Are You Creating Engaging (Offsite) Content?

Katie Schieder
Katie Schieder Director of Inbound Marketing & Content

Content is the foundation of digital marketing. You create content, track it, analyze what is working and what is not, then the cycle repeats itself. This works for onsite content, but what about offsite content?

Onsite vs Offsite Content

Onsite content serves multiple purposes. It gets people to your site through tactics like SEO and Paid Search, it educates the visitor, and (hopefully) it provides a conversion point for visitors to become leads and ultimately start the sales process. This is great – but you need more. You need to be creating offsite content. You need to be diversifying where you place you content, the topics you address, and the audiences you reach. If you think you have this covered with your public relations efforts, you’re mistaken. This is more than just a press release.

How Does Offsite Content Work?

You may think ‘I’m creating all this content for my site, why do I need to create content to place on other sites?’ This is a fair question and one that comes up often. The answer?

Onsite content captures people looking for your product or service.

Offsite content introduces people to your product or service before they need it.

Imagine you’re a new homeowner and you’re searching for decorating tips on a website that you frequent. While on the site you see an article about space saving gadgets and learn about electrical outlets with built-in USB ports. You didn’t know these existed and never would have searched for that product, but now that you read about it you click to the website to learn more and possibly make a purchase.

This is how offsite content increases your reach, drives new visitors to your site, and turns people who did not know about your product or service into customers.

*Let’s take a minute to talk about conversions. Conversion is a term that can refer to anything from an email newsletter signup to a sale. When it comes to offsite content, we are considering a conversion to be a “sales lead” in the shape of a form fill or phone call. It is the start of the sales process, not a sale. It’s possible that a person in the example above makes the choice to buy a USB outlet immediately, but this is unlikely in most cases for two reasons. First, a USB outlet can cost as little as $10. It’s a small ask. If you are selling a product or service of a higher price or that requires a deeper commitment, it’s unlikely that a visitor will become a sale immediately. Second, it’s most likely that a new visitor will want to take some time and learn more about your product, service, or even your brand before making a purchase decision. Give them time. If they convert through a form fill or phone call, you have their information and can continue to nurture them from lead to sale. It’s the vital first step.

How Do You Measure the Success of Offsite Content?

Understanding how to measure the success of offsite content can feel like a bit of a mystery. How do you measure something when you don’t have access to tools like Google Analytics, social reporting, email clicks, etc.? Here are some tips.

Build a Foundation for Success

  1. Track Clicks to Your Site – Add links to relevant blogs, pages, or downloads on your site throughout the offsite content and track the traffic delivered to your site from those links. This is the best way to understand how much traffic you generated from an offsite article and if that traffic produced any conversions.
  2. Build a Relationship with the Partner Site – This is a great way to get additional insights into your content. Building a great relationship with a partner means that you have access to information like page views, time on page, email clicks to the article, clicks from the homepage to the article, and how your topic/article is performing against the rest of their content. This is valuable information when creating an offsite content strategy. It can also lead to future articles and opportunities with that partner. Be aware that not all sites/partners are willing to enter into a relationship like this and some may not want to share additional information. That is their right. If this is the case, you can still track traffic back to your site via the links your inserted into the content. From there you will need to decide if this is a partner who produces enough results to outweigh the fact that they do not want to share additional information with you, or if you need to move on and look for a more collaborative partner.
  3. Keep an Eye on Social Media – This is not a perfect way to measure success by any means, but it can provide some interesting information. We like to use a tool known as BuzzSumo. It can show you engagement across all major social platforms, allow you to assess how content is performing against onsite content, and give you an idea of what topics create buzz and what topics fall flat.

Understand if Your Content is Engaging

You’ve built your foundation for success, you’ve found great partners for your offsite content – but how do you know if you’re successful? You should look at three primary metrics:

  1. Sessions – understand how many people traveled to your site from your offsite content.
  2. Engagement Rate – if you have built a relationship with the site, you can ask for the number of page views your content received. Look at the number of people who traveled to your site from the article against the number of page views and then you have an engagement rate.

*It is important to know that an engagement rate from 2 – 5 percent is considered average. Anything above that should be considered a success. This may seem low, but remember you’re asking for a visitor to click on a link, leave a site they know and trust, and travel to your site for more information. It’s a big ask, but visitors who do make that jump and then take action should be considered qualified leads.

  1. Conversions – track the amount of conversions for this strategy, how many conversions each piece of offsite content produced, and the conversion rate for each piece of offsite content. Tracking conversions will help you understand how your offsite content is performing as you learn more and make changes to your strategy. Tracking conversions and conversion rates for individual articles and sites will help you understand what sites produce quality traffic and what topics perform best on those sites.

*The number of conversions will be lower than traffic coming from SEO or paid search, so set your expectations accordingly.

Its important to track all these metrics as a whole to assess how well your strategy is performing, as well as to track them individually. It’s possible a site that drives a small number of sessions has a high conversion rate. You also need to know what topics perform best on certain sites. You may find that a topic that produces a large amount of sessions on one site falls flat on a different site (I say this from experience.)

Want to learn more about offsite content and how the Arc team can help you create and execute a strategy? Click here to learn more about our content services.