Molly Buccini

A content marketing plan that delivers ROI is part creative inspiration, and part data savvy. It’d be unwise to define a goal-focused direction without a thorough understanding of metrics analysis. This means it’s absolutely imperative that our strategists have Google Analytics qualifications, and Analytics qualified consultants are something most companies look for in a content marketing agency. But we believe a strong content marketing team puts numbers in front of every stakeholder.

Content producers who are working behind the scenes to develop fresh content need an understanding of marketing data to know what’s working or how to recalibrate their craft. We’re excited that Brafton’s content writers are getting in on the analytics conversation.

“If you aren’t familiar with the analytics behind your content, you’re essentially flying blind.”

John King, a writer on our Lifestyles and Education desk, knows this is beneficial skill to have under his belt – and it will help him better serve his clients.

“If you aren’t familiar with the analytics behind your content, you’re essentially flying blind,” he said. “I love writing, but I imagine you can only go so far in the marketing world with grammar chops and storytelling skills alone – even if my writing is the bomb dot com.”

John, who writes for clients including luxury automotive and household-name fashion brands, is proud to partake in ownership of the strategies around content he produces.

“Qualifying for Google Analytics has given me a broader understanding of what turns an excellent blog post into a solid marketing tool,” he said. “You won’t know what material is good for selling products, what brings in new leads or what’s popular to your client’s audience without that data.”

Here are John’s experiences from studying for his Analytics exam, including tips for those preparing to get qualified:

Q: Why is Google Analytics qualification important for writers?

Mint_Icon_Analytics2The data you find in Google Analytics reflects how well you’re doing as a brand writer. It shows you your bottom-line value to a client. Logically, it makes sense that you know how to analyze that information yourself.

Q: What do you want other writers to gain from Google Analytics certification?

A broader understanding of what turns an excellent blog post into a solid marketing tool. It’s not just about keywords and linking products and appearing first in a Google search. Some posts sell products, some increase engagement, some improve client brand awareness. Those qualities don’t always overlap, so you need to know what sort of content gets what sort of result.

Q: What was the most unexpected thing you learned while going through the training?

After taking Analytics courses, you discover just how much info Google has harnessed about you. It’s kind of terrifying. Your name and blood type might not be recorded just because you visit a website that has Google tracking code, but there’s a lot of other information – identifying or otherwise – that’s collected and stored in a server somewhere.

Q: What was the most challenging part of the test for you?

Using GA properly requires data to begin with, and I didn’t have that sort of info at my disposal. The Web courses require that you make an account, link a website – in my case a fictional one – and tinker around with how the data is gathered.

If there’s no data to gather, you can’t experiment with the numbers. This makes learning much harder during the more complex lessons.

Q: What piece of advice would you offer other writers before they take the exam?

Not all the material you’re tested on is mentioned during the GA Web courses. Specifically, there were a lot of questions about the Real-Time feature and Intelligence Events, but these tools weren’t covered.

There are a few forums online where GA users discuss tricks and tips to taking the exam. Study those beforehand as well.

Q: Do you have any secret studying rituals? On the day of the test did you do anything to prep yourself?

The hardest part about achieving something, at least with me, is starting. When I found myself studying for just a few minutes before getting distracted and doing something else, I figured a change of pace was necessary.

If you’ve never been to Bates Hall in the BPL, do yourself a favor and visit. Best study space I’ve ever been in.

Aside from reading some forums about the test, there’s nothing special I did to prep the day of. In theory, you could just refer to your notes as you go, but that defeats the purpose of testing, and it wouldn’t be easy to do because you’re given a time limit. It’s really not that bad if you study thoroughly.

Want to learn more about how our teams utilize Google Analytics? Check out these posts authored by our content marketing strategists: