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How to use 80/20 analysis and thinking to maximise blog effectiveness (And thank you, Rory Cellan-Jones)

I’m a big fan of Richard Koch’s 80/20 analysis and thinking. So I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is and apply the 80/20 principle to analysing my own blog.

Since setting up In Front of Your Nose in January, I’ve discovered that 5pc of my blog posts generated 54pc of my page views. And, spookily, I find that 20pc of my blog posts have generated 80pc of page views (OK, it was 78pc, but you get the point).

To use Koch’s terminology, these are “the vital few” – again demonstrating the natural imbalance in nature – blogging being no different.

From an 80/20 perspective, I decided to focus on analysing the characteristics of the top traffic generating posts to identify what factors contributed to their success eg subject matter, keywords, comments, in-bound links, etc.

For example, my 2 most popular blog posts (generating nearly 20pc of my traffic) were: How to start a PR company with Google and a credit card and BBC’s Rory Cellan Jones and the death of the journalistic backgrounder.

A little further analysis reveals why they proved so popular. With the first post, it got picked up on Social Media Today and this generated a lot of inbound interest. Second, an analysis of the most popular search terms that attract traffic to my blog all centre around starting a PR company eg: how to start a pr company, setting up a pr company, etc. (More 80/20: these terms constitute 10pc of the total number of search terms – and yet generate nearly 70pc search generated traffic).

With the Rory Cellan-Jones piece, one factor stood out like a sore thumb – it was listed on the BBC Dot Life Technology blog as a “Link We Like” for nearly a month – it doesn’t take a genius to work out that if you get link love from such a high profile site then you are bound to benefit. But what made the BBC link to the post in the first place? Simple. Rory Cellan-Jones himself thought it was a great post (he told me) ie it was good, relevant content.

An analysis of search terms is also quite revealing. As I said, until I’d looked at it closely, I hadn’t appreciated the volume of searches around starting a PR business.

What does this tell us? That there are a lot of people out there thinking about doing it and looking for information related to “going it alone” in PR? And is that the kind of person I want to attract? How will that help my own business and revenue goals? (Well, if people want to give me a free stake in any new business venture they start, that’s different).

My search analysis also showed me that terms like online PR and digital PR are still in their search infancy – they are still very much in the early adopter search phase. I’m confident that these terms will increase in popularity (in which case, this blog should be well positioned to pick up on that trend). But clearly there is no guarantee – and it shows that mainstream PR buyers are still using traditional terms to find what they want.

So what now? It has certainly given me some pointers in terms of the type of content I might create in the future – and to think more clearly about linking conversion goals and the relationship between input and output. But perhaps most importatnly it has helped to FOCUS my resources and energy. Which can’t be a bad thing. 80/20. You know it makes sense.