct email and individual attorney outreach — to let those clients know that, as a firm, they could support any Opportunity Zone needs. A simple, proactive response to reader data, with terrific results (in this case: new matters with exising clients, even though they weren't the initial, intended audience).

There are other ways such insights can inform next steps within your firm. If, as Clinton Gary says so eloquently here, one role of marketing and BD is to create meaningful facetime between attorneys and their clients, insights from your analytics can help with this.

Approach the BD team that supports a particular industry — or, approach the practice group and attorneys serving that sector. Let everyone know that readers within that space have shown themselves to be interested in Topic XYZ. Suggest three probing questions that can be asked on an upcoming call with existing clients in that space.

Meaningful facetime, indeed. Not only will clients see that you are paying attention to the broader issues within their marketplace, they may well shed even further insight into why this emerging issue matters right now. And, at the very least, writers within an entirely different practice group may have something meaningful to write about in their next thought pieces.

The best marketing and business development questions uncover more questions — and this is certainly true when approaching your reader data.

Stay tuned as I dive into other important questions to bring to your reader analytics, and how they can inform a proactive, organic, meaningful approach to your firm's thought leadership, helping everyone in the firm see how your content brings value and supports business growth.

Related: [Checklist] 20 Marketing & BD Questions to Ask When Looking at Your Reader Analytics

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Paul Ryplewski is VP of Client Services at JD Supra

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