Content Analytics Made Easy | Collect Feedback with Survey Tools

Content Analytics Made Easy | Collect Feedback with Survey Tools

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Content Analytics Made Easy | Collect Feedback with Survey Tools
Matt Laybourn

The Challenge of Assessing Performance with Content Analytics

As a digital marketer with 10 years of experience, I understand the frustration of trying to determine what content truly resonates with your audience.

Sitting in a dashboard, analyzing various numbers and metrics, can be incredibly boring and time-consuming. I decided to speak to other digital marketers to see if they shared the same struggle, and it turns out that many do. Here are the three main challenges we all face:

1. Using Multiple Platforms

Digital marketers today rely on a multitude of platforms, such as GA4, Search Console, Ahrefs, and SEMrush, among others. Each platform provides valuable data, but managing and analyzing all of this information can be overwhelming.

It’s tedious to navigate through different dashboards and attempt to piece together a comprehensive understanding of what content is performing best.

2. Time Constraints

Due to the aforementioned reliance on multiple platforms, digital marketers spend a significant amount of time each month content analytics data. On average, we dedicate a full day to sorting through numbers and trying to decipher what works and why.

This time-consuming process takes away from other important marketing tasks and slows down our overall productivity.

3. Relying on Guesswork

Despite our efforts to analyze data, we often find ourselves guessing the reasons behind the success of certain content pieces. While the numbers may provide indicators of what works, they don’t provide the full story.

We need insights into why certain content resonates with our audience, and that’s where traditional data falls short.

The Solution: Blending Customer Feedback and Traditional Metrics

To address these challenges, we’ve developed a new approach that blends customer feedback with traditional metrics of success, like GA4 content analytics.

By combining insights from our audience with conventional data points, we gain a deeper understanding of content performance.

Using our easy-to-create survey widgets, you can achieve four powerful outcomes:

1. Collect a Content NPS Score

The Content NPS (net promoter score is a simple rating that quickly tells you if your content is meeting the expectations of your audience.

Whether it’s traffic from SEO and a certain keyword, or a user who saw the title of your content elsewhere and wanted to find out more. Ratings range from one to five, allowing you to gauge how well your content is performing.

These widgets can be fully customised to match your brand’s aesthetics and are incredibly user-friendly.

2. Ask Custom Questions

In addition to collecting ratings, you can further validate feedback by asking custom questions tailored to your target audience.

For example, if you’re in the B2B space, you might ask respondents about their department and seniority level. If you’re targeting B2C, you can inquire about their stage in the customer journey or specific demographic information.

These custom questions enhance the quality of feedback and provide valuable context for analysis. In short – think of any data point you can’t get right now from GA4 and add it in here.

3. Understand What Works and What Doesn’t

With the feedback and ratings collected, you can gain insights into what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t. This information is invaluable for improving your content strategy.

For instance, you might discover that your blog is too long or that guide you wrote doesn’t get to the point quick enough. Armed with this knowledge, you can make informed decisions when creating future content.

4. The Best of Both Worlds

Now, here’s where it gets really exciting. We’ve combined the power of content analytics metrics from platforms like GA4 with the feedback and ratings obtained through our survey widgets.

In just a few clicks, you can access key metrics such as views, user engagement, conversion rates, and more, alongside your audience’s content ratings and feedback.

This integration allows you to quickly identify your best and worst performing content and understand the reasons behind their performance.

By leveraging both traditional metrics and customer feedback, you no longer have to rely on guesswork when assessing content performance. Our solution, Rockee offers you a comprehensive and streamlined approach to measuring content success.

Make Your Life Easier with Rockee

If you’re tired of the content performance guessing game, it’s time to embrace Rockee.

Setting up a widget and gaining insights can be done in just minutes. Get started here and unlock the full potential of your content.

Matt Laybourn - Rockee

Matt Laybourn

Matt is the founder of Rockee, who has over 10 years experience in B2B as a senior strategist in content and performance marketing, working on both agency and client side. When not obsessing over numbers, he’s out hiking with his dog or watching basketball

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    How to measure content performance using Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Rockee

    How to measure content performance using Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Rockee

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    How to measure content performance using Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Rockee
    Matt Laybourn

    Rest in peace Universal Analytics

    As of July 1st, 2023, the Google Analytics you’ve grown accustomed to over the last ten years ceased to exist. I know – on its tenth anniversary as well! That’s the official date that Universal Analytics properties will stop processing data. This data signals the start of a new era under Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

    You’ll still be able to see old Analytics reports for at least six months afterwards, but only new data will flow into GA4 properties from that date on.

    What do you need to know about GA4? 

    The biggest changes to take note of are the layouts of dashboards and changes in metrics and terminology. This is ultimately driven by a change in analytics methodology, which is a shift from session-based hit types like page hits, events hits etc to ‘event-based’.

    Simply put, all hits like ‘page-view’ are now events. If you want to get into the technical details, Google’s official documentation is here.

    Where have all my metrics gone! What does this mean for content marketers?

    One of the big things for content marketers, who love analysing content performance to get used to is the metrics. Nearly all the metrics we’ve been using for the last 10 years are going or have been replaced.

    Try not to scream. It’s going to be just fine.

    Horror scream
    It’s a good thing. Really.

    Here’s why – most of the metrics we used were flawed in one way or another. That’s because Google Analytics was never built to measure content. Look at it like this:

    • Time on page – this was always subject to users who multi-tab, leaving tabs open for a full maximum session duration. A good guide on engagement but not accurate.
    • Bounce rate – This was always misleading. For example, high can be good! Someone who visits once, reads a whole article and solves a problem might leave once they’re done. And they’ve only visited one page. This contributes to a high bounce rate as that person didn’t trigger a secondary action on your website. In short, a bad metric for content.
    • Unique page views – A massive skew on what matters, which is engagement. This is not, and never has been, a good indicator on how many people start to read your content. People browse, click, and go all over the place.

    Historically, this has been a big problem for content marketers. This data, while an interesting proxy to content performance, isn’t fit to help you measure or improve content.

    thinking and guessing
    There are no clear answers from the data. I mean, who’s making better content based on a dwell time or a bounce rate? You’d just be guessing. And that doesn’t feel like a solid foundation for creating great content.

    GA was never built to measure content. It’s time to embrace change. So long, old friend.

    Out with the old – in with the new. How to measure content using GA4.

    The metrics that matter

    Users – This is a key metric to establish ‘unique readers’ of your content. Universal Analytics used to focus on ‘total users’, whereas GA4 is focused on ‘active users’ – users who are currently engaged.

    You will see a margin of error when comparing reports, mainly as GA4 at this point does not support filters. You can find more in this Google guide.

    Average engagement time – Out with dwell time, in with user engagement. This, in essence, measures how long you’re ‘active’. That means all the time you are scrolling, moving your mouse etc.

    Even if these are lower than your existing ‘session duration’ times, don’t fret. Most people are multi-tabbing. Switching in and out of your content among other things. Bear that in mind.

    Engagement rate – This is the one that’s closest to replacing ‘bounce rate’. Engagement rate is the number of engaged sessions divided by the total number of sessions.

    An engaged session could be it one that lasts longer than 10 seconds, had a conversion event, or had two pageviews. The lower the engagement rate, the less your audience is enjoying that content.

    Unique user scrolls – If ever I was to have a favourite metric (I know – I’m great at parties), this would be it. For years, content marketers set up custom-scrolling scripts in Universal Analytics. You don’t need to do that anymore!

    In GA4, scroll depth is automatically calculated at 90% depth (you will need to turn on enhanced measurement in GA4: Admin> Data Streams> Select website/stream> Turn on enhanced measurement)

    In essence, this means someone has scrolled to the bottom of your content. They are most likely to have read the full article. This is a key metric when you compare it with users to determine how many people started and finished your content.

    Conversions – Formerly known as ‘goals’, conversions work much the same. This is where you can start attributing content to business outcomes. In GA4, you’ll need to set these up yourself, as the pre-defined metrics are very app centric.

    We’d recommend you set up goals that relate to events that really matter. We’re talking form-fills, chatbot engagement or key CTAs to your platform sign-up page (if you’re SaaS of course). Linking content to impact has never been easier.

    Larry ok

    Combining GA4 and Rockee Insight data

    Here’s the fun bit (ok, we’re biased). Now it’s time to understand the ‘why’ behind the analytics, when measuring content performance. Once you’ve set Rockee up on your website (read our how-to guides here), you’ll see people leaving ratings and feedback in your Rockee dashboard.

    The unique logic-based questions Rockee uses will quickly allow you to understand user sentiment towards your content. Have you helped solve a problem, was something missing, what could you do better?

    In short, it’ll help you make sense of the numbers with feedback from the people who matter most – your audience.

    Improved content optimisation

    With GA4 and Rockee, you’ve now got all the tools and insights you need to improve your content.

    Where to start?

    High-volume content

    Which assets get the biggest audience? Your big SEO winners are your priorities. Getting under the skin of how that content performs can unlock bigger lead driving opportunities.

    Combine the high volume unique user page visits from GA4 and Rockee feedback scores to understand how you can improve the content on these pages.

    Pro tip: Use the Rockee audience identifier questions to measure whether high performing keywords are bringing in relevant target audience traffic.

    Low-performing content

    Which content gets the lowest rating and what does the feedback say? This is where users aren’t getting what they need from your content.

    Too much detail? Not enough detail? Hard to understand? Too simplistic?

    These are the kind of things your audience can tell you. All you need to do is listen, learn and iterate to improve your content quickly. As we say, the only bad feedback is no feedback.

    High performing content

    On the flipside, where are people getting what they need from your content – enjoying it even?

    You’ve got high engagement rates, lots of unique user scrolls and great Rockee ratings – there’s something going down with this content! Look at the feedback and use it to repeat what you’re doing well in other pieces.

    More than helpful content

    The GA4 update will take some getting used to. But crucially, we’re moving to more meaningful metrics and data to help us understand what effective content looks like. This is vital as Google is placing ever more emphasis on ‘good’ content – as well know from the Helpful Content Update.

    So, before we start thinking about creating more content, let’s focus on making better content.

    Be on the side of quality, not just quantity.

    Matt Laybourn - Rockee

    Matt Laybourn

    Matt is the founder of Rockee, who has over 10 years experience in B2B as a senior strategist in content and performance marketing, working on both agency and client side. When not obsessing over numbers, he’s out hiking with his dog or watching basketball

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      Introducing The Sausage Factory – A Content Marketing Podcast

      Introducing The Sausage Factory – A Content Marketing Podcast

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      Introducing The Sausage Factory – A Content Marketing Podcast
      Matt Laybourn


      Content marketing has taken over. We’re at saturation point with AI making content creation and distribution easier than ever. The battle for attention is on, and most content out there, in truth… is crap.

      In our first episode we introduce the guys behind the mics, Matt & Mark. We lay out the plan for the podcast series, what we want to achieve, why Matt built Rockee and some inane talk about our favourite sausages, you don’t want to miss out.

      What’s the answer? We need a renewed focus on what ‘good content’ looks like. On this podcast, we try to get the best of both worlds. We discuss strategy, content trends, and talk to guests to explore what ‘good content’ looks like to modern marketers.

      What’s in the first show?

      – We say hello! Meet our hosts Matt and Mark.

      – The blend – what are the biggest problems we see in content marketing right now?

      – Are you (and are we!) contributing to the crap?

      – Matt’s bangers – homage to our favourite content

      – Sausage of death – the Room 101 equivalent of crap content

      – What’s coming up for the rest of the series

      Sausage Factory, episode one with Matt Laybourn, founder of Rockee and Mark Willis, Creative Director at Oliver Wyman.

      Listen to us anywhere using any one of the many podcasting apps or directories here

      A warm welcome

      Matt: Welcome to the Sausage Factory. This is our regular look at the world of content marketing. So, we are going be celebrating the good and shining a light on what could be better with the single aim of encouraging the world to make better content. So, some introductions for you. I’m Matt Laybourn.

      I’m a performance marketer and founder of Rockee, the content feedback platform.

      Mark: And I’m Mark Willis, creative director and copywriter, and the person to blame for what you keep calling the over-indexing of sausage in this whole project.

      Matt: So together we will be grinding the good, bad, and unidentifiable into 20-minute content sausages for you every single month. So, what’s coming up?

      We’ll be interviewing a very important content marketer, and then we’re going to introduce you to a couple of our regular features.

      Feedback will obviously be welcome on, how good they are, of course. the first one is where we celebrate a true content marketing classic in Matt’s buyers. And the second is the complete opposite, where we’re going to be introducing you to something called the sausage of death where we review the perhaps not so good in the world of content and we’ll try and dive into why that may be. But before we get into all that good stuff, here’s a short message from our sponsor.

      The Sausage Factory is brought to you by Rockee, the content feedback platform. Rockee will allow you to take the guesswork out of content performance with feedback from the people who matter most, and that is your audience. So, find out what works and what doesn’t, and start making amazing content with.

      Time to meet the first guest, but first a quick quiz.

      Mark: we better go back to the factory then.

      Obviously, we’re in an imaginary sausage factory, so we’ve grinded all our ingredients and now we’re going to blend them together. And that’s the part of the show where we talk to, an exciting special guest, a content marketing luminary or celebrity.

      But this is the first podcast, and not because we couldn’t find anybody else, but because it’s the first one, you are in the chair. So, we’re going to interview you, find out, a little bit more about you, what this whole sausage factory thing is.

      But before we get to that, we’ve got the very important business of, a little sausage quiz. Super important stuff first. I might rattle through these. Make it quick fire. Favourite sausage.

      Matt: Chorizo,

      Mark: Favourite sausage-based dish.

      Matt: probably Chorizo and paella.

      Mark: Nice.

      And preferred meat percentage.

      Matt: I have no idea. I just, I’ve never read of my meat percentages.

      Mark: Not a meat connoisseur,

      Matt: No, not ironically. As someone hosting a show that apparently is sausage based, I, uh, I don’t, don’t know that much about the sausage itself,

      What is the Sausage Factory? 

      Mark: Okay. So let, let’s not get into meat percentages then. And, you know, we’ve done the input, we’ve got the important stuff out of the way. And talked about sausages. I guess that’s probably, a segue. What’s the deal with the sausage factory?

      Matt: It’s a title that, I think reflects. Like my frustration or collective frustration, there’s lots of people that feel this frustration with content marketing, particularly in b2b. It just feels really timely now because ChatGPT is obviously taking over and, and all, you know, you go on LinkedIn and Twitter and it’s just endless guides as to how to constantly create more and more content.

      So, you look at kind of these trends where like the adoption of the, the market and content marketing was probably what, 15 years ago. And it feels like we are really hitting the peak of this. Like, okay, everyone’s doing it, not everyone’s doing it very well. There’s lots of just bad content out there and we just love making more and more of it.

      Cause it feels like that’s the thing, that’s the process that we’re supposed to go through. And I just feel like there’s a bit of it that’s lost its way. People make content to tick a box. The purpose of content is to influence people. It’s to tell a story. It’s to, it’s to set a narrative.

      It’s to, to genuinely be thought leaders and not just use that as a throwaway term. Like content is there to influence and, drive engagement, and a lot of content is driven by the wrong behaviours now. So, like an obsession with like keyword ranking, an obsession with trying to, I don’t know, soup up social media engagement by like giving it a kind of a click bait headline.

      Like seven reasons why you should Listen to me Talk about X. It’s just a lot of crap that’s seeped in, in amongst everything else. Where’s your head with it?

      Mark: Well, it’s funny that you kind of got to the word crap because, I think it’s probably come up for about, it’s probably 10 years since, one of our content marketing heroes, Doug Kessler, kind of made these predictions about the crap and content marketing and, kind of identified lots of these problems a long time ago.

      And I guess the reason. Kind of talking about them now is that they’ve, grown exponentially. And it, it is as simple, isn’t it, as that, that quality versus quantity debate. We are so focused on churning stuff out that we don’t think about whether it works, whether it’s useful to the audience, and you know, whether we should be doing it in the first, place.

      Maybe that’s time to, you know, your experience of content marketing. Give us a little bit of your journey. Where did you start out and get involved in content marketing?

      Matt: Yeah, so I’m not a creative person, which is, must be really reassuring to the audience to hear that on a content marketing podcast. But I’m not a creative person. I don’t think I’ve got a creative bone in my body, which, which is great. But like, I’m, I’m kind of fascinated by, what things work, what makes things work?

      What’s effective, what’s good? What does like good performance look like? How does, how does the asset or the content drive behaviour? And then how do we go to measure that onward journey and how does it influence the business? you know, boring spreadsheet analytics type thing. So, like my background is, in performance marketing.

      So traditionally digital media, like SEO, play search, social, stuff like that. But I’ve always kind of, I started to kind of get this fascination between the different kind of variance of how things work on different channels. Like what drives higher engagement, what drives higher recall. And then, for web-based content and what’s driving the most traffic, what’s driving the best engagement on that content and then what’s driving leads and, and conversions and things like that. So, I look at it from a very analytical kind of black and white view, but I really want to learn from the people who can spin up a narrative drive story.

      And then what’s this perfect blend? Like, does it exist for example, like, I don’t know what it is, but what’s this perfect blend? You know, good measurement and understanding of how it influences people. And then driving that back into a process where we can use that to make even better content, we could be more effective. So that’s kind of my angle coming at it.

      What are the top three problems in content marketing?

      Mark: Yeah, so. based on your experience, if I was to kind of ask you to summarise the, the top three kind of most common problems that you’ve encountered with content marketing, putting you on the spot, what would you say those three would be?

      Matt: Number one, the biggest, the biggest problem we’ve got is endless production. Like we’re now in a hyper hyper-growth phase of endless production where people are going to go wild about ChatGPT writing.

      Blogs, articles, and it can do it well, don’t get me wrong, but we are just, we are adding to the noise. So how do you stand out when you’ve got a market that’s just going to get absolutely swamped in the next 18 months? It’s going to, it’s going to be crazy. So, we don’t quite know what’s going to happen. So endless production is one thing. A lot of single use content coming out of there. I’ll probably come back to this, but there’s something interesting in how much we make and then it might only get read by one or two people.

      Again, you could argue in ABM, oh that was brilliant because it was read by the right person.

      Fine if you can prove that. But there’s a lot of content that might not ever be read by, but we made it anyway. So that’s the first one. The second one is poor experience. I think that’s a really fascinating one is because we, we just love making it, but then sometimes we drive it to poor like webpages, like just the layout and UX and structure of stuff that has a huge influence on engagement.

      B2B obviously is obsessed with lead generation as well. So sometimes when you go on a website and you start reading something that could be interesting, it’s a pop-up game. Do you, do you want to, do you want to download the eBook now? Do you want to fill in your details? Do you want to join our newsletter?

      Why haven’t you joined the newsletter yet? And it’s just like, okay, you need to chill out B2B and let me read the content and stop ruining my experience. So that’s probably the second one. And the third one is obviously for me is, is measurement. And it goes back to that single use piece is constantly making it, pushing it out there.

      And we sort of sit back and go, okay, what? You know, what’s the impact? And we don’t know when so many organisations simply are not set up to understand how effective their content is. It’s just constantly, what channels is it on? What should be the role of that channel? What should be the role of that content?

      What engagement are you trying to drive? How are you measuring it? What tools are you using? And like, what is your process to take that data and do something meaningful and interesting with it and not just look at a number and go 12 times, three minutes? Is that good? Don’t know, doesn’t mean anything on its own as a, as a silo thing.

      So, there’s, there’s three things there. Production, experience, and measurement. are the problems. Well, and like when from a creative you, you are, you are the creative head in the room. Mark, what do you see?

      The story behind the start-up, what is Rockee?

      Mark: well probably one that kind of probably ties into all the things that you’ve talked about, but the first one that always comes to mind for me and is that most content is, worst content anyway, is about the creator. Telling the audience something they want to tell them, whereas it should be, and good content marketers know and do this, it should be thinking about what the audience needs first.

      So that’s the thing that, content marketers don’t do enough. Put yourself in the shoes of the audience. What’s going to be useful and helpful to them. And then you’ll have a good piece of content if you work to that, brief. Putting yourself in the shoes of the audience is one I’d add to that.

      Obviously, we don’t want this whole thing to become an advertorial for Rockee based on, what I just said. You know, we, we, we want this to be, uh, to be useful to somebody out  there. But tell us a little bit about Rockee and where it’s going and, and how it can be useful for content marketing.

      Matt: It is grown out of the problems that we’re talking about. But primarily the first problem, it, it started as a journey where I was trying to understand how we could improve customer experience by building trust in content.

      There’s, there’s lots of interesting data out there now, like the buyer journey now is more complicated than ever it be to be like, there’s something crazy, like 20, 30 touchpoints that people go on across different channels and one of the things that’s suffering is vendor creative content.

      Because vendor creative content has just been used as a lead gen thing. It’s like, oh, how can I just drive as many conversions as possible of a gated eBook or a download, X or Y that I possibly can? And Rockee started as a way of trying to build trust in those types of things.

      So, our initial hypothesis was if we can get people to leave ratings and reviews of that content, we could use it as a trust signal when people land on those pages to increase engagement and conversion which felt like a good starting point cause we’re helping improve customer experience. But it’s not the bigger problem.

      The bigger problem was very much around marketers, don’t know what good content is. So, like the, the quote that came back from every single person we spoke to when we’re trying to validate the platform was now, I look at analytics, I look at, I don’t know, CRM, marketing automation data. And I look at the numbers and then I. guess I just guess I have a hunch what the numbers tell me.

      A high dwell time or a low bounce rate, and I guess how things have performed. If you are guessing how well content is performed, is that a great brief for your creative team? We’re like, this blog was good. We think because people stayed on the page for a long time, it’s just kind of nonsense.

      So, like we’ve got a problem as marketers in understanding what effective looks like there is a lot that numbers can tell us. There is a missing piece. There is the why behind the numbers. What, why is that number interesting? And the only way we can do that is by getting feedback and by getting a qualitative, accompaniment It made it sound like a little dinner there, little accompaniment.

      If we could get something from the reader, which is actually, yeah, this was a really, this was helpful. This was a helpful piece of content, but it was missing, A source, I don’t know what your references were, or you need to show examples of how this is put into practice. That’s incredibly valuable for creative teams and for SEO teams to go, we need to just adapt, optimise the content and we starting to get a feel about what works and what doesn’t.

      And that’s kind of where Rockee’s started to get to. That was a long answer to a very short question,

      That’s what the journey looks like now. So, it’s early stages, but we’re just, yeah, we’re trying to kind of figure out what that perfect qual and quant blend looks like.

      Mark: Yeah. And it does take us into, like an important subject, which is feedback. And obviously we believe in the power of feedback and in doing this, we’ve said all the way along that we won’t know if it’s any good until we get some feedback from. The audience if there is one. Like when we talk about feedback and content marketing, what makes good feedback and what’s kind of not good feedback in, in your opinion, you know, what can you work with, what’s helpful?

      Matt: Yeah, I don’t think there has to be a, necessarily a complicated process, but feedback must give you, Input and insight from people who are experts in that space or on that topic, to help kind of validate what you’re doing. So not, not every content writer is necessarily a full-time expert in the thing they’re doing.

      If you’re writing about cloud infrastructure or IOT or something like, very difficult for that person to know they’re on the right lines or not, and I think it’s vital that. In the kind of process to start creating that content. They get feedback from that expert to just kind of validate the narrative, the direction, the, the, the data, whatever it may be, just to make sure things are right.

      And I also see there’s another role at the end, of the process where, the audience, uh, are giving feedback as well. Like, this was helpful, this helped me solve a problem. This answered my question. Um, and you’ve got this nice little loop that starts to emerge, which is, well actually I’m, this is a good way of driving a very quality, quality. Kind of narrative throughout the content process and like, I curious, like from a creative perspective, like how, I don’t know enough about this. Like how do you, how do you see it?

      Mark: Well, just picking up on something you said, because you were talking about getting feedback at the start of the, the process there as well, aren’t you? So, a lot of the time in the creation process potentially people get feedback on the work at the, the wrong time. Like that expert feedback that you are.

      About that would be useful. You know, on a, on a brief or at the start as input in, at the start. So that the person creating the content, if they’re not an expert in that area, can create something that we think is in the ballpark. And then as you’re saying, you need the validation of the person that it’s supposed to be helping.

      So, our hypothesis would be based on what this expert told us that we need to talk about, that this is going to work for them, but then there might be something that we’ve completely overlooked.

      Just from a personal perspective, that’s always going to be the most useful feedback, is probably the negative, in that, something constructive that says, do you know what this, this article, this video, this blog, whatever, was fine. (6 great reasons not to find out what people think of your content)

      But you skirted over the main issue, and you went into more detail on this thing that I’m not particularly interested in, or the, the language was far too. Technical or not technical enough. And getting that from, the audience, allows you to create something, ideally, change that piece of content, make it better iterate, but it gives you and your team, some lessons for the next time. You create something.

      Matt: Do you think there’s like a problem sometimes in the process at the beginning where internally at organizations, obviously there’s always lots of cooks, lots of chefs involved in, in the mix. What’s the best way for, a writer to kind of validate. Good feedback from bad feedback.

      What should a look to do to try and to try and make sure they’re getting the right information?

      Mark: I think the first thing, going back to that point about putting yourself in the audience’s shoes is the way that lots of content comes about is of often the wrong way. Somebody thinks something is important and it’s important to them, so they decide they’re going to create a piece of content about it.

      We want, as I said before, we want to tell people this thing, and it’s always got to be done through the lens of, well, the person you are targeting do, are they interested in that? Do they need to find out more about that thing? as I said earlier on, good content marketers are a lot better at doing that.

      The research that goes. Now where you can, I forget what the site is, it asks the public or whatever. You can see the questions that people are asking. And if you are, you know, creating content to meet an audience need, that’s the best thing that you can do in the beginning. Obviously, that sometimes comes with conversations to steer people away for who might have different agendas.

      So, get it. Again, all comes back to thinking of the audience.

      Matt: Cool. That makes sense.

      Are we contributing to the crap?

      Mark: I guess just kind of building from that, you know, we’re, we are making content as well, we’re making the sausage factory and, are we contributing to the crap, I guess is the question that’s probably been going through both of our heads and probably still is,

      Matt: yeah. It’s, it’s a slight, slightly terrifying prospect sitting in, in your house with a little microphone and going, I’m now a, I’m now making a. Quite possibly to answer your question that this. Contributing to that noise., but that’s kind of the, I don’t know, the transparency that we kind of want to do things.

      It’s like this, podcast, and what I, you know, we’re trying to do with Rocky is, is all about, oh, how can we start to separate. The good from the bad, like makes it sound like a superhero movie, but it really isn’t. How can we start to understand what effective looks like and, and what learnings can we take from it?

      The goal of this podcast as well is to start doing that in terms of getting people involved, getting guest contributors who have their view. On what, makes good content, what is effective, and kind of continuing to try and find this mix of what’s the perfect blend of data, insights, analytics, and kind of creative freedom to go and make those things.

      And then, and then how do we, how do we continually fight the robots at the same time and in our, and our new AI content war? Or how do we work with them? Are they our friend’s friend or fa? That’s kind of. Where we are going with it.

      In the, the kind of the theme of all this feedback is everything like getting validation from, the reader, the listener, the viewer, whatever it may be. I think that’s still the strongest thing. Numbers can only tell us so much, but the audience can tell us a lot more.

      Mark: Yeah. And I guess, you know, our hypothesis was that there are other people out there who feel the same way about content marketing who want to create good content. So, if we, created, A series that explored, that, shared those things, then that might be useful to them. And as you say, we might get feedback on it to say, first, stop talking about sausages.

      It’s just annoying. But also, do you know what, you’re not going into enough depth about this or you’re spending too much time on that, but as you said, will take that feedback on board and try and, develop the. To meet whatever that feedback brings up.

      Matt: That that is a direct call out to the listener. So, if any of these features are absolutely bomb and you hate. Please tell us uh, and then we can keep a tally chart of who created the future, whether it was me or Mark, and then apportion blame appropriately to whoever that piece of work. I think that’s the best way of doing it, isn’t it?

      That’s probably not best advice.

      Mark: this is just your way of getting rid of the, the sausage, uh, analogy, isn’t it? Let the audience decide. Play Roman Emperor and, kill the sausage.

      Celebrating the best of content – Matt’s Bangers

      Matt: So, there we have it. Some shameless self-promotion with that little rocky advert. So, what’s that sound? It’s the sound of Matt Bangers. So, this is the positive bit. Despite what we’ve told you, that it is all cynical marketing bollocks.

      That’s not necessarily the case. There are people out there who make amazing content day in, day out that have had a huge influence. We want to celebrate those people, their work and, and what it’s doing as well for their audiences. Uh, cause at some point we are all the audience for someone’s content marketing.

      So, this is a segment where we want to kind of celebrate those bits and pieces. Also like if, you have something that you’ve seen, you’ve read, you’ve heard, whatever it may be, please send it in. We’d love to hear your contributions to a piece of content that has really influenced you, or you just loved how it was delivered and, and what it stood for.

      We really want to celebrate those examples. So, this week we are going to start off, with a classic banger. Um, and Mark talk, talk us through it. What have you found?

      Mark: this is a true content marketing classic, and most people will be familiar with this. It’s the, the Michelin guide (read the history of the guide here). So originally that was a guide to motoring, had loads of. Car type stuff in there. And it was designed to get more people on the road. I think it came out in about 1900, probably about 3000 cars or so in France at the time.

      Michigan obviously wants people to get out on the road, use their tires, and that’s where it started this guy to motoring. And now it’s kind of the definitive, guide to the quality of, restaurants, and. This goes back to what we were saying works on the very simple premise of finding something that’s going to be useful to the audience.

      People read the guides, they get out and about use their cars, that creates more need for tires, and when they need a tire, what brand comes to mind? Well, it’s the Michelin one because it’s. Famous across the world because of this guide. So obviously that’s kind of evolved over the years. It started out free.

      Now they charge people for it, which shows you know, how good the, the content is. and it is one of the most famous and most quoted kind of pieces of content marketing and the origins of content marketing, along with, the Furrow, which is the John Deere Tractor magazine. which does a similar thing but is more farmy.

      A celebration, a three-star Matt Banger, for the Michelin Guide. But as you said, like we just wanted to get the ball rolling. So, we’ve used like an obvious one. But this section every week, we want to be celebrating a piece of content that somebody in the audience, has found helpful!

      Matt: It’s hopefully that, more of a reward than it sounds. I’d never heard that story until you told me that, like probably two or three years ago. And I was like, I never joined the dots together on that.

      But I just love how that does so many different jobs for that brand where it’s like, it’s, it’s like a, a weird measure of quality as well that you could link back to tires and it’s just like, how is. How did they manage that? It feels like classic ad man, an ad woman type stuff, where they’ve really joined together lots of different dots. So yeah, I love that.

      Mark: Yeah, I mean even the stars in Michelin stars were originally kind of tied to journeys, so I think one star was like a worth stopping for, and then, I can’t remember what number two was, but three stars was worth making a special trip to go and see. That’s obviously the, the positive. The kind of celebration of, of great content marketing with a classic.

      Obviously, we are more at home with, cynical nonsense.

      Meet the Sausage of Death, the room 101 of content marketing

      Our final feature is sausage of death. So might need a little bit of explanation. It turns out that the Danish slang for something that’s boring is Dodens polse- I’m probably pronouncing that, completely wrong, which translates roughly as sausage of death.

      So that’s going to be our nice uplifting way of kind of finishing the show. We kind of award one in Interminably. Piece of content or ineffective piece of content, the Dodens Polse title. I think originally this section was going to be called eBook of the week or, something like that.

      So, you can, you can kind of see where we’re going with it, you know, you get to award this week, the inaugural sausage of death, Matt, so what have you gone?

      Matt: This is a real honour. I’m truly excited about this. I don’t want to like lamb blast, like the actual team that necessarily created this, but this is an example of just kind of a re, I don’t know, just like a slightly lazy. Bit of marketing. I love looking up bits of data and research and statistics and stuff to kind of help validate a point or to, you know, just check home, write on a benchmark or something like that.

      So quite often, like I’ll look up something like the state of, because I want to get the state of a thing. So, I looked up this state of digital, this absolute state of digital marketing. 2022. You should have seen it compared the state of digital marketing 2019.

      There’s a big difference. But the state of digital 2022, and I found this article which was behind a gated page and there’s a whole, I could do a whole podcast of our gated content because I’m sure you can tell. But it said, you know, you get, get all the latest stats and things like that. Okay. That, that sounds great. In this infographic, I’m like, So I’ve got to fill out a gate.

      Now I’ve got to give you my contact information for an infographic. And I was like, maybe they’ve got it wrong, maybe they’ve got it wrong.

      It’s not really an infographic. So, I put in my fake name into the into the thing. Because I didn’t want to give them my real name. Because please don’t ring me!

      I gave them a fake name. I can’t remember what it was. I think I was like, I called myself like Danny Rust or something from Danny Rust Industries and then put an American phone number.

      Danny, if there’s someone out there called Danny Rust, I apologize. But I downloaded it, and it literally was an infographic with eight stats. Just eight different stats. You could probably find this if you Googled state of official marketing 2022, it was just a bunch of stats, no one had bothered writing up what the stats meant. There was no narrative between any of these facts and figures. I didn’t really understand what the point of this report was or in any way how it was linked to the organization.

      Can’t even remember what they do. I can drop a link into this without enabling them directly. So, if anyone wants to know who they are, I can send you this content. But it’s just the worst example of like just making content for the sake of making content. And there’s no way anyone who’s downloaded this, there’s no way they’ve gone on to buy anything or be influenced by this org.

      I can’t tell you the name of the. I have no idea what they stand for. I, I don’t know why I’ve got this rat information. I the best bit at the bottom of this content. It was a call to action. Call the sales team. What, what am I going to call them for? Hi. Just read the stats. That’s some belt was in there. 76% of the people use mobile now over Oh.

      What, just absolute nonsense. And that probably put Danny Rust, whatever I called him in a nurture now for the next six months where he is going to get infographics, white papers, and eBooks from, this organization. Just do better. And this is feedback. This is what feedback is for is like they literally, this serves no purpose just. To do better. So that was, that was quite an aggressive, sausage of death or alternatively the worst first.

      Mark: Like, yes, let us know. Wurst first or sausage of death.

      Probably a reminder for us to get going on that state of content marketing infographic that, we need to get out to everybody.

      Matt: Yeah, go on to the senior leadership team. Really want that out there now. so that kind of wraps us up. So hopefully you’ve enjoyed this inaugural episode of, of the Sausage Factory. We’ve obviously had some fun trying to put it together and, and seeing what you think.

      Let’s wrap this sausage up, let’s get it packed up and put it back onto the shelves. What we’re going to hopefully do in future episodes as well is started to continually dissect what we think truly great content looks like, and the best way of doing that is getting in. Expert opinion, expertise and, the thoughts and feelings of lots of different people in the industry.

      I suppose the call to action for us is if you want to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you as well.

      If you have contributions that you’d like to add to Matt’s bangers or conversely the, the sausage of death, please do let us know. So you can do so by messaging our Twitter handle, which is at Rockee_io. Uh, you can visit us on LinkedIn, just look up Rockee, or go and fill out a contact form on our website, which is

      Until then, that’s all from me and from Mark at the Sausage Factory. Thank you for listening and do not forget to give us your feedback.

      Listen to us anywhere using any one of the many podcasting apps or directories here


      Matt Laybourn - Rockee

      Matt Laybourn

      Matt is the founder of Rockee, who has over 10 years experience in B2B as a senior strategist in content and performance marketing, working on both agency and client side. When not obsessing over numbers, he’s out hiking with his dog or watching basketball

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        Content feedback’s million dollar question – are you asking the right people?

        Content feedback’s million dollar question – are you asking the right people?

        You, or someone in your team, has just finished a piece of content – let’s call it Six more reasons to love digital transformation. Then, the moment of truth. It’s going off for review. Squeaky bum time.

        A couple of email prompts later. And the verdict is in…they didn’t like it; they loved it…you know, in that tedious X-factor-judge-type way.

        Job done. You’ve made some quality content. Wild partying ensues before you send aforementioned quality content out into the world.

        Now, we’re not going to knock anyone for celebrating internal sign off. If you’ve made it out of amends hell unscathed, we salute you.

        But have you got meaningful feedback on your work?

        Probably not. For the most part, internal feedback is the least important feedback. For many reasons, including:

        • People are generally bad at giving feedback – how many people take the time to assiduously consider the audience and the brief when reviewing the work. And how many people just tell you that they don’t like the word challenge – “sounds too negative”.
        • People who aren’t your intended audience will struggle to look at it through the intended audience’s eyes. Mainly because empathy is easier to talk about than practice.
        • People have their own diabolical agendas and biases – ranging from internal squabbling over which department should own the content to plans for world domination through subliminal content personality control – the ole’ SCPC.
        • The curse of knowledge – probably a combination of the two above. But worth pulling out. It’s where we assume everyone knows as much about a subject as we do.

        No internal feedback then?

        We’d love to say yes to that question. Unfortunately, we can’t. Internal feedback can be useful if you get it at the right time.

        Anyone who works in content marketing knows that the amount of feedback someone gives at the end of the project is usually inversely proportional to the amount of input they gave at the start.

        Even though it’s more helpful at the start.

        Get people involved at the start of your project. Get them to feed into a brief. Get them to feedback on a brief. Get them to give feedback on your research.

        You are doing research, right?

        Yep – great. Just checking. Most content marketers are. They’re putting themselves in the shoes of their audience and looking to create content that answers their questions.

        This great little article by Matchstick Creative has some good advice on how to understand what your audience wants, including a list of tools to help you. You could take it a step further and interview your target audience.

        Once you’ve got your research together, get some feedback on that from your internal experts (or even some real ones).

        What’s their take on the research? Do they have opinions on it, or insight to add? What do they think the answers are?

        Of course, all this research is just theory. You still need to put it into practice. It’s like finding out what someone likes to eat.

        It’s no guarantee that they’ll enjoy the meal you cook up for them. Because they have to actually experience it.

        Experience content

        Or rather content experience. Sounds a bit bullshitty, doesn’t it? But we’re just as obsessed with experience in content marketing as every other industry.

        If you’re only just coming across content experience, Qualtrics has a great content experience bible here.

        Content experience is all about how people find, read, engage with and share your content. But the best way to measure that experience still boils down to one key principle.

        And it’s a conclusion that’s shared in the Qualtrics piece and this piece by Rockee: you have to ask the audience.

        Asking the audience

        We got here in the end. We’re finally talking about the people who matter most – the audience, reader, user – whatever you want to call them. Now, there are two key moments to ask the audience – in our humble opinion.

        Before you go live or get your content out there – we used Wynter to test our core messaging with content marketers and it was amazing. Wynter is a B2B message testing platform. It really taught us about our own biases and the curse of knowledge. However empathetic you are, there is no substitute for getting a real perspective from your target audience.

        Once it’s out there – getting live customer feedback, with a platform like Rockee, from the people who matter most has several benefits. Might need to break into numbered list for this one…

        1. You can adapt your content on the fly – you could answer a common concern from readers, revisit a section they’re finding hard to understand, or, more drastically, decide you need a bit of a rewrite.
        2. You can use the things you learn from the feedback for your next piece – what you learn about your content and your audience from one piece can be used in developing future pieces.
        3. You can turn that feedback into content – whether it’s an FAQ doc or a more in-depth piece on something people feel strongly about, their feedback can fuel your content strategy.

        And what does that feedback look like? Glad you asked. Here’s an example of some feedback our client Thomas International got on one of their excellent blog posts – that’s not us brown-nosing (it kind of is).

        Constructive content feedback

        But, objectively, it has a five-star Rockee rating. This type of constructive feedback is great. It gives Thomas an idea of what’s working and a content writer direction on how they could improve it.

        So, while ask the audience was usually a pretty pointless exercise in Millionaire; it’s a fundamental of content marketing. And that’s our final answer. Where the fuck did this Millionaire reference come from?

        Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash.

        F*ck content feedback – six great reasons not to find out what people think of your content

        F*ck content feedback – six great reasons not to find out what people think of your content

        Content feedback. We thought everyone was on board. Turns out content feedback is a trigger for some people. Anyway, in the interests of balance, we thought we’d publish this anonymous rant from a content writer that dropped into the Rockee inbox this week. 

        Content feedback and sausages

        Content marketing is still massive. It’s worth about £50 billion* if you believe the stats. Get it right and you can make some easy money.

        Get a few content ‘creators’, maybe even some AI help. Brief in a few thinly veiled Google searches, Wikipedia-substantiated articles and masturbatory client puff pieces and you’re in business.

        Just keep pumping it out of the sausage factory and don’t stop the machine churning. It’s a great model. But there’s a blockage on the horizon that could clog up the machine: content feedback.

        There’s only one thing better than sausages…more sausages

        Quantity. That’s the name of the game in content marketing. Pump out as much as you can as quickly as you can with as little effort as you can. Keep the blog posts coming. Content feedback changes that.

        It starts forcing us to think about quality. And that calls into question the model we’re working to – moving us out of the battery-chicken house into a free-range organic equivalent. In short, quality is the enemy.

        It’ll block up your content-marketing machine faster than you can say – what the world needs is another ebook on digital transformation. And content feedback is the start of the slippery slope to producing quality content.

        So, in the spirit of every factory-content-marketer, here’s a list-based blog that explains why getting feedback on your content is disastrous for you. And the content-marketing industry.

        1.    People might point out your content’s shit

        Encourage content feedback and you’re increasing the likelihood that someone will spot the blindingly obvious – that the content is complete and utter toilet fodder. There are many reasons why that’ll be the case. Here a few you might recognise:

        ·      The camel – you know, the horse that everyone helped put together, but no one took responsibility for.

        ·      The boomerang – the digital transformation ebook is back again. Change the cover and get it out there.

        ·      The vanity project – someone important has something important to say. And no one dares question whether anyone wants/or needs to hear it.

        That list could go on forever. The underlying point being that it’s shit for the simple reason we’re not focussed on making it good. But we don’t really want anyone else pointing that out…or we might have to start answering some questions.

        2.    People might point out you’re shit

        It’s not a massive leap, is it? The content’s not very good, so the person creating it can’t be very good. Until recently, you’d keep the volume high and rattle off a few vanity metrics and you could progress without ever having to think, or work, too hard.

        Will anyone notice the ebook I wrote is remarkably similar to the last one? Will anyone work out I’ve combined the generic messages I was given with a liberal sprinkling of out-of-date stats? Probably not.

        Because the truth is most people aren’t reading this shit. But, as soon as they do, and you ask them about it, you’ve got a problem. Get feedback on your work and you won’t just have people questioning the quality of the work, they’ll start questioning the quality of the people producing that work: you.

        3.    You might have to do something about the feedback

        What you don’t need is someone feeding back to say they’d find the piece more useful if there was more technical detail. Or that they found it hard to read – too much marketing jargon.

        Basically, as soon as the kid in the crowd points out that your glamorous robes are transparent, and your marketing bollocks are on show, you’re going to need to do something about it.

        You’re going to have to understand your audience. Give your work a clear focus. Expand on complex ideas in an accessible way. And, god forbid, make your work interesting.

        Not only is that time-consuming, but it’s likely to produce a better piece of content. And then you’ve got something to live up to. People (clients or colleagues) are going to start expecting better content and heaven forbid – content marketing ROI.

        4.    You might have to have some awkward conversations

        A central tenet of effective content marketing is the path of least resistance. Can we publish these 5,000 words on why we’re amazing? Of course. We could probably just put this 125 slide PPT as it is, everyone loves it. Great idea.

        The audience for this piece is males and females of all ages. Go for it. Our audience will definitely want to spend 10 minutes watching us talk about this product. Ok – let’s get it out there.

        If we start getting feedback on our work, we might have to start having different and more awkward conversations. We might have to explain to people that what matters to us is less important than what matters to the audience. We’ll have to tell people that sometimes it’s better not to put something out.

        We’ll have to go all Jeff Goldblum and explain that just because we could, doesn’t mean that we should. And how are people going to react when we have those conversations.

        They’re not going to be happy. They might start questioning your role. Much better to nod in quiet agreement, get it out there, appear helpful and move on up the content-marketing ladder.

        5.    Less opportunity to get creative

        Getting feedback on your content is going to lead to a clearer idea about how it’s performing. And that means fewer meetings where you get to look at some numbers nobody really understands and come up with increasingly unlikely, but creative, hypotheses to explain those numbers.

        People with cats have a higher dwell time on Wednesdays when it’s raining because…Qualitative feedback limits the opportunity to kick back in those meetings and get creative. It opens up the possibility that you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to fix.

        Combine it with content scores and Google Analytics stats and you’ll really start to understand how your content’s performing. And that’ll increase the risk you’ll need to go back to your desk and create something people will want to read or find useful.

        6.    It’ll slow the machine down

        We’ve touched on this already, but it’s important. The success of content marketing is predicated on some good old fashioned 18th century thinking.

        It’s the factory system. It’s the industrial revolution. It’s why you hear churn factory, or sausage factory, or content-marketing machine…or engine in agencies and in-house content teams.

        And when you hear those words, it’s usually people advocating for some sort of organic, artisanal, free range, good for mind body and soul content.

        Get those revolutionaries out of there. Those hippy luddites will slow your machine down. If they don’t destroy it outright. Content feedback will only spur them on to focus on quality over quantity.

        Not convinced?

        If you’re not convinced, you’re probably one of those aforementioned luddite hippy people.

        You want feedback on your content. You believe that all feedback is good feedback. You want to produce great content. You value quality over quantity.

        Well, good for you. Don’t spoil it for the rest of us though. Don’t jump on the Rockee bandwagon.

        Don’t start posting about content feedback. Don’t blog about content marketing success.

        Don’t share advice on making better content. We don’t want a content-marketing revolution.

        Image credit – Andre Hunter, Unsplash.