NPR Training
Storytelling tips and best practices

Acting on analytics: Using data to make editorial decisions

If you publish to a website, you probably have access to some sort of analytics dashboard where you can see which posts are performing well — and which ones aren’t.

But what actions can you take with that information? This document will help you use metrics data to make informed editorial decisions. (Print it out!)

A story is suddenly experiencing a surge in traffic

  • Determine the source of traffic
  • Assess sources for engagement possibilities and alert relevant reporters/editors
  • Consider promoting the story on other platforms
  • Consider “beefing up” the original story build with additional web elements
  • Theorize why it spiked and share your hypothesis with your social media team

A story from the archives is spiking in traffic

  • All of the above listed under “a story is suddenly experience a surge in traffic”
  • Republish the original story
  • Re-promote the original story
  • Write a follow-up story
  • Revisit other old and relevant stories

My story isn’t getting any traffic

( … compared to similar stories.)

  • Write the window title for SEO effectiveness
  • Write the main headline for social friendliness (check out this headline guide for more tips)

My story has been shared by an influential person or account

  • Thank that person on social

My audience is not growing or it’s declining

  • Evaluate your publishing frequency 
  • Consider mixing up the types of stories you’re creating
  • Design or refine a social media strategy
  • Research the potential size of your target audience

My audience is growing rapidly

  • Are you doing something different? Do it more and let your team know
  • Identify the source and try to amplify the effect
  • Find ways to keep the new audience engaged

Serri Graslie is the Senior Digital Strategist on the NPR Training team, where she leads the overall direction of the team’s digital storytelling efforts. She got her start at NPR as a Kroc Fellow and later joined All Things Considered as a digital producer.