How to Find Out if your World-Changing Work Actually Changes Anything

Discover how to use analytics data to guide your content strategy, increase engagement and make a bigger impact.

Matt By Matt
13 Min Read

You think you’re making an impact, don’t you?

Putting keystroke to screen, crafting powerful words and narratives designed to shake the foundations of society.

But are you really?

Publishing provocative pieces is the easy part.

Getting them to actually land and resonate – to genuinely spark introspection and spur audiences into action? That’s where many creators and inexperienced changemakers come up embarrassingly short.

The uncomfortable truth is this: if you aren’t religiously analysing your content’s performance and optimising accordingly, you’re just aimlessly pissing in the wind.

No growth strategy, no iteration, no understanding of what’s working versus what’s not. Just a whole lot of time, energy and worldly ambition flushed right down the proverbial loo.

Ouch.

Did that reality sting a bit?

I’m not surprised – many dreamers tend to be fairly allergic to cold, hard numbers. We’d much rather get lost in our creations’ technical or creative brilliance than get dirty with data and engagement metrics.

But here’s the deal.

In the battle to positively impact society’s narratives and shift cultural consciousness, analytics and intelligent data are your greatest weapon. Master this, and you unlock the power to iteratively optimise your content until it cuts through the noise and permanently connects to hearts and minds.

Miss the mark, however, and you become just another creator in a crowded ocean of 200 million creators around the world—every one of them battling for attention.

And let’s be real – isn’t that the greatest fear for any self-respecting changemaker? To pour your soul into crafting world-shifting art, only for it to fall flatter than a edgeless crumpet?

The good news?

 

You can easily avoid such an unfulfilling fate by fully embracing content analytics. I’m talking tools like Google Analytics, native social media analytics, social media listening tools, measuring social impact and even custom UTM tracking codes for tracking campaigns and projects – the full data-driven arsenal.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

Using Analytics to Guide Content Strategy

First, you need to establish the North Star metrics that will gauge whether your content is genuinely hitting the mark.

Are you looking to amplify visibility through sky-high traffic and engagement? Or are you more concerned with actually changing behaviours by cultivating an uber-engaged core audience?

Drill down and get specific.

Because your goals will shape the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you obsess over.

Maybe it’s a combo of pageviews, dwell times / time on site, social shares, shares and comments. Or perhaps it’s a hyper-focus on minimising bounce rates and fostering grassroots advocacy through impact measured on the ground, in person.

  • Social impact
  • Pageviews
  • Unique visitors
  • Average time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Social shares
  • Comments and interactions

There are no wrong answers here – just being intentional about what “successful” content looks like in the context of your unique motives as a creator. Once you’ve nailed down those guiding KPIs, it’s time to gather the insights to make them soar…

Your Content Analytics Utility Belt

Hopefully, you’ve already shattered any lingering illusions you had around vanity metrics, such as follower counts and likes defining “great” content.

Those are empty signals – entertaining at best, but hardly filling in terms of substantive analysis.

To truly deconstruct whether or not your voice is piercing through the incessant noise, you’ll need access to bona fide measurement firepower. Here are the essentials:

  • Google Analytics for your brand website: This free behemoth remains the undisputed streaming source of truth on your website’s performance. Traffic sources, visitor behaviour, highest-impact content – it’s all in there.
  • Native social metrics: Sure, you can just browse through the basic analytics displayed on the feed of each of your social channels. Or you can work smarter and learn the more in-depth engagement data (often called Insights or Analytics) platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok conveniently bake in.
  • Measure effectiveness with UTM Tracking: Want to definitively measure how effective your promotional channels, campaigns, and projects are at delivering engagement? UTM links and codes are your best friend here. Slap a string of custom campaign parameters onto different content links, and voila! Granular visibility into what’s delivering the best bang for your buck.

There’s also heat maps, scroll tracking, screen recording and all sorts of other bleeding-edge analytics tech. It’s worth testing out the free heat maps and screen recording features in Microsoft Clarity. This is something I’ve recently started using on my landing pages.

More Free Analytics Tools

These free analytics tools will help you measure the impact and effectiveness of your content, campaigns, and overall strategy across your website, email, and social media channels.

ChannelMetricImportanceFree Analytics Tools
Website1. Traffic (Unique Visitors, Page Views)
2. Engagement (Time on Site, Pages per Session, Bounce Rate)
3. Conversions (Goal Completions, Conversion Rate)
– Measures the reach and effectiveness of your website in attracting and engaging visitors
– Helps identify which content resonates with your audience
– Shows how well your website converts visitors into supporters or customers
1. Google Analytics
2. Matomo
3. Open Web Analytics
Email1. Open Rate
2. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
3. Conversion Rate
– Indicates the effectiveness of your subject lines and email content
– Measures engagement and interest in your email content
– Shows how well your emails drive desired actions, such as donations or sign-ups
1. Mailchimp
2. Sender
3. Zoho Campaigns
Social Media1. Reach (Impressions, Followers)
2. Engagement (Likes, Comments, Shares)
3. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
– Measures the visibility and potential impact of your social media content
– Indicates how well your content resonates with your audience and encourages interaction
– Shows how effectively your social media content drives traffic to your website or other desired actions
1. Native analytics (e.g., Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics)
2. Hootsuite Insights
3. Buffer Analyze
Popular free website and analytics tools for websites, email and social media

Separating Hits from Misses

With your analytics infrastructure primed, the fun truly begins.

You get to dig into the delicious data and pinpoint your greatest creative hits so far. Which topics, themes, formats and promotion channels yielded:

 

  • Massive populist interest (page view monsters!)
  • Hyper-engaged comment/sharing frenzies
  • The most intangibly “sticky” impressions (high dwell times, time on site, % of page scrolled)

These are your hero content pieces – the campaigns that clearly hit the sweet spots within your audience. Soak them in, study their framings and positioning. What did you that worked? Think about how you can borrow those “hero” ingredients and replicate the magic for future launches.

You’ve got to take stock of the misses too – the half-baked content flops that attracted nothing but silence from your loyal readers. Be honest, unflinching even, as you pinpoint which topics flopped, which content fell flat, and which promotion channels wasted valuable attention and time.

Seeing unimpressive results can sting in the moment, sure. But this contextual insight is the rocket fuel you need to make adjustments, evolve and keep your creations boundary-pushingly fresh.

After all, no one ever changed the world by playing it safe and stale.

Optimising for Maximum Impact

So you think you’ve found what worked and what didn’t and updated your content roadmap accordingly.

What’s next?

Time to test, experiment and validate your data-driven hypotheses, baby!

Maybe that means A/B testing of headlines to see which words score the highest engagement. Perhaps you launch a brand new content format like video essays or original data studies based on what your audience indicates will connect most.

You might even redesign your whole website with search and findability in mind after realising that you’ve been encouraging Google to hide your site under a carpet.

At the end of the day, the key is to combine insights with experimentation and learning.

Because let’s be real – you didn’t sign up to change the world and then be happy to settle for making no impact, did you?

Those are the stakes churning away in the background, creators, influencers and changemakers.

Making tangible progress towards that ambition requires constantly, furiously optimising your creations for maximum impact. Leave nothing un-analysed or un-improved upon in your pursuit of True North resonance.

So use the tools.

Test the tactics.

Rinse and repeat.

Be open to learning and accept that not all your content is good.

Embracing change is the only path forward.

With the world becoming more and more polarised, your voice is needed now more than ever.

Make sure it’s being heard loud and clear.

Subscribe to the Bona Parle creator community and learning library to gain the game-changing tools, frameworks, and creative fuel to accelerate your content’s impact factor. We’ll keep you optimised to unleash greatness upon the world.

FAQs

What are content analytics strategies?

Content analytics strategies involve measuring and analysing data on how your content performs. This includes tracking metrics like traffic, engagement, lead generation, and sales. By studying this data, you can optimise content for better results. Common strategies utilise tools like Google Analytics and heat maps.

What are the 3 components of content strategy?

The 3 main components of an effective content strategy are: 1) Conducting research to understand your audience’s needs. 2) Planning all content pieces and promotional channels. 3) Creating and distributing high-quality, audience-targeted content consistently.

How do you Analyse content strategy?

To analyse your content strategy, start by reviewing your goals and KPIs. Then dive into your analytics data to measure performance metrics like traffic, engagement, conversions, etc. Identify what content succeeded or underperformed. Use those insights to iterate your strategy.

What are the 5 pillars of content strategy?

The 5 key pillars of a solid content strategy are:
1) Audience Persona Research
2) Unique Positioning & Differentiation
3) Channel Distribution Plan
4) Consistent Production Calendar
5) Performance Measurement & Optimisation

What are the 7 steps in creating a content strategy?

The 7 main steps are:
1) Set measurable goals
2) Research your target audience
3) Conduct a content audit
4) Identify topics and map content
5) Determine production and promotion channels
6) Create an editorial calendar
7) Analyse performance and adjust

What is a content strategy framework?

A content strategy framework is a structured plan that defines all components of your organisation’s or brand’s content. This includes guidelines around content purpose, creation processes, governance policies, and effectiveness measurements. It aligns content across your business.

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By Matt
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I'm the Creative Director at Bona Parle. I'm also a freelance portrait and headshot photographer, award-winning filmmaker, film Colourist and a multi-award winning LGBTQ+ human rights campaigner. For part of my week I lead a successful UK-based charity that brings families closer to together.